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June 27, 2022

The BookLife Review of A Piece of Me praises Ahmad for debuting “with a memorable blend of poetry and prose describing life as a Muslim immigrant in the United States” that offers “gripping revelations and thought-provoking insight.” We spoke with Ahmad about weaving of poetry and prose together with his hope for a better future for humanity.

How did A Piece of Me come together?

An unplanned moment of destiny dawned in 2013 with my first piece of writing, “The Optimist.” Over the next decade, I kept writing and publishing these pieces. Finally, in 2021, I gathered them in book form. True to that first writing, I strive for a better common future for the human race through our refinement as individuals, people, and societies. The book presents other perspectives: “I never looked at it this way” is what I have heard from several readers. Another reader wrote, “I finished it and then immediately read it again, but this time as part of my daily meditation, reading just one entry in the morning before I started working.”

I do not believe in absolute wrong or right or black or white. A Piece of Me starts by accepting that no position I ever take can be 100% correct. There is always another side. The book dissects several gray areas and our shared responsibility for realizing and fixing them.

Why did you decide to mix poetry and prose?

I let the writing take the form it wants to. Each piece is a character, and I let it decide how it wants to express itself. Sometimes, if we were both unsure, I would try to dress it up in different ways to see how it reads best. For some, I would try to build like a symphony toward its grand climax. Others, I would leave standing as a still pond. The Quran and the poet philosopher Dr. Allama Iqbal, my inspiration, have plenty of rhythm to their writings, so often my prose has some rhythm to it too.

How did you refresh your memories when writing about events that happened years ago?

Some memories never fade. For others, I would ask family and friends so that I could get all the help I needed to refresh my thoughts.

Why do you think A Piece of Me is particularly relevant now?

For a book under 200 pages, A Piece of Me covers a lot of ground. An interesting phenomenon is that all of the reviews of A Piece of Me have written about the book from different angles. The book impressed something different upon each reader. At its heart, the book is inclusive of all. There is something in its pages for just about everyone; thus, in these our most inclusive times yet, the real question is, how can A Piece of Me not be relevant now? And not just now, for I believe the book will stay relevant in times to come as it pursues understanding, connection, and convergence.

What’s next for you?

The human state of self-depreciation bothers me. I celebrate its camaraderie and togetherness. I ask difficult questions and seek their answers, though sometimes just asking questions is enough. For me, writing is a responsibility. What am I saying and how am I saying it? Is my writing conveying my point of view in an honest and respectable manner? The written word is my legacy, which will outlive me.

I enjoy writing and my day job as a physician. The latter, however, takes precedence. When families trust me with their heart health, it becomes a distinct responsibility and honor. With the positive response and success I have had with A Piece of Me, I continue to write, and whenever I have enough work for another book, I will bring it out. I plan on enjoying the journey just as much as reaching the destination.