As an Afghan muslim woman displaced when I was a toddler from my native land due to patriarchal and hegemonic wars, writing is more than just an art for consumption.
It is a journey into yourself to peacefully and creatively heal, defend and battle. It is an art that seeks justice from a world that had you eternally lost and cut off from your sacred land and ancestors. It is to thrive spiritually when your homeland has been a war-zone your entire life and its news of tragedies follows you everywhere. It is to write in a world that would rather think for you and assimilate you into blind, ignorant submission of a deeply racist, sexist, perpetually warring and capitalist world. Writing is about taking back your power by telling your own stories. When it comes to American history of social control, enslaved racialized people were not allowed to read or write; they would secretly teach each other literacy.
Writing is tapping into your own memories – the good, the bad and the ugly. As well as tapping into the depths of your soul for that eternal world that society ignored or devalued. It is about finding the essence of who you are before society institutionalized you through schooling for the next 12 years of your life. It is about recovering all the hurt, untold stories or questions within you that you did not have the time or ability to resolve. It is about re-claiming your life, history and identity.
It is the world of imagination and creating something out of nothing. It is thinking not only out of the box but destroying that box to share with the world your own unique message. It is the unwritten words that God inscribed within you through your dreams and visions. It is something that no one can take from you…because its written in the stars. The more you write, the closer you get to God, to yourself, and to the eternal world of your ancestors.
Writing like any art, with a social-justice focus, is a magic of its own – the deeper you get into it, the more battles you’ll find and win. Writing is a rebellion against a society that wants you to conform and consume in a econonomic system that is not sustainable for our planet. Writing is a weapon against oppression you live externally and internally – a way to combat the junk beliefs you act on and internalized. Besides a political fight, it is a free and safe therapy, creative outlet or medicine for ones everyday life issues.
Writing is real work that takes time, effort, skill and thought. Writers should be valued like any other respected profession. It is more than sharing information or entertainment but a defence and a shield — it is what makes the world go round through powerful and timeless songs like”One Love by Bob Marley” and “Changes by 2pac”; as well as poems like “Still I Rise from Maya Angelou” and “The Revolution Will Not be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron.” This is why art is dangerous and why popular culture is so tightly controlled – it can empower the masses and break down walls. It is an eternal weapon passed on to you that makes your purpose immortal. As 21-year old Fred Hampton said, before being murdered by the FBI and Chicago Police, “you can kill the revolutionary but you can never kill the revolution.”
Writing is creating beauty in your life and making a positive difference in a world that needs healing and for the future generations to know the truth of the past. Writer Toni Morrison said “I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.” So as the saying goes: create what you want to see in the world. And that is what I intend to do.
This is my philosophy on writing and why I write.
Therefore, an important question to ask yourself before you start your journey of writing is: what is your philosophy as a writer and why do you write?
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