Sunday, 27 September 2020

Review of ‘Love from A to Z’

 

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

 

First of all, the cover photo of the novel caught my eyes at first sight. Even when I was busy with other books, my mind was still clogged with the book with the ‘blue cover.’ At the beginning of the breathtaking novel, S.K Ali warns us that ‘Love from A to Z’ will be a love story. Her warning made the storyline not to catch us by surprise. The novel will make your heart skip, send flicker of amusement and excitement to your face, and make your eyes misty.


RELATED ARTCILE: My Top 10 Lessons from Sophie Kinsella's 'My Not So Perfect Life.'


About two months ago, I revealed my top 7 books on social media. Completing this thrilling novel, I wished that I had read it earlier on. It would have made it to the list.

‘Love from A to Z’ is a story about two teenagers, Adam Chen and Zayneb Malik, who tries to come to terms with the marvels and oddities they experience every day. This captivating love story shows how Muslim teen characters strive to overcome racism, Islamophobia, and a host of others.

The main characters- Zayneb and Adam- who were travelling to Doha, Qatar, meet at the airport and experience something life-changing afterwards.

Zayneb Malik is a teen who is outspoken and courageous. Always ready to stand up for her right, her outspokenness often gets her in trouble. Adam Chen is, however, a quiet and calm-natured person, striving to reflect on the positive aspects of his life.

The novel is written in the form of a diary, where Zayneb and Adam simultaneously reveal the marvels and oddities in their lives.

Zayneb gets suspended from school after confronting her Islamophobic teacher, Fencer. She decides to let go of things that she hasn’t been able to. Adam has recently been diagnosed of multiple sclerosis, and he’s hiding it from his father. His diagnosis also causes him to drop out of school. He is scared of his future, and because of this, he isolates himself from the people around him.

The book centres on the journal entries of Zayneb and Adam as they explore the marvels and oddities and ways their lives seem entangled.


RELATED ARTICLE: Review of  'Stay With Me.'


An intriguing quality about the book is love and hope. Love for the bond Adam shares with his sister, Hanna. His love for his father and valuable moments he shared with his late mother. Hope for Zayneb striving to defend herself against racism she experiences at several places and Adam for dealing with MS.

Zayneb realizes that she does not have feel to discouraged to continue fighting against racism, Islamophobia. Adam learns that been diagnosed with MS doesn’t mean that everything is over for him.

‘Love from A to Z’ is a book that got me gripped from the first page. As I read the first paragraph, I knew that I had chosen the right book to read. The artistic description of the first scene got me captivated:


RELATED ARTICLE: My Ramadhan Reading List.


ON THE MORNING OF SATURDAY, March 14, fourteen-year-old Adam Chen went to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. A thirteenth-century drawing of a tree caught his gaze. It wasn’t particularly striking or artistic. He didn’t know why this tree caused him to stride forward as if magnetized. (When he thinks about it now, his guess is thus: Trees were kind of missing in the landscape he found himself in at the time, and so he was hungry for them.) Once he got close, he was rewarded with the name of the manuscript that housed this simple tree sketch: The Marvels of Creation and the Oddities of Existence. He stood there thinking about this grand title for a long moment. Then something clicked in his mind: Maybe that’s what living is—recognizing the marvels and oddities around you. From that day, he vowed to record the marvels he knew to be true and the oddities he wished weren’t. Adam, being Adam, found himself marveling more than ruminating on the weird bits of existing.


This is actually the first Muslim fiction I’d be reading- I loved how the characters were willing to defend their religion. I enjoyed their halal love story. I also enjoyed the description of Qatar’s capital, Doha.  


I have a special love for Adam’s character. I enjoyed reading his thoughts and lessons from life. I was fascinated by a particular part of his diary entry:


Everyone told Dad that he was “lucky” that I was so “good.” How he’d done a “good” job, given the circumstances. Of Mom passing away. And being in another country. And converting to a new religion as a family.


