But hope wasn’t quite the word I meant, any more than peace and joy had been with the first two books. I was trying to talk about refusing to let go of fears and animosity from the past, and refusing to give others a chance based on old experiences. And I was talking about the belief that humans cannot change, that they cannot learn to be, or choose to be, better.
Read more at A better word than hope?
(For more thought on words we need, see A better word than loyalty?, A better word than peace?, A better word than joy? and A better word than courage?)
It might have to do with my life long addiction to science fiction. I’m scared of nuclear annihilation and being replaced by cockroaches. Or by human-eating alien plants. Have you ever seen “Little Shop of Horrors?” If you’re prone to paranoia about what is going to replace you, I do not recommend it.
Me, I’m afraid of having the human race replaced by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And have you seen the latest “Planet of the Apes” movie? No matter how bad the script is, you can still worry about being replaced by sentient animals. Then of course, there are always zombies and vampires, and don’t even get me started on artificial intelligence. Am I only one in the world who took the Terminator movies seriously? Or Ex Machina?
Read more at Replacing me with …
(Read more about my trip to Kenya at Smiling my way across Kenya, Still a Sunrise?, Like Eating Crab and Happy Peace Day, Chinese Person in Tent Number 59)
“What do you hope your daughter studies?” I asked.
The question seemed to make him sad.
The U.S. presence in Kenya
“She won’t have so many options to choose from,” he told me. He’d been careful to keep most of his opinions to himself as we traveled, and this is probably a wise thing for any travel guide, anywhere, to do. But for just a moment he spoke from his heart.
“It doesn’t bother me that you don’t appreciate all the opportunities that you have in your country. What bothers me is that you don’t even recognize that you have them.”
Read more at Still a Sunrise?
(Read more about my trip to Kenya at Like Eating Crab, Smiling my way across Kenya, Replace me with … and Happy Peace Day, Chinese Person in Tent Number 59)
I can give you a long list of things I do not believe in, and an even longer list of kind-ofs to which I can add many qualifiers. But today, I’m forcing myself to make a short list of simple virtues in which I firmly believe. Virtues that can shape my everyday actions, you know, Wonder Woman style.
Read more at Believe.
(For more Wonder Woman inspired thoughts, see Top Requirement for a Superhero, It’s About What You Believe, I believe in appreciating those who protect us. All of them, and Believe in Tomorrow.)
Along with the many tragic aspects of this incident is the side effect of how it serves to further separate the people of this world. No society exists on this planet that does not have its crimes; larger countries have more. Crowding, poverty, stresses from modernization and the integration of different cultures adds to volatility everywhere. But when the awful event occurs in the back yard of somebody else who lives far away from you, it is easy to think “Oh, that’s the way they are.”
Read more at The Courage to Embrace Those Far Away Places.
(For more thoughts on Far Away Places see Leaving a Light Footprint in a Far Away Place, As Far Away Places Edge Closer, Caring About Far Away Places and Those Far Away Places Could Be Next Door.)
Two things about far away places appeal to me. One is how different they are. The other is how similar they are. I think I like the second fact even better.
Read more at Those Far Away Places Could Be Next Door
This post originally appeared on my blog “Fire Dancing for Fun and Profit,” and it inspired an op-ed piece I wrote for the Black Mountain News which appeared on March 23, 2017. Since I wrote this, the NC legislature has replaced this law with a less onerous version. Many of us in NC still hope for a total repeal.
Surely you have heard of this law. It was passed about a year ago, and it requires all humans in NC to use the public restroom designated for the gender of their birth. The claim, which few people really believed, was that HB2 was an attempt to protect women from assault. Now, assaulting women in public bathrooms has always been both wrong and illegal, in North Carolina and everywhere else.
Read the entire post at Potty Room Politics.
This is a post about Aretha Franklin and wearing a hijab and my mother’s funeral, and it comes to you from a cafe in Marrakesh Morocco.
I’m staring out the window at the crowds of tourists and locals crossing a busy street in front of the Koutoubia Mosque as I write. I’m alone in this city, far out of my comfort zone, and I’ve just ordered my first couscous. I settle into the ornate red pillows, ready for a genuine Moroccan experience, when I recognize the unmistakable voice of Aretha Franklin in the background.
Now I like Aretha as much as anyone and maybe more than most, but she is kind of getting in my way here, and it’s not even one of her better songs. I listen more closely and I feel the ghost of my mother snuggle into the pillows beside me.
Read the entire post on my c3 blog at “My Way.”
Like almost everything you can imagine, and a whole lot of things you can’t, it exists on the internet. The same wonderful, amazing tool that fuels my stories by letting me see locations I’ll never visit and open doors into the minds of others I will never meet, also allows me to find voices that repulse and frighten me. In fact, it allows me to find them easily.
Read the entire post on my c3 blog at One Great Idea From the Misogynist Wing of the Alt Right
… Only the book ended up being about Nigeria instead. You see, in 2010, when I started to write it, Americans on the whole considered Nigerians scarier than Arabs. I had just taken a job with a Nigerian oil company where I often worked late in a common room and couldn’t help but overhear the phone calls of my young, male Nigerian co-workers as they called home.
Please read the entire post on my x0 blog at More in Common
It is a shame it never really caught on, given that the lofty purpose of the day is to encourage honesty in politics, relationships, consumer relations and historical education. It was also intended to urge politicians to stay away from lies and tell the truth.
Good luck with that one.
Read the entire post on my z2 blog at Happy Honesty Day.
While researching z2 I learned about how unwanted Italians circumvented the immigration laws of the day by crossing the Rio Grande and coming in as more welcome Mexicans. I was astounded to learn of the extent to which Asians were denied entry into the early U.S. under any circumstances. My own ancestry is largely German and, yes, there was a time when some states tried to keep out the undesirable Germans, too.
I don’t talk about this to make light of the group hate that plagues us today. I don’t think society will ever look back on our racism and xenophobia and laugh. I least I hope not. Rather I want to point out how ultimately petty and harmful our biases of today will someday seem.
Read the entire post at Time and Hate.
Recent world events have caused certain entities to ask the question “What exactly constitutes ‘your own kind’?”
You have been selected to take the following very short quiz. Please tend to this matter soon. Quite a bit may depend on your answers.
Take the quiz (and read the full post) at Taking care of your own kind (a science fiction quiz).
When you read a book of fiction written decades ago, you steel yourself for possible sexism, racism and general intolerance. You accept that the hero will likely be a tall, non-elder, physically fit and able, straight white male possibly assisted by inferior but lovable sidekicks from other demographic groups. I’ve listened to many a lively discussion about how much slack a writer from days past is entitled to before the enlightened reader of today gets tired of the stereotypes and throws down the book.
Read the rest of my post at I know sexism when I see it?
….and so when somebody I like calls somebody I don’t like a nasty name, I try to reverse the roles. I mean, how would I feel if Justice Scalia, who has never impressed me as a supreme court justice or a human, called Rachel Maddow (who I adore) a troll. I’d be, upset, right? People should not call people names.
Read the entire post on my z2 blog at I don’t like name calling either …..