“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.“
— John Keating, Dead Poets Society
To teach, delight, and move.
According to the English scholar Sir Philip Sidney, the aim of “poetry” (or literature) is to “teach, delight and move”. I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. As a creative writer, community arts educator and literary arts instructor, I work to educate and entertain others through literature and art. Because engagement with the arts fosters critical thinking and has the power to inspire social activism, I believe that through my writing/art and through my role as an arts educator, I can help empower and move others to action. I believe that literature and art have the power to change the world, and if my writing or visual works can inspire someone to be a bit more loving or more understanding of their fellow human beings then I’ve accomplished a great deal.
To give a voice to Muslimahs.
Growing up as a Lebanese-Canadian Shia Muslimah, I desperately wished for a book with a protagonist I could identify with – a strong female character who is both Muslim and Canadian and going through similar experiences. Such a book was nowhere to be found. That’s why I am now writing those stories myself. Through my writing, I hope to give other Muslimahs an opportunity to see themselves represented in literature, and to give the general populace the opportunity to understand just how diverse and heterogeneous the experiences of Muslimahs are. My hope is that my writing will provide a realistic and authentic snapshot of what it is like to be a Muslimah that differs from and challenges the mainstream media’s stereotypical portrayals. I want to entice readers to question the blurry line between culture, religion, and personal belief.
To provide accessible arts education to marginalized communities.
My primary mission as a creative writing instructor and community arts educator is to provide accessible and inclusive arts education to marginalized communities with a special focus on crafting safe spaces for Muslims, individuals with mental health challenges, folks with disabilities and BIPOC youth to discover and enhance their writing and art skills. My hope is that through their writing and art, these marginalized voices will be amplified and empowered.
To help aspiring writers blossom.
As a creative writing instructor, my goal is to help aspiring and emerging writers blossom and grow through honest, constructive feedback and mentorship. I always encourage aspiring writers to discover their creative voice through experimentation with various literary forms and genres. Whether you want to write in free verse or in iambic pentameter, whether you want to write linear short stories or non-linear metafiction, I will teach you the rules of writing and then implore you to break them.