You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2012.

After four long years, two agents, three dozen rejections, three book tours, and three thousand copies sold…

I finally have a publisher!

Details will follow soon, after they’re finalized. But I couldn’t be more excited and hopeful that my publisher’s backing and reach can take this project to the next level. Selling 3,000 copies is great, but my goal has always been 100,000 copies. Now there may be an actual chance of that happening. Inshallah.

So many thanks to my wonderful agent, Helen Zimmermann, for getting this book in the right hands at the right time!

I’ll have to keep working hard to promote it, of course. But at least, and at last, I won’t be alone.

Now — one thing this all means is that pretty soon I’ll have to take my own sales channels offline. The book is scheduled to come out (in its new incarnation) next spring, hopefully along with reviews in mainstream sources. It wouldn’t be right to have the old version lying around on Amazon for people to pick up after my publisher has spent all that time and effort on publicity.

Also, the new version may involve some cutting down or altering of the manuscript. So if you want to read the current, full version of the book, you should act fairly quickly.

The best place to buy the paperback version right now is at the Palestine Online Store, run by my friend Haithem El Zabri in Austin, TX.

It’s the same price as Amazon, and for a low flat shipping fee, you can also buy unlimited amounts of healthy and delicious Palestinian olive oil, kuffiyehs (the famous black and white scarves), hand-crafted olive wood sculptures, books, films, all kinds of mouth-watering food items, and much more. I did nearly all my Christmas shopping there this year and was delighted with the quality of the items — it works well for Mother’s Day, too!

Also, you can still (at least for now) buy the eBook for $2.99 at Amazon.

Exciting times. Thanks so much for sharing this journey with me through so many ups and downs.

All I can say is…

* Barely resists urge to make a Howard Dean-like noise *

Ahem. Yay!


I found a copy of this song in an email years ago. It’s written by something precious and rare: an anti-war country singer.

He said in a press release for his album Childish Things, “I’ve always been a little put off by activists. So you know it’s a dire situation when I have to become an activist myself.”

In case you can't read it, the first side is a mega-corporation saying, "Help! Bail me out, save capitalism!" The second is saying, "Pay my fair share of taxes? What is this, socialism?!"

We Can’t Make it Here Anymore

James McMurtry

Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free
No one’s paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget’s stretched so thin
And there’s more comin’ home from the Mideast war
We can’t make it here anymore

That big ol’ building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can’t make it here anymore
See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They’re just gonna set there till they rot
‘Cause there’s nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There’s a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don’t come down here ‘less you’re looking to score
We can’t make it here anymore

The bar’s still open but man it’s slow
The tip jar’s light and the register’s low
The bartender don’t have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day
Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are workin’ two jobs and livin’ in cars
Minimum wage won’t pay for a roof,
won’t pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof
just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far $5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can’t make it here anymore

High school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what’ll she do
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it’s way too late to just say no
You can’t make it here anymore

Now I’m stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
‘Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can’t make it here anymore
Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I’m in
Should I hate ’em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away.
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They’ve never known want, they’ll never know need
Their shit don’t stink and their kids won’t bleed
Their kids won’t bleed in the damn little war
And we can’t make it here anymore

Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let ’em eat jellybeans let ’em eat cake
Let ’em eat shit, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can’t make it here anymore

And that’s how it is
That’s what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind If you’re listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why
In Dayton, Ohio
Or Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That’s done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There’s rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can’t make it here anymore

My book

Fast Times in Palestine is in bookstores worldwide! Order on Amazon, or check out the book's website.

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Books I Love

A Doctor in Galilee,
by Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh

The Hour of Sunlight, by Sami al Jundi and Jen Marlowe

The Goldstone Report, edited by Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner, and Philip Weiss

Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe

Zabelle, by Nancy Kricorian

Cosmos, by Carl Sagan

Impro, by Keith Johnstone

Improv Wisdom,
by Patricia Ryan Madson

Walden and Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau

To Kill a Mockingbird,
50th Anniversary Edition,
by Harper Lee