Sunday, October 08, 2006

And The Winner of the Fashionably Late ARC Is...

Before I go any further, it's my great pleasure to announce that the first person to ever get a corrected, spelling-mistake-free and somewhat typeset version of Fashionably Late (one that I have not even seen yet) is... ZARA HEFLIN!!! Wooo hoooo!!!! That's right, neither Turkey nor Iran are Arab countries at their people speak Turkish and Farsi respectively, and the Turkish (via the Ottoman dynasty) rule dominated Arab (and Greek) societies for many, many centuries and Iranians ascribe to Persian culture. Take a bow Zara. I will also take this opportunity to say I was contemplating offering a get-your-name-in-my-next-book prize to go with the ARC, and as fate would have it, the name 'Zara' is ALREADY IN THE WIP!!! How freaky is that? (don't believe me? Check our Dona Sarkar's blog entry last week, and my comment)

I'd also like send out a massive THANK YOU to all the authors who let me interview them for blog week - thank you so much JoAnn, Wendy, Cathy, Shannon and Jane - I will be referring to your inspirational answers every time I get stuck in my own WIP or on the brink of giving up this writing thing altogether. And thanks to all the winners for sending me their mailing addresses (just need yours, Zara)... you'll be hearing from me soon.

And thanks to all the blog readers who took the time to learn a little bit about the cool things about Arabs, and send me their answers to the daily questions. My dream as a young Arab kid growing up in North America was to do something, even if it was the smallest little thing, was to show that facet of my culture that was good and pure, and that made me proud, in an environment that always made me question, or at least have to justify that pride.

There are as many ways of showing your cultural pride as there are people... some of my cousins have taken the activist route, some have assimilated so well into their adopted countries that they wear their Arab identity as some leaders of the Black community in America wish to wear theirs - not as a way to differentiate themselves from the whole, but as a way to explain that making ANY value judgment on the basis of race/ethnicity/culture is NOT ACCEPTABLE, whether that value judgment is good or bad (see the South Park episode about the 'lynching' flag as a fantastic example of this).

I think I'm somewhere in the middle - I want neither to watch from the outside or integrate into the innermost core. One of my favorite depictions of the Jewish culture was 'The Nanny'. No, not all Jews have big hair, nasal voices, and Uncle Marty's. But c'mon... It's funny, and is sorta, kinda true in an endearing, self-deprecating way. Not all Arab women are vain and wear too much make-up and are out to snag the rich Aran husband (in fact I can't say that any of my good Arab girlfriends fall under this category)... But I challenge anyone who thinks this a totally bogus statement to go to a big Arabic Wedding and say it ain't so...

It's funny, not racist to say that you too, are flawed (if you consider gold brocade and too much make-up to be a flaw, of course...) and to resist self-righteousness. It also allows you a margin of authority when you actually do come out and address something more substantial than poor make-up application skills... like an unjust war that has cost tens of thousands (have we made it to 100,000 yet???) of innocent lives. We live in a global village... it's time to think about the cost of conflict not just to our tiny sliver of the world, but how this conflict is going to affect this Earth that we all share.

And so while Fashionably Late is pretty irreverent about lots of topics (fashion, the Lebanese, Cuban-American relations, Communism, accounting...), I hope more than anything else, that you will find it honest, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit eye-opening.

That's all for today folks. Have a great rest of your weekend!


bamabelle said...

Wow, I am so thrilled to have won! Thank you so much! I will send an email with my address. I loved the blog post today, by the way, very well said.

Hugs, Zara

Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

Yay, another Zara! My new main character is Zara and I LOVE That name. Nadine, I loved your blogs this past week and learned so much!


Dona Sarkar-Mishra
Chapters & Chai - Read all about it