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Hear a New Blindness Story in This Week’s Pop-Up Magazine – Win Tickets

Hear a New Blindness Story in This Week’s Pop-Up Magazine – Win Tickets

Win two tickets to Pop-Up Magazine at the Paramount Theater in Oakland this Thursday, November 10: email “Pop Up” to wbutler@lighthouse-sf.org.

When we started LightHouse Interpoint this spring, we had a vision of a literary magazine featuring stories by the world’s best blind writers. So far we’ve published work by world travelers, parents, professors, journalists, and regular blind people who have something interesting to say.

The LightHouse has always imagined Interpoint being bigger than just online essays, though, and this week we’re proud to announce that we have an Interpoint story, written and edited by blind people, going on tour with Pop-Up Magazine. The piece premiered at the Los Angeles Ace Hotel Theater on Thursday night to a massive audience response, and will be performed on all the stops of Pop-Up Magazine’s November tour, which means you can see it live in San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago, Boston, and Brooklyn.

Below find the full tour schedule and links to buy tickets. More about Pop-Up Magazine:

Called “a sensation” by the New York Times and referred to by the SF Chronicle as “Fast-paced, loose, often funny, and wholly unpredictable,” Pop Up Magazine is a signature San Francisco event which takes the live storytelling of radio programs like This American Life to the next level: in the form of a live, unrecorded show. With events that have sold out venues such as Davies Symphony Hall and the Greek Theater in Berkeley, Pop-Up presents the highest calibre of storytelling with all the excitement of a live concert. This month, our writers will be sharing the stage with the likes of Ira Glass, Gillian Jacobs, Joshua Bearman and Mallory Ortberg, among many others.

A huge thank you to Pop-Up Magazine for collaborating so closely with the LightHouse to develop yet another unique, untold story in the Interpoint series. See you at the theater!

Pop-Up Magazine, Dates and Tickets:

11/3 – THE THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL – Los Angeles


11/9 – NOURSE THEATER – San Francisco


11/10 – PARAMOUNT THEATRE – Oakland


11/12 – HARRIS THEATER – Chicago


11/15 – WILBUR THEATRE – Boston


11/17 – KINGS THEATRE – Brooklyn


Firangi: Confessions of an Albino Muslim in India

This is the fourth and final installment in our ‘Month of Blind Women,’ a series of essays by women who are blind or have low vision presented by LightHouse Interpoint, the new literary supplement from LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco and cross-posted at The Toast. To read all of the essays from Interpoint, click here.

image: a yellow auto-rickshaw with a reflective winshield
By Mehak Siddiqui


It was way back in the seventh grade when, during lunch hour at school, a little girl told her companion not to sit beside me in the cafeteria. “She has cancer, and you might get it too if you sit so close to her,” was the whispered but audible warning. I don’t know what was more shocking: that the child believed cancer to be contagious, or that she’d somehow assumed I was afflicted. Before I could decide how to respond, the duo had skittered further down the table.

My earliest memories of school are punctuated by this type of scene, and by seventh grade I was already quite immune to the comments about my appearance. A bunch of boys in my class called me ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost.’ They sniggered when I wore a hat and tinted glasses to protect my skin and eyes from the sunlight. I was used to being confronted with blunt and awkward questions, ranging from the crude (“Why are you so white?”) to the intrusive (“Are you adopted?”) and even the downright amusing (“Were you born in America?” — as if place of birth can be the sole determinant of skin color).

That was in Kenya, where I grew up, though I was born in India. I attended a predominantly South Asian school, where in the sea of brown skin and dark hair, I stood out as the pale, blond oddball. At the time, I was too timid to stand up for myself. I ignored the questions. Two decades later, I wonder if I should have been bolder, if in the face of these ubiquitous interrogations, I could have served up the plain truth:

“It’s called albinism. And no – it’s not contagious.”

