When I was drafting Chapter 10, I came across an email that was sent around my office in Ramallah (and apparently all over the Arab world) in early 2005. I had to cut it from the manuscript for reasons of brevity and style, but it always puts a smile on my face, so I thought I’d post it here.

An Ashcroft Fable

An old Arab lived close to New York City for more than 40 years. One day he decided that he would love to plant potatoes and herbs in his garden, but he knew he was alone and too old and weak.

His son was in college in Paris, so the old man sent him an e-mail explaining the problem:

“Beloved son, I am very sad, because I can’t plant potatoes in my garden. I am sure, if only you were here, that you would help me and dig up the garden for me. I love you, your father.”

The following day, the old man received a response from his son:

“Beloved father, please don’t touch the garden. That is where I have hidden ‘the THING.’ I love you, too, Ahmed.”

At 4pm the next day, the US Army, the Marines, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Office of Homeland Security visited the house of the old man and took the garden apart, searching every inch. But they couldn’t find anything. Disappointed, they left the house.

The next day, the old man received another e-mail from his son:

“Beloved father, I hope the garden is dug up by now and you can plant your potatoes. That is all I could do for you from here. Your loving son, Ahmed.”


UPDATE: I recently moved to New York to try to sell my book to a publisher. I found a shared studio in the East Village for a reasonable price, and I’m having an amazing time meeting great people, attending inspiring events, networking with friends who have contacts in the publishing world, and scoping out pick-up soccer spots and places to watch the World Cup. It’s been fabulous catching up with old friends, and I’m feeling more hopeful than ever about my book’s chance of success.

But I’m pretty much scraping by at the moment while also trying to support my good friend Rania and her two young kids until her husband gets out of jail. (You can read Rania’s story here.) After nearly eight months, Rania was finally able to get a permit from the Israelis to visit her husband in jail in Israel, and he was able to hold his baby daughter for the first time and to hug his adorable son and kiss his wife for the first time in months. I’ve raised enough money to keep the family afloat until the end of April, but Rania’s husband won’t get out of jail until the end of July.

Rania's little boy, who dragged a tomato carton out to use as a toy car when they visited me in Ramallah πŸ™‚

So if you’ve enjoyed this blog and feel like contributing $5 or $10 toward publication efforts and helping a beautiful, loving Palestinian family, my Paypal account is pamolson02@yahoo.com.

If you’d like to contribute $25 or more, I’ll be happy to send you a sneak peak of Chapters 2 and 3. Anyone who contributes $50 or more will be promised a first-edition, signed copy of Fast Times in Palestine after publication, free of charge, and sent to whatever address they choose.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the green and gold spring!