What they’d meant was that I was easy to handle, didn’t talk back or push limits. But maybe it wasn’t that I was just good or that Dad had done a good job. Maybe it had been this journal. This way of noticing that even during the suckiest moments in life there was something marvelous to be seen, heard, touched. Or just a tiny awe felt in the heart. Maybe it was going out of my way to try to notice something, this noticing, that had saved me all along.

 

Notable Quotes from ‘Love from A to Z’

“Maybe that’s what living is- recognizing the marvels and oddities around you.”

“Make sure that you make the beginning of whatever you begin beautiful.”

“I’m not a violent person. I’m not advocating violence. But I am an angry person. I’m advocating for more people to get angry. Get moved.”

“Human rights. For everyone. Because that was the only way the world made sense. When the arc of care went far and wide, it journeyed and battled to exclude none.”

“Your resistance to my existence is futile.”

“This is a love story. You’ve been warned.”

“I was in this weird space of wanting not to be alone and wanting not to be crowded, either.”

“They say friends are the family you choose.”

“But it’s not smooth sailing”

“Life isn’t.”

“Girls like me who see and feel the pains and problems of the world don’t make sense to people. So maybe we’re meant to be alone, or only with people exactly like us.”

“She believed in such a world, where everyone got a turn, a season in the sun.”

“I’m someone who gets consumed by stuff. It engulfs me, wraps me up in its embrace, and doesn’t let me be until I’ve dealt with it.”

“Here’s one thing I CAN figure out and that’s how much I don’t know. How I don’t know what you went through at school. With your teacher. I don’t know about the extent of the Islamophobia you’ve faced. I don’t know what it feels like to be you. But here’s another thing: I DO want to know.”

“Exhibit A TO Z: The root of everything that has gone wrong in my life. Like falling for people without thinking things through.”

“We’re allowed to cry.”

“never ever quake in the face of hate.”

“Imagine if I transformed this room into a place where someone would want to escape to?”

RELATED ARTICLE: 8 Lessons from the Popular Web Series 'This Is It'

“Since the news was out about my MS, out with my Dad, my friends, and soon with Hanna, it emerged in the real world.

Like a boggart from Harry Potter’s world, it took shape in front of me. Un moving, but relentlessly forcing itself into my thoughts. My MS, it was real now.

I didn’t want to climb the ladder to finish painting the room. I was scared to.

I wasn’t part of any Hogwarts houses, because there wasn’t a house for people who’d rather ruck away, overwhelmed with fear.”


A major part of the book is poetic with deep words for reflection. Adam also made me fall in love with the colour ‘blue.’ Centering on family, love, loss, uncertainties, and friendship, ‘Love from A to Z’ is a must-read.

 



 

 

 

Saturday, 19 September 2020

8 Lessons from the Popular Web Series ‘This Is It’

 


The popular Nigerian drama TV series ‘This Is It’ is one that I would never forget for years to come. Apart from the fact that the movie changed the narrative about marriage, it also reveals the challenges that young couples could face in their marital lives and the ways they could solve them.

Portraying the lives of the couples in a way that makes it look genuine and authentic, This Is It is a must-watch for all young adults that are looking towards getting married.


Summary of This Is It.


The award-winning TV series centres on the lives of a Kenyan-Nigerian software developer, Tee, who recently got married to his heartthrob, Dede. The storyline focuses on the challenges faced by a young and inexperienced young couple as they struggle to get used to their new marital life.

The creator of the popular series, LowlaDee, started airing it on her YouTube channel. However, the series was later acquired by several TV networks.

One amazing feature of the movie is the fact that it featured stories from real-life young couples at the end of the series.


