Monday, March 24, 2014

The Muslim Protaginist

I am a firm believer of speaking your goals into existence. Earlier I had spoken about Sadi Stars. People who are promoting a positive image of Islam through their creative endeavors. These endeavors could be artistic works, stories, films and any other creative expression.

I don't claim to know how these things work but I have found that the more you think and speak about your goals, the more you seem to gravitate towards them. For example I got onto twitter thanks to the advice of Mark Coker and his marketing guide. He said to subscribe to twitter feeds of writers you like. This way you have a link with them. They typically tweet about their projects, current events and everyday things they may be dealing with.

I was fortunate enough to get onto Saladin Ahmed's feed. and I was paying attention when he mentioned he'd be in NYC for a writer's symposium, along with other Sadi Stars like G. Willow Wilson, the creative genius behind Ms. Marvel.

With MW's blessings I headed out early Sunday morning. I took the train into Manhattan, I had Googled the best route, but due to construction I had to get off and take an alternative route. It has been said that with each adversity there is an equal or greater opportunity. So to in my situation. although the train dropped me off at a far off location. The hike over to the campus was rewarding. I got on my phone and punched up Google maps. With GPS enabled it instantly threw up a little blue dot, which represented my current location. With that it was an easy guesstimate of where I had to be.

Lucky for me my path cut through Morning Side Park. As I made my approach I soon realized that I would need to climb up a massive hill. I must admit the task seemed a bit daunting. I even thought about turning back. But then I asked myself how important are my dreams to me? After all I went all this way to learn how to be a better writer. Was a little hill going to stop me? I really got into the symbology of the moment. Perhaps if I could cross this divide I would have proven my resolve. Proven my commitment to perfecting my craft. Proven that I have what it takes, that I could look myself in the mirror and be proud of the man I saw. Plus there was a staircase and the view was spectacular:

So over and on wards for me. I had reached the campus which was spread out over several city blocks. The MSA had a done a good job updating the website so I knew when and where I had to be. With the help of friendly staff and students I found my way to the designated classroom. Upon entering I grabbed a seat and prepared to be educated. 

At the podium was 
Michael Muhammad Knight, he had taken a question from a recent revert. She was writing her memoirs, as she wanted to share her journey to Islam with others. She struggled with particularly emotional events in her life. She wanted to know how to craft those scenes. Not only did the author offer some helpful insights, I was also happy to see all engaged in lively conversation. I am sure with all the synergy we produced something wonderful is bound to happen. I offered some advice as well about entering your dream space and not averting your eyes. That you have to enter your dreamspace on faith and reach your white hot center and then equally important return from there. Something I learned from Robert Owen Butler and his writing workshop.

The next session was conducted by maestro Saladin. He looked just like his twitter pics would suggest. The attendees were also equally amazing. Every one had a real interest in sci-fi and fantasy. They could hold their own when it came to the Dune prequels versus the Dune sequels. I found them to be thoroughly engaged and thoughtful people. It was a nice change of pace a real joy to be around with. They all had insightful questions for Mr. Ahmad. Some related to his work, The Throne of the Crescent Moon, others related to the writing process in general. For my question I had to tap my center. I talked about my current project how I would be examining the Aryan. The black covering that encompasses an evil doers heart. What atrocities is man capable in this state? Thanks to my training I safely exited my dream space and continued on with the session at the conclusion of which people got their copies of the crescent moon autographed and I got a snazzy pic with Dr. Adoulla himself!

I have always been passionate about stories for us by us. Just flipping through your TV channels on any given night you are bound to come across an angry Arab threatening someones life. That someone is more often than not an American. Thus instilling a paranoid fear of Arabs and by association Muslims. That's why this symposium really resonated with me. The idea is to have more leading roles for characters who happen to follow the religion of Islam. Something that is sorely needed in a society that is shaped heavily by its media.
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