Monday, June 20, 2011

Random thoughts. Because organized ones require sleep.

1. Before becoming parents K and I were super excited about the whole 'kids under two fly free' rule on airlines. We're going to travel like crazy until he's two we said. There is a good reason flights for children under two are free. Because no one in their right mind should be traveling on the regular with a child under two, and airlines are banking you won't be making a habit of it once you've tried it once, particularly alone. I have no redeeming words to say about my flight home from Florida except to say that if you feel time just goes too fast with your child, get on a plane for a one hour flight and watch the seconds turn to hours. I will save you the gory details that required two outfit changes [both him, and me] plus a seat cover change and my hair coated in apple sauce [not the best look when greeting ones husband standing with balloons and flowers at the gate] but a brief PSA: when you have a child of the toddling sort, never ever take a window seat particularly one wedged in a three seater row with two sleeping passengers next to you. Always take the aisle seat. Always. And Waleed? You owe me.

2. Though I had access to television [including BRAVO!] and internet while staying at my parent's place, the desire to use either was limited at best. At first it was simply too hectic with trips to and from the hospital, and all the other things to take care of when a family is in crisis, but once things settled down it just felt nicer to unwind with conversation and a cup of chai instead of with a screen. In the evenings once people went to sleep I found myself reading and ended up reading four books during my time there. Disconnecting from screens of all sorts I also felt more connected with Waleed than I thought possible. While I always play with him and engage with him, there is something to be said for the quick e-mail one checks or replies to in the middle of a feeding. Disconnecting felt freeing. I felt more peaceful, more in tune to my thoughts and feelings than I have in a long long time. Must remember to unplug more often. [Said while blogging, I realize]

3. Now that I'm home I have time to pick out the winners of the give-away I had running in May. Debating posting a blog about it [since who but those who won will be interested in reading it] but in any case will pick by the end of the week and send e-mails out to all those who won by this Friday. 

4. My agent gave me feedback on my manuscript a while back and while I agreed with her advice I felt at a loss on what to do about it. Each day for the past month I sat at the computer dumbstruck as to how to proceed. Nothing felt right. I would write pages, and wish for words on actual paper to feel the satisfying crunch of said paper as I crumbled the detested words and flung them into a trashcan [hitting delete, no matter how forcefully, is just not as satisfying]. During my time in Florida the last thing on my mind was my book since more pressing matters were obviously at hand. So it figures that it was then, as I drove to run an errand my mind running over grocery lists and Target tasks that my protagonist spoke to me as though from out of the blue [inspiration it seems, always does strike, like lightening]. Through no effort on my own, she came to me, shared her life so clearly I could see it unfold before my eyes and I realized ofcourse! How could it have ended any other way?  I had no pen or paper on me and all too aware of my swiss cheese memory of late I turned to my cell phone and dictated it into my text message voice activated system and sent myself approximately 20 texts with the ending. While there is something to be said for the hard work and effort that goes into writing, those brief moments where you are just struck with vision and the words flow like water are the magical moments you live for.

5. And smartphones, it appears, while possessing the undoubted flaw of making one overly plugged in, are helpful when inspired without writing utensils it seems.

6. As I sit down to put the final polishing on my manuscript, I realize there are benefits of being at this in between stage. The world and its possibilities are limitless. No one has said no yet. Everyone might say yes. Each book we read, whether its one we savor and read again on stormy days, or one we skim and toss back in the library return bin were borne of blood, sweat and tears. [Generally speaking, I don't know Snooki's writing process] Yet when we set about to write as an unknown we toil on our own dime and our reserves of hope. Sometimes I read blog posts and articles of how dire things are in publishing and get disheartened. But- just the other day as I browsed a bookstore I found three paperbacks written by debut novelists, well received and well ranked on the best seller lists. A reminder that dire does not mean impossible. That while I am not guaranteed to succeed, I am guaranteed to fail if I don't try at all. I came across an old post I wrote in 2007 before I had a finished manuscript and an agent who believed in me, before I really put pen to paper. The same fears? Ever present today. If we lived our lives not doing because we were afraid- what a different life we'd live. A firm reminder to me to not worry about the future but to focus on now, the business of getting this writing done and making sure all that I have control over I do to the best of my abilities; once I've done all I can, what will be will be.

Keep walking. Though there's no place to get to. Don't try to see through the distances. That's not for human beings. Move within but don't move the way that fear makes you move" Rumi

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful quote!
So happy to know that things are back to normal.
Cheers,
Ayesha

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Anonymous said...
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Julia Munroe Martin said...

Great post! I really love the disconnecting part but also, paradoxically, the smartphone part. Since I got my iPhone I don't know if I could go back...it's wonderful! (but I also love disconnecting -- we got rid of cable tv about 5 months ago and LOVE it!) And you're so right -- those magical writing moments are the best. Glad you're back home, and looking forward to your book! :) p.s. I also wonder what Snooki's "writing" process is! :)

Aisha said...

kudos to your sister anon- she sounds amazing and her kids are wonderful! It never fails, uniformly those who need to share their judgments and condescension can only do it anonymously. You are free to disagree with me, many have and do but respect is all I ask for, doing it rudely, with judging labels, and anonymously so you can say your piece and then go hide, are things that prompt me to delete and disengage. If you find my child too much for your sensibilities and feel so negatively, don't read this blog, please read elsewhere, millions of blogs in the blogosphere. And if you do wish to continue making condescending 'we are so much better than you' comments I will continue just clicking and deleting w/out the courtesy of an explanation I am giving now. :)

Thanks Ayesha

Julia glad you can relate to the unplugging versus liking smartphones! Happy writing!