Cast of ‘This Is It’

(1)

Nick Mutuma- Tomide (Tee)



(2)

Chy Nwakanma- Dede Mwenda



(3)

Bimbo Ademoye- Kerry



(4)

Stan Nze- Sam



Now, let’s find out the 8 lessons from the award-winning series, This Is It


(1)

True love will always stand out

One of the qualities that I love about the series is the way they portrayed love in its true form. The love Tee and Dede shares are one that will always stand the test of time. It is genuine and will rarely fade away. And this is the type of love that we want to see in all marriages. The kind of love that will make couples fully prepared to fight for themselves and dream of a happy-ever-after.


(2)

“There is no perfect. There will always be struggle. You just have to pick who you want to struggle with.”

This quote is from one of my favourite movies titled Before We Go. This quote explains that there will never be ‘perfect.’ Never! No couple can claim a happy life forever. There have to be struggles. There have to be stumbling blocks at some point in time. What matters is who you pick to struggle with.


(3)

Marriage requires sacrifice

If you’re not ready to make sacrifices at some point in time, I’m sorry, but maybe you’re not prepared for marriage.


(4)

Family is everything

Even though you’ve finally moved in with your spouse to start a new life, your family will always be your biggest supporter. Also, the family you create with your spouse will be everything to you.


(5)

We all need that one good friend

We all need that one person that we can confide and trust in. We must have a good friend that can proffer the best pieces of advice as we struggle with getting used to a new phase in life.


(6)

Honesty is key

This is your spouse; someone you’ve promised to spend the rest of your life with. What could you want to possibly hide from such a person? Honesty is key in marriage and it will promote the trust and confidence that spouses have for one another.


(7)

Communication is key

One of the key foundations for all marriages is effective communication. The ability of a couple to easily talk about anything and everything with each other will foster their relationships.


(8)

Marriage requires patience and understanding

This is self-explanatory. I mean, what is a marriage without patience and understanding?

Have you watched ‘This Is It’? What other lessons did you derive from the movie?

If you haven’t, head on to YouTube and search for the popular web series.

 

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Things No One Told You Before Graduation

 Things No One Told You About 9-5 Jobs


While still studying at the university, there were times we envied the working class in the society. We would imagine ourselves dressed in suit and trousers, clutching a briefcase and sashaying in pointy heels. We would feel thrilled when we think of the pay that will be added to our account every month. We would grin in anticipation when we imagine ourselves speaking confidently in meetings.

LOL! I laugh out loud in Lagos traffic! I laugh out loud in the faulty organizational structures of Nigerian companies! I laugh out loud for standing at bus stops with rumpled shirts and chewing from nylon of groundnut with your sweaty hands! I laugh out loud in everything 9-5!!!

Okay! *Breathes in and out*

Here are the things that no one told you about 9-5 jobs.

 

(a)

It is actually 6-9

I still don’t understand why we still call it 9-5. Okay. Let’s leave the time spent on the road aside first. It is rare to see a company that actually sticks to the 9-5. You would often see 8-6, 8-5, or 9-6. Some companies even extend this period to 8:00 pm!
Now, let’s talk about 6-9. To work as a full-time staff and meet the resumption time, you have to wake up early and prepare for work. This means you have to leave much earlier. Most Lagosians leave their houses before 6. But let’s say you leave your house by 6:00 am. By then, you’ve started working right? Because you’re on your way to work.

After you close from work, you’ll be commuting back to your house. This means you practically spend the whole day for your 6-9…I mean ‘9-5.’

 

(b)

You have only the weekends and public holidays to rest

…and sometimes you don’t. Being in a 9-5 job is like selling your time to your employer. So, you don’t have the freedom to wake up on a Tuesday morning and decide:

‘No way! I’m not going out today. I’ll lie in bed all day!’

 

(c)

Commuting is the main job

Your major job will be done on the road if you work in Lagos. Imagine leaving the house before 6, spending hours waiting for a bus and draining all energy left in you to struggle for a space in the bus, and exchanging words with the conductor. Then, returning to the road to follow the same process in the evening.

Haha! Please, what’s the strenuous work? The one you perform at the office or the one while commuting?

