Hanan Hazime, Artist – Toronto

Hanan Hazime is a multidisciplinary artist, community arts educator, and writing facilitator living in Toronto. She has a M.A. in English Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Windsor. Her writing and art aim to empower Muslim women, individuals with mental illness, and BIPOC youth. Her debut poetry chapbook Aorta was published by ZED Press in April 2018. She is working on her first novel. Her work is currently on display in the 2018 Rendezvous With Madness Festival exhibition Bursting Bubbles: Creating Context for Evolving Solitudes at the Toronto Media Arts Centre.

1. Books

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one can never have enough books — new books, old books, big books, small books, paperback books, hardcover books, deckle-edged books, tear-stained books, tea-stained books, fiction books, non-fiction books, textbooks, poetry books, science books, horror books, fantasy books, romance books, books about birds, books about faeries, books with gold spines, books with ripped edges, blue books, green books, picture books, short books, long books, thin books, thick books, light books, heavy books, shiny books, dusty books…

2. Lavender

What’s not to love about lavender? While writing this list, I am inhaling the soothing scent of lavender as it emanates from my incense stick. Lavender’s sweet fragrance induces a sense of tranquility and peace, and its luscious taste is delectable in drinks and desserts. A favourite dessert of mine is lavender-lemon cake. I also enjoy lavender infused lemonade and lavender tea. My body wash and shampoo are both lavender scented. I keep a bottle of lavender oil in my purse for aromatherapy on the go. Sometimes I place a bag of dried lavender under my pillow at night to use as a sleep aid. You could say I’m quite enamoured with lavender. I don’t have any pets at the moment, but if I were to get a kitten, I’d probably name her Lavender.

3. Dead leaves

“It is not everyone,” said Elinor, “who has your passion for dead leaves.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Like Marianne Dashwood, I am absolutely enthralled by the beauty of dead and dying leaves. It is delightful to watch the autumn trees as they exchange their green garments for robes of orange, yellow, red, and gold. Then, just as they are at their brightest, most vibrant hue, they must learn to let go and bid their glorious leaves farewell. Their naked branches will stand firm in the face of winter snowstorms, and when spring arrives they will grow new leaves. As I watch the dying leaves, I am reminded that life is ephemeral, loss is inevitable, and that if I remain resilient and patient, I too can muster the courage and strength to survive the harsh, dark days of winter; I too can start anew in the spring.

4. The ocean

When I saw the ocean for the first time, I cried. Seeing the sublimity of the ocean was a transcendental experience. In that awe-inspiring moment, I finally understood what Maulana Jalaluddin Rūmī meant when he said: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.” The ocean not only enchants my soul, it fills my heart with serenity and joy. Unfortunately, as I’m currently living in Toronto, I am quite far from the coast. Perhaps I was a mermaid in a past life because the ocean’s infinite blue still beckons me from miles away. Last summer, I collected several stones from Newfoundland’s Middle Cove beach. Some are nestled on my shelf between books and others I gave as gifts to friends. I keep one stone in my purse so as to remain connected to the ocean at all times.

5. Persian ice cream

Bastani Sonnati is an Iranian dessert that takes ice cream and makes it infinitely better by adding saffron, rose water, and pistachios. The ice cream is also occasionally garnished with almonds, pistachios, pomegranates, cinnamon, and other spices. One of my best friends says, “it’s like eating perfume,” but I beg to differ. The rich, floral flavours make this treat divine. You have to try it!