Category Archives: Cultural Issues

How You Ended Up Trapped

This fall, my friend Bridget Cooper invited me to write the forward for her book Feed The Need, which got me really excited. I mean, I love this saucy minx’s message. If you’re a people-pleaser, this book will have you at hello. Do you know how to get wild mustangs to accept being penned in?Continue Reading

Shock and Awe

This week I was asked an interview question that really got me thinking: “Much of your writing is deeply personal and provocative; some of it seems almost intended to shock. Is there a cost for being so forthright?” A lot of us who choose to write memoir or personal essays come from dysfunctional families.  We’reContinue Reading

Is Your Life a Slot Machine?

How much of your life do you consider blind luck, and how much do you attribute to the choices you have made? Muslims are fatalists. They believe what’s ordained is ordained; and no one but God can alter anything. Each event, small or large, long before it ever happens, is written in The Book. MyContinue Reading

When You Hit The Bottom Hard, The Only Way Is Up

As you may know, I love a good Starting Over story.  You know the kind: one minute you’re riding high, the next, you’re flat on your back wondering what hit you. What fears prevent you from letting go of your old life? What if they actually happened?  Sahar Irwin tells us about hers, and howContinue Reading

Steady Through the Storm

The summer I came back to the States, the fall I chose never to go back to Iran, I told myself that if I could just get away from my husband’s family, just gain a little control, then all my troubles would magically disappear. I understood that if I refused to go back, I wouldContinue Reading

Brought to You By The Axis of Evil

We make commitments to others in order to appear nice, and then we kick ourselves when they are inconsiderate enough to take us at our word. When I lived in Iran I often found myself irritated by tarof, traditional Iranian etiquette. Stopping by someone’s home unexpectedly, as is the custom there, my husband and IContinue Reading

Six Qualities to Consider When Choosing a Mate

I used to think that women, like me, were guilty of being non-selective when it came to choosing a mate.  That any warm body that paid us a little attention could end up walking us down the aisle.  But lately I’ve been noticing that men–particularly young men, and the recently divorced –are just as susceptibleContinue Reading

The Underbelly of Expatriate Life

The Underbelly of Expatriate Life

When I was young, I fancied myself a global citizen. A Margaret Mead type, who gravitated towards exotic cultures. Impressed with my “intimate” knowledge of obscure peoples, of my ability to hang out in their communities like the team mascot, I turned my nose up at my suburban upbringing. The very people I spent theContinue Reading

James Dean in Drag

“He’s hypnotized you,” Mom said when I told her I was going to marry the Iranian and move to his country. “Do you have any idea how they treat women in Islamic countries?” I regarded her through narrowed eyes because my mother, who considered Raman noodles foreign, had zero understanding of different cultures. She wasn’tContinue Reading

Mr. Right

I’m disappearing to a writer’s conference for ten days. So here, because time is not my friend, is a segment from my book The Lost Girls of Shiraz. A draft, but a taste nonetheless. He’s so sure of himself, this man beside me. So comfortable in his own skin, so confidant in his opinions, soContinue Reading