Back filling the data: Athens, Ohio during Covid-19

Frontline podcast https://tinyurl.com/vucolbt a journalist goes to the rural area of Athens, County where my story Cloud of Witnesses takes place--to discover that when the schools shut down in southeast Ohio because of the coronavirus it left children at risk of going hungry. The population was always at risk of poor health outcomes and at... Continue Reading →

Happy New Year, Nowruz

This past weekend was Nowruz, the New Year according to the lunar calendar that Iran follows. In my book, Cloud of Witnesses, Hassan explains the idea of Nowruz to Roland who likens it to spring cleaning, a time to clear away the old and prepare for the new. “According to the Muslim calendar this is... Continue Reading →

Record Everything

So here I am for twenty minutes—the amount of time I can concentrate these days. I spend most of my time being distracted, touching my face, trying not to touch my face, or else washing my hands. A lot of time is wasted on mortality. Mine and the people I love. Charting the course of... Continue Reading →

Little Women

Little Women I recently told a group I was having a potluck with that I was going to see Little Women. One of the guys said I love that movie. Now, for a couple of reasons, I knew he was confused. Brien is the kind of guy that watches the Bears and roots for the... Continue Reading →

Trying Times in Iran

We are again hearing chants of "Death to America." History repeating--though the circumstances are different this time around. My book, Cloud of Witnesses, portrays the growing relationship between two outsiders: Roland the hillbilly and Hassan the foreign kid, both new to Athens Middle School. When I began writing this book (years ago, I must confess)... Continue Reading →

Children’s Book Title Suddenly Relevant

There has been an uptick of interest in southeast Ohio because of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow’s viral speech. In his acceptance speech he mentioned his hometown and the poverty affecting that part of Ohio, where, as he mentioned, students often go to bed hungry. Cloud of Witnesses recently released by Golden Alley Press is... Continue Reading →

Your Summer Reading List

Does reading make us smarter? Brain science proves that it helps us in cognitive reasoning. For example the sequential elements of a story helps us to plot our thoughts. But what about becoming a better person? Studies are drawing correlations between reading and empathy. From a recent BBC article: Dutch researchers arranged for students to... Continue Reading →

Art Exhibit by my friend from Iran

  I first met Azarakhsh Farahani when he came to Chicago to promote Malaria at the 2016 Chicago International Film Festival. He contacted me on the online hospitality website Couchsurfing saying he needed a place to stay for about 15 days. That was a lot longer than I normally host--but, hey, why not! I learned as... Continue Reading →

Sorrow Estate=Welcome Laura

About a year ago, as serendipitously can happen, I met Laura Johnson of Sorrow Estate at Calvin College during the Festival of Faith & Writing. But it was even more coincidental than that. About 4 years ago I couchsurfed with a great (grand) couple in Grand Rapids and when I contacted them last year they... Continue Reading →

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