Monday, December 04, 2006


I'm getting together an application to go to Ramallah this summer. The goal is to do research for a second novel, partly set in the West Bank, and to find cool poetry/short stories to translate. While there, I'll also volunteer to teach a short creative writing class for children.

I've been thinking a lot lately about all the family I have that I don't stay in contact with, or just haven't seen in 10-15 years because of the fact that I left to the US and never went back to Jordan/Jenin. I miss my uncles and my aunts and my cousins.

Part of being an independent woman-- which for me means, "I can live however I want, be whomever I want, and write whatever I want" -- has translated loosely to "Goodbye, y'all!" Which is really too bad. I grew up seeing what staying in with family did to women-- they didn't divorce people they should have divorced, they didn't follow a dream they wished they could follow-- but in my determination I forgot what they got out of it: a sense of closeness, wholeness, and belonging, things I am sorely lacking. I am feeling that lack right now, especially since I am in a new town, without any of the friends I once relied on to be family.

On top of all that, I just miss Palestine! I miss the way the air smelled at dusk-- like cooking, trees, and burning trash-- and I miss the way people speak to each other. I find myself sometimes turning away from the news-- someone else died? More checkpoints? That wall is no joke?-- and I want to see the sufferning first-hand and write about it.

And I want to share who I've become with my old family, the people who shaped me even if they don't know they did.


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