 

(d)

Monthly salaries can make you too relaxed

Do not forget, I repeat, DO NOT FORGET that nothing is permanent. It is easier to feel relaxed knowing full well that your account will certainly be credited at the end of the month. Remember to never feel too relaxed.

Your job can be lost at any point in time. You might also need to further your studies and gain new skills.

 

(e)

You will have to become organized

As a ‘9-5er,’ it is ideal that you effectively plan your time and create a to-do list. If you don’t, it might be difficult to balance your personal life with your work life. You might find it challenging to accomplish your goals and spend a memorable time with your family.

 

(f)

It will become your second home

Yes, your workplace will become your second home! Remember you will be spending a large part of your day outside of your home? You might not even know your neighbours. LOL! Your colleagues at work will also become your ‘new’ family members.

 

What are those things you found out only after graduation? Care to share? Send a mail to abdulwahabmaryam11@yahoo.com or mareeam802@gmail.com.

 

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Interview with S.A Ibrahim

 



Q- Tell us more about S.A Ibrahim

S.A. Ibrahim is acronym for Sarafadeen Ayomide Ibrahim; an Osun state indigene who has lived all his life in Ibadan. I come from a family of 4 (my parents inclusive). A copy editor, content writer and SEO (Search Engine Optimiser). 

 

Q- How did you discover your passion for writing?

Writing didn't start as 'writing' for me. It started from having an eye for errors (the simple definition for editing). I remember reading books and jotting the errors therein, in the stead of understanding the content.

 

I remember avoiding conversations with people because I found their use of the English language offensive. I had, and still have, a strong aversion to blunders. When I read, I subvocalise. So, even if I were made to read a writing stacked with errors, it doesn't sift into my head with the errors; my subvocal self corrects it. 

 

So, it happened that I stumbled upon an article emphasising the importance of sex dolls. The article had no blunders but the content didn't align with my thoughts as a person. So, in an attempt to refute the work and condemn the plasticity hinged to humanistic affiliations, I wrote my first article. I was bred by a mother who would always reiterate the importance of upholding good relationships with people and, if need be to part, shouldn't be on bad terms and this, to some extent, shaped my view of the world. 

 

Hitherto writing the refutational essay, I dug into and consumed a lot of web pages and books bought by my mother. This research made me realise that there were happenings that needed recourse in their doings if we were to realistically exist as humans.

 

Basically, that was how I started. Although, during my pre-teenage days, my mother being a language connoisseur constantly dished out writing assignments to me which she would later edit and give me to pore over my grammatical and mechanical mistakes. 

 

Q- Tell us 5 random facts about yourself

5 Random facts about me? Wow. 

 1. I see better in the dark than in the light. I am photophobic.

 

2. I am averse to swallows. I hate them a lot. 

 

3. I subsist on bread. 

 

4. I talk, a lot! 

 

5. I have a very soft heart; seeing people cry makes me cry, too. 

 

 RELATED ARTICLE: "QING- is not your mate."- A Creative Session with Mr Waduud.


 Q- What is writing to you?

Writing to me now, is an avenue to pour, to express myself in ways that sooth my person. I like to classify writing as an opportunity to share my opinions with people, to let people feel things before they experience it (grief, war, etc). When people feel glum happenings before this experience them, they are nudged to "pity" people stuck in those situations and become more humane. 

 

Q- What is your major source of inspiration?

 My writing used to be spontaneous; not triggered by anything. But, recently, it has drifted to getting triggered by developing an overly curious mind. So, questions and introspections about the mundane birth them, now. 

 

Q- What have you gained as a writer?

 I've gained peace and i think, that's more than enough for me. I grew a bottle. I didn't grow as an expressive & this affected my psychological balance. It really did put a dent on it. 

 

So, I have gained peace from the inside. I can now express anything I want to and its everything, for me. 

 

Q- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I see myself making a whole lot of magic! 

 

Q- Any plans for the nearest future?

