On Not Writing: How I Spent My Sunday Vacation

By: Sheila Curran

There’s a great scene in Best in Show, where the overly made-up and voluptuous young wife of a tiny, very old, rich man, says,

“We could talk, or not talk, forever, and still find things to not talk about.”

Anyway, this is my two cents on not writing.  For hours and hours, not forever. Read more…

Retired US officials move into oil business in Kurdistan’s ‘Wild West’

By: Reese Erlich

Ex-military and diplomatic leaders are pitching Kurdistan as a more lucrative investment than Iraq. The Iraqi government is not happy about it.

ERBIL, Iraq — In an old photo, Richard Nabb in full camouflage uniform stands next to Masoud Barzani, now the president of Iraqi Kurdistan.

In the early 1990s, US Army Col. Nabb was head liaison officer between the Kurds and the US military. Today he is a consultant for HKN Energy, an oil exploration company owned by Ross Perot, Jr.

Nabb and other former Army officers use their contacts in the region to promote the interests of Western oil companies in what has become the Wild West of Kurdistan. More than 50 foreign oil companies now hustle to develop oil and gas. The ex-military men have become strong advocates for the Kurdish cause, calling for expanding US airstrikes and providing more sophisticated weapons to Kurdish peshmerga forces. They also back what they say may well emerge as an independent, pro-American, pro-business Kurdish state. Read more…

What does Robin Williams have to do with Michael Brown and Why is Jon Stewart A National Treasure?

By: Sheila Curran

After Robin Williams’ and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s suicides, I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy. How much is too much, how much is just enough, and are people who don’t feel it happier than those who do?

We all agree, I think, that actors (and writers) couldn’t do their job without an abundance of the trait. They must put themselves in other people’s shoes constantly, and this, I believe, also accounts for the high rates of depression, drug use and addiction among these creative groups, particularly in today’s world, when we’re deluged with horror stories from dawn to dusk. Read more…

The Story Behind Sing You Home

By: Jodi Picoult

My first crush was on a boy named Kal Raustiala when I was in second grade. He had shaggy, leonine hair and a pet iguana and a jungle gym in his basement. Although I didn’t really know why at the time, my heart beat faster near him. When he wasn’t around, I wanted to be with him. And when I was with him, I never wanted to leave. Read more…

A Letter to My Nephew

By: Naghmeh Sohrabi

I’ll tell you what I remember:  She’s coming home from Disneyland.  She’s only 5 or 6 and she’s fully stretched out in the back of her parents’ car. This is before her brother was born, when the backseat was hers alone, where she could lie down, feel the hum of the moving car, and watch the street lamps blend into a blurry line. Read more…

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