Since I began actually reading the translations of the duas, I’ve had to rely on copies from first a friend and then the madrasa library and I couldn’t really finger the books or make comments on the pages when I itched to. Now, (finally!) I can.
I can’t repeat enough times how I think everybody should make sure they read Sahifa-e-Sajjadiyyah at least once (that’s all it takes to get hooked). The words and phrases seem to mirror the soul so perfectly it’s impossible to believe that they weren’t written specifically for you.
On other news, my contract is not yet signed but I think it’s the closest to being so in all the time I’ve had it. Just a couple of things to sort out – one of them a silly mistake on my part 😦 but insha’Allah, things should be on schedule. So far, we’re looking at a publishing date of 1st December. One year to publish a book – and to think I used to wonder why it would take so long and now I’m thinking ‘I need more time!’
I’ve got some scenes of the new book working out quite well in my head. I think this is the method that suits me – letting things ferment in my head for weeks, even months and then just spilling them out when they’re ripe and ready.
I guess that’s how it happened with Surviving Zahra too. I had a lot of scattered pieces and I kept trying to make them fit without actually thinking about it. That was hell. There were times when I couldn’t remember the story line or the plots or simple details and I’d be so tempted to scrap everything and start afresh. And the thought of having to do that was so scary, I almost gave up.
In the end, it was sticking with what I had and working at it that allowed things to fall in place. I think what scares me is that beginning bit, when nothing sounds right and every word is clumsy and no description quite brings out on paper what you’re seeing in your head. The hard part is that you have to keep at it, through the despair and the irritation and the frustration until finally one day, you see the potential in the disjointed paragraphs. It finally feels like a workable draft.
After that, the passion and commitment to the tale carries you on through everything. Right now, Mish and Sam are workable in my head, but they seem intent on escaping the cage I’m trying to make for them with the lines on my paper.
Sam would rather be trying to win over Mish, Mish would rather be talking to Ali and Ali would rather be worrying about Sam and Mish (he’s a worrier – I can tell that from now!)
And to think I have to do this for EACH and EVERY half-finished draft that I have in my stories folder. Suddenly, years seem to too short to work within. I need larger time frames. Either that or I need to work faster.
With Ramadan coming up, don’t forget to keep my sense of organisation in your prayers!