Anonymous said...

Here is a hug for you :)
Just like that, you know.
Ayesha

iamstacey said...

I'm so glad the book finally gave you its' ending! :) You are such a gifted writer. I don't know how you do it all!
And I'm glad your dad is doing better!

Anonymous said...

omg, are u serious? I was being judgmental? I was sayin it in a fun way like how you say in urdu- bahot shararti bacha hai..lke how people say out of love. Seriously im surprised and hurt. I have been following your baby entries, i just dont comment. I thought you would find what i write abt napping pattern helpful.
I would never say negative things abt a baby. Im really shocked you thought i was being mean while saying that.

Baraka said...

Welcome home, sweetie. Love you!

- Baraka

katery said...

i have flown THREE times since louise was born, TWICE BY MYSELF!!! and we are going on another trip in july, luckily my husband and step-daughter will be with me this time.
i hope everything turns out well witht the book.

Leslie Q. said...

Aisha, I just went back and read about your dad. Didn't know. I'm so, so sorry to hear about what happened and really glad he is better. Will say a prayer for him.
Also, this is quite a nice post. And congrats on knowing your new ending. If this is you being random, I'm looking forward to your book.:)

md said...

your random thoughts are really rather organized aisha!! happy to hear about your new ending, wish you all the best with the manuscript. your thoughts on old fears inspired me to my own reflections, thanks!

Aisha said...

Thanks Ayesha :) *hugs*

Stacey you are too sweet, thanks :)

Anon, thanks for explaining, words can get misunderstood, and that was clearly the case here, thanks for dropping by and clearing it up. When you explained the urdu reference I understood then how ou meant it. I appreciate it.

Think about you daily Baraka- hope you are well, and will call you today i'A

Kate, is Louise easier to handle on a flight than my guy? Because. . . !!!! I've flown a few times before by myself with him, but this was the first time he was mobile and it was AHRD- the other times when he couldn't wiggle out, it wasn't too bad. Not FUN, but not awful.

Leslie, thanks for your comment and your concern, I appreciate it a lot. He's doing great but prayers are always welcome! Fingers crossed on the book!!!

MD, lol thanks! Fear is our biggest obstacle be it in writing or whatever else life change we want to make that could open a new world but a world different from the one we are comfortable in for better or worse. Good luck with tackling your fears!

Anonymous said...

phew okay. For some reason it was like the entire universe was out there to get me yesterday, and your response only made me more sad..

Im glad your dad is doing better.

Simeen Alikhan Kazmi said...

I was excited to read about your writing because I think it means we're a step closer to seeing your book in print. Keep it up! Your fans await :)

katery said...

the first time we flew it was just the two of us and she could crawl or walk yet, it was hard but not terrible. the second time she could crawl and spent the whole time trying to wiggle away from me. the third time was better because my husband was with us, but still hard because she was walking and just wanted to run around. we brought a computer the last time and watched yo gabba gabba a little, i covered up the keyboard with a burp cloth, pretty sure that wouldn't work now, i guess we'll see in july!

Aisha said...

Anon, aw hon I'm sorry you had a bad day- I completely understand how it sucks to be misunderstood- I hope you're having a better day today.

Simeen, aw you have no idea how much that kind of support motivates me, THANK YOU

Kate, laptop!!!! Brilliant. I need to make sure to have mine next time. Mine is partial to Elmo. Will have to have a ready stockpile next flight, lol :)

sunehra said...

Love the quote by Rumi!

I have to add that I visit your blog on a near-daily basis, and I have no idea how you manage to write so much, while working on your books and being a mom. Your talent speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

:o) i can understand how hurt you must have felt esp if you thought I was name calling your baby.
Anyway, thanx for understanding.

PandaBear said...

I agree about the flights - we thought the exact same thing about traveling alot when she was young - until she arrived. We can barely make it to the grocery across town, let alone to the airport on a plane! And I think you are a wonderful writer, and you will finish your work, you just need to refocus.

kmina said...

Can't wait for the book!

We had pre-booked seats when we flew, thanks Lufthansa, and had window seat both ways. I would love to have the booker spend half an hour, not two, with a sack of wormy potatoes on his lap. Now we're flying again in August and by then we'll have a toddler. It will be interesting...

We're so used to being online. And yet we grew up without all these gadgets. Bad habits are easily formed. :-)

Aisha said...

Sunehra, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, its always great to know who is reading :) I appreciate your kind words, they mean a lot.

Anon- ofcourse, sorry for the misunderstanding :(

Panda, LOL @ the grocery thing. There were days when he was younger and I couldn't plop him in the grocery cart, that I'd be hungry but unable to leave the house to shop because the thought of all the work to pick up a simple soup felt too exhausting! Thanks for the vote of confidence with my writing :)

Mina, can you change your flight seat?? Please do, you have NO idea how annoying it is! Or maybe you can get a two seater and you and your hubby can have it to yourselves.

raisingbrainchild said...

Ugh. Flying with a toddler. We're doing it again in August. This time with her own seat. I'll blog about it when I return, if I live to tell about it.

Believe, Aisha! The biggest piece of advice from my mother that has stuck with me is that I can do anything that I set my mind to. I really believe that about myself, and from following your blog for a year or so, I believe that about you too!

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