Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider has sat on my shelf unread for decades. Thankfully, I picked it up last night and found these much-needed words for these times:
“We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.
The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.
Come on out to LitFest Pasadena at the Pasadena Playhouse on Sat., May 19 at 5:30 PM. I’ll be talking about my experience as an Arab American feminist writer from LA. Join in the thought-provoking discussion and give me a hug. Much-needed medicine in these times.
Come on out next week for a night of Middle Eastern storytelling! I’ll be reading a new essay about my last name and how it relates to being Arab American and mixed. Plus, we’re going to dance the dubke! Details below: (more…)
*** UPDATE as of September 26th: Unfortunately, I won’t be able to participate this time around given a scheduling conflict. Stay tuned as I hope to participate in the future!
I’ve been chosen to be part of the cast of Expressing Motherhood! I’m going to read a piece from my memoir-in-progress about choosing to be childfree. The show is one night only–on Saturday, November 7th at 7:30PM at Spirit Studio in Silverlake. Tickets are on sale now and since it’s in a small setting it’s going to sell out fast…buy your tickets now by clicking here! They’re $25 each, but the show should be well worth the splurge!
The Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) conference starts tomorrow in Minneapolis! I’m speaking on a panel Friday morning about Arab American identity. I had the honor of interviewing some heavy hitters: poet and author Naomi Shihab Nye, novelist and memoirist Diana Abu-Jaber, poet and essayist Lisa Suhair Majaj, playwright and actor Leila Buck, and writer and scholar Amira Jarmakani. I asked them why, as mixed-heritage Arab American woman who could “pass” as white, they instead choose to “flame” as Arab, boldly communicating their Arabic roots. (The language of the study, as the study itself, are works in progress as almost no one thinks that they “flame” — as one participant put it, is not hiding who you are the same as flaming?)
I found that their experiences show that identities are not static, they shape shift along with us and can serve as powerful tools to connect with broader communities for storytelling, activism and a sense-of-self.
Drop by at 9AM on Friday to hear all about it! (For those of you who won’t be at the conference, unfortunately, it won’t be streaming live on Skype just yet. Maybe next year. Email me for the cliff notes.)
P.S. Thanks to the A-B in my name I’m at the top of the list of presenters! Check it out here.