OK, in really good news: I was one of the twelve poets accepted by Art Song Lab 2016 this year. I'll be paired up with a composer to create an art song to be presented to the public in June. One of the concerts will be at this year's Vancouver Queer Arts Festival.
I should have known that for my "Rose of Bengal" project I would probably need to consult the groundbreaking work [personal profile] kouredios  has done on fanfiction and its precursors in classical literature. According to the Translator's Preface, not only is Nizami's "Layla and Majnun" a medieval equivalent of RPF/historical fiction - there seems to have been an actual Majnun in Arabia who lived 500 years before the composition of the Nizami poem in 1188 - according to the Nizami editor Dastgerdi there are over 1000 imitations of Nizami's poem.
The poem was commissioned by a Transcaucasian chieftain named Shervenshah. The Translator's Preface goes on to talk about how Nizami Persianized the original ascetic Arabic sources with rich glorious language and imagery.
"... the three elements of the traditional Majnun - his love, his insanity and his poetical genius - as three aspects of one, indivisable unity...Has the tragic ambiguity of the artist's position in the world, the paradox of unbounded desire in a iimited body, ever been described more aptly?"
The closing paragraphs mention the difficulty of translating the description of the starry sky under which Majnun prays, which is a pity because many of my readers would be interested in the astrological and astronomical references which had to be left out of the Gepke translation.

Fuck WOC feminists with academic credentials from white liberal universities - not even historically black colleges - who blather on about cultural appropriation in EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING. Not apologizing for being a Bangladeshi liberal pluralist, never again.
"I'm not really that powerful" is a classic evasion of responsibility for shitty behaviour, whether that be POC leftists, white feminists or white male artists.
I didn't get accepted by TEDxEastVan, I was let go from the studio cleaner work trade position because the person I was covering for came back, and the guy who inspired the songs I wrote over the last year and couple of months showed up at my friends' concert with his girlfriend. She had awful hair, too. On the positive side, I'm feeling pretty relaxed, and I managed to stay the whole night at the show, which has been unheard of for a long time, and dance to Underpass's entire set. It helps that I did yoga at noon with my friend Emma. My friend Josh drove me home, which was nice because it was damp and I wasn't feeling up to getting on the no.20 even though it was only 30 minutes by bus.
REM, "Bittersweet Me"- "I'm stronger than you think."
I'm actually not terribly interested in either tearing down or building up Bowie. The conversation that I want to have, however, is why white celebrities get to be "problematic faves" while POC social justice warriors are either shrill, hypocritical, or both. That's why I'm still angry about Racefail, even though I'm a strong critic of anti-appropriation rhetoric.

I'm starting to think that online activists should stop posting the majority of their stuff on social media. Post stuff to test the waters, yes. But focus on writing essays and articles and get those publishing credits, otherwise mainstream academia and media will mine your hard work and not credit you. There is alternative media out there that will publish your material, you just have to be willing to settle for very low pay, possibly for the rest of your life, but the alternative is not getting credited at all.
I was one of the first Muslim feminists online to critique the New Atheists, but understandably, because my critiques took the form of five sentence squibs and poems and not full-length essays and articles, I haven't been credited for that. But I don't want my friends and colleagues to be developing ideas on things like emotional labour and then it makes the NYT op-ed and they never see a dime. THAT's appropriation which in my view is much more a serious issue than the latest Taylor Swift kerfuffle.
because unusualmusic said her dash was dead, and I thought, my life's been going nicely for a while and I may as well share the good things in my life.
I managed to make the power of barter work for me in awesome ways by getting a cleaner shift at a dance studio in exchange for classes, and offering to clean my musical collaborator's home and organize her files in exchange for private lessons in piano and guitar. I plan on doing Women Rock, a free women's rock band school project at the local library, and I landed a private tutor through a local women's organization who will teach me math and professional writing, also for free. And I'm continuing to do ReAct, a free film class four hours every Saturday evening.
Today I submitted "Racefail" and "May the bridges I burn light the way" to A Beautiful Resistance, four poems to Room, and a five page poem to Prism, which I also plan to use as the script for my audition should my application be accepted by TEDxEastVan.
I'm planning to start what I call a meta love song cycle about the influence upon the medieval romantic poets by the mystical poets of the Middle East, who were in turn influenced by Indian mystical love poetry. I've underestimated the Vancouver Public Library: I found a lot of good primary sources such as Romance of the Rose, Viz and Ramen and Dineshchandra's history of Bengali literature there, and I only had to apply for two inter-library loans.

1. It would probably been better for everyone had bellydance been invented in Bangladesh * obscure comment on Bangladeshi ecumenism / mother goddess worship / openness to collaborating with foreigners etc is obscure *

2. I really need to write that essay on “Edward Said, Bellydance, and Me.” Although it’ll probably turn into “Edward Said, Making Light, Racefail, Social Justice Fandom, Bellydance and Yoga, and Me” by the end of the first paragraph.

