December 25, 2011

The Linguistics of "Here"

It is a bit silly to say that one is "here," to signify place. One is always here. One can never not be here.

Think about it this way: You are where you are. You are not where you are not. You would say, "I am here," because you cannot say, "I am there." They very definition of, "there," is not the present location, A.K.A., not here.

So, I can say that I am here, and I will always be right. That means that by saying, "We're here!" I am not stating that I am in a specified location, like at the restaurant where I am meeting people, but that I exist at a location.

Similarly, the familiar annoyance of, "Are we there yet?" holds no water. "We," can never be, "there," because, "we," always exists in the place that they exist, which is always, "here."

Now, let's all go on from here speaking with correct usage of the words here and there. Remember, we can only be here, because there is not here; it's a letter away.

Make sense?

Your Writer,

Duke Young Writers' Camp Review

It's a long time overdue, but here it is.

This camp is not one easily summarized, not just because the classes were great. The inexpressible heat and humidity may have made the environment a bit uncomfortable, but believe me, that is the only bad part.

The environment: Apart from Mother Nature, it was caring, fun, and marvelous. I met people there who I know are life-long friends. The Readers' Forums are a great way to showcase your work with a kind group of fellow writers. It allows you to practice public speaking skills, develop confidence, and afterward, others can talk to you about your writing. It's incredibly helpful.

It has been said that writers are competitive, but you wouldn't know it by looking at this camp. Hours were spent at camp sitting around on the common room floor, writing, editing, peer reviewing, and reading aloud to others. Everyone is eager to help and support each other in writing to the best of their potential.

You get some serious writing done, but there's also quite a bit of fun in free hours. From going to Ninth Street, to activities, to hanging out, there is always something to do!

The lodgings: It's a freshman dorm, but it's honestly not bad. There is air-conditioning--the place is freezing, but you can ask your counsellor to fix it for you. Most campers have one roommate and then everyone is apart of a larger living group of people of their same age and gender. Of course, girls and boys are in different, adjacent dorms, and then younger and older campers are on different floors.

The classes: This is the important one. You must remember to choose your classes wisely, because the classes you take determine how much you get out of this camp. You can change your classes on the second day of camp if they don't work out for you. Just make sure that you pick classes you're interested in.

Once you've done that (which I did), you'll love your classes! I learned a lot from my classes, but it's very important to have an open mind. If you go there thinking that you know everything, or that the class sucks, you won't like the class. However, if you understand that your teacher is a professional editor or writer or whatever else, and you take their advice, and work hard on prompts given to you, then you'll strongly benefit from your classes. I know that I have.

Afterword: I loved my time at Duke Young Writers' Camp, and I'm really hoping to go back this summer. I recommend anyone who's interested in writing and meeting some amazing people to come to camp at Duke University!

Your Writer,

October 30, 2011

Halloween Strategies

Today's Halloween! Which, by the Transitive Property of Object and Circumstantial Equality equals AWESOME.


Candy=Candy and Pumpkin Ice Cream
Candy and Pumpkin Ice Cream=Sugar Rush
Sugar Rush=Happiness and Energy
Happiness and Energy=All Nighter Watching Scary Movies and Peeing Your Pants But Also Fun
All Nighter Watching Scary Movies and Peeing Your Pants But Also Fun=AWESOME
So, Halloween=AWESOME

August 07, 2011


It's Ramadan again, so I thought I'd give you some quick Ramadan-related updates.

Yes, it will suck to start school while hungry.

Well, actually, this may surprise you, but I have actually GAINED weight in the last 11 days of fasting.

This year, Eid is on August 31st.

Yeah, I'm still in touch with my Duke Young Writers Camp friends.

Your Blogger,

July 06, 2011


It's my birthday! Yay! Now I'm...still younger that my entire grade, and I still can't drive.... Whatever, I'll settle for having an awesome time with friends.

Now, I wrote this post because I want to hear about your traditions! In my house, my family doesn't ask what I want to do for my birthday until the day before, when I inform them that I have invited my friends over to the pool. Later on, we order pizza and ice cream cake, and we sing "Happy Birthday," in English, Arabic, French, and Spanish (depending on who is there).

What are yours? Do they involve full meals, parties, radioactive goblins jumping out of cakes, movie marathons...? TELL ME. I AM SO. DARN. CURIOUS.

Your Older Writer,

July 03, 2011

The True Meaning of a Word

Have I ever mentioned this before? I'm not sure. I find myself saying, "...and I have very specific ideas about word usage," quite a lot. Now is the time for me to finally explain my idea.

See that? I didn't say that this was my speculation, or my theory. I said idea. How different is that! Isn't that wonderful? Every word means the same thing, but in so many different ways! No footnote in any book could ever explain every connotation, every meaning, every facet, every way with which the word is spoken! It's simply impossible.

I'm starting to believe that there are very, very few people who actually realize the beauty of language. Voice in a writing isn't really about the voice, it's about the words. It's about saying something with the right words. It's about saying anything with the right words! Saying "shake," and "vibrate," are two incredibly different things, but two incredibly different things with the same meaning. In all the great written works, I can assure you that every word has been planned out tighter than a freshly botoxed face. Each syllable has been plotted to ignite a certain thought, to add a special color to the scenery you have imagined in your head.

That is my point.

My point is that words are special. My point is that no word is like any other--they each mean something so far from its supposed synonym! It is so important to choose your words carefully, because it can change everything you say!

I suppose I can't write much more on the subject without sounding like a madwoman, and so, I say good night.

Your Writer,

June 27, 2011

My Return!

It seems that I have fallen prey to the trap that at some point takes us all as bloggers, that scary luck that tears us away from our computers, that thrusts us into the scorching sunlight, that forces us to begin every post with the same ill-fated words, "It's been a long time, loyal readers...."

Indeed it has! I fear not only that it has been too long, but that when I have finally gotten back to this keyboard, I had just been reading A Picture of Dorian Gray. Beware purple prose, but I'm just in the mood, if you would not mind.

Now that I've gone meta, I seem to be out of the mood, but not entirely. Well, let's continue this, shall we?

First, for an update on my life. I've finished my SparkLife series (old news), I've gotten another article posted on SparkLife , as well as another edited version of that article published on Teen Ink (which you can rate by clicking this link). The biggest news, however, is that "My Syria" will be published in the August issue of Teen Ink, the PRINT PUBLICATION!



Most of my readers are also writers, so I hope you understand my euphoria when I say once the magazine is printed, I am a legit writer! I am not just a blogger, not just someone whose frivolous posts made it onto SparkNotes, onto another website--I. Am. A. Writer.


As a side note, isn't it strange that our legitimacy relies solely on the recognition of others? How pathetic does that make us? We, whose niches are to reveal life, entertain the mind, invert the eyes, we cannot see past our own egos and need for validation. We rely on others for our self-realization, and as wordsmiths don't create another name for that pretentious impersonation of what that term is meant to mean? It seems I hold great contempt for myself, but this is a post for another time.

Also, I will be attending Duke Young Writers' Camp next month, for which I will write a review later on.

I am truly sorry for neglecting this blog so.

Your Writer,