Thursday, April 19, 2012

Writing Relationships

As salaam alaikum,

Ever since my mother alerted me to the fact that Amazon prime provides free streaming (well, nothing's really free, now, is it?) of certain shows and movies, I've found a whole new way to waste time now that I'm on a Brazilian novela fast. And this is awesome. Well...some of the shows I want to see are not free streaming, but there are others that are.

For example, Daria.

Ever since my novela has been running out, I've been making my way through the seasons. I'm up to season 4, which is one of my personal favorites because it's the season where Daria and her best friend Jane's boyfriend, Tom, start noticing and liking each other. I love that a few of the episodes of the show are so masterfully season 3, I like how Daria gets over Trent and how Trent apologizes for their not being compatible, and...aff, my few line descriptions can't do justice to how artful I think the writing for this show and those moments was.

But I especially love the Daria and Tom tension. I just watched this one episode where it began to unfold, and I forgot it was going to be this episode, and I was...enchanted...

I hate romantic comedies because the sentiment is often vapid and sentimental love is overdone. But I love when relationships are written right.

It's not often and always usually have to find more indie sources for that. Your Hollywood and otherwise mainstream will likely miss it. #hipster

(And I'm so hipster, secretly, I'm boiling on the inside that the famed hashtag has replaced html close tags as a snarky way to classify commentary...because I will never be on Twitter because I cannot be contained to a few characters, nor do I want to follow anyone... That makes me feel better, although I realize I may have lost some of you in the nerdiness...)

So when I can't read the relationships I love...and Lord knows most of the time, I'm not living them...I have to write them, instead.

I love writing relationships! Since I was a kid, they were always the favorite part of each of my stories...the evolving relationships. It's funny--one may argue that, as a 10-year-old, I would have little notion of relationship dynamics...but that didn't stop me from writing them!

I don't know, relationships written right and the relationships I write...give me that bubbly spring feeling in my gut. It excites me! It's like the feeling of someone about to complete a circuit. I like to observe relationships evolve in real life, too, don't get me well as I like to be in them...only if they work out. If not, each living moment is a waste of my time, unless it's the inspiration for another pair of characters. I'm so the writer who sometimes escapes to live in a world of her own creation and not the one outside, because the one outside...not giving me a break in the relationship department right now. Allah (swt) knows best.

I was baking chicken earlier this afternoon, speaking out dialogue for "The Misadventures of Nisa," the opening scene where 12-year-old Bobby comes over to 12-year-old Nisa's house (who he calls "Nisa, na-na-na-na-nisa" to taunt her) to tell her that he's moving with his family to the City where he's going to go to a performing arts school, and Nisa admits to him for the first time that she likes him, thus setting the backdrop for the entire piece, as Nisa dedicates her life to moving to New York in her 20s to be with Bobby again...only to forget why she was in such a rush to get to the City when she moves there 10 years later after graduating from college...

Love it!

Not all the relationships I write work out. In a story that I wrote and never finished in high school, "Brand New Shoes," Stanley Sanford, CEO at a major architectural firm in the City (always generic, unnamed cities) is attracted to Lena Reynolds, an intern at this firm...but he just met her on the street with her daughter, so he doesn't know that she's an architecture intern at the firm. He spends much of the story trying to discover the identity of this woman who crossed his path, and he finally is able to catch up with her. The while knowing that she's an intern at his company, he remains a secret admirer until he sets up a date with her. She is flattered, but recognizes how unethical their relationship would be and makes it clear that she wants no favors from him...and they mutually agree to keep professional distance for as long as she is working at the firm.

...which breaks Stanley's heart, awww...but he has enough to worry about. The hit-man who killed his ex-wife as ordered by his ex-wife's second husband is not on the lookout for his daughter (both he and Lena have 7-year-old daughters who are frenemies in dance class together).

And can you believe, I wasn't watching telenovelas then!

The relationships I write are rarely light. I think Nisa and Bobby are the lightest one I've written. Like Lena and Stanley, they sometimes don't end up together, like Andreia Graça and Gloria from my short story, "Garota." Gloria never tells Graça that she's in love with her, and contents herself, painfully, to just be her friend.

And saying anything about my characters in RMD, Desirée, Mo and Nisreen, would be giving away spoilers!

There was Azalea and Leonard in "Sisters: Body and Soul," where Leonard backed out of his relationship with Azalea when she was dealing with the stress of being the charge over her younger sisters while her mother received cancer treatments out of state and her father was away for work. Three years later, though, AZ would meet the man she would marry, who fell in love with her exactly because of the maturity and insight she gained from essentially raising her sisters, and etc.

So some of the relationships do work out! ...I haven't named this guy yet, haha. Once again, another story I started as a teenager that I never finished...shame.

I finished RMD, though...

And I also like complicated, problematic relationships. One story idea I had back at the beginning of high school, entitled, "Damn, Boy," focused on the social evolution of three friends as they transitioned from middle school to high school. Thinking they had survived the worst that middle school social hierarchy could dish out, they were wrought apart in high school, where one of the three (the subject of the damning, haha) tries out for and makes varsity football as a freshman. His best friend, another member of the three, makes the freshman team. While the new varsity team member is bummed because he knows that could mean plenty of bench time, he is suddenly overtaken by the popular clique and leaves his friends behind.

The third of the party is his other best friend (I don't remember the names of these characters), who is at first indignant at her friends' change in social status and then devastated when he meets and begins dating a girlfriend from among his new clique. What his dude friend doesn't know is that his female friend and him hooked up at smoe point during middle school--they were each other's firsts--and they swore not to tell anyone and that was something between them that they wouldn't let disrupt their friendship. Except his friend just expected that they'd be friends forever and then, eventually, when they graduated high school and grew up, they'd end up together. And this thwarted that...

The title is from her cursing her friend, haha, at the advise of her mother, to blow off steam.

Meanwhile, the varsity dude continues to do well and he is still a nice person (totally "don't hate the player, hate the game" type deal) and he's dismayed that his friendships have dissolved...

So yes, I could go on, but I love writing relationships. I like writing tension, I like writing awkward, I like writing evolution and when things don't work out. I like writing problems...

One day, Allah (swt) will bless me with the experience and the motivation to write things when they are good.



  1. salam alaekum, im Nigerian as well, finally found a Nigerian muslimah blog....bless you

    1. Walaikum salaam! Insha'Allah you're doing well. Nice to meet you! There are a few other blogs by Nigerian Muslimahs...check out and, for starters. There's got to be some others, but these are the other two I know. :) Thanks for checking out my site. :)

  2. jazakumllah khairan, will check them out