Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today's one of those reflection days for me. I just finished up with school-related activities for my kids and I'm now in that shell-shocked, bewildered "It's over?" place.

It's bittersweet. Even with all my complaining about how busy I am throughout the school year with kid-related events, writing, working, etc., I wouldn't have it any other way.

At the end of it all, when I'm doing the ultimate reflecting upon my life, I'm going to care less about how many books I've written and how many accolades I've garnered, than I am about how happy my loved ones are. And how they'll fare when I'm gone.

It's all about interacting with one another and the impressions we leave upon one another. Because it's through those impressions that we help shape ourselves and those we interact with. My writing has always been about that - about me shaping you with my words and you, in turn, shaping me with your response. And then again. That's how I've always thought I could change the world - one little interaction at a time.

That's probably why I'm a great candidate for independent publishing. I want that response so I can keep the creative flow unimpeded. I want an ongoing interaction where we elevate one another on the journey. If I keep getting stopped at the pass, neither of us will ever know what a (life-altering? Beautiful? Explosive?) exchange we could have had. Even the biggest wave has to start out as a little ripple, right?

This past year, I have begun to define "success" in my own terms. I've learned that it is pointless for me to seek the "success" others seek, or have achieved. And what that word means to me is very different than what it may mean to others. It's hard to keep your footing solidly on the path you create for yourself, but there is nothing more rewarding - that, I can guarantee.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Open Heart/Closed Fist

On Thursday, June 9th, I will be on a panel for SAWCC (South Asian Women's Creative Collective) called "Open Heart/Closed Fist: Sikh Women Speak Out on Faith and Feminism." It'll be at the Asian American Writers' Center at 7pm. There's more information on the SAWCC website, but here's the blurb:
From the Middle East to the Midwest, revolution is spreading.  Women of all faiths have joined radicals in solidarity, even as their own rights come under fire by conservative elements.  But besides the images we see—women in hijab with their fists raised in Tahrir Square; women of all races with their fists raised in Madison—what about the women we don’t see, women who advocate for themselves and their sisters in the homes, gurudwaras, mosques, and temples?  What does it mean to be religious and radical? 
In this panel, author Neesha Meminger (Jazz in Love), community organizer Tejpreet Kaur (Sikh Coalition), and blogger Simran Kaur ( will discuss the ways in which their work explores issues of faith and feminism, particularly in the diaspora.
I'm delighted to be on this panel and super excited to meet my co-panelists. I think women of all backgrounds struggle with this concept of allegiance--when do I speak out? Who gets thrown under the bus if I raise this issue? Usually the answer is "me." But because girls everywhere are taught to first think of others, then ourselves, or to be compliant, acquiescent, "good" girls, the struggle to speak up and speak out rages strong within.

I think it's going to be an awesome panel. Please join us if you can.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer! Wiscon! Desserts!

so now that the madness of summer (at least work-wise) is simmering down, school madness is picking up. the kids have end-of-year events all month and it has got to be hard for working parents to juggle being there for their kids and trying to keep the bills going at the same time.

i just returned from my second wiscon and i can totally see why folks get hooked. there are people who've been going to wiscon for decades. it's one of the few places to have the kind of discourse i crave all year long. to be around people who just let you be. to be inspired and awakened and unsettled and enlightened.

this year was a mixed bag for me, but i am still sad it's over. here are a few pics of the people i met (some are courtesy of LaShawn Wanak), and the desserts i consumed. i'm already eagerly looking forward to next year.

l-r: Sheree Renee Thomas, Ibi Zoboi, me, and Zola Mumford

l-r: Jenn Brisset, Ibi Zoboi, me, LaShawn Wanak

key lime pie at the dessert salon - so, so yummy as you can see. i ate most of it before remembering to take a pic.

yes, i ate all of the above.
the aforementioned key lime pie, chocolate decadent mousse cake with raspberry something-sauce, and chocolate eclairs.
i would have gone back to get the maple pecan pie, but the speeches were starting.