Guess Who’s Back? I dunno. I was listening to Eminem yesterday (while working out, don’t judge!) and it seemed fitting.

So, since I can’t go back to sleep after fajr (early morning prayer) and it’s technically not a work day (though I did work yesterday, on a Saturday, yes!), I figured it’s high time to actually blog. I could continue to re-post content, but I met a nice young lady the other day at a party who asked about my writing and I thought: “Oh yeah, I write, don’t I?”

So, here I am… writing… something.

I have written since my last post. And no, I’m not talking about writing emails. I’ve actually written a paper and a book review, and even a blog post. But they’re not exactly for a general audience, so I’ve been reluctant to share it freely with others. Also, the latter two are drafts waiting for review.

That reminds me. Another reason why I’ve not blogged here in a while is because I got a(nother) job. I haven’t even Netflix-ed in what seems like weeks, because I literally feel like I’ve been working all day! I’ve pretty much work been working through breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the past couple of weeks. Hopefully, the working through dinner thing will end soon. And then, maybe, I’ll blog more frequently.

But who knows.

My end of the blogosphere has seemed to die… or taken a nap (I really gotta stop with the histrionics. I’ll never be a Broadway actress. Rafia, give it up). I bet all my blogger friends also have a life and stuff. But like, when all your emails are newsletters you signed up for and random solicitations, your zest for blogging just dissipates. Not getting an email notification for the blogs I follow makes me forget that I too used to blog at one point.

Another reason – and this is not at all a valid one –  one of my many quirks is that whenever I go on a hiatus (whether intended or not), when I do eventually come back, I feel this compulsive need to hit restart. If I’m feeling particularly drastic, that means a new blog with a new title. If I’m lazy and cautious, a new layout. I’ve been feeling frustrated with these free WordPress themes for a while now. I don’t think it’s smart at this point (or ever!) to switch to a paid platform (I’m sorry, but 115 followers on FB does not merit becoming a full-time blogger. And also, I will die (sorry!) quit blogging before I willingly puts ads on my site). I thought I’d get some web developer to design a custom theme for me. He quoted me at over 600 bucks. That is when I politely said “Quda Hafiz.”

So, I was back to square one, but with an even more persistent desire for change. After playing with a few themes (again), I decided to change the font on this one this morning… and saw that it could work. I am neither as talented nor creative as my sister. So, I quickly made this header and decided, “let’s just do it.” A lack of sleep and the need to extricate oneself of a compulsion can do this to a person. I know everyone loved the previous layout because of that beautiful header. If I could somehow keep the header and change the theme, I would. BUT WORDPRESS, OKAY?????

As I said, this is one of my (many) inexplicable quirks. And if you’re reading my words, you have to accept whatever oddities come with.

So, I guess I’m back.

What’s in a name? I don’t know, Shakespeare, you tell me!

 

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An early morning contemplative cow

Sometimes I wonder whether Cake & Cows is too limiting of a blog name for me and my writing.

I’ve created – albeit a very minuscule one – a brand for my online “presence.” Most days, I like it. I am just as crazy and whimsical as the name would suggest. That dressing up as a cow two weeks ago was not merely for the hits (if I really cared about that, why would I dress up as a cow?). But I won’t lie and write that it wasn’t the PERFECT fodder for this blog, either :)

I have come across blogs that are super serious and deeply personal and I applaud these writers for their bravery. Perhaps I’m just too wary of being that open with potentially the rest of the world. It’s not a bad thing to be cautious, it’s actually very wise at times, but I wonder if my Desiness has anything to do with it ;) Log Kya Kahenge?

But sometimes, I do wish that I could write as openly as these writers. There’s just something about publishing (whether through a third-party or self-publishing) that makes one’s thoughts and struggles seem more valid. I am not saying they are – we all got our struggles and if you are not aware of this, then your humanity is severely deficient. It’s just that human beings want to be acknowledged. Finding a community outside of one’s physical one, which is not always so accepting, is one of the great joys of living in the digital age.

I am blessed to have people in my life that I can speak to about these personal matters, but I do not feel “complete” unless I have written. I don’t mean complete as in “whole,” more like “done,” if that makes sense. Is this the performer in me seeking self-aggrandizement? Does this idea resonate with anyone? Perhaps other writers?

