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Mastering Money for Writers: Blog Series

Watch the video or read the post below

It’s been in the back of my mind, an inkling, this idea about starting a blog series for writers to help them master money. I’ve procrastinated primarily because, I have a lot on my plate right now—two jobs, my own writing goals, a few personal and business ventures… But even before the devastating impact of COVID19, I remember hearing about the financial struggle of writer friends of mine, describing their secret distress from payday to payday, the anxiety with every “unexpected” bill—what I personally experienced about a decade ago after my family lost our home to a friend who turned out to be a professional conman. Reflecting on the stress, the shame, the depression I’d felt in my times of hardship, but especially the fact that I can now look back from a place of empowerment and financial confidence, I’m reminded that it’s a responsibility to share the knowledge I’ve gained that’s turned my circumstances around Alhamdulillah.

Continue reading “Mastering Money for Writers: Blog Series”

Trust

I would not walk these lands
Feared the uncertainty of treading foreign sands
Cautious from the prickles of days gone by
That left scars masked by my false eyes

Yet her vibrant colours beckoned me near
And her winds whispers wiped away my fears
And so I walked her shores discovering pleasure
Discovering warmth and artistry without measure

While there were momentary stings from her grains of fire
Her cool consoling waters would awaken my desire
To dive in and just wallow in my friend
And learn to trust her once again


On 28 June 2018, I had the pleasure of sharing some of my poems in the warm, vibrant & inviting atmosphere of ARC Artist Retail Collective Inc, Armadale. In this video, I read a poem called “Trust”

I wrote this poem a long time ago. More recently, I edited it slightly, so in my video performance, it is the original version.

If you like my writing and want to follow my journey, join Rai’s Insiders.

Hawa Abdullahi Farah

“And any man who knows a thing knows
He knows not a damn, damn thing…” – Knaan

So don’t be fooled!
I see the sympathetic looks in your eyes
Can’t you see beyond this disguise?
I walked for 15 days… 15 days
I buried 8 children along the way
But I walked on.

So don’t insult me!
I hear the hushed whispers of your thoughts
“This poor fragile woman”
But God made me strong!
Ask yourself, 
Could you have come this far, persevered this long?

Or would you have broken down in the dirt
Too overcome by the pain, the hurt
As you bury your son
Kiss his sweet face
Before returning his body to God’s earth?
Would you have wailed to the heavens
Paralysed in your place
Watching him disappear without a trace
As the dirt engulfs his body, limbs, face?

Or would you have offered prayers to the Most High
Placed your trust, in the Most Just
Remembering your nine other children
And how for them, you must walk on
No matter how far, how long
Because God made you Strong!

I reach for you
I ask for your hand
But, you misunderstand.
God made me strong
I have come too far, persevered too long,
So put away your sympathies
Rather, recognise these strengths in me
And understand, when I ask for your hand
I am asking you to build on what I already have
I am asking you to enable my capabilities
I am asking you to feed my soul, my mind
As I push forward, leaving the past behind

As I walk on.


Video Performance

Raihanaty A Jalil performing “Hawa Abdullahi Farah” at Rajo Fundraiser Dinner on 15 July 2012, a poem she wrote specifically for the night. The beginning of the video intends to give the poem context.

This poem is based on the true story of Hawa Abdullahi Farah. If you like my writing and want to follow my journey, join Rai’s Insiders.

The One

I love that You love me in spite of my flaws;
I love how You’re there for me before a moment’s pause.
I love every moment I can spend with You;
I love that experience of the Love that is True.

I love knowing that You’ll never be the instrument of my pain;
I love how with every thought of You, in my heart, peace does reign.
I love how the times I spend with You help me forget this world insane;
I love that You’re closer to me than my own jugular vein.

I love how You are there for me even before I call;
I love how You help me see that my problems are but small.
I love that You look out for me, though I remain unaware;
I love how, for me, You always have time to spare.

I love how You continue to care for me in spite of my crime;
I love how You never cease to give even while I give You no time.
I love that You are so forgiving, though my wrongs be a mountain tall;
I love that You love to erase them and make them forgotten by all.

I love how with just one step towards You, You come running to me;
I love the Love You give me that others don’t see.
I love how with You, I can simply be;
I love the feeling of how with Your Love, I am truly free.


Video Performance

On 28 June 2018, I had the pleasure of sharing some of my poems in the warm, vibrant & inviting atmosphere of ARC Artist Retail Collective Inc, Armadale. In this video, I read a poem called “The One”

If you like my writing and want to follow my journey, join Rai’s Insiders.

Eating Humble Chapati

This piece is part of  my “Rejected Stories” collection. Click here to learn more.


‘That’s not a chapati,’ Rai said to her mother, rolling her eyes. Now an expert, of course, after thirty days ‘watching’ her best friend in Zambia make them for her family. Rai had the technique down pat—not through practice, but still.

This is how you make it.’

She mixed attar flour, water and some olive oil. She kneaded the dough, formed a ball the size of her fist then rolled it until it was millimetres thin. She heated the pan with a dribble of oil.

