Saturday, April 25, 2009

Story corp

Hello there!

Let’s talk a bit about stories.

Recently I was driving along and listening to National Public Radio (what do you listen to when you’re in the car? For me, it’s KCRW, the classical music station, or oldies—because, well, everyone could use some Motown), when there was a special feature by the StoryCorps.

A man from New York was talking about how he thought that he was a failure for much of his life, because he had not done anything great, like becoming the President of the United States. He “only” owned three second-day bread stores. Then, it happened that he discovered eating competitions, and the first contest that he won was with matzo ball soup. For this feat, he got to shake the hand of the mayor of New York! Success at last for this New Yorker!

Such a delightful story reminded me of my love of oral histories, and that I had considered applying for a position with the StoryCorps upon finishing library school. Who wouldn’t want to listen to people’s stories all day? If only I was willing to move away from my beloved Los Angeles to live near the organization’s headquarters in Brooklyn!

Since that one-time car time encounter, I’ve been searching out other personal narratives, and you should know that my library has a “Local History Room,” which features a project of recording and transcribing oral histories. Still, some of the best stories that I have read lately are on

Another article recently put forth the analysis that Americans currently live not in a culture of storytelling, but of mere explanation—which I found to be very interesting indeed. Sad too, because I feel that I live for stories in their many forms.

Before I close, I would like to say that if you feel the same way, I recommend that you come to my library’s “Crafter’s Circle” held on the third Tuesday of every month, and not just for the neat paper crafts that we make sometimes! (Last month’s activity was a folded photo album that’s perfect for putting in your pocket or purse.) But more important, this group is a gathering of older ladies who like to tell stories!

Lastly, as I’ve suggested before, clothes and photographs have the power to tell stories—what do you think is the story behind these fashion shots of my sister Autumn? You can comment with haiku-like swiftness if you like!


Amber said...

I love stories! Especially ones with pretty girls.

Vash said...

It's true, stories are not as prevalent as they once were. Seems like it's up to us to bring them back!

Also, the pictures are wonderful :D.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Stories, funny or dramatic, are underappreciated until you hear them. Ashley, I also like This American Life on KPCC/PBS.
Instead of joining another organization, create your own new & improved Ashley's Stories right here!

Sista looks like a breath of fresh air as usual xcept she would look better in different colors & a dog by her side!

grannybabs said...

Students love stories - when I want my students to pay close attention to a fact or idea I wish to impart - I usually begin by saying, "Have I ever told you about . . "

Then they all pay attention! Fortunately I've lived a lot longer than all of them, so I have had lots of "stories" happen in my life.

And the fashion shots are their usual lovely selves!!

lifeinoleg said...

Autumn looks very happy in these pictures.

I enjoyed the dog stories we sponsored. More to come during the next batch!

Ashley said...

Thank you, all, for the lovely comments! Look for the new post coming soon!


Rose said...

I think my favorite story was a small boat of children who were going to a ferry and looked so thrilled with enchantment because they thought they were going to the fairies! Very, very Sweet!

Nimbvs said...


You know I love stories; I love listening to them almost as much as I love telling them! :) Which somehow I think is better than just writing them down for others to read; I like it when stories are passed down, and upon each transmission something new is added, something a little better, and the story becomes a living and breathing creature... it's quite beautiful. Stories are what make and keep good and memorable friendships.