3. Because of course everyone worships Said in the ME and the rest, and no one judges him for flunking the Umm Kalthoum Worship test and basing the foundation of his aesthetics on western classical music. But god forbid some white women who don’t want to wreck their bodies through a ballet pro career love this wonderful, wonderful dance.

4. on the other hand, maybe the biggest problem with tribal fusion and bellydance fusion isn’t that it appropriates bellydance from ME women but that it appropriates hip-hop dance from black women.

5. Also, take a look at the oeuvre of Mahafsoun.

6. Although, since I’m clearly on a mission to burn every bridge in existence, serves black women right for choosing to whine and whine on Tumblr instead of actually creating dance.

7. because dance – even bellydance – is, unlike writing for Tor, an inherently collaborative artform, and choosing to bellydance would mean learning to work with people you don’t get along with and That Would Not Do.

8. and yet – if white women are dancing, and black women are acting like 1990s NME journalists – maybe that’s in itself subversive of race.

 Buria-q, I'm sorry. I hope you're safe and sound.
This is a spoken word piece I'll probably be performing tonight at a concert I'm headlining. It might not make much sense to that audience, but whatever.
 Cut for length )
A honey mask for overly dry lips

A quick, no fuss, no pins head wrap tutorial

 On Monday I went to see my doctor. She's removing the medication she'd been tapering off so as of Monday I'll no longer be taking it. She scolded me into taking one of my optional medications more regularly.
I went to Bonsor to take a hatha class. I was able to do a lot of the really advanced postures and did modifications when needed. It's about the breath, I realized. Like the climactic scene in Craig Thompson's Habibi. 
I'd been debating the last few weeks whether I'd go to see Instant Theatre's December shows. I was afraid of the stress of meeting a lot of new people. But as I got up the stairs to the skytrain back from hatha I decided to go. I was insanely early, of course. I'd always thought the Havana's shows took place in the back room, like the Heritage Grill, but in fact they have a tiny theatre inside. I liked the first set of long form improv; I left because I was tired, but I would have stayed for the other two sets if I'd had more energy. It snowed in Coquitlam while it was dry in Vancouver.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I stayed shut in by the snow. Worked on dance, music and writing. Channeling a recent obsessive infatuation into narrative seemed to do the trick of catharsis. I'm looking forward to 2013 to be a year of realistic expectations.
 Yesterday was a dull day, fell in and out of sleep. I'd been wanting to go to a yin class at Bonsor but it was dark and rainy.
Why is yoga so powerful? Why does stretching in a certain way affect people so deeply? I like pilates but it doesn't affect me at such a mood level.
I talked to Ma. "Ya Nabi Salam Alaikha" is a staple of milads in Bangladesh, though it wasn't played after Maghrib azan in the old days of BTV, as I had mistakenly thought.
Watched some improv last night. It's interesting to see the cultural assumptions in "apolitical" comedy.
I derived some morbid satisfaction from reading a female reviewer in the NYT give Rushdie the hammering he so richly deserved. It made me think of how differently Pratchett had conducted himself in his private and public life.
 Yesterday I went to Rumi Rose Garden and bought three types of dal, frozen samosas and Bengali chutney. They have lots of interesting pasta.
I read a few pages of the book on Thomas Merton and Sufism. The "Man of Light" book was very esoteric. Also looked at Hazrat Inayat Khan's book.
I stayed for zikhr. I was exhausted by the end of it, but I felt happy and peaceful when I came home. Because of the yoga I'd been doing I was able to sit on the carpet for an extended period of time instead of sitting on the couches. We sang some qasidas that we usually don't sing at the zikhr on Friday's at Alan Emotts. The new hafiz who is an exceptional singer lead some naats in Urdu.
I wish Ma was here. She likes the zikhr, though she says the way we say namaz here is different from how we do it in Bangladesh.
Shafiqa said there's now a monthly tea on a Sunday for the women. The next one will be after Christmas.
I want to get Iyengar's "Light on Yoga". I got his "Light on Pranayama" over a year ago and then read in it that you learn the asanas before learning pranyama. I find the book soothing to help me fall asleep.
 Yesterday I played the melody of Tori Amos's "Spark" on harmonium and worked on parts for "Unfold". Failed to record "Me and My Seashells" successfully. I played some riq. J said that she had a problem playing darbuka that I also have on the riq, making the dums and teks clear. She said we might be hitting our instruments too hard. I want to play with her one day.
I went to zikhr after a long time. I'd been absent due to exhaustion and the gloomy evenings. When I whirled last night I could feel the music like I never have before; usually I'm focusing on my own movement and singing, but last night I was beginning to get lost in the drumming and the singing of others.
I felt peaceful as I came home; often I'm manic after zikhr because I'm overstimulated by the sensations, but last night I felt calm, at peace with my vulnerability. Although it did take some time to fall asleep.
It's snowing this morning here in Coquitlam. The first snow of the season? Despite the dark evenings there's been less rain this fall, compared to the last year.
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