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 Salon.com.
Another Salon.com 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!