Monday, November 27, 2006

2nd Arab Film Fest going on at the AANM in Dearborn December 1st-3rd. I want to see I'm not Alone:
World-renowned musician and human rights activist Michael Franti travels to Iraq, Palestine, and Israel with a group of friends, some video cameras and his guitar to explore the human cost of war. Feel the humanity, artistic resilience and the sometimes horrific experience of what it's like to live under the bombs of military occupation.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Soueif article on Palestine

Ahdaf Soueif writes about the place of Palestine in the world in this week's El-Ahram.
The first time I visited Warwick was in the summer of 1985. I visited the Castle and as I walked through the State Rooms and the Towers, I was touched by sadness that what had been a real life, with ambitions and sorrows and loves, with continuity, had become -- merely -- a spectacle for tourists.

Then, I came across the "oubliette". An oubliette is a deep hole in the ground where you throw people who are to be, well, oubliés : forgotten. It was terrifying, in its simplicity, its blatancy, its everydayness. You did not even need great skill to build your own oubliette. And at this point, the fact that the Castle had mutated into a tourist attraction became a comfort. That a life in which balls and banquets or a quiet family evening by the fire could take place while some wretch was forgotten in a hole in the ground not 50 metres away -- that that life had become untenable was OK. It was medieval, I told myself. It was how they did things then. It was over.

How weird, then, how nightmarish, that it isn't over; that we still have oubliettes today

Friday, November 17, 2006

Excuses, excuses

Here are some for why my blog posts have been so infrequent this week:

1. I wrote 4,500 words for a story.
2. I translated a chapter from Daoud's novel.
3. I wrote my first column for Make/Shift magazine.
4. I taught odes to kiddos.
5. It is my son's 10th birthday on Sunday ( I booked him a lane at a bowling alley).

I have a huge dread in the back of my head because I have had no time to brush my hair. But maybe I'll post more next week.

I am having a th'giving feast at my place. Here is the menu so far:

Salad Greens with Pear and Gorgonzola Vinaigrette
Baked Apple and Brie Canapés
Thyme and Rosemary, Brown Sugar Brined Turkey
Roasted Shallot Brown Gravy
Cranberry Pecan Stuffing with Cranberry Relish
Ginger-Cinnamon Maple Sweet Potatoes
Pomegranate Citrus-Cranberry Red Wine Sauce
Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Yeah! I wish my siblings could come and my friends could fly in from Austin and CA and NY. Come!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Speaking too soon since 1978

I am back in love with Ann Arbor.

That was easy!

I think just going to gumball alley and reading on my cold porch and getting cake from the goddess Christine and eating Indian food with my lovely classmates and attending wonderful classes and remembering how lucky I am to be here helped.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Yours Truly in El-Ahram This Week

From the article, Tanks and Stolen Guccis, in this week's El-Ahram:
Randa Jarrar's child-narrator watches women at a checkpoint being strip-searched by Israeli soldiers and wonders why they are forced to remove their shoes. When one woman becomes furious with a soldier, accusing her of stealing her sandals, she shouts, "First my land, now my Guccis. God damn it."

East certainly meets West with the image of the Guccis at the checkpoint and when Randa Jarrar read this story at the South Bank Centre in London, on 14 September 2006, this was the line that got the biggest laugh. It was the first time that most audience members had thought to associate dark humour with the current situation in Palestine.
Umm....I'm blushing. This is too cool.

Odes and Detroit

I've just finished preparing for my creative writing class in Detroit tomorrow. We're going to be writing odes, so I'm bringing in Neruda's odes, and Bishop's "The Fish." And, I put several different cool-feeling items- a Pez dispenser, a mini-football, a water-rocket, a small pointy-haired monster-- in individual parcels, and I'm going to be asking the kids to feel them without looking at them, then write odes about them based on how they feel to the touch. I'm so excited!

Jewish & Palestinian Lit

I read Isaac Babel's "The Story of my Dovecot" this week and my jaw dropped. Why?

1. He writes about studying for his exams in a way I've only seen Arabs talk & write about it.
2. He writes about the list of names that get into "First Class" the way I've only read Palestinians write about it.
3. He writes about the Pogrom the way I've heard and read Palestinians talk& write about '48 and '67
4. He is one of the most brilliant writers I have ever encountered

I plan to explore the connections some more. Meanwhile, I'm writing a response story to it (of course)...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Election + Sunshine

= Aaaah, it's a beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good fucking riddance

To you

and you


borges_psicanalista_medIt's grey again. All around me it's damp and grey and I think the love affair with this place is over.

Three months into it, too-- like clock work.

I feel friendless. Everyone I care about lives far away. And when I remember what my life was like before I moved here, I remember I was unhappy then, too. So, what's the solution? To embrace my sadness? Again?

I'm writing differently the past few months-- starting at Hedgebrook. The collection is dark, and thankfully I am still in love with the stories and the narrators.

Every morning, I turn away all the noises from my real life-- my son's stomache ache two nights ago, my workshop, the weird sounds my car has been making, the rain outside-- and listen to my stories.

As I watch the House and fret about the senate, and read the number of deaths in Iraq and Gaza, I wonder how on earth I can still be self-indulgent as I am, how I can still be annoyed with this pretty, peaceful town.

Oh, yeah...I'm human.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The new Words Without Borders issue focuses on Palestine, and includes fiction by Azmi Bishara, Mahmoud Darwish's diaries, and Adania Shibli's Silence, which I translated.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's a Go

I'm translating Hassan Daoud's novel (see left) for Telegram Books, with a release date very close to my own novel's. So exciting! It's set in Beirut and focuses on a group of teenage boys...

About Hassan Daoud:
Hassan Daoud worked in Beirut as a journalist during the civil war. He has worked as a correspondent for eleven years for the international Arab newspaper “Al-Hayat” which is published in London, writing on social themes, as well as on art and cultural. At present he is the chief editor of “Nawafez” the cultural supplement of the Beirut daily paper “Al-Mustaqbal Daily”. As a writer, he has so far published two volumes of short stories and four novels. His first novel, “Binâyat Mathilde” brings to life the social microcosm of Muslim and Christian tenants who offer shelter to a nameless refugee. Hassan Daoud, who himself grew up in a house in which Muslims, Druzes and Christians, as well as immigrants from Russia and Armenia, all lived together, makes strikingly apparent the background for the disturbance in Lebanese society through the changes in the daily lives of the tenants. Hassan Daoud’s most recent novel, “Makiage khafif lihazihi Allailah” (t: A mild makeup for tonight), appeared in 2003. Daoud lives in Beirut.

thirty eight

I got the directory for my son's school today: I was the only single mom on the first page, and this freaked me out a little, so I went through the entire directory, and found thirty eight other single moms. Yippee!

Last night I went trick or treating with another single mom, and although she's no Erika (my original single mama BFF) it was cool to share the experience with someone I could relate to in that way, who could relate back.

I have had a strange week; I was workshopped on Monday, and many suggestions were helpful, but the majority of them were not suited for the story I was trying to write. Which is fairly typical.

In addition, my family came to visit, which would have been fun had my father been a completely different person. The visit ended with a colossal fight, which opened my eyes and made me realize that I no longer wish to pursue a relationship with him.

And then, I started to think about all the relationships I haven't pursued because of him.

It's amazing that, although I consider myself a strong woman, I've sought my father's approval for so many years. Now, I can choose the mate I want, and continue to live the life I choose.

All in all, a heavy week. And a highly productive one, too...