I don’t know.

I guess, cows don’t always have to be silly. You know, cows are actually really intelligent, contemplative animals. Have you ever been to a dairy farm? A very deep experience!

LOL at myself.

I am not changing the name of this blog, alright? I like the alliterative feel of it way too much. Also, my love for cows has just skyrocketed in the past year or so, I don’t think I could find a replacement.

Still, sometimes Rafia is not just a silly little cow. Sometimes, she is a very deep and serious cow. That is all I wanted to say. And it only took me 400 words to say it! :)

1 Reason Why I Hate Listicles

  1. Because they are stupid and useless.

God, if I see another listicle being posed as writing, I swear I’m going to… blog about it!

I’ve always known I’m an oddball. I was that one kid who couldn’t wait for recess to end so that I could go back inside the classroom.

I’m still like that to this day. Generally, I don’t really care for things others rave about. If someone tells me something is SOOO GOOD, I end up regretting listening to said person. There are, of course, exceptions to this: The Lord of The Rings really was SOOO GOOD. So, it’s not like I’m not willing to be wrong.

I don’t know why I am the way I am. Is it because I like to consider myself different OR have I learned to embrace my difference? Or maybe I’m just… difficult.

But that could be its own post. Let’s get back to listicles.

I HATE LISTICLES! And we’re seeing them everywhere! Even really nice people, whom I have nothing against otherwise, are doing it. I feel like I’m the loser kid with no friends again. The blogosphere was my one refuge on this planet. But it’s changed. It’s changed oh so much. And I’m not entirely sure I like this change.

My hatred for listicles, however, goes deeper than the form itself. It’s what they represent. Facile, one-size-fits-all solutions to problems, some of which are legitimate and others which are not. I’m sorry, but “38 different lipstick shades you absolutely MUST try this spring” does not need to exist. I only have one lipstick, which I took from my sister by the way, and you know what? I’m fine.

You might say, “Well, you’re being a hypocrite, because I saw you liking that one article on Brain Pickings about Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 rules for writing.”

Okay, touche.

But you know what? He’s Kurt Vonnegut. He’s earned that right!

I suppose, in the end, it’s just a matter of different tastes and I have to accept that. But the more I see and observe of the world, the more I wish I could go back to class.

[End of Rant]

Dear Readers: If this is the first post of mine you’re reading, I promise, I’m a really nice person usually. But we all have those days, right? And what’s a blog for if you’re only showing the happy-go-lucky side of life, eh?

Happy Birthday to Cake & Cows! A blog CAN actually make dreams come true

Though I am physically feeling unwell, today is a happy day otherwise*. And since I can’t really do anything else and don’t really take naps, I figured I’d blog.

Today marks the day that Cake & Cows first graced the blogosphere with its presence. Quite like myself, Cake & Cows was the child I could not have foreseen (or planned for), and yet brings me such joy that I can’t imagine my life without it.

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I want to, again, thank you, my readers – some of whom have become my friends – for giving me the encouragement to not put this blog on hiatus and eventually delete it, as I did with my previous blogs. As I said before, even if this blog had no readership, I’d still write. In fact, my journal would probably be filled by now. There’s a certain joy however that comes from knowing that what you’ve written will be read. To learn that my blog has actually made people laugh and reflect? It’s like my dreams of being a comedienne and philosopher have come true! I’m like Steve Martin Heidegger.

As a token of appreciation, I’ll give you one more thing to read ;) You know that short story I wrote that I alluded to months ago? It’s finally been published by Blue Minaret! I got the email yesterday. In the midst of pain, it was just the thing I needed. So if you’re interested, please read my story “The Family Stories We Tell Ourselves.” If it’s not already clear, this is my first short story, but I welcome constructive criticism nonetheless. Who knows, maybe I can write fiction? But if I can’t, let me know; it’s better that we nip it in the bud.

Also yesterday, I got a call from Simon & Shuster!

