Let it flow (part 2)


This is a follow-up that’s long overdue. It’s almost 2 years now since I published part 1 – which was a look back on some of the more creative posts on this blog over its history. I’d intended to do the follow-up a few months later, but like so many things in life, it never materialised.

So here goes….

Remember me was a reaction. An outburst of frustration, prompted by my severely-inhibited opportunities to let my heart flow into poetic verse. Marriage – though it was all I’d wanted for so many years – had eaten up much of my time, and mental space, to the point where living with someone – combined with a new job – deprived me of the solitude and reflective stretches of time I’d become so accustomed to in my single days. This piece proved to me that I still had it in me, but all I needed was the chance to indulge again.

That sentiment was echoed a while later, with Fire – which felt like the start of a new period of poetic prosperity. Alas, it was not to be. But I still appreciated the desire that lingered within. The poet in me was not dead, and for that, I was truly grateful.

Speaking of creative struggles, State of the workplace encapsulated the first months of my new job – in what has been the most boring physical location I’ve ever worked in. Not only was the outside environment dull, but the work was also mind-numbingly boring – to the point of depression at times. I struggled a lot in those first 6 months, but eventually settled and ended up staying almost 5 years in that job.

On a more positive note, Remembrance came at the tail-end of Ramadaan 2008 – the first and only Ramadaan my wife and I had alone (before our first child arrived). It was a fitting crescendo to what was a beautifully-spiritual period in which we both strived together – engaging in a depth and quantity of worship that we’ve never been able to match in subsequent Ramadaans (given the attention our kids have needed).

My 28th birthday inspired the aptly-titled 28, which was a partial reflection on where I’d come from and where I was in life at that stage.

Mash was really unique, in that I wrote it over two very different periods. As the name suggests, it was a mixture of stuff on my mind at the time. Part 1, from January that year, captured my feelings of swimming in the ocean again – for the first time in maybe 15 years. Israel’s brutal assault on the Gaza Strip (Operation Cast Lead) was in force at the time, and that also played on my mind. So too was the thought of my first child, who was but a tiny bean at that stage – only a few months into pregnancy. Part 2 came a little after her birth, and is predictably dominated by early sentiments about fatherhood and my daughter’s future.

She was a real joy, and her opening 8 months inspired the wonderful She Flaps, which was followed up by For Toddles later that year. It saddens me that I’ve never written such words for my second daughter – but I hope that she’s felt just as much love through the way I’ve taken care of her over the course of her short life thus far.

The frustration of work and other time-deprivation suffocating my poetic soul came out in The succession of previous pursuits, when a career in writing was top of my wishlist. Sunrise in Paradise also reflect frustration – this time of missing out on nature’s beauty due to the daily grind and routine of work and life. Train of thought came about when I first started taking the railway to work – something that continued for a year and a half after that.

Reset was a pre-Ramadan reminder of just how special the coming month was, while after Ramadan, the yearning to perform Hajj was sparked and grew to a burning inferno that drove such strong duas and desires to make it to the Holy Land as soon as possible. Dreams re-awoken captured that, and when I finally made it to that blessed journey a year later, A most blessed rooftop was a perfect collection of thoughts and feelings from the 10 days spent in Madinah.

Winter Sun took me back to my former days of solitude, in my favourite season, while Summer Daze was nostalgic, reminding me of childhood Summers, and reflecting on the horrors of school (or as I called it, “educational imprisonment”) as my daughter was preparing to re-enter the system for her second year of pre-school.

And that, dear reader, is where it ends. I don’t know if I’ll ever be inspired again to write such pieces, but I hope that, as time passes, and life gives me more free time and mental space (largely based on the kids becoming less needy as they grow), inspiration will return – along with opportunities to express myself on the spot – when I need to. Because such matters don’t stay “on hold”. They need to flow immediately, or they never come back.

So with this review, I hope that these pieces will inspire you to express yourself in whatever way is best for you.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to give your feedback either in this post or in the individual pieces linked from here.

4 thoughts on “Let it flow (part 2)

  1. MashaAllah.. I didn’t know your blog had such a huge collection of poetry. Allahumma baarik lakum.
    Perhaps, sometime in the future you could self-publish (or even through any Islamic publishing house) like an anthology of your poems/articles. That way you could become a published writer, inshaAllah. Just a suggestion, you know 🙂

    • I have considered publishing a collection – which would actually draw together these 2 posts, and maybe a few other bits that are not posted here. But the question is what appeal is there for anyone to actually read it all? I mean, there’s not really a fascinating, captivating story-of-someone’s-life to tell – that would interest people and draw them to read it. Established writers do such things. And famous people. Both categories have dedicated audiences who are interested in their work.

      I, on the other hand, am just an ordinary person without anything unique to offer the world. Hence such a collection, I fear, wouldn’t really get much attention or make much impact in literary circles.

      Obviously I hope the pieces would have an impact on someone’s life (as I hope some of these pieces have), but would such a collection really be worth doing? Is there an audience here that would appreciate it? Or is it sufficient to remain on this blog as is – where it’s accessible to everyone, without the need to actually put it together into a more compact form?

      But yes, the self-publishing route is an option. I’ve done it before – with my Hajj Chronicles a few years back:

      Click to access hajjchronicles.pdf

      And that process taught me how difficult it is to actually get something physically published – in paper form. If I did it, I would go that route again. Unless, of course, a publisher actually showed interest – in which case I’d see things differently.

      • Just recently, like a couple of weeks back, I read a blogpost in which a sister self-published her work on Amazon, mashaAllah. It seems they have this great platform for authors who desire to be published writers but don’t want to go through the hassle of publishers and editors or want to avoid unnecessary expenses, etc.
        To publish an e-book on Kindle free of cost, there’s this project called KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing something like that) and also to print a paperback version on demand, there’s this platform called CreateSpace (https://www.createspace.com/ ). I was immediately interested when I read about this and inshaAllah, I dream about getting a book published in the future. InshaAllah. May Allah make it easy. Ameen. I mean, there are hundreds of thousands of normal people publishing absolute smut out there and us, Muslims, are hesitant to even consider seriously writing and publishing something good and pure.

        Brother Yacoob, your “Hajj Chronicles” deserves to reach out to a much larger audience, inshaAllah. MashaAllah, it’s AMAZING. You should do something about it. (Only concern is that you wrote it back in 2011, I’m not sure how much has changed since then. Perhaps, you’ll have to do some editing.)

        Also, the point that you raised about if people would really consider giving it a read, it’s true that that’s a big issue. But, what’s the harm in giving it a try? Publicising goes hand in hand with publishing. So, a lot of work in publicising it must be done. You can spread the word through social network platforms and local masjids, etc.

        In case you do consider giving it a go, may Allah ‘azza wa jal grant you success and make your work a source of knowledge for generations to come. Ameen.

  2. JazakAllah for the kind words. I agree that it’s definitely worth a try, and I’ve had in the back of my head for many years that I would like to compile a collection of writings. With this blog’s 10 year anniversary coming up in a few months insha-Allah, that may actually give me a good milestone around which to base something. I’ll look into the project you mentioned insha-Allah and see if that could be a possible outlet. I had already looked at another outlet called Smashwords, but didn’t go that route….but it did show me, like you say, how many ordinary people there are out there publishing stuff (and some of it not very morally-sound).

    If you ever get round to writing something, let me know.

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