Ammani Notebook

Musings of an emigrated writer

Actually two of my WiPs contain visits to Mekkah and Medinah – one has the title of “Dreaming of Medinah”. The other one – which I wrote about last week on my German language blog as both are unfortunately again in German – is at the point, where the two main characters, very different sisters, have gone to visit Medina and among the last sentences I wrote last Thursday was: Tomorrow, Mekkah.

Not two hours later I got a phone call from the local Saudi Embassy and knew that this year, finally, I would be granted a visa for Hadj. Since then I am trying to concentrage, running in circles in order to remember all the essentials.

Living in Jordan you have the choice to travel by plane or over land by bus. I had been thinking about flying rather, I am not getting any younger, but as the visa came late there are waiting lists for the flight tickets plus there is a considerable price difference … so I will take the long road and be able to really feel Medinah and then Mekkah coming closer and closer, inshaAllah.

The above picture was taken by my husband on his last Umrah; I don’t think I will take many pictures, being too busy with more important things.

Thank you for reading; if you like make dua for my Hadj being accepted and my safe return.

Nothing much has been happening on this blog since too long time. My friends know this is mostly due to the fact that I started translating other authors’ books into German language – a work I love but a work that is also time consuming and often leaves me too tired to write a single sentence of my own. But today I got the opportunity to buy the domaine of this blog and then got the drive to make some changes in theme and header and added a galery – check it out, I put some of my Jordan pictures there.

If I can manage I plan to redo some more here and then I hope slowly start filling better content. For those who love my pictures please go to my Jordan-blog, I try to publish the best fotographs there – also a blog that needs a new look, I think.

My Amman Life

Have you heard of The Good Book Shop? TGBS is part bookstore, outdoor cafe, co-work/study lounge, garden and cultural event venue. With its prime location right off Rainbow Street in downtown Jabal Amman, it is an urban getaway for book and coffee loving locals and expats alike.

the good book shop amman

But, besides the obvious of shopping for books, here are just a few other ways to enjoy TGBS:

Read a book

tgbs amman books

Don’t worry, you won’t get in any trouble for reading a book you haven’t purchased, it’s actually encouraged! So stop by, no matter your budget and just enjoy reading at TGBS.

Grab a coffee

coffee the good book shop amman jordan

Is there anything better than a piping hot cup of coffee and a good book? At TGBS you can have both.

Relax outdoors on the garden terrace

outdoor garden the good book shop amman

Day or night, you can cozy up on the garden terrace. Bring your computer along and use it as a…

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ArabLit

A collection of Jordanian short stories (and two novel excerpts) is reviewed in the New York Daily News and on Arab Hyphen:

snowThe collection — Snow in Amman — brings together nine short stories by a varied collection of writers: Samir al-Sharif, Basma el-Nsour, Ahmed Abu Hleiwa, Magdalene Abu el-Rub, Asmaa al-Mallah, Manal Hamdi, Musa Abu Rayash, Khalid Yousef Abu Tamaa, and Julnar Zain. In addition, there are two chapters from celebrated author Elias Farkouh’s novel Asrar Sa’at Al Raml, or Secrets of the Hourglass.

The collection, brought out by Faraxa Publishing, was translated and edited by Ibtihal Mahmood and Alexander Haddad, and opens with an introduction by short-story writer Samir al-Sharif. As Arab Hyphen notes in her review, Jordan is not generally seen as a center of literary production, and this is one of the few Jordan-focused short-story collections available in English.

The collection has not just an unusual grouping…

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I was very pleased when Diane De Bella chose one of my pieces for her anthology. Now it is available not only as ebook, but also in print.

For me, reason to do some advertisement here, because I always doubted I could get anything published in english language.

Thank you, Diane!

ArabLit

It was last November that Adam Talib gave his talk about “Translating for Bigots,” and this May that Africa is a Country wrote about “The Dangers of a Single Book Cover.” There is a lot more to be said about how Arabic literature (in translation) is jacketed, and how this packaging affects how we experience books:

From a slide in the presentation "Translating for Bigots." From a slide in the presentation “Translating for Bigots.”

It’s not only six-year-old children who prefer the taste of foods that are packaged with licensed cartoon characters; adults also perceive a difference in the taste of potato chips depending on the colors on the bag. Although it seems that similar studies haven’t been done on dust jackets, surely it’s a small leap to believe that the outside of a book affects, at least in some way, how we perceive the contents.

That’s the theme — briefly discussed —…

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Yes, back to school it was in October. I did the second level twice, because in winter, first time since I moved to Amman, I caught one bad cold after the other and dropped out at half term. In February, I restarted and now there is only one week left till the final exams. No matter the outcome, it was worth it, but it took more than I had anticipated. Five days a week, three hours – full hours – every morning and a teaching level that is meant to prepare students for entry in university within four semesters. Heavy on grammar, to a point that my arabic family has given up helping me. I enjoy it, although it was often overwhelming and I am all but sure how I will do next week. This morning, I should be studying, but it felt I also should get ready for what comes after that. Not the summer course with the third level, if ever I dare to try that one, I will need a better chance than I would have in the heat and with the month of Ramadan ahead. Maybe in October, or better February again. InshaAllah.

Due to my sickness I spent time cuddling under a blanket on the seat and managed to finish my 2013 NaNo project on time, rewarding me with a paid version of Scrivener. This will be a help to my next big one.

The NaNo project, actually counting close to 80K words, waits for editing during June and July. I chose a more simple story, crime, some interesting background, again in German. With some luck and a lot of work I hope this to be the first one that I will actually be able to publish – or to offer to a publisher, I am still debating with myself about self publishing or not.

August might see me in Europe – which will mean less time and concentration for new writing. But I might do some research for the new one, and maybe for a historical topic I have been playing with recently.

Enough of this talk, I should go back to my grammar. But I hope after this I will make myself blog more – here and on the German sites. Comments and questions are most welcome, I realized that I thrive on feedback.