Category Archives: Cultural Issues

Finding My Wood

When I turned thirty, I was angry and unhappy, but didn’t really know it.  I figured that niggling feeling, the one I couldn’t really identify, the one that wouldn’t go away, was the natural result of having two little kids, too much time with nothing to think about on my hands, and, thanks to living in Iran, a really foreignContinue Reading

The Kind of Girl You’d Warn Your Sons Off

One of the benefits of writing a book is the visibility it buys you.  Know that saying, build it and they will come?  Well, that’s bullshit. After all that hard work, you’ve actually got to get out there and promote the thing if you want readers, and/or any kind return on your investment.  And onceContinue Reading

Chucking It All And Moving To A Foreign Country

I received this question last week, one that both Walt and I get more frequently, so I thought I’d answer it here. I’m so intrigued with how you and Walt move back and forth between the U.S. and Ireland.  I’m just totally curious.  How do you two decide when to be here and when toContinue Reading

Climbing Mt. Everest With a Pen

When I was young, I had no idea what I thought, felt, or wanted.  Pressed for my opinion, I’d make an evasive or sarcastic comment instead of deciding what it was that I thought. I didn’t want to say anything that could be construed the wrong way, or held against me in a court ofContinue Reading

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