Ive been a long time writer to the local newspaper, the Gulf Daily News ( gulf-daily-news.com ) and have made quite a name for myself along the way. Not always good because I tend to write about things that piss me off about the culture etc...but people recognize my name on occasion and thats always interesting. Ive also been contacted by people far and near that have read those letters and want to get to know the person that wrote them...or just give me a few words of encouragement or praise with urges to keep up the "good work". At any rate...its always nice to get those personal emails etc...when the words you write that mean so much to yourself also have an affect on someone else....well thats just cream on top...so to speak.
Anyhow, one particular American lady got hold of the local paper early last year and inquired about contacting me based on my letters she had been reading while in Bahrain. The newspaper forwarded her request to me and left it up to me to get back with her...I did...eventually....I think it was something like 5 months later...Im terrible at socializing. Anyone that knows me will tell you its true. So I hemmed and hawed for maybe 5 months and just glanced at her email now and then before choosing to ignore it and forget about it for another few weeks...until the day I chose to finally reply...an interesting day indeed.
Her name is Mary Coons...shes an author from Minnesota and was in the process of fleshing out an idea for a book she wanted to write about Americans and Bahrainis...and having read my letters she wanted to meet me for an interview etc...and eventually put my thoughts in her book. To say I was flattered hardly describes it. It just so happened that she travels back and forth to Bahrain because her husband works here...and when I finally got around to replying to her email...she had just returned to Bahrain once again for a visit. So we made an appt for a meet up...and I sweated out some freaked out bullets because Im seriously anti social...did I mention that? Im fine when it comes to writing...no restraint or social politeness required there...but face to face meetings just leave me...shall I say...less than "at my best". I tend to scare people away (their words not mine) because of my unwillingness to smile...or make nice...or just generally be warm and sociable (20 years married to a contol freak that monitored my every move and raged in a fit of jealousy for every smile I had the nerve to let flicker across my face might have something to do with it...you think?)
At any rate...we met up (I took along my best friend...yes I do have one...she found her way past my gruff exterior and learned to love me anyways...for sociable support...shes constantly whispering for me to "smile for Gods sake") and thus our literary journey began...and here is the final result...
Anyone that would like to check out Mary's book can go to culturallyspeak.com and I believe its for sale on Amazon.com as well and is available here in Bahrain at Jashanmals as well. A VIP book launch event is scheduled for 8pm tonight at the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research, Muharraq. Yours truly will be present as well as all those in Bahrain that took part as interviewees in her book. I might add that I had a bit more to do then just be a candidate for interview for her book...my best friend and I have worked with her to get it published and presented to the public in Bahrain as well as get it presented to the local hoity toities as well....so my interest in the successfulness of the book goes a little beyond just letting everyone know my name and opinion were thought good enough to make it in someone else's literary efforts.
The book is called Culturally Speaking: Promoting Cross Cultural Awareness in a Post 9/11 World...by Mary Coons...check it out people...tell me what you think. If you read Arabic an interview she and I did with Al Wasat newspaper should be in there today...I havent checked yet...so not sure....but I do know she's in the GDN today...check her out people.
btw the only opinions in the book I fully endorse are my own..it goes without saying.
I also have no idea why the font size has changed and for some reason wont change back...such is life of a "know nothing about computers" blogger.
update* apparently we are in todays Al Wasat (alwasatnews.com )newspaper but Ive been told the writer who did our interview did not express our thoughts quite as well as we would have hoped. Some harsh words have been spoken on our behalf...but whats done is done. Im not sure what exactly the problem is just yet...but if the interview sounds strange...maybe thats why?