Sunday, February 17, 2013

the rose hotel

most of you who visit here know that i'm kinda big on the power of stories. stories have tremendous power. every commercial you watch on television is a mini-story and it's meant to convince you to buy something. every film you watch is a story. every poster on the subway, every magazine article...everything. when you think about how many stories you ingest each day, it's mind-boggling. and when you think about the dominant cultural narrative running through most stories in our world, you get a sense of why many of the issues we have are so deeply embedded. they are reinforced each and every day, from the moment we step out of our homes.

that is why this particular book, the rose hotel, by rahimeh andalibian, affected me so deeply. not only did it resonate for me on a very fundamental level, but it did something that every book i've ever cherished and held close has done -- not to sound trite or anything, but it was healing.

the book is described by the author as a "true-life novel." it traces her family's journey from iran to britain to the u.s. it is a beautifully crafted account of how external events, politics, religion and power, and a raging revolution affect the very real lives of one family, and that family's subsequent exile from the only home they've ever known.

it's the kind of sensitive, aware account that only a trained psychotherapist could offer, which is exactly what dr. andalibian is. without preaching or falling into the trap of "telling not showing," andalibian explores how people heal from the unthinkable. how strength of spirit shines strong during the darkest moments of the soul. and it's absolutely beautiful.

i firmly believe there is power in sharing our own personal journeys of recovery from trauma and violence. it breaks silence and sends ripples into the atmosphere, changing the horribleness of abuse and oppression. sharing openly about things that hurt us is a powerful way to bridge distances and build connections. it shatters isolation and the divisions between us begin to crumble (which is actually what her next project is about, glass houses--watch the video on her website). what better way is there to slash through ignorance and fear? to end some of the shit we all know is fucked up out there?

this book is a gem. buy it. read it. give it to someone you love. then think about your own story and what you might do next to make some changes . . . maybe shatter some isolation.

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