Zoe Ferraris' latest book is calledKingdom of Strangers.
I grew up in frank adoration of The Godfather, entranced by Don Corleone's dark charisma. He reminded me of the Italian men in my own family, the kind who could silence you with a dead-eyed look and who seemed to have some deep, silent, absolute authority. It would either inspire you or crush you, but either way it kept you in line.
"I cared about what was happening around me, so I went to be with the people," says Syrian artist Hiba Akkad. "Whatever the people were doing, I wanted to be with them." Above, Akkad's 2012 mixed media on canvas work, <em>Untitled</em>.
Credit Courtesy Galerie Tanit
Tarek Butayhi's 2011 mixed media on canvas work, <em>Untitled</em>. Butayhi's work was displayed in the <a href="http://www.galerietanit.com/bios/syrian/syrian.htm">Artists From Syria Today</a> exhibition at the Espace Kettaneh Kunigk gallery in Beirut.
In Syria, anyone who speaks out against the regime of President Bashar Assad risks harassment, detention and sometimes worse. One famous cartoonist who'd lampooned Assad was pulled out of his car last summer by pro-regime thugs and had his hands broken.
Public figures like singers and actors are under much pressure to keep silent. Even a small and critically acclaimed group of Syrian painters is not immune — but that might be attracting buyers outside Syria to their work.
Fifty years ago, Johnny Carson became the host of TheTonight Show. During his 30 years as host, he reached a nightly audience of 15 million people and became one of the most trusted and famous men in America.
But Carson was intensely private off-screen, and very few people — including members of his own family--really knew him. Documentary filmmaker Peter Jones wanted to try and change that. Once a year, for 15 years, Jones sent Carson a letter, begging him for permission to make a documentary on his life.
One week ago today, an enormous chalkboard popped up on a busy street here in Washington, D.C. And at the very top corner painted in huge letters, just three words: Before I Die. The board was like a magnet to passersby to write their greatest wishes, their wildest dreams, the things they want to accomplish before they die. Think of it as a crowd-sourced bucket list.
OK. We are very close to the end of Round 8 of Three-Minute Fiction where we ask you to write an original piece of fiction that can be read in about three minutes.
Next weekend, our judge this round, the novelist Luis Alberto Urrea, will finally announce the winner. Now, remember, this time, the first sentence had to begin: She closed the book, placed it on the table and finally decided to walk through the door.