Friday, May 23, 2014

Mixed Remixed Festival

The Mixed Remixed Festival, formerly known as the Mixed Roots Literary and Film Festival, is holding their annual gathering at the Japanese American National Museum on June 14th, 2014. The festival is hosted by author Heidi Durrow, of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.

I am listed among the featured writers for this year's event. Come see me present an excerpt from Hambone, an in-progress memoir about my life with my father.

Shannon Luders-Manuel

mx14_shannonShannon Luders-Manuel is a native of the Bay Area in central California and lived her first two years on San Francisco’s famously diverse Haight Street with her black father from Missouri and white mother from Marin County, California. She received her Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she focused on identity formation and the role of the white suitor in the “tragic mulatta” narrative. Shannon was a founding member of the all-inclusive Meetup group “Sisters and White Misters” located in Alameda, California, and is proud of her multiracial extended family which includes spouses and partners with ethnicities from around the globe. Shannon’s previous literary works include a postcolonial analysis of the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case in Vanderbilt University’s online academic journal, AmeriQuests. She is currently working on a memoir entitled Hambone about her relationship with her deceased father.

Diversity Consciousness: Opening Our Minds to People, Cultures, and Opportunities

There is truth to the adage, "Good things come to those who wait."

An article I got published on Teaching Tolerance magazine's website has shown up on many other diversity websites throughout the years, and has now made it into a textbook published by Pearson.

I look forward to purchasing this book in the very near future and seeing what other gems it holds.

~Shannon Luders-Manuel

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What My Mother Has Taught Me

It's been almost a year since my second most recent post, "What My Father Taught Me." As a reintroduction to my blog, it seems appropriate to follow it up with a tribute to my mother, just a little shy of Mother's Day and the 2nd anniversary of her successful brain surgery.

1. Beauty is everywhere.

Many women, including myself, notice man-made, artificial objects of beauty. My mother, however, never seems to notice these things. Instead, she sees every individual flower, bird, and tree on any walk she ever takes. Taking walks with my mother can be painfully slow due to these sightings, but her mesmerization and wonder at the beauty of nature inspires me to look past the pretty buildings and pretty clothes and see the tiny little blue flower peeking up from the cracked sidewalk.

2. Disability doesn't determine capability.

My mom was born with a cleft lip and palate, and in the 50s, surgeries weren't as streamlined as they are today. As a result, my mother grew up with highly visible imperfections on her face, and children and adults alike assumed these imperfections affected her mental capabilities. In reality, my mother was the only one of her siblings to earn a Master's degree. She taught me not only to see people for their insides, but also to embrace their outsides just the way they are. I therefore naturally gravitated towards peers who were somehow different, because to me, they were just as normal as anyone else.

3. Don't be afraid to cry.

When my mother was sad, she cried, and from a young age I learned that this was a natural expression of one's emotions. She never once told me not to cry, and this freedom has allowed me to be sympathetic toward others when they're feeling down.

4. Books are a girl's best friend. 

My mom still gets lost in a good book, to the point where everything around her fades away. After having received my Master's in English literature, it's hard to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading purely for reading's sake, but I'm determined to recultivate this pasttime with the vigor that my mom has never lost.

5. There is nothing wrong with waiting in line.

My mom is an incredibly patient person. I have rarely seen her honk her horn out of frustration or get irritated by having to wait in line at a grocery store. She takes these inconveniences in stride, knowing that an extra thirty seconds is nothing to get worked up about.

6. The grass never greener on the other side.

My mother has never expressed a wish to have someone else's house, job, car, or, well, life. She exudes contentment with everything, as if existence itself is a gift that has been bestowed upon her and not to be taken for granted.