Yes. Many plans. 

 


Q- What challenges do you think writers face in Nigeria? How can they be solved?

I think Nigerian writers are not getting as much support as they need and deserve. This clime views writers as wretched and this stereotypic nuance can be pillaged if writing becomes one of the most lucrative jobs in the country.

 

The literary atmosphere here is stiff. Very stiff, even with the quality of works churned out.

 

Q - Tell us a weird feature you possess that most people do not know

 A weird feature? Hehe. I'd say my ability to blur my five senses. I can blur my eyes in such a way that I'd get the bokeh effect from cameras &, can make my skin passive if I want to. I can use my tongue to block my sense of odor and voice at the same time. Literally, I can leave the present if I want to. 

 

Q- Your happiest moment

I lose memory of things easily. Pardon me. That's how my brain is. I really do not remember anything that happened to me in 2018.

 

But, I'd say my happiest moment was when my mom's motor neurons awoke from being supine after a surgery. 

 


Q- Your favourite colour

Black & blue.

 

Q- Your favourite celebrity

Siedd.


 RELATED ARTICLE: Interview with Small Island Girl.


Q- Your favourite food

I do not have a favorite food but I enjoy eating bread. 


Q- Who is/are your role model(s)?

Everyone is my mentor and no one is. Haha. The truth is I have a list of mentors whom I overtly take cues from, and, owing to the fact that I am vested in up to ¾ career trajectories, I have many. Sir Jide Badmus taught me word economy overtly and covertly, Michael Akuchie; simplicity, Aremu Adams; fluidity, Nome Pat; language and form, Mark Manson; subjectivism, Taofeek Ayeyemi; style and voice. RMG; imageries and so many of them. It’d be safe to say I still am under mentoring. 


 RELATED ARTICLE: Interview with Bakare Mubarak.


Q- Your favourite choice of holiday destination

Kuwait / any Arabian country. I'd really love to tour the gulf. 

 

Q- Your social media platforms for fans to reach you

I tweet @essayibrahim2.

 

My Facebook name is S.A. Ibrahim. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Celebrating Four Years of Blogging

 


On the 8th of August, 2020, my blog clocked 4 years. Four solid years of running Maryam’s Nitty Wall. Whoa! Typing this still comes as a surprise because I keep asking myself, ‘When did you even start?’

It’s been an amazing four years of blogging. I’ve posted thrilling articles…boring write-ups…sub-standard write-ups…quality write-ups. What matters is that I keep growing and improving the quality of content updated on the blog.

I’ve connected with blog readers, made friends, been invited to give talks, been granted jobs…my four years have yielded great results.

I’ll be sharing my blogging journey, mistakes I made, and how I learnt from them, areas I’m bent on improving, and a host of others.

The journey…


While studying at the university, I was determined to graduate with an outstanding result. And this caused me to spend a major part of my day reading. I really wanted to share my write-ups to the world…but there was not enough time to do so.

I created a Facebook page ‘Great Writings’ in 2013. I wanted to post content there and connect with readers. I remembered writing an awful piece…LOL…that piece was indeed awful. I wrote several others and it ended. I couldn’t continue because of my tight schedule.

During a semester holiday, I desperately wanted to create a blog but, I didn’t know how to. I would write several ‘motivational’ pieces and continue to read books. I knew I yearned to create a platform to display my awf…I mean, beautiful write-ups. I just didn’t know how to start and maintain the platform.

Then, I decided to publish a monthly magazine on the Facebook page (Great Writings). The idea fascinated me and I made a post about it. Well- just as you wouldn’t have imagined- it didn’t work out.

I put a stop to all these and focused on my studies while I still joined the literary circle in school.

In 2016 after graduating, I founded Maryam’s Nitty Wall. My elder sister had recently learnt how to create a free blog on blogger. So, she assisted me in creating one.