No, it wasn’t to say they wanted to publish my-yet-to-be-completed memoir. A girl can dream though! I had signed up for a free self-publishing guide I stumbled upon. Apparently, they are very serious about helping authors self-publish. The publishing consultant and I talked about my motivations for writing and a bit about my memoir. She’ll be checking in on my progress every 6 weeks until I am ready to publish. Wow. While we were talking, publishing actually felt like a reality. If that’s the case, I better get to writing! She recommended at least 20-30 minutes each day. I was really encouraged by this talk. If you’re an aspiring author like myself, check this link out. And when you get that unknown call and actually happen to pick up that day because you’re not feeling your usual paranoid and/or asocial self and then hear “Simon & Shuster,” it’ll be the greatest thing you’ve heard all day. You can tell people “I got a call from Simon & Shuster” and provide no further context :) Sounds pretty awesome, eh?

It’s kind of weird how all these things converged together around the same time. Of course, I’m always reading into signs that could just be coincidence. But I don’t know if it is. My blog reaches a milestone that no other blog of mine has, the short story that I thought would never see the light of day is actually published, I get encouragement to continue with my memoir from SIMON & SHUSTER! Sorry, I’m still reveling in the fact that someone from Simon & Shuster called me!

Feeling like a true-blue writer might actually be the best treat I could get for this special day – but I’ll take the cake, too ;)

*It’s also my dad’s birthday today. One could argue that if it weren’t for him (and my mom… and God), none of this blog stuff would have even been possible, because, like, I wouldn’t exist.

I bought myself a domain & other things

You may have noticed that my URL has changed. As of this morning, Cake & Cows’s permanent home address is now officially cakeandcows.org. I know .ORGs are typically reserved for non-profit organizations, but why are .COMs accepted as the default? Don’t they signify companies? In that case, I’d much rather be an organization, Canadian socialist that I am.

I resisted buying a domain for so long. You might even say this move was 13 years in the making. The main reason I resisted is because I didn’t feel like my blog was worthy of a domain. Domains are not free and while I understand that I live in a capitalist society, I don’t believe in buying things just because I can. I do believe that certain things (like my new not-a-tote tote) are investments, but I wasn’t sure my blog was. In the 13 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve been through the following names: Precious Barnacles, Precious, Whimsical, The Indecisive Planner – and those are just the names I can remember! If I bought a domain for Cake & Cows, would I regret it because the second I did the fickle pickle that I am would want to change the name to something like Ruff Draft?

I actually thought of this name the other day and was like “DAMN, that’s a good blog name!” I spend a lot of time thinking of names for things.

I’ve been different lately. It might be the hormones. But in the past week or so, I’ve been more impulsive. Usually, being impulsive is NOT a good thing. But I’ve spent a good deal of my life always second-guessing myself that maybe I’ve just gotten sick of it? I really don’t know what’s gotten into me.

I know that something is off though (and “off” in this case might not necessarily be a bad thing) because I kinda-sorta asked my way onto a panel. Yes, you read that right! Shy old Rafia who is afraid of public-speaking asked to speak in public! Did I really do that? Such hubris for me to think that people want to hear me talk! I’m going to regret this, aren’t I? 

I’ve been reading this self-help book that I received as a gift from a friend called The Artist’s Way. While I must admit some of the exercises were a little too new-age for me, I trudged through to the end. I didn’t gain any valuable writing instruction, but I did come away from my reading with greater confidence in my artistic interests, if you will. In the course of one particular exercise in the book, I realized something about myself: my deepest and most secret desire is to be on the stage!

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Not sure what I was doing here – pretending to be Mickey The Director’s Muse or something.

WHAT? It all makes sense now. All the fireplace singing and dancing that I used to do as a little girl! THAT’S ME! What happened? Where did that girl go? The Artist’s Way told me to unleash my inner child artist. And I guess that’s what I’ve done, unconsciously.

I think I have a tendency to shoot myself in the foot before I even get started. I have these whimsical visions, but then I hear those voices in my head and ultimately choose to play it safe. But maybe I’m not as bad/foolish/unworthy/etc. as I think I am? I guess that also partly motivated my decision to finally buy the domain. A domain, in a way, is taking ownership of this blog. It’s like saying, “I’m not going to give up on you. You are mine. You are a part of me. You deserve to exist. You deserve to flourish.”

[End Scene]