Quincy News

From Scribbler to Author: Retired Quincy physician releases new book of poetry, short stories

Zakiah Sayeed Ali poses with her book, 'GŸlistan: A Home of Flowers', on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. This is her second published book, which she expresses her perspective of the world through poetry. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
Katelyn Metzger1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 19, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Even as a child, Zakiah Sayeed Ali was always a scribbler.

"As a young girl, I would write on these little scraps of paper," Sayeed Ali said. "I would write little snippets. Now, I write when sleep eludes me or when something inspires me to jot down some things that I see during the day."

Today, this self-described scribbler is a twice-published author. Her latest work, "Gulistan: A Home of Flowers," is an autobiographical and fictional collection of poems and narratives that Sayeed Ali hopes will help to preserve the India that she knew as a child. The book was published in March. It is available online through both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

"India has been transformed," said Sayeed Ali, who grew up in the southern region of the Asian country and immigrated to the United States in 1967 as a young adult following her medical school graduation. "When I grew up there, it was a simple place. I lived in a simple town. The people there had, and still have, a love in their eyes for one another, but India has become more westernized. Young students today try to emulate western culture more and more. India though still tugs at my heart."

As was the case with many Americans during the same era, Sayeed Ali said she grew up in a household that had one telephone and one car in the driveway. Today, the driveways of homes in her native country and her home city of Quincy are filled with multiple vehicles and within the homes are numerous cellphones and telephones.

"It has all changed," Sayeed Ali said.

Sayeed Ali moved to Quincy in 1978 to open her practice following her years as a resident and fellow at a St. Louis area hospital. She would retire as a family medicine physician in 2007.

Throughout her years as a physician, Sayeed Ali continued to write down poems and anecdotes about life in India and in America. Many of those poems and anecdotes are found in the 180-page book, "Gulistan: A Home of Flowers."

"There are poems about children of war, of love and romance, and stories about my childhood and life here," Sayeed Ali said. She acknowledges that her poems are not rhyming poems, but poems that take on a different form. There is also a juxtaposition within her book that Sayeed Ali said was difficult to balance.

"On one page there may be a funny story about what my grandson said then on the next page there is a poem about the children in Syria," Sayeed Ali said. "It is a difficult balance, but when you see children with vacant eyes like theirs on the news, then something tugs at your heart and your empathy requires you to do something."

The name for her newest book echoes the sentiment that her father expressed that each of his five children were flowers and as such his home was a home of flowers.

Fresh off of the heels of her second book's release, Sayeed Ali continues to be a writer and may consider writing a third book. Her first book, "Stray Thoughts, Winged Words," was released in 2012.

"Perhaps I will," Sayeed Ali said. "I would like to write for as long as I can."

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