I’ve just returned from one of my furthest journeys ever, a trip to Kenya which got me thinking. What do people do here in the US when you smile at them?
1. They smile back
2. They say hi and maybe try to talk to you.
3. They try to sell you some thing or some idea. Depending on circumstances, that might include the idea of hooking up with them.
4. They take it as an invitation to do harm, attempting to scam or rob you.
I remember visiting Yellowstone as a teenager and being upset that I was not allowed to take even one tiny little insignificant rock home as a souvenir. Up to that time, I always brought a rock home from places I enjoyed. What difference could my little memento make?
Then I looked around. Thousands of people were here with me, and if I was the only one who ever took a pretty stone, there would be no problem. But what if half of them wanted rocks, too?
Read more at Leaving a Light Footprint in a Far Away Place.
(For more thoughts on Far Away Places see As Far Away Places Edge Closer, Caring About Far Away Places, The Courage to Embrace Those Far Away Places, and 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
Watching a “year in review” news program, I was surprised to hear the comment that both Stalin and Hitler had once been named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. No, I thought, they are making that up.
It turns out that they weren’t.
Read the rest of this post at