Mary Anne Mohanraj


August 22 -- 9:56 AM

Spent much of yesterday working with Neha on putting up the collaborative South Asian diasporic photography exhibit at the Ward Gallery on campus. We have some terrific elements -- these large panels from SAAPRI, a mix of history and photography, and photos from UIC students, faculty, and the Chicago desi community -- Rasaka's Yoni ki Baat performance, Trikone Chicago's Kalakranti performance, a portrait of Neha Gill, Apna Ghar's Executive Director, and more.

The theatre photos are so vibrant, but I think my favorite part are the old photos that people scanned and sent in from their family albums. So many of them had their parents posing with their first American cars -- it's funny, but also poignant. And the SAAPRI exhibit has fascinating quotes from early immigrants who wore saris daily to mark themselves as 'not black' -- if they didn't, they faced housing and other discrimination.

Preston Merchant's photography will be added in a week, making the exhibit even better. There's still a fair bit of text to pull together and install, but I think we can get it done by Monday. Mostly, though, I'm really happy it's getting done. Huge props to Liz Thomson, formerly director of AARCC, who was a champion of this project at various points when it seemed unclear whether it would get done. And thanks to Neha for working a long, long day yesterday!

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August 22 -- 9:22 AM

Kavya, enjoying the last weekday of summer vacation in the background, Quickfire hydrangea in foreground. About three days ago, I cut off some stems that were dragging on the ground -- still going strong, and they should dry beautifully. Hydrangeas -- the floriferous gift that keeps on giving.

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August 21 -- 8:55 PM

Everyone at Lori's reading tonight yelled at me. Granted, they were yelling at me that I should go to the doctor already, because I was coughing my way through the Q&A (having missed the actual reading due to being on campus late finishing hanging art for the Kriti exhibit with Neha). So it wasn't malicious yelling, but rather, concerned yelling. I called Roshani on the way home, and she told me to come over in the morning and she'd listen to my breathing with her stethoscope and tell me if I did actually need to go see my doctor. It might be bronchitis. It might be walking pneumonia. It's probably just a cold. But I am tired of people yelling at me, so I'm going to the doctor, I'm going. It's nice having doctor friends.

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August 21 -- 2:05 PM

I have the budget to fly a book editor or two into town for the Kriti Festival (thanks to the Kickstarter). Before I cast my net more directly, do I happen to have any book editors on here who are interested in meeting a host of desi writers and answering lots of questions? Mainstream fiction would be great, but genre also good. Chicago, Friday 9/26 - Sun 9/28. (We probably don't need you all three days.) Can cover U.S. coach airfare, hotel for up to two nights, festival registration. Drop me a line if interested! It's a lovely time of year to visit Chicago.

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August 21 -- 7:56 AM

I think I forgot to note that I'll be Guest of Honor at Maneki Neko Con. October 3-5, Matteson, IL. Whee!

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