As the events surrounding the One Book, One San Diego program approach, it’s hard for me to decide which is more important: My spot on the glory mountain, or the approaching Persian New Year? Caught between the two, I wrote down the plans and thought about them.
Plan A – Skip the usual and forge ahead with the One Book events.
Plan B – Keep your beloved tradition and skip a few book activities.
No sooner had I considered my options than voices rose in my mind. “Are you – bloody – joking? The OBOSD is huge!”You worked your little tail off for such a moment. This is a chance of a lifetime, you silly. Norooz will be back next year!”
As I leaned more and more toward plan A, my Persian conscience kept on lurking, giving me a heavy load of guilt. “Oh, how quickly we change! Is that who you are? Besides, are you forgetting that Norooz isn’t just yours?”
The truth always hurts. For as long as I remember, I’ve been part of Norooz-related activities. There’s lots of baking to be done, items to prepare for charity bazaars, several sabzeh to grow. I need to think of a way to give this year’s table a fresh look, maybe paint more eggs. What should I make for an elaborate – and vegetarian-friendly – dinner?
Most years around this time I’d be done with spring cleaning, but the stack of manuscripts on my desk tells me that’s not going to happen this year. I wonder if I could rent one of those Velcro table-skirts, put it around my desk and push everything under it. Then again, I’m not sure if invisible mess counts as clean. I send a prayer to old Mr. Chidgy for laminating my silver, giving me a bit less to do. I’m amazed at how the mere idea of a prayer puts me in Norooz mode and all of a sudden, a new thought flashes. Why not do it all?
So here it is: Plan C. This year, I’ll take my Norooz around town. The libraries will have their little haft seen next to the OBOSD display and so will the museums. Wherever I go to present my Sky of Red Poppies, I will make sure they also learn about Norooz. I may not be able to invite the readers to dinner, but why not let the book clubs taste some shireeni?
Looking back, I am convinced of a universal harmony. When I chose the title for my book, or when I painted the painting that became its cover, I had no idea what would happen to my story. Writing this novel on Chicago’s brutal winter nights, I couldn’t possibly picture that someday my poppies would bloom to see the everlasting springs of San Diego. Who knew the wild red poppies and I would be a part of an entire city’s festivities and celebrate the arrival of spring together?