Category Archives: Iraq

Jane Stillwater’s Wild, Mraztastic Ride

Jane StillwaterBack in April, I wrote about my friend and former copywriting co-worker who went to Iraq. She wasn’t deployed there, she chose to go, footing the bill for her own ticket and expenses. Crazy? A little, but determined, inquisitive, and seriously pissed off at Bush and Friends as well.

Ms. Jane Stillwater is 65, a mother and grandmother, and one tough old broad. A syndicated advice columnist recently asked whether women found that term offensive, and heaps of people wrote in talking about the women in their families who wore the title with pride, who earned it through years of struggle and standing up for others.

Jane is no exception. You can call her a hippie, an activist, or just a woman full of the kind of common sense I wish more politicians had; no matter what title you give her, she’s an inspiration.

As I sit at my desk each day thinking that someone really should do something about global warming and public education and rude people on cell phones and health care and traffic and war and stuff, Jane is doing it. Given the chance to take off to Iraq right now and send home stories about what’s really going on, I don’t know if I would. It sounds a little scary, even though at 30 I should feel invincible. To be doing it at more than twice my age, without complaining about uncomfortable living quarters or extreme heat or cold or bugs or having to bathe out of a bucket, I think Jane is remarkable. I hope to have a little of her moxie someday.

If I could give Jane just one Jason Mraz song to carry around with her, it would have to be 10,000 Motherfuckers. It’s always sounded like a political song to me, a call to action, whether or not our Curbside Prophet meant for it to be. And I think that Jane’s doing exactly what it asks for, to stand up and sing out loud, and maybe a few of us will listen.

Read her entry from Sunday, September 30, 2007, “Farewell to Africa, good morning Iraq!” where she got a prophecy of her own (in a church in Africa that was not, as far as I can tell, anywhere near a curb).

Go make your life, not a living,

Jane Online: – Jane’s Blog – The Times Online’s feature on Jane’s first trip to Iraq (That’s their photo of Jane, up above.) – Our local paper reports on Jane’s preparations for her Oct. 6, 2007 departure to Iraq


Welcome Back, Jane!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my friend, Jane Stillwater, who ran off to Iraq to do some reporting for the real people. No one was paying her to do it. She spent a year saving up to cover all the expenses, but she felt it was important for a citizen journalist to go have a look around and write about it, unfiltered by the mainstream media.

Jane never got out of the Green Zone, but considering the bombing that took place in the cafeteria there last week, she still saw more action than most of us ever will. Read all about her adventures at her site: 

Also this week, another friend of mine finished her training with the diplomatic corps and received her first assignment. She’ll be spending the next year in Nigeria, and after that, who knows where life will take her? I’m very lucky to know some really incredible people. Just thinking about these two adventurous ladies, my passport is starting to itch for new stamps. 

What is it Jason Mraz says about traveling?

“I love surprises and coincidences. I love them even more when I don’t pass them off as luck, but rather recognize them as a sign that my life’s course is right on track.”

Um, wrong quote, but still a good one, don’t ya think?

Safe and Sound… in Kuwait

Continuing on my post from yesterday, my friend, Jane, made it to Kuwait today. She’s posted her first report, and in true Jane fashion found plenty to say, just from her hours on the airplane and a trip to the army dining hall:

Whether or not you agree with her, I hope you admire her moxie. We need more chicks with moxie.

In lighter news, our Prophet Mraz has changed up his myspace photo again. He’s wearing a hat in this one, which makes me wonder if it’s because he’s afraid more people will start writing about his hair.


Mrazturbation Times a Thousand

I can be so damn shallow. Here I am, going on about Harry Potter – it’s the last book, I’m going to be bummed when I get to the last page, wah wah wah, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to – and on the homepage of, the site of the San Francisco Chronicle, is a very thorough story about my friend, Jane Stillwater, who is 64 and on her way to Iraq. Just because she thinks she should go.Jane Stillwater

Talk about following your bliss – picking one thing a day you can do to make you a better you, to improve your life and the lives of those around you – Jane has raised the Mrazturbation stakes big time. Just smack me now and call me selfish.

Let me give you a little background on Jane. She and I worked together at my last job where we shared affection for Lost and chocolate and Bush jokes. She is an old-school, madcap Berkeley hippie who has spent her life fighting for change and justice and running off doing wild things, as this article details. 

Jane is all guts and big ideas and so when she first mentioned a couple of months ago that she was trying to get embedded in Iraq I brushed it off as something that was more than a whim, but smaller than a plan. For one thing, I thought getting into Iraq would be impossible if you weren’t working for CNN or another major player, so I figured the logistics would be insurmountable. Not for Jane.

Last week I got an email saying she would be headed to Kuwait on the 28th, even though her credentials hadn’t been settled by the DoD, and she would have to wait there until they gave her the green light. She also asked if anyone happened to have some Kevlar body armor she could borrow, just in case.

My first thought was, “Ohmygod she really did it!” Next I thought, “I hope she makes it back safe. It is a war zone after all.” And then I just settled into awe. Everyone I know has something to bitch about, whether it’s traffic or rising housing costs or the way the newspaper boy throws the paper under my car every single morning so I have to practically crawl under the damn hood to reach it… deep breath… but almost nobody ever does anything to change it.

Well Jane is doing something, and it’s a much bigger something than even the hundreds of blogs she’s written about the war. She’s headed right into the thick of it, and I have the feeling that even if she spends all three weeks in the airport in Kuwait, she’ll have a hell of a story to tell when she gets back.

Read the full article: