On Cosmos, Smallness, Divinity, and Love

Photo Credit: Yen M. Tang & Cylinda Parga

Photo Credit: Yen M. Tang & Cylinda Parga

When K turned on the new show Cosmos, I was hesitant. A show about the infinite universe? With cartoons? And the opening sequence. Something about it took me back to middle school when my science teacher, too busy grading to bother with teaching, stuck in a Bill Nye video. I picked up my moleskine and pen, prepared for boredom, except the show wasn’t boring at all. Neil deGrasse Tyson delved into time, the nature of the universe, and our place within it. And it was fascinating. If we look at time as one calendar year, he said, we as known humanity comprise one second. 

It made me feel small. Very small.

Of course I always knew that. I’m one among billions alive today, and one among unknowable bajillions to have ever walked the earth. When it comes to time, when it comes to the size of the Universe [or multiverse!] what am I beyond an atom, if that, in the context of it all?
 
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#IfKhadijaCanDoIt or The Patriarchy of Death

Photo credit: Les Talusan, lestalusanphoto.com

Photo credit: Les Talusan, lestalusanphoto.com

The first time I walked up the sidewalk to the front door after “it” happened, I was surprised. I had expected my house to be covered by gloom, and fear of the oozing grief had pushed me away.

Through the shadow wrapping around my hung head, my eyes caught the bright orange nasturtium flowers lining the flowerbed in front of my parents’ rundown California ranch house. They were lush, ballooning into the green grass. I paused, feeling the stark contrast between what was going on inside my head and what was happening outside. How could the flowers be so bright? Didn’t they know what had happened? Didn’t they know it was time to shade their vibrancy, to bow their blooms? Why were they still blooming? How were they able to bloom if she was not here to nurture them anymore?

I looked up at the bright blue skies, the hummingbirds, the nasturtium, and the breezy trees. It was early June with that perfect Southern Californian weather that people write songs about. Oh, that’s right, I thought numbly to myself. It was the shock of real life. And life goes on. It just hadn’t for my mother.

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Dis/Orient/Ed Comedy tickets – Oakland!

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Oakland/SF Bay Area: Catch the fantastic Dis/Orient/ed Comedy show this Saturday, April 5th!

Our readers get a special discount code “LOVELOVE” for $12 tickets (reg., $20). Code valid till 11:59 pm tomorrow (Tues)!

Shows at 7 pm/9:30 pm, Oakland. Tickets at: http://disorientedcomedy.weebly.com/


Good News Friday: Book Deals and Radical Writing Opportunities!

Photo Credit: Yen M. Tang & Cylinda Parga

Photo Credit: Yen M. Tang & Cylinda Parga

We are thrilled that Love, Inshallah anthology contributor and Literary Momma columnist, Aisha Saeed, has announced her new book deal for the Young Adult novel, Written in the Stars. Read her celebratory thoughts on the matter here (and follow her on Twitter).  Go, Aisha! This is the beginning of many wonderful things for you and we couldn’t be prouder!

 

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Sisters

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I’ve mentioned before that I am a hopeless romantic and write often about relationships, marriage, and “love”. However, we often associate the word “love” with romance, while forgetting that love comes in many different forms.

Today, I want to talk about the admiration and, most of all, the love that I have for my sisters. These are the true sistaqueens in my life. Now, I want you to keep in mind this is not a word I use sparingly; it is reserved strictly for those who know and fully grasp their true status as queens.

As a daughter of a woman who converted to Islam, I grew up around many women who acted as a great means of support to one another. Our house was opened to sisters who needed a place to stay during rough times. These women represented the true sistaqueens in both behavior and appearance; they had an air to them that, as a young Muslim girl, I was always drawn to. Their bright, colorful hijabs sat upon their heads like crowns with an elegance and style that my younger sister and I often tried to mimic. Their courage, trustworthiness and dedication to one another were a great example for me and epitomized the true meaning of sisterhood.

I would come to recognize the true meaning of sisterhood in my own life.

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Friday Love: Alicia Keys & The Sicilian Nun

Last week it was AbuEesagate.

This week it was the #AliceinArabia controversy (which you can read about in Time, The Guardian, and Buzzfeed. And today’s revelation – surprise! – the script is just as awful as we feared).

After all that bakwaas we wanted to end the week on a high note, with this:

A nun — 25-year-old Sister Cristina Scuccia — auditioned for The Voice Italy, with an Alicia Keys track and made everyone watching & listening fall in love with her. Diversity, nuance, joy, love & beauty – some of our favorite themes at play.

Happy Friday!


Zen and the Art of Being Naked

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One of the most common nightmares in the world – alongside falling or drowning, performing poorly on a test, and being chased – is the one where you’re naked in front of a room full of strangers.

This fear always seemed odd to me. Being naked in front of a roomful of strangers I can handle. Being naked in front of friends and peers is a different story.

I’m speaking metaphorically, of course.

So when I decided to read my fiction last week at my first open mic, it felt akin to baring my soul, standing exposed in front of a roomful of other writers and friends. But I had decided to take a radical step towards bravery and I would not be dissuaded from shaking up my life in this way. In my experience, shaking things up to the point of discomfort has always been the only way forward.

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