If you are a single woman who seriously writes, this can be a serious issue.
I am a writer with a few books in bookstores around the United States. One book is translated into French and resides in Canadian bookstores. I have heard there are eight graders at a Florida middle school reading my first book during classroom quiet time. This recent discovery means a great deal to me, because that first book is not eight grade reading material (far from it). It is nice to know that a random, unintended audience is paying attention.
Writing is risky, even if you are traditionally published rather than investing in the self-publishing model. One commentator recently wrote that it takes about 10,000 hours to conceptualize, research, write, and edit a publishable book length work. That is 10,000 hours away your family and outside of your day job, and time taken from social activities. In my case, this is time away from my son, developing a new social circle, and in lieu of exploring romance and dating in a post-divorce reality.
There, I said it. Right now, I’d rather write than meet men. Oh, Lord.
Many moons ago, Love InshAllah co-editor Ayesha Mattu asked me to be an advance reader for the anthology. I used the word “honest,” and structured my thoughts around that idea.
Ayesha engaged me as to why I thought being “honest” was so important. It’s because honesty is hard, and no matter how much we practice it – and it is something we practice, because it’s not natural for us – it’s still a radical thing.
We never want to present ourselves in a way that makes us seem less than we think we are. That means we obfuscate, divert, and weave tales of who want to be, both to ourselves and to others. We craft these narratives, and in the telling, there are omissions and commissions. We are not lying or being dishonest, but we are not being honest. We want to be well-thought of by other people.
Love is a hard topic. Along with money, it’s probably the one place no one likes to think of themselves as being less than successful. To talk about sex in a way that intersects with religious sensibilities adds another layer of complexity. Unless these women were all malamati, seeking opprobrium to detach themselves from this world, their stories were radical because they were honest.
When Ayesha came to me and asked me to contribute to the blog, I readily agreed.
Then, I panicked.
I realized that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be that honest.