Archives for category: blogs

I discovered that literary journals consider things you’ve put on your blog as being in the category of PUBLISHED PREVIOUSLY. Which they then don’t accept as publishable pieces.

And since I have a few blogs I keep, my writing has been PUBLISHED PREVIOUSLY in plenty of spaces. (Who knew it was so easy to be published, huh?)

I’m hoping to merge my many blogs one day so I’ll do a link here to the brief one I kept while away from home; the first post:  Snowflakes in Doha. The blog is called Marvels & Oddities and it was an attempt to balance my positive impressions with my I-wanna-go-back-home impressions. The latter was my predominant penchant.



So here’s what I’ve thought about before commencing to open up commonplacer again:

The blogosphere is essentially a carefully zoned (organically carefully zoned for the most part) virtual space of massive proportions.  When I left CP for more than 8 months, I realized it was like moving away from somewhere I’d felt at home at.  I began another blog in a new ‘hood.  The Young Adult writing zone.  I built up some followers, but I felt kind of sad.  I missed this niche over here.

I also realized, with the closing-up-shop of a handful of other blogs that I’d been faithfully following via Google Reader, that it’s important to keep up the little space on the web that we carve out for ourselves.  It just feels good to read someone familiar.

I sometimes think about how important our part is in this mega-medium that commentary via the internet has become.  It’s like the transformations that happened in literary history when people began thinking about reading in new ways via serialized content (a la Dickens) or just about any other change in previously established lit norms.

It’s just fascinating and I enjoyed blogging here so yes, dad and others, I’m back.

(Can you tell I’m excited? Two posts in one day, woah!)

Hi 2011!!!

I want to wax poetic about my absence from commonplacer but I’m just getting settled in again so later, or maybe never (about the time away).

Aaah, home.



Ahem… this blog is just over a year old now. I first officially began it in December, 2006 but then revamped it and launched it again in January 2007. So I’m trying to think of something to say on my blog’s first anniversary…and I’m coming up empty-inked.

I could tell you why I began it: 1. I’m always writing things down all over the place anyways and here was a central, environmental way to do it. 2. By pressing the publish button, I get to say things about our world without appealing to media gatekeepers to allow me to say it. 3. A friend told me if you (Muslims) don’t tell your own stories, the empty pages will always get filled with skewed impressions and/or forged “facts” constructed by others.

I chose the name CommonPlacer because I actually had a nice old black leather book called S.K’s CommonPlace Book which was filled with all sorts of stuff I’d collected over time – info stapled in, glued in, tucked in, drawn in, scribbled in. (Did you know the Mediterranean food pyramid says to eat meat only once monthly? And that Maya Angelou said “we may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated?” and that, in Canada , it’s possible to be sentenced to over a year in jail for promoting hate through the internet? These are some of the things that I noted I had noted previously. Sounds a lot like my blog.) Plus, if I had my glasses on now, I would reach up to push them back on my nose as I told you that Klaus Baudelaire is my greatest commonplacing hero, even before Emerson or Hardy. Plus, I would also tie my hair up with a ribbon like Violet Baudelaire as I told you that wiki says “some modern writers see blogs as an analogy to commonplace books.”

When I began this blog, I just wanted a “spot to place things that came my way.” But after a while my desire to become a “prolific” writer made me try to write almost 3 or 4 times a week. I quickly discovered it’s hard to be a prolific anything when you’re working full-time as a single parent and teacher. So I settled for whenever I had a spot of time. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts with me over the course of this year. I’ve met some wonderful people through CommonPlacer – for whom I actually have 1 question: is facebook slowly killing blogs? We all need to update, friends (and rockstars)!

Wow, that’s a lot of empty ink.

Back in the day, when my communications prof spoke about the power-to-come of the “world wide web” (you had to say the whole thing back then), the entire class laughed in disbelief. He said we were going to do our shopping through it, get our daily news from it and even hook up to get married by it. No, this wasn’t in the 80’s. It was the mid-90’s. And we were all “avant-garde” Mass Comm. majors. And we still laughed at him.

Now I’m not laughing any more. I’m sadly bemused. It’s about the Brass Crescent Awards – I can’t understand the noise around it. And some of the noise is getting nasty. (Shopping. Newsreading. Marrying. Bickering. Very powerful, this power-that-came.)

To my novice-blogger understanding, the BCA was created to recognize and encourage the excellence of Muslim writers/blogs out in the “world wide web”. It’s in its 4rth year and is run through a nomination process. I’m not big on number crunching type stuff so I’ll spare you (and myself) the exact formula they decided on to choose the winners for this year (which apparently is different from other years).

