It seems I only come back to writing when I’m in a reflective mood– I can’t help it. As the year comes to a drizzling end, its weight is like dust on my shoulders, compelling me to brush it off, and urging me to remember.
The past few years have been tough, and this year was no exception. But for a few moments in 2017, I felt that I rose above the waves with my breath caught as I glimpsed the beautiful horizon. I wrote once that I wasn’t a fan of resolutions, but reflecting was a way for me to draw a tentative plan of what I wanted to do next, and I’m happy to say that I’ve achieved some of those plans, and realized dreams never thought would happen so soon.
Visiting the Northern Lights
This was a late-comer on my bucket list, but I had a sudden need to experience something outside of myself. Something majestic and moving. Seeing the Northern Lights was, in a way, for me to “witness the magic of nature.” Of course, there’s a science behind it, but no one can deny that there is still something mystical about the Northern Light appearances. I was lucky enough to discover a new, reliable travel partner who has made this trip unforgettable. We couldn’t see the Northern Lights with our naked eyes, but it was just as breathtaking through a camera lens.
It was a childhood dream to publish something with my name on it. I expected it to be a novel, but you can’t really control what opportunities come your way, or how the muse directs your inspiration and creativity. This project took almost a year, but that it finally happened felt too surreal. Three years of poetry, 100 days of unexpected inspiration, bundled up in a book; process of putting it together was unexpectedly lengthy, but it couldn’t have been done without help, including the creative collaboration with artist, Ashwaq Abdulla. I am immensely pleased and proud of this accomplishment. Constellations of Home is now in Amazon.
Spoke Publicly About It
This was probably the first, most uncomfortable, yet enjoyable thing I’ve done this year– speaking to a public audience about my love of writing and poetry. It was a full house, and I was, unsurprisingly, nervous. But I loved every moment of it; from the kind and pointed moderation of Dr. Alyazia from Al Fulk publishing, to the wonderful and insightful Q&A from the audience. This warrants a special thank you to super woman, Emirati slam-poet, Afra Atiq, and Monika Krauss, the mastermind behind the debut of AlSerkal Avenue‘s Literaturhaus at Nadi series.
Interviewed on TV (in Arabic)
Just when I thought nothing would top speaking in front of a crowd, I was invited to do a live interview on TV. In Arabic. This was probably one of the most stressful moments of my life, and no one was as surprised as at how well it went. The feedback I received was heartwarming, and the support from friends and family was amazing.
A Study Abroad
Probably the second highlight of the year– being accepted at one of the top schools in the UK to study Masters. I don’t think I had time to really think how much my life would change when I traveled there until I had a chance to settle. This was a different level of independent living, and on some days, it may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I do not regret a moment of it. What I’m learning as I become my own person is priceless; from the new friendships struck, to the unique places discovered, and all with a clear perspective of myself and my surroundings.
I have a few unsure ideas jotted down, but I’m hoping the journey next year is a fruitful one. There’s much growth to be done, personally and creatively. I’ve learned that people can surprise you. That you can surprise yourself. That courage can rise within you when you least expect it, and that self-preservation and determination kicks in, it is the most satisfying feeling.
Whatever comes next year, I hope that we all have the courage and boldness to sail through it with a clear mind, a fortified heart and a wilful spirit.