Doctors have always told me that I see quite well in relation to other people with albinism – low vision is common among those in my situation – but I still have my moments of frustration. Because my eyes are very sensitive to light, it becomes harder to function in the bright sunshine that is characteristic of the weather in India, even when wearing dark glasses. Add to that an utterly chaotic traffic situation, and crossing the street becomes disproportionately stressful, time-consuming, and at times downright frightening. There have been instances when I’ve actually hailed an auto rickshaw at busy intersections simply to get to the other side of the road.

Nonetheless, I walk the streets like everyone else. Growing up, I used to feel disheartened about my eyesight, but I’ve learned to appreciate that despite this challenge I can still function independently. In fact, my eyesight is often the last thing on my mind as I navigate the streets of Ahmedabad, living the life of a foreigner in the town I was born. Continue reading Firangi: Confessions of an Albino Muslim in India

Calling All Blind Writers

slate and stylus

Blind writers: LightHouse wants to publish you!

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco is putting out an official call for submissions. We are in search of the best and brightest writers who are blind or have low vision, to contribute stories for publication on a paid, freelance basis.

We want to hear first-person stories not merely about blindness, but about what it takes to survive and strive as a human. We want to establish a new venue for exploring direct experiences surrounding the often misunderstood and under-appreciated aspects of blindness. Ultimately, we aim to be the most contemporary, honest and passionate source for people to learn about blindness from those who walk our walk.

We will consider submissions from both novice and professional authors. Whether you have a page ripped from your personal journal or a rejection from a literary journal, we’re open to all styles and subject matter. The most important thing is that it’s honest, unafraid, and rooted in an experience of visual impairment.

What We’re Looking For

We seek to publish dynamic personal essays, memoirist reflections, travel writing, incisive commentary, specific advice, funny or useful lists, arts writing, general humor, insightful analysis, new ideas and anything else with verve and honesty.

Story ideas can be just that — an idea. You don’t need to send us a finished product or a fully-formed narrative; we’re happy to work with you to get you there, in fact we’d prefer the process to be a collaboration from start to finish. That said, submissions can come in the form of a completed document, a brief pitch, or just a friendly introduction and statement of interest. Once we feel confident that you have something to say, we’ll work closely with you to shape it into a great piece of writing.

What We’re Not Looking For

We don’t have much interest in political rants, takedown pieces, sob stories, brand promotion, medical diaries, or extraneous embitterment. The purpose of this new direction for the LightHouse Blog is to highlight talent and elevate voices. We seek to build a strong and lasting support structure, and in order to do that we must celebrate fresh viewpoints and positive representations as much as possible.

We also understand that sometimes writing about blindness — or anything personal, for that matter — can be very demanding. It can dredge up deep and painful memories or confusing emotions. We encourage writers not to run away from those emotions or conflicts. Rather, explore them with a clear head and conscience; write it down, and then show us what you’ve written.

Priorites and Policies

We seek first and foremost to publish writers who are blind or visually impaired, with an emphasis stories based in California and the west coast. That said, we are open to any and all writers who would like us to consider a submission.

Submissions will be edited by Will Butler, who has written about his own eyesight in essays such as “The Mark of Cane” (New York Times), “Blind at South by Southwest” (VICE), and “In Blind Judgment” (The Toast).

We pay $100 for essays published on our blog, with payment issued upon publication. To negotiate for particularly long or ambitious pieces, you’ll need to talk with our editors on a story-by-story basis.

We can’t wait to read your work.

Email all submissions to


with “Pitch” in the subject line

questions: (415) 694-7309

Other Examples of Short Works by Blind Writers

“At the Intersection of Death and Disability” | Serena Olsen, Blind Broad Abroad, 2015

“A Friday Night of Bartending, Without the Lights” | Nicole C. Kear, NY Times, 2014

“How to be Helpful: 3 Snapshots from a Day” | Erin Lauridsen, Life in Braille, 2013

“Beauty and the Blind” | Georgina Kleege, UNESCO Courrier, 2001

“Sensory Overload at the Biggest Rattlesnake Roundup in the World” | Ryan Knighton, VICE, 2013

“The Barrier of the Visible Difference” | Kenneth Jernigan, Gray Pancakes and Gold Horses, 1998