The theme of our first release was so popular, we've decided to do a second run of new stories. After the initial SIX features in Schema Magazine InDepth, a ton of readers let us know that these stories truly resonated with their complex identities as 1.5- and 2nd-Gens. In our opinion, but-where-are-you-really-from is a quintessential experience for many Canadians, and even more people all around the world whose appearance just doesn't fit someone else's "ethnic expectations." Jen Sookfong Lee, the author of End of East described the experience best in her Intro to the series:
Many of us know that feeling, that combination of anger, resentment, hesitation and confusion that bubbles up from your gut whenever someone asks you the question, "Where are you from?" Yes, it's a simple question, and, yes, you know that the answer can be simple as well, but that's not the problem. Before you even open your mouth to respond, a very familiar thought runs circles inside your head, "No matter what I say, this person will not understand."
If you're reading Jen's intro and nodding your head in understanding, we want to hear your but-where-are-you-really-from story. Most cultural navigators have a really great story, and it's far more common than you think, yet they're all so unique. To help get your creative juices flowing, check out this video by the Asia Society called What's Your Story?:
Here are the submission guidelines:
Make it a story. Not an essay, but feel free to include some insightful social commentary, analysis or personal exploration. Rant, if you must. Just make sure you focus around the experience of being asked, "But where are you really from?"
Keep it between 500 and 1500 words. Aim for as few as possible. If you have a more than one story, feel free to submit them separately.
Make it personal. The more personal the experience, the more interesting it will be.
Keep it casual. Anyone can tell a good story. Just imagine you're emailing your closest friend about your experience. We're not looking for the most profound, or smartest-person-stories. Describe how you felt when you were asked "Where are you from?" What was going on in your mind? You knew what they were asking, but you answered with "Canada" or "Vancouver," and they looked at you confused. Sound familiar? That's the nugget.
Think outside the page. Tell us your story in any way you like to express your experience. Video, poetry, or photo essays. This is your story, so be creative!
Storytellers of any and all cultural backgrounds are encouraged to submit.
Please include a short biographical note (50 to 75 words).
We accept queries on an ongoing basis. Please send any proposals, greetings, ideas and pitches directly to submit[@]schemamag.ca
Early submissions are highly encouraged. Proposals are due no later than February 22nd, 2010.
If you are interested in contributing to other columns in Schema InDepth, please visit InDepth Submission Guidelines.
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We'd love to hear from you.