Saturday, April 19, 2008

Inspiration in the countryside

I still remember when the idea for 'From Somalia, with Love' came to me. As a writer, one of my idiosyncrasies is that I never write a story until it has 'told itself' in my head. It may come to me in a dream or in a moment of imagining or keep growing in the back of my mind until it is ready to be told. Either way, I never write it down until the story has been told.

So it was with FSWL. I was on a retreat with a group of Somali teenagers and some older sisters at a beautiful old house in the country. The venue was secluded and relaxed; plums and apricots grew in the orchard, blackberries in the bushes. We were able to totally relax, roam the grounds, play tennis, basketball, go for midnight walks and explore to our heart's content. It was wonderful, masha Allah.

It was there that the thought of Somali poetry came to me. I remembered reading somewhere that poetry is an important part of Somali culture. And I thought of a young girl, a young poet, whose father came from Somalia to live with her and her Hoyo - and the story unfolded in my mind.
I spent the rest of that retreat asking questions, observing, absorbing the girls' mannerisms and some basic Somali. And the story and its characters began to take shape...


sue said...
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sue said...

Salaam Na'ima,
Congratulations on the book!
I had no idea you got all that inspiration from that weekend away.
(I'm the sister of the woman who organised the event by the way.)
Inshallah I'll see if I can attend your launch