Tag Archives: writing

Giving blogging another go ’round


Hello friends, I’m sorry I’ve been away but frankly my life has been a little boring, and the good bits (the interesting ones at least) were not things I felt prudent to put online. I guess that as I have gotten older I’ve become wiser about the information I put out for public consumption, especially now that I am (somewhat) more widely known than before. Not that I got famous by being published or anything; no big sunglasses and floppy hats to hide from the paparazzi. But I found my need to be heard and validated fulfilled by twitter where I can rant to my heart’s content and have it be seen by only those I want it to. My twitter is locked down and I am very specific about who I let in so it is the perfect mixture between private and public. I’ve missed you though, blogging friends, so I’m going to try again to get back in the saddle and write.

To catch you up on the specifics: Mr. MM and I are still in Minnesota. Mr. MM is currently a 2L law student and I am working with cancer patients. I didn’t get into the MFA program, which has actually turned out to be alright, but I may go back to school in the future for something else. Right now I’m just focusing on working, playing, and writing.

I hadn’t been writing as much as I used to and I think that my lack of desire to blog was tied up in the reasons for that. However, I’ve recently begun writing again, thanks to some workshops through Mizna (check them out, they are amazing) and the reawakening of my need to express myself- a need that 140 characters cannot begin to fill.

Last year, 2012, was an intense year that exhausts me when I think about it. Let’s just say that I was glad to welcome 2013 when it came, even if it does mean I’m going to be turning 30 in a month!

I can’t promise to blog daily, my work schedule may not always allow for that. But I do promise to start blogging more. How about that? Sound Good?


Oh, hello! It’s so nice to see you again.

I figured it was time for an update and to let ya’ll know I am alive and all that jazz.

First of all a happy Eid el Kbeer to everyone. Hope the slaughtering went well. May God accept all of your good deeds and forgive all your bad ones, inshAllah.

I have some great updates:

I took the GREs and blew it out.of.the.water.  Alhumdulillah. I scored in the 94% percentile which is so much better than I imagined, I pray that it will help me get into the program.

I’m unfortunately not where I wanted to be with my writings and in the application process, but everything is in God’s hands and I have to have faith that whatever happens was meant to be.

Working has been pretty great, alhumdulillah. There were a few issues with one co-worker in particular but nothing I couldn’t deal with. Soon, inshAllah, I’ll be starting at a different clinic and will not have to deal with it.

Mr. MM is adapting beautifully here, alhumdulillah. My family loves him (big alhumdulillah) and he loves my family so that is a huge weight off of my heart. We both miss Egypt, of course, him much more than I, but being here is a brand new horizon for us both. It’s like we’re standing on the edge of a cliff looking out over what our life could/might be and we’re about to jump into it. I’m terrified and excited.

Ha, right now he is insulting the LSAT-prep book in the computer room. Test-prep sucks for real. It scrambles your brain like that circa 90’s “this is your brain on drugs” frying pan commercial. He comes out and has me read the questions and I tell you that I couldn’t pass that test if my LIFE were riding on it.

So, my list of things to do:

1.) Get a third recommendation letter.
2.) Finish some pieces I am currently writing.
3.) Fill out the application, put my writing portfolio together, finish my “statement of purpose,” and send it all in by the 15th at the latest.


So, that’s where I am at. I’ve been devoting all of my time to writing/reading/working and it doesn’t leave much for blogging. In fact once I publish this lil’ blog post (and turn down the heat- is it like 104 in here or what?) I’m going to work on writing.

Please, friends, keep me in your prayers that I get into this program and Mr. MM into his as well. God be with us on this next step in our lives.

It’s a brand new world peeps. There’s nowhere else but up, inshAllah.

Have You Seen This Blogger?

Ok, ok, don’t put my face on any milk cartons. I’m sorry I’ve been away.

Unfortunately I don’t foresee any change in this blogging pattern coming. I’m so sorry.

Right now not only is it Ramadan (Ramadan Kareem btw!) but I am studying my little tail off for the GREs which I want to take inshAllah before October. My mom is studying for her boards. And Mr. MM is studying all things law, English, and legal English related for the TOEFL and the LSATs.

We’re just a houseful of studious studiers.

I just don’t have the time. 😦

Its not that I have given up on or forsaken blogging, I will return inshAllah, its just that right now there are things much more important for me to be doing.

Like playing vocabsushi.com.

Taking practice quizzes and tearing my hair out over the analogy questions.

