“Google You”

by Sushmita Mazumdar

I found this blog post in Drafts and even though I wrote it a year ago, it is still interesting today so I decided to share it. The draft did lead me to getting new headshots in 2020 from Lloyd Wolf, who took some for the Columbia Pike Documentary Project’s Transitions book.


It is time for the Asian American Lit Fest 2019 and Kaya Press wanted a headshot of me to add to their program. They want me to do some writing/bookmaking activities with the public at their booth. As usual, I scrolled through my phone, through my 13,432 photos. Until I gave up. There were hardly any of me. Or hardly any that weren’t silly looking. So I asked my 13-year old to take a quick photo of me. She walked past the dining table where I sat, replying to my question and including in it a strange phrase:

“If you just Google you, you will find many photos,” she said, walking off into the TV room.┬áSo I Googled me.

I found some stuff I had no idea about or had just plain forgotten about. In a world of constant marketing and social media presence as a solopreneur, I have tried to keep up. Some people I meet say they can’t keep up with my posts. Others ping me when I haven’t posted in a few weeks. You can’t even imagine how much stuff I don’t post! But maybe my 13,000 photos give you a hint…

So I decided to re-live some “oldies but goodies” I found when I Googled me.

Juley, Yak! books made by children at the Parklands Branch of DC Public Libraries.

DCPL: In 2011, I did a summer project for the District of Columbia Public Libraries taking my Animal Rhymes to library branches all over DC, all 24 of them. What would you learn if you met a person who has seen a tiger in its wild habitat and knows how it is understood in the culture where it is from? As the children tried on the rhymes and actions for, Juley Yak! and Shh, Tiger! and made their book, I hope they took home a different way of understanding the world and how wonderfully different it was.

Family Legends of Alexandria bookmaking workshop, Black History Museum, Alexandria, VA

Living Legends of Alexandria: This post is from 2013. The Family Legends of Alexandria program, which was a project of Living Legends of Alexandria, doesn’t exist any more. That doesn’t mean we cannot learn from it. It survives on Google and maybe its time to continue those programs elsewhere, perhaps at the Studio!

Empowered Women International: I can’t tell when this post was from, but as non-profit organizations bring in new interns and they work on new projects we notice how some go on and some stall. I am amazed at the wonderful photos this project page has! The intern was so talented but her name doesnt appear anywhere. Bummer!

Of course, all 77,500 results Google shared are not about me. But my kid sure led me to some interesting history. Have you Googled you?

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