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Infuriatingly good
Remembering Kristopher Kolumbus

By Golnar Fozi
November 28, 2003
The Iranian

Dear Jahanshah,

You and I have never met, but I have contributed two pieces to the, both of which happened to be about my own mother ["First day of school", "But then I touch her hands"]. You published my second piece this past Mother's Day, and you embedded in it a note wishing your own mom a happy day. That's when I found out that Kristopher Kolumbus was your mom. Please accept this little note by way of my deepest condolences.

Your mother's writing had a way of infuriating me and attracting me at the same time. I read her articles a few times each, trying to figure out what she was trying to tell the reader, and becoming more confused with each reading. You could tell this lady could write and had a lyrical way with words, yet she was impossible to understand.

I swore off her articles every time, and then you would print another one and there I was again, squinting at the computer screen trying to figure out what this person was saying.

About two weeks ago, when I read the last thing you had published from her, I decided to ask someone else's opinion. I sent an Instant Message to my best friend from college, a trained journalist who did a stint as a U.S. Diplomat abroad for a few years.

I asked her to go on and read the article on the front page by Kristopher Kolumbus["Shit! At the blue cafe"?]. A few minutes later, she IM'ed back, "Okay, what about this?" I asked, What do you think about it? She wrote back,

"It reminds me of one of those instant translation machines we used at the State Department where the words came out in English but and we could not quite understand what the foreign dignitary was saying."

That was a perfect description! Then my friend IM'ed again,

"But you can tell this woman can write."

What artist wouldn't be happy to know that her talent was recognized by her audience, and that she infuriated them and made them think?

I know nothing about your mother other than what I just read ["'s mother died"]- that she had traveled to Spain by herself, perhaps to devote herself to her writing and painting and poetry, and perhaps to experience life somewhere new. I imagined she enjoyed herself and worked on her art until the very end, independently, energetically, and inspired by all that she saw.

In the southern U.S., where I did part of my growing up, we say with admiration that someone like that "died with her boots on."

With warmest regards and deepest condolences to you and your family during this difficult time,

Golnar J. Fozi

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