Reading books that will inspire me to write for my portfolio.

Creating a portfolio.

All while fasting and sleeping here and there in 2-3 hour intervals.

Me so tired.

So, I’m sorry. Don’t send any search parties, I’m fine.

Just busy.

Mea culpa, please forgive me.

Calling All Converts

I’m looking for converts who have written their conversion stories or are willing to write their conversion stories and would be interested in having them posted online.

The website I work for is dedicated to non-Muslims who are seeking information about Islam and new Muslims who are looking for support. One of my assigned sections is conversion stories and so many new Muslims and/or seeking non-Muslims have found inspiration there.

Would you like to be the inspiration for someone?

Email me at mollyannelian [at] gmail.com and I will reply via the official editors email.

A New Writing

This is going to sound elitist and I apologize but: those of you who have the password can go to Cairo Calling to read a new story I wrote this evening.

I haven’t done any final editing as its brand new but let me know your thoughts.

PS- Zuzu just found her way into a garmet bag and then couldn’t find her way out again. It was hilarious.

All Them Blue Beads N Whatnot



I’ve been super busy kids, I’m sorry. Basically 12 hours of my days are consumed by this new position. I love it but I don’t know if I can handle it.

C’est la vie, n’est-ce pas?

Come Mista Tallyman, Tally Me Banana

Daylight come and me wanna go home.

So I have some great and greater news! Which one do you want first?

The great news is that I finally left the seething pit of hell that was Global Education. Man was THAT a barrel full of monkeys.

Quite literally, I worked for monkeys. Everytime I went to work there was a new person working there until finally there was only one of the original staff left, the only one I trusted and who had my back, and a new boss-monkey who everyone hated and who I despised.

Boss-monkey was simply rude to everyone, including me, and finally I had had enough. I got to the two-month mark, had them tally me bananas, took my salary which I was almost not sure they were going to give me, and decided to never come back. Right after I had decided I found that the owner of the company had, just that day, fired without explanation the last staff-member I actually liked. I got out just in time because I’m sure that had I needed to try to get my bananas from boss-monkey he definitely would not have obliged.

So, yay! I’m free, I’m free, whoop whoop, I’m free.

And the even GREATER news is that the day after that I got a new job! A totally awesome job in a totally awesome place doing totally awesome work alhumdulillah. For real, ya’ll.

I am now an Assistant Editor on a prominent Islamic website focused on dawah. I will also write a bit for them as well inshAllah. Alhumdulillah rabiy-al-ameen!

I originally had to decided to say which one, however for now I have decided against that. Also I hold a few views that are not officially sanctioned by the website and I really don’t want to have to censor myself on my own blog.

I think I will also be published on a small number of other websites through connections, but Allahu alem.

Either way its a HUGE first step towards being a (sorta) recognized writer plus I’ll get experience editing which is so important. Alhumdulillah for everything.

I only have two issues: getting to work (its a 90 minute commute) by shuttle which has no shuttle pick-up point in a place that is easily accesible for me. Its incredibly exhausting and disheartening. God, what I would do for a car.

Oh! I’m also hoping, inshAllah to get involved with a radio station offered through a sister-site to my own and to have my own show! Ya rabi! I think this job has really opened a lot of paths for me and I’m so happy.

I slammed a window (Global Ed) and God opened a very large door.

Those are some nice bananas, eh?

I Don’t Consider This Blog a Political Platform

And for that reason I do not blog about politics (beyond the little bit I blogged about the election and how it played a part in my life.) Thats partially why I recently removed some comments I made about Egyptian politics in a past post; I don’t want this to be a political blog because I am not a political person.

I also specifically try not to blog about the politics of Israel/Occupied Palestine because its a quagmire that so many others talk about with more education, understanding, and brevity than I, myself, ever could. I could never do it justice.

Having said that though, I have, just now, read a play written after the most recent, and horrific, siege on Gaza called Seven Jewish Children. If you are interested here is the link to read it and here is a link to the playwright’s comments about her work.

As always I believe that art is the great equalizer. My thanks to Reb Barry for originally posting all of these links for me to read.

Also here is an article by Avi Shlaim, an Oxford Professor of International Relations who formerly served in the Israeli army, on how the siege made him question his faith in Israel.

