'Reverie' by Fatema Johra
letter from the editors
Welcome to the second issue of Overtly Lit! We hope this issue finds you in your favourite reading chair with your curiosity ready to be satiated. This issue took us longer to get out into the world than we planned because well, life, as always, finds a way to throw unexpected and expected things at us all. But as the standard of talent in our wonderful contributors continues to impress us, we believe this issue is definitely worth the wait!
We’re proud to share the second instalment of Leila Aboulela’s agony aunt column. With her Islamic minded approach she has shared some wonderfully wise advice that anyone can find value in. Leila writes of being conscious of the beauty of helping others while also knowing when to put your own needs and wants first.
There are short stories to get lost in, taking you to a world of outlawed magic in Lisa Voorhees’ ‘The Windmill of Hartbruck’, or an unforgettable and unexpected mother-daughter adventure in Neena Halle’s ‘The Pursuit at Dawn’. In these, as well as the other stories, we love how faith was so naturally a part of the characters' lives.
Faith is an ongoing journey, a personal relationship, not only with something we believe in outside of ourselves but also when reflecting within. There are essays that demonstrate this self-reflection, such as ‘Learning to Unlearn’ by Aini Butt. This is extended into reflecting on former generations and humanity as a whole in Morning-meadow Jones’ piece ‘My People Hurt People’.
It’s important to recognise trauma and pain in our lives and of those around us, and the way it connects to faith itself. Kristen Kareem shares her personal story of a difficult labour experience and the important role faith played in helping her through in ‘The Opening and Birthing’. Hazel J. Hall’s ‘The Wall in My Therapist’s Office’ is a poignant look at dealing with one’s own difficulties amidst the cruelty of the world.
Art, stories and essays help us make sense of the world and of our own experiences. They help us share a sense of hope with others. This issue does all of that, with elements of faith braided in, as in life. We hope you’ll find something to relate to, to lift you or to make you feel seen within these pages.
love, Safiya & Madeehah
I find it hard to say no to people when they ask for my help with their creative projects, even when I know I’ll be stretching myself. If I can be helpful to other people then I want to be so and I believe that Allah helps those who helps others. But there are times when I’ve said yes to too many things and I overwhelm myself and in order to meet all the commitments I’ve made, I end up neglecting my own creative projects. Part of why I don’t want to say no to people is that I don’t want to offend anyone or for them to feel like they couldn’t ask me again in the future and I also don’t want to be left with feelings of guilt. How can I go about saying no when I need to?
Note: issue 2 artwork is best viewed as PDF format
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