‘What?’ 

The imperfect brown circle lay flat on the black non-stick surface, defiant—not the soft balloon she expected. Droplets of sweat trickled down Rai’s forehead.

She consciously smoothed away her frown, forced a smile as she cut off a small piece with the spatula.

‘Ugh!’ She gagged from the ghastly taste and looked up at the heavens, completely perplexed.

I’m 24 years old, she thought, her shoulders slumped. The kitchen just doesn’t like me.

The next day, her mother greeted her with bursts of laughter, saying, ‘I was wondering what happened to the 250 grams of garlic powder I just bought.’


This was originally created in 2018.

If this story resonated with you, please do me a favour. Don’t share it on social media. Instead, please share it with one other person who you think will enjoy it too so it can find a home in yet another heart.

If you like my writing and want to follow my journey, join Rai’s Insiders.

Augmented

This piece is part of  my “Rejected Stories” collection. Click here to learn more.


Knock knock!

Tanner and Cody turned to Mum between bites of freshly buttered toast.

“You know we don’t answer the door when Dad’s not home,” she said in a hushed tone. Her messy red curls bounced as she motioned for them to finish their food. “You’re still not dressed for school.”

The knocking grew louder, insistent.

But Mum picked up Justin from the floor. She sat next to them at their small square table. Ran her thin fingers through Tanner’s sandy-blond hair. Fed Justin his bottle.

The knocking became a deafening bang, like a round of bullets.

Mum let out a nervous breath. “Now, don’t you move until you finish your breakfast!” she said firmly. Balancing Justin on her hips, she headed to the living room.

Tanner grabbed another piece of toast. The salty butter tickled his tongue, the sensations warming his stomach.

“No!”

Continue reading “Augmented”

Blue

This piece is part of  my “Rejected Stories” collection. Click here to learn more.


Blue. Deep, bottomless, all-consuming blue—the colour of her eyes. The ocean called her into its cold-warm embrace.

Abbey shaded her eyes from the scalding rays. She glanced around, eyes alert. Beads of sweat rolled down her forehead. Her heart galloped to an erratic rhythm.

Crap. A couple approached. Look busy.

She stared at the dirt, scanning the area with fascination—pretending.

“Hey there, are you okay?”

Abbey looked up with reluctance but wore her brightest smile. “Yeah, fine.”

The woman looked around. “Your parents close?”

Abbey fought the urge to roll her eyes. She was eleven, for God’s sake, almost in high school. Not that she would be going to high school. But still.

Avoiding the woman’s concerned gaze, she nodded. “In the toilet.”

The woman looked between her partner and Abbey. “It’s quite deserted here, so be careful, okay?”

“I come here all the time.” Abbey picked up a trumpet-shaped seashell, the colour of milk that had gone off. “Tonnes of these good ones.”

“Oh…” 

A few uncertain steps onward. But damn it—they lingered.

Eyes back on the ground, picking up more odd shapes—pretending.

Continue reading “Blue”

Darkness

This piece is part of my “Rejected Stories” collection. Click here to learn more.


“Edward Thompson, you, as well as a few others, have been chosen for the expedition to Mars.”

“Come on, man! This is a once in a life time chance! I’d kill to be in your shoes! Think of the fame and fortune!”

“Eddie, no matter what happens, remember that Susie and I will always love you and cherish all the times we’ve spent together.”

The voices of the past rang through my head, reminding me that there was no turning back. It was now or never. All the people back on Earth were counting on me to do my country proud. I wasn’t about to let them down.

There was utter silence as I made that first step. I then stood, paralysed, looking at the foreign land before me. 

After a moment of recollecting myself, I grinned and cried out childishly, “YEAH!” A cheer rose from my speakers.

“Congratulations, Thompson!” came the proud voice of my contact. “You are officially the first man to step on Mars!”

Pride swept through me as I waved my country’s flag. I was so absorbed in my thoughts that I did not notice the leech-like creature gnaw its way through my suit. Suddenly, I felt overcome by an unknown force, an evil force. My body started shaking violently and my head felt as if it wanted to burst. Every muscle in my body screamed for mercy, as the creature possessed me. “argh!” I cried out in agony, battling with it, surrendering to it in the end. The darkness that was buried within me then surfaced. I was a soul trapped in scum. 

“Hey, what’s going on? Is everything okay?” asked my worried contact. 

“Eddie!” my wife called immediately after. “What’s happening? Are you okay?”

“Yes,” answered a voice that was not my own, “everything’s just fine.”

Continue reading “Darkness”

My website crashed :(

Hey all

Sadly, my website crashed so…looks like I’m starting again from scratch.

(I know, I know, “What, no backup?” Lesson learnt…)

Nonetheless, I always believe in the silver lining so…good opportunity for a cleanup 🙂

Bear with me, though, as I rebuild my new home, one brick at a time.

For now, you can follow my journey by joining Rai’s Insiders.

Raihanaty A. Jalil