Whoa! It was a dream come true. I changed the Facebook page’s name from ‘Great Writings’ to ‘Maryam’s Nitty Wall’ and started to post content on my blog. I would share with WhatsApp groups and my Facebook timeline.

And it all started and continued….

Growth


I started posting weekly episodes on my blog. I would share the stories with my Facebook page and groups. I would also share my page to gain more likes. I kept doing this until I went to the NYSC orientation camp in 2017.

Lack of access to laptop hindered me from posting new episodes on my blog. Then I started to receive messages from readers, inquiring about the reason I had stopped posting. I had to make a post, explaining that I didn’t have access to my writing materials. That incident motivated me to take my blog more seriously. I mean, I never knew that I had readers who were stuck to the blog.

I continued adding thrilling categories and gaining more views. I started to interview young creatives and post new stories. I had ample time to grow my blog while I was serving in 2017. It was the year that I built the brand name and made it known across social media platforms.


2018…


In 2018, I met a colleague at my place of work. I had completed NYSC and started working full-time. Meeting T was a life-changing experience. She thought me how to grow my brand and increase views on my page.

“You have to be real. Post events that people can relate with. They will be glued to your page,” she had advised.

I started posting directly on my Facebook wall rather than sharing posts from my Facebook page. I wrote about my daily experiences. I wrote heartfelt posts that virtually everyone can relate to. My fan base skyrocketed and this encouraged me to keep writing.

I started a new story and the reviews and comments were overwhelming. I would say that 2018 was my breakthrough year. It was during this period that the brand name ‘Maryam’s Nitty Wall’ became well known.

I also purchased my domain name and redesigned my blog. I would spend time staring at the blog page with bright eyes as I admire its aesthetics.


RELATED ARTICLE: Life Lately.


Mistakes I made….

I received a piece of dreadful news late last year…news that I had lost a close friend. The friend who has assisted in purchasing my domain name. The friend who I had entrusted to renewing my domain name.

After trying to get through the shock of losing a friend, I had to make ways to protect my blog. You see, the domain has to be renewed on an annual basis…and if it doesn’t happen, the blog is automatically gone.

‘Does that mean that my blog of almost four years would crumble just like that? Will I watch my sweat of four years go down the drain?’ I had thought as I counted down to the date of renewal.

I met with friends with knowledge about blogging and requested their help in securing my blog. You see, I had entrusted my friend with the duty of renewing the blog. I have no access to the account details or password. All I did every year was to send the renewal fee to her account.

After weeks of trying to figure out what to do, I sent a mail to someone I had known with my late friend. Through her help, I was able to renew the domain name before expiration.

This incident made me realize the importance of knowing the technicalities of blogging. It shouldn’t be just about writing, posting, and sharing, you should know everything about your blog.

Another mistake I made was placing an advert on my page without requesting for a down payment from the person. I had gone through the stress of adding the playlist and creating a blog post, posting his interview, and advertising his spoken word for months. Till today, I haven’t received a single penny from this person.

RELATED ARTICLE: Blog Break & Life Lately.

What I’ve gained from my blog


My blog is just like a close friend. It is a place I visit to assure myself that I am doing great…that I am making little changes in the world. That I can put smiles on people’s faces.

It boosts my confidence when I step into an interview hall or meet with a prospective client and display my work portfolio. My blog is enough to tell you about the kind of writer I am.

“….and I also manage a lifestyle blog where I post thrilling and entertaining articles. You should check it out!” I would conclude.

And I had gotten several offers!

Anyone meeting me for the first time would understand the love I have for my blog. My blog is me. I am my blog!

My drive…


Passion and grit. It takes passion to run a blog for years. It takes passion to remain consistent even when you are less motivated to update articles. If you do not have a passion for blogging, you will easily give up.

I have met with people who started a blog after I did and rant about how they will grow it and make tons of money from the blog. Whenever I hear this, I smile…not because it is wrong to have a big goal for your blog. I smile because just like every other business or task, it takes passion to keep diving despite the stumbles you come across. Just like nurturing a new business, managing a blog is a task you perform with passion and enthusiasm. If you don’t, you will easily give up.

