It’s OK to show your face

Acid attacks are devastating, debilitating, deadly, and yet they are often motivated by petty power plays, greed, or for no reason at all. Perhaps that’s why I wrote a play about acid attack victims – to try and honor their perseverance to live in a world when their physical identities are stolen, their faces destroyed, their skin-deep beauty obliterated.

CNN recently did a story about acid victims in India posing for a photo shoot. These women are brave & beautiful, and I’m inspired by their honesty and strength. Take a moment to let them inspire you, too.

whiskey tango foxtrot

Talking to a friend recently, he told me that one of his wealthy buddies, divorced for the fourth time, was simplifying his life.

I immediately pictured a man cleaning up his act, eating lean meat and more vegetables, maybe hitting the gym a few more times a week.

“He sold his plane and his boat,” my friend confided, “and he’s having sex with prostitutes.”

Before I could think of a suitable rejoinder, my friend chuckled and said, “He has a new motto in life: if it flies, floats, or f$@&#s – rent it.”


Typically tongue-tied, I managed to grimace and flee from the conversation, but here are my witty and clever retorts, over twenty-four hours later. Which one should I have used? Can you think of something better?

a. I’m going to cross-stitch that onto a pillow.

b. Impressive alliteration. Is your friend a writer?

c. With that financial acumen, he should be selling Ponzi schemes.

d. If he buys, rents or rapes to f$@&#, ARREST him because it’s ILLEGAL.

Secret Worlds Part 3: Racism, Sexism, and Bubbles of the Beautiful

Think beautiful people have it better? 30 Rock thinks so.

It turns out, beautiful people can not only butcher the French language and get away with it, but when they’re trying to steal a bike, bystanders will actually offer to help them commit the crime.

In the recent viral video of ABC’s show What Would You Do, three actors – a young white male, a young, black male, and a young white woman – take turns stealing a bike in a park. The white guy is unchallenged. The black guy is harassed and accused of stealing. When the woman works on stealing the bike, men come up and offer to help her.

Zut alors, quel monde terrible!

One of the reasons why writers craft a story, and why readers pick up a book, is that we’re searching for answers about the human condition. We want to live in someone else’s bubble for awhile – beautiful or not – and understand ourselves better.

Screenwriter John Rogers wrote, “You don’t really understand an antagonist until you understand why he’s a protagonist in his own version of the world.”

Most people in the park considered the black man as the bad guy, but if they could walk a day in his shoes, I wonder if they’d change their minds.

Mort a la bulle!

Big Fat First Dates

Adrenaline and anxiety.

Sharing food. Sharing secrets. Staring into each other’s eyes.

“Sucking his lips off in a Denny’s parking lot.”

Ah, the first date. And not just any first date. The first date that leads to love.

When John Corbett (Ian) and Nia Vardalos (Toula) go out on a first date in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002 Canadian-American film written by Nia Vardalos, directed by Joel Zwick), Toula is nervous because she used to be “frump girl.”

She’s recently undergone a metamorphosis from insecure girl to confident woman – caterpillar to butterfly – and she doesn’t want Ian to remember how she used to look and act.

Too late. Ian realizes they’ve met before. “I remember you.”

It’s everyone’s nightmare – to be recognized and remembered for one’s worst moment – shy or obnoxious, thin or fat, mean, stupid, slow, or awkward. These moments/phases of our lives haunt us all like skeleton bones spilling out of overcrowded closets, ghosts of ourselves that won’t go away.

Toula holds her breath, hoping her past doesn’t ruin her future, but Ian doesn’t flinch, blink, break eye contact, or run for the door. He looks at Toula with a slow, sensual, steady smile and repeats, “I remember you.”

The gift of love – to be accepted for who we are – Frump Girl and Greek Goddess. This scene wins the prize for most romantic first date. Watch it below (the first date scene is second in the compilation) and feel free to leave a comment below with a first date story.

Don’t Ever Let Them Take Your Heart

The FBI, in coordination with almost 300 local and state agencies, rescued 100+ children over the past 3 days thanks to Operation Cross Country, a nationwide initiative to help victims of human trafficking and underage prostitution.

One of the rescued women, Alexandria, talks about her experience and what she’s learned about survival and empowerment:

Operation Cross Country is a part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, a joint program by the FBI, the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Since 2003, the Innocence Lost National Initiative has netted the rescue of more than 2,700 children. See Huff Post for more info.