Hello Sweat Glands, It’s Been Awhile

1.) The day after I blog about how fabutastic spring in Egypt was it turns hot. Like hot, hot. Hot enough for me to walk around going ‘holy crap! its hot!’ However in reality it is only 1/10 of how hot it gets here in the summer. The weird thing about Egypt weather, that I’ve noticed at least, is that the weather changes in the middle of the night. Over the past month or so everytime the weather warmed up I noticed it at about midnight to 2 am. Its so odd to walk outside and think to yourself ‘is it really hotter now than it was at 4 pm?’

the cat just farted and it was horrible. i need to stop letting her lick my roz-bi-laban bowl.

Last night after I finished blogging and got ready for bed I passed by the window and felt the warmer than it was during the day air blow past me. I woke up this morning afternoon covered in sweat. Yummy. It just reminds me that I seriously need to be out of here before summer really kicks in because otherwise I might lose whatever weak hold I still have on my sanity. Let me repeat that: weak hold.

Unfortunately Mr. MM is really not fully on board the USA-train; yesterday he brought up the idea, once again, of staying here. He likes to switch up the reasons but this last one was the pig flu and the craptacular economy. He reasoned that neither of us are going to find jobs and we might die. (BTW I believe he was maybe probably kidding.) Just a few days ago he told me that one of his aunts was so desperate to keep him in Egypt that she offered to fund an English Education business for me. All mine; I’d manage and teach if I wanted to. The only thing is that I am not a business person and I am not interested in building a business (unless its selling FABULOUS clothes for Muslimahs in the States) and I am even less interested in staying here.

Things I would need to stay here:

  • A nice flat thats fully air-conditioned and that I don’t have to worry I’m going to be kicked out of.
  • A car.
  • A maid. (We usually have that now but the last one up and disappeared.)
  • I don’t have to work if I don’t want to. (I technically have that as well but any money I bring in gives us a good cushion.)

Life is Egypt is possible to get used to. If you so choose of course. Its like deciding that living with a schizophrenic roommate is do-able when in reality getting a new roommate would be so much better.

Two hours ago we had a goat going bat-sh*t outside our window.

Read that again, please.

A goat.

My first thought was: ‘is one of our neighbors having a sacrifice or did a goat just wander into our garden?’


Sure I can get used to tantrum-throwing farm animals, but do I want to?

To be honest I have softened my viewpoint of Egypt. I think by now that I have been so thoroughly bitten (quite literally over a million times by mosquitoes but thats not what I mean) by the Egypt-bug that I can never ever leave Egypt completely. The thought makes me homesick. Also I must admit that Egypt, Cairo especially, is such a fount of insanity-derived creative juice that I can’t not write. It drives me to writing; its my muse, so to speak.

But do I want to stay here now? No. Do I like the idea of coming back when Mr. MM has an American law degree and the ability to bring down big bucks? Definitely.

I like the idea of being a pampered housewife, ok whats another word I can use? Housewife implies things like cleaning, which are quite prominantly not in my fantasies. Ok, being a pampered writer who may or may not teach a class or two at the AUC but has all the time in the world to haunt coffee shops and write. I could do that. I’m not even high-maintenance so pampered doesn’t mean spiffy clothes and italian leather purses. But I would need a nanny. Hm… Mr. MM may not like that.

Anyways, I can iron those details out later.

I lost my train of thought, where was I?

Oh yes, Egypt. I could live here again, but in much different circumstances. Egypt is a place where it is hard to be anything less than rich. In most places money makes things easier but lets be honest: middle-class in the west is a-ok. Most people in Egypt scrape by at the level of poverty or below. Mr. MM and I are middle-class here, but for me middle-class Masri-style is a big step down from middle-class ala americani. Its hard.

So to come back here it would have to be with money and a good amount of it. Thankfully the exchange rate is pretty good so we wouldn’t have to have that much.

And what about life here? Yea, its tough. In fact things are snow-balling here (ok not literally, did I mention that its really hot?) in terms of living condition and social harmony. Everyone is feeling the pinch of poverty, unemployment, corruption, the disintigration of respect and social morality, and loss of love for your fellow man. A month or so ago I finally realized what it was exactly: they have nothing left to lose.

Mr. MM and I were driving to Alex and a young man literally stepped off of the curb and into oncoming traffic as if he didn’t care if he got hit. Not exactly suicidal but without a thought of the consequences. To everyone in Egypt who reads my blog: watch the people on the roads. They have nothing left to lose.

Young men heckle and harrass because once they finish their almost meaningless education in schools that don’t care about them and with teachers who take bribes or have a personal vendetta against them they only face a future of probable unemployment and no hope for marriage for at least another ten years. They have nothing left to lose.