Areas I’m bent on improving…

I’m bent on learning more about blogging, growing my brand to become well-known internationally. I want ‘Maryam’s Nitty Wall’ to be listed as the top 5 lifestyle blogs in the world. I want to keep growing, learning, expanding, and thrilling my fans with lovely content. I want to wake up every morning to tons of positive feedback on my mailbox.

I’ve completed four years of blogging and I am so excited. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message by sending a mail to abdulwahabmaryam11@yahoo.com or mareeam802@gmail.com.

 

 

Life Lately

 

Maryam 5 months ago: By May, I would have been in…. I would have done…I would…

COVID-19: Hold my drink!

The events that occurred…and are still occurring in 2020 falls short of expectation. I mean, who would have imagined that I would experience all these? This year has been one of the most challenging ever. What keeps me going is the ability to focus on positive experiences.

An excerpt from the breathtaking novel I recently completed, Love from A to Z, is a novel that I keep reflecting upon.

S.K Ali writes:

Everyone told Dad that he was “lucky” that I was so “good.” How he’d done a “good” job, given the circumstances. Of Mom passing away. And being in another country. And converting to a new religion as a family.

What they’d meant was that I was easy to handle, didn’t talk back or push limits. But maybe it wasn’t that I was just good or that Dad had done a good job. Maybe it had been this journal. This way of noticing that even during the suckiest moments in life there was something marvelous to be seen, heard, touched. Or just a tiny awe felt in the heart. Maybe it was going out of my way to try to notice something, this noticing, that had saved me all along.

Sickness


I got diagnosed with Malaria about a week ago and the symptoms were far from what I’ve experienced since I came into this world. What with the medications and putrid smell of iodoform and the sight of nurses dressed in white, appearing occasionally with plates of syringes?

While I was still ill, I could hardly perform any task. I rested till I got tired of resting. I watched movies until I got bored. Life seemed to take a different path as I started reflecting over scenarios that had happened in the past…both the pleasant, unpleasant, and cringe-worthy scenarios.

I started to appreciate the little blessings that we take for granted. Like sleeping and having an appetite for meal. Like being able to swallow food and go about with the daily tasks. It got to a stage that I couldn’t close my eyes to sleep. Whenever I attempt to close my eyes, several figures and shapes would appear in front of me, making me feel jittery and unable to sleep.

After recovering from the illness, I started to appreciate the blessings that I often take for granted.

 RELATED ARTICLE: Blog Break & Life Lately.

Reading Nice Books


Yay! I recently concluded S.K Ali’s Love from A to Z and wrote a review afterwards. I’ll post on my blog soon. The novel was lovelier than I expected. I cried, smiled…and experienced a series of emotions while reading. Hands down, it’s the best novel I’ve read this year. Surprisingly, this turns out to be the first Muslim fiction novel that I’ll read.

Other books that have been inspiring include Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree.

 

Writing Novels


For over two years now, I’ve been planning to write a couple of novels. Yes, planning because that’s the ‘safe’ word to use instead of ‘procrastinating.’ Well, this lockdown has granted me the opportunity to start these novels, write a couple of short stories, and send some for publication.

 READ ALSO: 2019: My Top 7 Posts.

Posting on the blog


I spent over a month writing blog posts and designing pictures for the blog. Now, all I have to do is sit back and schedule these posts.

 

Taking things one step at a time


I wouldn’t be honest if I say that this period has been a memorable one. There were times I almost gave up or spent minutes thinking about my life and the decisions I’ve made. What consoles me is the fact that life doesn’t always have to go perfectly and we don’t always have to make the right decisions. We will fail sometimes and learn from our mistakes. We will cry and learn to smile again. What matters is taking life one step at a time.

 

“It’s through mistakes that you can actually grow.’ – Paula Scher