Does our mother’s life then become the grisaille to our own? That monochromatic grey scale underpainting to which we add the color of our lives.
Anniquas debut novel, Wild Boar in the Cane Field was shortlisted for Pakistans UBL Literary Award 2020. She co founded the blog Tillism Magical Words from around the World. Her writings on gender, education, and books have appeared in TNS, Naya Daur TV, International Education, Ravi Magazine, Bangalore Review, Fourteen Hills, The Noyo River Review, Delay Fiction, Listening to the Voices: Multi-ethnic Women in Education, and other publications. Her doctorate in International Education focused on the implications of technology for women of Pakistan in higher education. She has taught at San Mateo Community Colleges, University of San Francisco, Lahore University of Management Sciences, and Stanford University. She travels, writes, and lives between California and the Potohar region of Pakistan.
Social Media shows us meticulously curated imagery and art: that perfect face, the choreographed tik tok video, the manipulated political message. Through my art, I hope to uncover the beauty in the hidden imperfections that my mind is not yet trained to see. The blurriness in my lines indicates my feeling about the nebulous nature of life. I continue to capture the complexity of my culture and background in the images I create.
The “open-endedness” of the The Hearing Trumpet by British writer, Leonora Carrington, represents life. In the afterword to the newest edition, Polish Nobel Laurette, Olga Tokarczuk, praises the “wild metaphysics” of the story as well as its open-endedness. Here Tokarczuk questions what we look for when we read a story, and then answers that question, thus: “We are seeking a shared communal order, each of us a stitch in a piece of knitted fabric.” As readers, then, we are knitting ourselves into the yarn, till the end and beyond.
Undocumented immigrants in the US, persecuted minorities of Pakistan, people nostalgic for life under tyranny in Eastern Europe, how do we empathize with those who experience such trauma? Journalists tell us what happens to them; poets, artists, and fiction writers make us feel with them. So if you’ve been following the latest news about Palestine, and you want to feel with the people of Palestine, consider reading or listening to Isabella Hammad’s The Parisian.
An excerpt from Marlena Maduro Baraf ‘s memoir At the Narrow Waist of the World, a mother-daughter story and immigrant story that begins in her native Panama. In this chapter,… Read more At the Narrow Waist of the World: a memoir →
Reflecting on the interaction of humans and other living beings helps me understand life. That is why I’ve chosen to write about bears as they bridge two of the many places I call home: California and Chakwal, located on the Potohar plateau famous for the Himalayan Salt Range.
Sado ni yokotau
the rough sea
stretching out towards Sado
the Milky Way
With so many bookshelves in the background of Zoom calls, it’s clear we like the look, but is it really necessary to horde books?
Take the case of the dogwood tree, Cornus florida, belonging to the Phylum Spermatophyta—if you’re wondering. It’s a Native American plant that has been burdened with a heavy crime for its 40-foot frame. Granted it is strong enough to make golf clubs and wooden mallets, but its main crime does seem biologically questionable.
The cities also house two literary shrines. In Lahore, Urdu Short Story writer, Saadat Hasan Manto is buried. And in Delhi is the mazar of the father of Urdu poetry, Mirza Assad Ullah Khan Ghālib. They lived in different times but they are connected by the words they wrote.
Each letter has its place related to lines that have already been drawn. At times, a letter grandstands at the opening of a sentence, and at others a it announces the end. Sometimes it must connect with the letters on each side, smoothly, mixing in becoming one of the group. And then there are those that connect awkwardly and prefer their own space, distant from others.
I connected with the work of Aliza Nisenbaum. Like me, she teaches English to immigrants. She taught English at the Immigrant Movement International, a community space in Queens started by the Cuban-born artist and activist Tania Bruguerahe.
The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, is one of the many texts I chose for my ESL classes. With a poetic mix of Spanish and English, the story of Esperanza is the story of immigrants and home.
Later after my dad passed away, I often sat here with my mom—talking about everything but really nothing much or just sat quietly, enjoying the peaceful view overlooking my hometown.
Finding time to write and create is a luxury for some, a necessity for others. The question remains, how do we recognize those who don’t have time to create and document? Has the world changed since Tillie Olsen wrote about the suppression of those disadvantaged by gender, class, or race?
It’s a creativity enhancer, an aphrodisiac for art, Selma tells me about the mystic music that inspires her most recent painting of calla lilies dancing like whirling dervish.
But those thoughts can wait. I have other more important decisions to consider. So many ice cream flavors. Which one do I not choose? And at tea time, Battenberg cake. For Sunday lunch shepherd’s pie. Fish and chips served in newspapers with vinegar drizzled all over.
Poetry is all about listening to yourself and listening to those “voices” that speak to you. The way I write poetry is by listening to these voices that begin like hunches and even melodies, and for those who want to write poetry, my best advice is to grab a piece of paper and pencil and just do it.
The anthem is in Farsi, not Urdu, the national language. We understand a few verses, not all of them, but we know to bow our heads at the end, showing respect to Khuda, Allah, God… Sayyai, Khudae zul jalal. Protection in the shadow of the Almighty.
Fernando, who grew up in Argentina, speaks up: I hate the British, he says. I’m surprised by this otherwise mild-mannered student. When I was young, I thought I would kill any British man I met. The Falkland war made me think that way…the society around me made me think that way.
Others in the class join in. Post-revolution China comes up, followed by Movimiento Estudiantil, the1968 student revolution in Mexico to oust the longstanding PRI regime.