Women walking down the streets in the hot sun with small children while carrying the weight-equivalent of another two small children on their heads decide to cross a free-way, dragging said small children behind them, dodging cars and making people slam on their breaks, when in reality there is a pedestrian bridge a matter of 1/5 mile up the road all because they have nothing to lose. Ok, maybe a couple of children. But they’re almost starving, unable to imagine how they’re going to feed themselves and their children for the next three days. They have nothing left to lose and so extending the effort it would take to carry their things and children that far just to cross safely doesn’t add up for them.

If things continue this way here I imagine that Egypt will crumble in ten years. Maybe less.

Egypt was a beatiful, safe, peaceful country 35 years ago. Fifty years ago Cairo is said to have rivaled Paris for beauty. I have hope that Egypt will be that way again someday. But not now.

Thanks Mubarak. Just putting that out there.

Did I mention its getting hot? I sure hope Mr. MM doesn’t decide that he can’t leave Egypt. I’d really be lonely without him. On the upside I have told him that if we are here in the summer I’m moving to Alex.

He thinks I’m kidding.

I’m not.

On Writing and Definition

The fact that I want to (already am?) to be a writer is quite obvious to those who read my blog.

But why do I want to be a writer? Of course it is well-known that art is a calling and not necessarily a choice; writing has always been my way of coping with life and struggles and it just about burst out of me at thirteen much without any thought on my part. At the moment of writing my first poem it was quite literally write or explode and when I had finished I was astonished that I could actually write something that resembled a work of art. Emo and angst-ridden it was, I admit, but even reading what I had written years later I was still struck by the raw brutality of it.

I can’t explain how crucial it was for me to let the words out. Often times I would wake up at 3am and write the brief snippets of the words or poetry that were plaguing my dreams, they were like angry bees that gave me no rest until I had freed them from their cages. Later I heard other writers refer to writing in the same way, but until that time I thought it was only me who was beset by the need to write at odd hours. For years I kept a pen and pad at the head of my bed and many a poem or idea for a story were written while I was still asleep.

But thats not why I want to become a writer. Or, to be more honest, why I want to become a well-known writer. There are so many issues that I represent and so many misunderstandings that I want to right and that is why I want to be a writer.

How many female Muslim writers are there in the world? How many of us hear their voices? How many Muslim-American women writers are there? How many are well-known?

There is a large audience out there waiting for the other side of the story. An audience that has read countless books about opressed Arabian princesses and Taleban beheadings or women beaten by their husbands who are justified by their brutal religion.

All of us say “NO!” but who hears us?

Thats why I want to write.

And yet I don’t want to be confined by my defintion. Categorized in my own writing as this or that, a femi-nazi or a sheherezad, a Muslim who would be lambasted by the community for writing something “wrong” or disagreeing with the “uncles.”

I don’t want to be constrained for what I represent. Its a fine line.

I was looking at the website for the Arab Media & Society this afternoon and despite their valiant attempts to be pan-Arab and Middle-Eastern they still fall into the trap of thereby being “Muslim;” although they pander to no religious or political authority.

The key to writing for Arab Media & Society is the ability to help readers better understand media’s role in shaping Arab societies and the broader Muslim World.

It just reiterates the wrong assumption that Arab=Muslim and Middle Eastern=Muslim. Definitions and categories are so easy to fall into and so hard to break out of.

My blog is called Multicultural Muslimah because I am. I am a white (ahem Caucasian-American,) Spanish-speaking, Egypt-living, interracially-married, still at least half Latina (figuratively,) Muslim American.

Half the time I can’t even figure myself out, so how can anyone else?

So I will write and each story speaks about a side of me. Thats why I want to be a writer.

*deep breath*

So… yea. In other writing news I will be closing mostly all future posts on Cairo Calling except to those who have the password and I’m going to be EXTREMELY picky about those who I give the password to. I’m sorry, I hate to shut people out but because I will probably, at some point, publish things I write on there I have to be careful about people being able to steal my work. Ya’ll know it has happened before.

I will post some things that are open to everyone and when I do I will make a link on here. I will be emailing the password to those I want to have it so please do no email me asking for it. (Man I feel like an ass, I’m sorry.)

I also do periodically post on The Veridical Paradox so please keep checking. I promise it will get more interesting as I will be unemployed in a week and will be able to focus on my ten-step program.