Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I usually hate commercials, but I love this one

Via Maytha over at Kabobfest

Friday, May 25, 2007

Some Ann Arbor Love

I was driving down Main and saw a guy in cutoff jeans on a bicycle. He was wearing a leather vest, and in the center of the back of the vest was a sign which he'd duct-taped on. It said: STOP Bedwetting. I likes this town.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Short Stories

My plan for the following four weeks is to start revising some of the short stories I wrote last year. There are officially nine of them, and unofficially thirteen. The goal is to have the collection "done" in the coming few months. I'm simultaneously excited and exhausted about this!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Siniora likes Palestinian poetry (but not kids)

A ceasefire has been called by the militants inside the camp, but bombings, bloodshed and bullshit continue in Nahr el Bared. Shame on the Lebanese troops for shelling a camp full of kids and women and innocent men, and shame on Fatah al-Islam for hiding amongst them like the cowards they are.

Dar al-Hayat interviews Fouad Siniora. An excerpt:
I met Fouad Siniora in his hotel suite. He was reading the latest book by poet Mahmoud Darwish, 'Fi Hadret al-Ghiyab' (In The Presence of Absence). I maliciously said that he was trying to navigate in Darwish's beautiful, brilliant and tense vocabulary to forget the terms being repeated in the opposition campaigns against the government and the prime minister. I wished opposition leaders, as well, went to a book fair along with the necessary novels and collections of poems to give the Lebanese people the chance of spending the last summer of President Emile Lahoud's era. Unfortunately, they will not. It seems that the Lebanese people are called on to spend the summer on a razor's edge, just to use a euphemism.

UPDATE: What happens when refugees seek refuge from refugee camps???

Sunday, May 20, 2007

RAWI Love-- In which I gush about the conference

RAWI 2007
This year's Radius of Arab American Writers conference was dazzling, inspiring, and nourishing on every level. Nestled in the heart of Dearborn, the Arab American National Museum provided the perfect venue. The panels were diverse, informative, and fun, covering everything from the halals and haraams of publishing, cyberspace, and the Arab American novel.

The readings were brilliant: Naomi Shihab Nye, Rabih Alameddine, DH Melhem, Fadhil Azzawi, Marian Haddad, Fady Joudah, Pauline Kaldas, and Deema Rashid, and many other poets shared the stage in the modern and gorgeous auditorium. Rola Nashef's short film, Detroit Unleaded, exceeded all my expectations, and my son is now officially in love with cinema. The theatrical performances by the wondrous Leila Buck and Natalie Handal, among others, were amazing. And the food was good, too.

All in all, an excellent, fabulous conference. I can't wait until 2009... and if you missed it this year, make sure you come next time. Being a writer is an isolated business; it's easy to slip into thinking that you are the only (Arab American) writer on earth. Conferences like RAWI provide a reality check and a spiritual, and creative, catharsis. At some point last night, after dancing for three hours with academics, poets, playwrights, and professors, I stepped out for some air and heard Egyptian pop blaring out of an SUV on a nearby street. I can only explain what I felt as a homecoming. What a weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


It's on. Naomi Shihab Nye and Rabih Alameddine read today, and rocked the house. The next couple days it's panels, more readings, screenings, and general fun.

Zeitgeist Reading Rocked

At the Zeitgeist ReadingHayan and organizer before the readingit was so much fun!Hayan reads a brilliant series of poems

The audience was great, the space blew my mind, and Hayan read a brilliant selection of new and old poems. It was so much fun, I want to read there again and again.

Duck & Herring

The Duck & Herring Co. has a new website. They're an awesome literary magazine...every single issue is funny, smart, and good. I highly recommend a subscription, and if you write, a submission.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Maps of War," Maps of Home

I have a friend, an Iraqi, who was a civil engineer in Baghdad until work dried up in 1992. He worked as a driver through more than a decade until, in 2005, he left Iraq to brush up on his field in a graduate program. Shortly after his arrival in the US, I brought a map of Baghdad with me to meet him at a coffee shop. I wanted him to help me clear up what seemed to be some inaccuracies in the map.

I laid the map out and his eyes sort of glazed over. He looked at the map as if he had never seen a map of Baghdad before.

He hadn't.
Read the rest here.

[Thanks to Michelle for the link!]

Monday, May 14, 2007

Reading @ The Zeitgeist This Wednesday, 5/16

Hey Guys:
On May 16th, the night before the RAWI conference officially starts, Arab American writers Hayan Charara and Randa Jarrar will read together in Detroit, at the Zeitgeist Gallery.

Charara is the author of two poetry books, The Alchemist's Diary and The Sadness of Others, and editor of the forthcoming anthology Contemporary Arab American Poetry. Jarrar is the author of the novel A Map of Home. Her award-winning fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Her translations from Arabic into English are also widely published. A native of Detroit, Charara now lives in Texas. Jarrar, a long-time resident of Texas, now lives in Michigan.

The reading is smoke-free and admission free, though donations are accepted, and wine will be served for a fee.

In addition to readings, the Zeitgeist Gallery also features artwork and stages theatrical productions.

The Zeitgeist is located at 2661 Michigan Avenue, Detroit MI.

For more information, please visit:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mama's Day!

I've been a Mama for a decade. It's been good and bad, fun and boring, lovely and annoying. I love my kid and I can't stand him, I adore him and I abhor him. Ah, motherhood.

We went to an outdoor science center this morning and saw a bunch of owls. That's when I found out that, since they are nocturnal, they shut down one side of their brain and one of their eyes during the day, and they keep the other side, and the other eye, open. Sometimes that's what being a single mom is like. You're asleep and awake, half young chica, half old mom lady. And I like it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Superheroes and Detroit Kids

I taught my last official class in Detroit today. I had the kids do a bunch of exercises, one of them about their favorite superhero. I told them to write what their powers would be if they themselves were superheroes. "Who would your arch nemesis be?" I said. And one of the kids, without delay, shouted, "Michael Jackson!"

I'm gonna miss them.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sinan Antoon

I got a copy of Antoon's I'jaam from City Lights in SF last week. It's recommended from Etel Adnan, Saadi Youssef, and Chris Abani, and I can't wait to read it. From the back cover: "An inventory of the General Security headquarters in central Baghdad reveals an obscure manuscript. Written by a young man in detention, the prose moves from prison life, to adolescent memories, to frightening hallucinations, and what emerges is a portrait of life in Saddam Hussein's Iraq."

Back to the real world

The reading rocked. People enjoyed the new story, and I loved hanging in California. Right now I have a bunch of books face down a few pages in: Jeanette Winterson's The Passion, Coetzee's Disgrace, Salter's A Sport and a Pastime, and Felicia Luna Lemus's Like Son. Will I actually finish any of them? Who knows.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

On Romance

Still in CA, which is beautiful. Having fun, but wanted to drop in and help an anonymous googler who searched: "HOW DO YOU SPELL LOVE SUCKS IN ARABIC" and came to my blog. I can't find a way to write in Arabic Script on the blog right now, but the way to say it is "El-'Hubb biy-muS." Have fun!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Stanford Reading

IMG_4233IMG_4235I loved reading with Mohja. California rocks!