Writing, Alf Kalimah and WonderQuest

Transformation is constant and pervasive. Everything I have seen, every experience I have been immersed in over the last two years has led me to conclude that the world around us is transforming just as much as we are.

Pakistan, despite the best efforts of its people, is going downhill (thanks to things beyond the control of individuals). Jeddah with all its drawbacks and inanities of its ruling class, is undergoing a mini cultural revolution.

At the end of 2017, I was like a person trying to take a step forward against the wind. And this MA helped me find direction. It bolstered me at a time when I would have drifted on this wind, and helped me sail. It gave me the courage to step out and say, I think Jeddah has more to offer. And yes, Jeddah has put up walls, because that is the nature of society here. But as I explored, there was also a part that was exhilarating. I had the chance to be part of something that was transforming, to witness it firsthand, to develop with it.

My explorations early on led me to the team at AlfKalimah, a group of writing enthusiasts. I would join them at the write ins just to catch up on my reflective blog. But of course, they were transforming too. And by 2019 they had become a literary agency. During their transformation, they helped me see the side of myself that was and always be a writer. They helped me bring down the mental blocks that prevented me from seeing a manuscript to completion, the same mental blocks of uncertainty and fear of failure that Jonathan helped me overcome with relation to my art.

In my group presentation during the low residency I emphasized that my practice had disparate elements that organically drew together. That part of the strands looping into each other quite naturally, was important to me. I was simply progressing with Unit 1 until in December 2018, like a brainwave, the pieces fell into place. The same happened for my writing. Chasing after narrative art, letting it go, learning its nuances, and then dedicating myself to it by abandoning writing are something I wrote about in the last blogpost. But somehow, this track led me right back to writing as well.

In March 2018, I found myself officially a writer with the AlfKalimah literary agency, joining the WonderQuest Mentoring program run by arab writer Maram Taibah, and working on two separate novels; one fiction and one nonfiction. I honestly had not expected that with everything else going on, I would be able to see these novels to completion. But now, well on the way to a complete manuscript, I realize that barriers really do exist only in the mind.

Anyway, I’m not sure this reflective blogpost was very coherent, I was writing it from the heart. I’m not ready yet to share the thought process or idea behind these novels. I think I will wait to see them published and then, even if this blog is redundant by then, update here 🙂

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