Fred Howard of NAMI Mercer Just Friends social group for adults age 30+ got me a huge sheet cake that had my name (Ayesha) on it for the Halloween party on October 31st 2015. Again for my 35th birthday a small group of ten people, including Fred, Lori Ann and I celebrated on January 30th 2016. I had another smaller circle cake that said Happy Birthday Ayesha! Fred made my day so special and Fred even said he would contact Maddy Monheit to have my pictures from my birthday lunch at The Olive Garden and the Halloween party (graduation theme) in the next NAMI Mercer newsletter. I wore my lovely delicate Sophia Loren eyeglasses I got at the Walmart Vision Center back in 2011 to my 35th birthday luncheon. The pictures came out really good on Jessica Wu and on Libby’s phones. I am ditching my old Samsung camera and going to buy a nice cell phone that I can take pictures with. I need to get with the times. Everybody takes pictures with their phones nowadays. This year for my 35th birthday Louise and someone else in Just Friends social group told me they tell people they know what a beautiful African American woman I am. I felt so good to be complimented by Louise who I’ve know for just under 10 years and I forgot who else gave me a similar compliment but it made my 35th birthday the best birthday ever!
I took two semesters of Memoir Workshop with Dr. Edi Giunta in my last two semesters at NJCU. I kept my process journals from her classes. After her classes were over I kept writing. I recently filled three process journals (three Composition notebooks). Edi was my favorite professor at NJCU. She has had such a positive effect on my life. I’ve been to her house where I met her husband who is an NJCU English professor too for the first time Josh Fausty. I’d only heard of Josh Fausty until Memoirfest that December 2014. When I shared at Memoirfest in December 2014 and May 2015 it was Josh Fausty, Edi Giunta and my peers who responded positively. I want to write a full two hundred page book length memoir I call, Memories of Me. One of my best poems that got featured on www.poetrysoup.com is called “Me. A poem about my illness”. I remember that book Black Like Me by an author I cannot name. I am so greatful to Edi Giunta. I was one of very few African American students in her class and yet she chose my memoir(she affectionately calls my Schizophrenia autobiography) out of all of her students’s memoirs two semesters in a row. Edi says my memoir writing style is idiosyncratic. It was me, Ayesha Karim, that Edi Giunta chose to support and invest her time and attention in both semesters I took her for Memoir Workshop and Advanced Memoir Workshop . Thank you Edi, a Sicilian American and an Italian American woman memoirist and English professor. I became an African American woman writer at the age of 33. I’m 35 now and I’ve started writing my Schizophrenia autobiography (my memoir) . I am an NJCU alumna! How awesome. How cool. I feel part of the NJCU community more now than ever before because I took Memoir my last two semesters at NJCU with Edi.
I have my first assignment to complete by February 22, 2016 for my Children’s Writer Course at the Institute of Children’s Literature. My instructor’s name is Pamela Beres. I always wanted to become a Children’s book author. I am taking this course so that I have the best shot at becoming a Children’s book author. An NJCU alumna recently was in the spotlight for creating her book Ibby’s feelings a book for children. She was pictured outside of the Weiss Center. She has the same major as me but she minored in Media Arts though.
I contacted Chris KP Brown of twopensandlint.com a Chapbook publisher the other day and sealed a deal to have my first Chapbook, Through Ayesha’s Eyes published by him. The small fee of two hundred and fifty dollars paid in two monthly installments of $125 on his website via Paypal includes 100 copies of my Chapbook, a bio, a webpage and more. I am so excited to give my family and my friends at NAMI Mercer a copy to read. Robert Hedden is going to be one of the first people I sign a copy of my Chapbook to and give one to. I’m going to announce it on Facebook next month once I have my Chapbook created and the 100 copies of it and the other goodies that come with it like my own personal webpage and bio.
I rank number 9 out of 100 for Writing and Editing professionals on LinkedIn. I just checked a minute ago. I’m happy to be number 9 out of 100!
I went to Cave Canem last Fall of 2015 by train for all 8 sessions including the Final Reading, the last session. This Spring of 2016 I did not get in but Cave Canem said they would get back to me if someone cancels or if somehow a space opens up and if a space opens up I plan to go. The first session is on February 17, 2016 and the Final Reading is on April 13, 2016. I may be able to get in if someone cancels and a space opens up. I hope I can go to this Spring 2016 poetry workshop somehow.
I have a file on my computer called Through Ayesha’s Eyes: a Chapbook of poems. I have twenty-one poems so far. I want to have like twenty-five poems for my Chapbook. In six months I see myself finding a Chapbook publisher. I am looking into Chapbook publishers and Chapbook contests in the next six months.