Rashida Aisha Ali

Rashida Aisha Ali
Help I Need a Fan

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
October 5, 2005

Q.    Who is Rashida Aisha Ali?

A.    Rashida Ali is an author, poet, artist, dramatist, educator, philanthropist and mother of three children.

Q.    What inspired you to write the book Help I Need a Fan?

A.   My inspiration came after suffering many maladies after the onset of Menopause. For generations this subject has always been a taboo and hush, hush secret among the female population. Menopause is not a subject that is taught in schools nor by most mothers, mine included. Therefore, I had little knowledge of what to expect, except hot flashes. Little did I know that there were many more uncomfortable symptoms that came with this change of life. I became totally distressed and depressed, and all but cursed at God for putting such laborious trials on the woman, such as menstrual cramps, child birth, labor pains, child rearing, never ending house work, help mate to the husband etc. As the saying goes A womans work is never done. My husband at the time was a minister. His words of wisdom to me were, If God placed this physiology into the woman then there must be something of divine. It is for you to pray and find out what it is. So, that I did. My answered prayer resulted in the thesis of this book, Help I Need a Fan, a Rite of Passage from Woman to Goddess.

Q.    How did you come about the title?

A.   In the early 1980s I was living in Phoenix Arizona where daily temperatures soared above 100 degrees daily. My best girl friend and I were lamenting the fact that we had no husbands or significant other. We were hot as hell, weather wise and other wise. For amusement she shared with me a story from her child hood. When she was a small girl she and her six sisters would play a hand game with a chant that went like this, Im hot, Im hot, and I dont need a fan I need a man! Her grandmother would always run outside and scold them, telling them to stop playing that game, though never telling them why. Since they could never figure out themselves what was wrong with it, they continued just out of her ear reach. After laughing hysterically we resurrected the little girl chat only with the fervor and understanding of big girls, daily clapping our hand and chanting, Im hot, Im hot and I dont need a fan I need a man!

Fifteen years later living now in Miami Florida that also boast hot summer climates I am married and hot, but this time hot not from temperature heat or lustful heat but from biological heat. In an attempt to amuse myself and cool myself, I once again resurrected that childhood chant with a bit of a twist, Im hot, Im hot and I dont need a man, I need a fan! By the end of the manuscript that chant evolved into the name of the book, Help I Need a Fan!

Q.    Please give the readers a brief synopsis of your books.

A.   Help I Need a Fan is a non-fictional account of my spiritual journey in quest of the divine purpose of Menopause. My search for answers were extensive beginning with a plea to God as to His purpose for placing this awesomely taxing and sometimes debilitating trial upon the woman. At this time over fifty million women from the baby boom generation are going through Menopause at the rate of 4,000 per day. This account focuses not on the ill-effect that women experience during this climacteric change but conversely, the beauty and spirituality that emerges. Help I Need a Fan is about change growth, renewal and transformation. It is laced with humorous anecdotes and moments of sensitivity. It offers fresh new ideas and understanding of an age-old malady that leads to acceptance and peace of mind body and soul. The concepts rendered are refreshing, as well as empowering and leaves the readers, both male and female on a spiritual high.

Q.    How long did it take you to write Help I Need a Fan?

A.   It took me about nine years to complete the manuscript in that it was based on a passage of life. The journey chronicles the various stages that I experienced from the first hot flash to cessation.

Q.    Have you written other books?

A.   Yes I have written eight other books that are published and a few other manuscripts that are as yet unpublished.

Q.    What type of atmosphere do you need to write?

A.   The ideal atmosphere for most writing is of course one that is tranquil and serene; however for me the ideal is one that I seldom have the luxury of experiencing. In addition to being an author I also own and operate a publishing house in which I am constantly engaged in editing and proofing the work of other writers. I also am the founder and executive director of a non-profit foundation Children of the Sun, that assist handicapped, orphaned, at risk and underprivileged children, with educational needs, food, clothing and shelter, while at the same time functioning as a single parent who home schools three children ages eleven, fifteen, and seventeen, as well as being on call as a part-time substitute teacher for the Miami public school system. In between all of the above duties and late in the night and in the wee hours of morning, whenever time and circumstance permits.. I write.

Q.    Are you currently working on another book?

A.   No I am not. I am currently in the process of publishing two other writers, whose work will be out within the next few months.

Q.    What message would you like your reader to receive from reading Help I Need a Fan?

A.   The message I would like readers to receive is that hard trials are a necessary and inevitable part of life. They not only establish truths but they make us stronger. Likewise change is an inevitable part of life, oft times leading to progression. How we perceive the changes that occur in our lives and how we go through the many trials and tribulation that we most assuredly will be confronted with in life, will determine the quality of the end result and no matter what phase or stage of life we find ourselves in we must love ourselves unconditionally, embrace the changes and give thanks for precious ongoing life!