Sunday, March 30, 2008

Silko on Guns

Women's History Month is drawing to a close, and I want to make sure to celebrate it before it goes. Read Leslie Marmon Silko's essay, "In the Combat Zone." It may convince you to buy a .22.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm Developing the Perfect Plot for a Palestinian Sitcom

An article about a Nablus "dream" house, from the BBC:
Less than a month after it was finished, Mr Nasif says Israeli troops banged on the door and came in with dogs and guns... they took control... of the house and used it as a base and observation post as the army invaded Nablus.
"They stuck maps on the wall in my living room and brought computers to make the room like a control room." They stayed for over a month.
This has apparently been happening for over six years. Some one HAS to make a sitcom about this. It would be fucking hilarious. Tony Chalhoub can play Mr. Nasif, and Goddess, I mean, Kathy Najimy can be his wife. Apparently, 22 people live in this house, including "his five children and 73-year-old mother." Can you say awesome opportunity for cameos? I can totally see a brunette Britney cameoing as a naughty Palestinian teenager. And Zack and Cody can play all the kids in the house. And Dan Hedaya would be an Israeli commando. Maybe he can fall in love with the 73-year-old grandma. She can be played by Bea Arthur! I will totally develop this for Fox. Call me, people.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Trip

I'm going to the London Book Fair in three weeks courtesy of Saqi/Telegram Books. I'll be doing a panel on Arabic translation with Hassan Daoud and Andre Gaspard, the publisher of Saqi, and meeting my US and German publishers face to face for the first time. I'm also hanging out with Selma Dabbagh, a really kick-ass Anglo-Arab writer who just finished her 1st novel. I'm so excited about this trip, and about meeting all these cool people. If you're a London reader, or just a lover of London, and know of some must-see places for me to visit, drop me a line!

Now Reading: Hiroshima

John Hersey's amazing narrative follows six survivors of the bomb. (It was originally published in the New Yorker as a stand-alone piece, with no other articles or ads.)

The human mind seems to be unable to grasp such a huge event, and I don't think I've ever been able to imagine what it was like in the aftermath. I love the book because it shows in detail how people picked up the pieces and what it means to survive.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Haikuish: My Boyfriend Talks to Our Cat, Mahatma Boots, on St.Patty's Day

“Tonight,” he said, “You’re
McMahatma. Militant
Irish Republican.”

Arab-American playwrights

I recently read, and loved, Betty Shamieh's play "Chocolate in Heat." It defied all my expectations. You can find an excerpt of it in Shattering the Stereotypes:Muslim Women Speak Out.

One Long Winter

It's grey and ice-drizzly here, and last night, we got some snow. I'm starting to feel like a weather gynecologist. Not another pussy? Not another snowflake! Not another 30 degree day! Not another cloud! It makes for good reading days, and snuggling with the boyfriend days, but I'm really really looking forward to Summer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gaitskill and Rand

I'm reading and really digging Two Girls Fat and Thin, though I have reservations about the opening section. One of the coolest lines from the book, I thought, was "Every loneliness is a pinnacle"...until I realized that it was an Ayn Rand quote. Is this such a well known quote that she doesn't have to give Rand credit? I'm Rand-ignorant, so please, any Rand enthusiasts, help me out.

I've never had much interest in Rand's work but Two Girls Fat and Thin satirizes it. I'll read on past the heroine's childhood sketches and see if I still like it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Drinking and Writing Don't Mix"

I saw the movie Big Bad Love again last night. I love it so much. Leon Barlow as Larry Brown rocks my world. I wish Brown was still around to write new stories and novels. Here is a touching article I found last night.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


From debridement |diˈbrēdmənt|
noun Medicine
the removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from French, from débrider, literally ‘unbridle,’ based on bride ‘bridle’ (of Germanic origin).

I like this word because it sounds like someone undoing a Bride. Debride, as in to down or do away with a bride; to remove or reverse her; to form from a bride. To bride off, to bride from.

After the First Zionist Congress in 1897, the rabbis of Vienna decided to dispatch a two man fact-finding team to Palestine. The men's reply upon reaching Palestine: "The Bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man." Now the bride has been debrided. The damaged tissue/locals have been removed from the wound/Palestine.

The word reminds me of an Emir Kusturica movie, a Carson McCullers teen, a divorced carny. I'm not sure why. But I love when I word can give you a feeling.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

In case you couldn't already tell

Amnesty International, Save the Children, Cafod, Care International and Christian Aid have declared that Gaza's humanitarian condition is at its worst in 40 years.

Monday, March 03, 2008


The current Words Without Borders is on Lebanon, and features a cool piece ("Texterminators") by Mai Ghassoub, may she rest in peace.
Back in Ann Arbor... I had a great time visiting with old friends, people who’ve known me for years, in some cases, for a decade. It was awesome to visit with my writer-friends Michalle and Hayan and Jim and Karen, all writers I love and admire. It was almost cathartic.

I graduate in six weeks. Yipeee!