I love it when Muslims think big. (Bigger than teddy bears, anyhow.) When we affirm each other (and other others) and when we see the potential/good out there. So I don’t understand some of the pointedly sharp chatter re: the BCA’s crop of nominated blogs.

Some might read this and say but she’s not digging into the deeper stuff – like whose ideology (i.e. the wrong one!) is being spotlighted through the awards etc. (I put the etc in there fast because I don’t want to list some of the other weird things people are digging up). To that, I’ll answer: I prefer to leave McCarthyism to McCarthy and the last time I checked, freely accusing others by name of disbelief was a serious crime (and reeked of a really wrong ideology itself).

I came upon the Brass Crescent Awards last year (in my pre-blogging days) and was impressed to see such a venture had actually been thought up, appeared professional and glad that it steered me towards some worthy reads.

I’m not going to deny that there could be some tweaking that could be done – like I agree that having the categories of Best Mideast/Central Asian Blog and Best South/Southeast Asian Blog makes it appear as though these blogs weren’t part of the Best Blog category – only the Western ones were. It’s not supposed to be like the (American) Academy Awards with its Best Foreign Film category – the BCA is supposed to the best of Muslim blogs on the “world wide web”.

But these are fixable things we speak of. And if they don’t get fixed and even if they do, I also see nothing wrong if detractors put together another award – with their own spectacular, professional, affirming visions; after hearing a brilliant speaker, years ago, describe the process of pulling ourselves out of this muck our ummah is stuck in, I no longer think in terms of the oft-whined mantra of “but we need to be united before we can proceed”. It’s not being disunited to have another Muslim blogger award. It’s not even re-inventing the wheel (the horror) – it’s simply diversifying. And though I’m no MBA, I’ve kind of caught on to the fact the diversifying is the way to go in this day and age.

Do I make sense here or am I sounding naive?

So I changed the look of my blog. This is the third time in 3 months. Oh. Oh. This is beginning to remind me of my bedroom when I was a teen. I had to share it with my younger sister and every once in a while – every once a month or so – I’d convince her we needed a new look, a fresh look that would make our room the coolest place since…since…since the last time. We’d plan our extreme makeover for when the house was quiet in the middle of the night because our parents were not exactly thrilled with the lumpy carpet that was the result of furniture being dragged in the service of a “new look”. Needless to say, there was many-a-time when my mom got up to go to the bathroom and decided to investigate the streak of light escaping at 3 a.m. from a crack in our door and was met with a surreal sight: my sister and I frozen against a dresser/bookshelf/bed which was nowhere close to where it had been yesterday, our possessions scattered and the carpet with new lumps. Bless my mother’s heart, the most she would often do on seeing such a sight would be to frown, sigh and mutter faintly as she closed the door.

I guess she knew by the time she woke up again the next day, the new look would be totally complete – and with two content, snoring sisters to boot – as we would never leave an extreme makeover half-finished.

I’m glad to report that the desire for a new look (home-wise) has now dwindled down to once a year. Except for this blog it seems. I guess it started when bigeyedeer (of the cartoon to stop the war in Iraq fame) commented on my cartoon (in a previous post) and thought I was the guy from my then-header picture of a man in prayer.


My father had also asked me who the dude was in a suit and tie praying (he had asked in a fatherly way perhaps expecting and fearing me to say, oh him, he’s Mahmoud Ibn Fadl Ibn Abdullah Ibn Muhammad, my new “fiance”). “Who’s THE guy?” was beginning to be a common question among friends as well – one getting quite upset that she couldn’t see his whole face. I couldn’t get through to her that it was a stylistic device to chop people up and make them look askew.

So here’s the goods: THE guy is just a guy who symbolizes the modern predicament of reconciling the personal commitment to faith with the obligations of a global market economy and all the trappings that go with it…and yet here he is reconciling them quite well, snazzily dressed, ready for a corporate meeting and yet deep in prayer.

Get it? Faith? Global Market Economy? Reconciling? Ok, never mind if you can’t get past the fact you can’t see his whole face.

Now, I’ve got this whole misty look going for my new blog look. I like the default header here – the weepy tree thing is really happening for me – a lifelong, card-carrying Tree Admirer. Plus, autumn = my favorite season. I could spend a whole day in the location pictured and I have this weird feeling I know exactly where this is. Anyone who’s from T.O., would you not say that that’s the bridge over the swan lake in Centre Island?

Wherever it is, it’s my new look…until my next new look.

UPDATE: That weepy tree thing was replaced by the new header of a bit of Timbuktu and a bit of Emerson. Please enjoy.  Till next time.

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