A long time ago, I heard a Ted Talk by Dave Isay on an initiative called StoryCorps. I’ll let you listen to the Ted Talk for the inspiration for this initiative, but basically it’s a tool to capture people’s stories through interviews. They set up booths in several cities where people had the opportunity to interview loved ones about the details of their lives. The interviews have been uploaded to a database where they can be listened to around the world.
Ted Talk with Dave Isay
Eventually, StoryCorps created an app for smartphones so that everyone could interview their friends and loved ones to archive for future generations. It’s been over a year since I heard about this, but I was immediately enthused about the idea. I know from blogging that is very powerful to tell my stories, and I know that other people have stories that never really get heard. I think that’s terribly sad.
I visited my parents today in Pierre Part about an hour from Baton Rouge. I had heard that StoryCorps had an initiative this year to motivate people to interview an elder so that their story could be told and shared with the world. It is called the “Great Thanksgiving Listen”. I had forgotten about it until I got an email reminder today while I was sitting on my parents’ couch.
“Hey, would either of you like to be interviewed for StoryCorps?” I asked.
Daddy immediately said no. To my surprise Momma agreed even though she said she was the most boring person. I was so excited that she agreed I had to hurry up and figure out how to use this thing before she decided she was way too boring to do this. We finally got started, and it was one of the most enjoyable conversations I’ve had in awhile. I learned several things about my Mother that I didn’t know, and I learned that she and I are alike in ways that I did not realize. She, like me, began exploring travel in the outdoors late in life. And she found it very empowering.
You can listen to my interview with Momma below.
But what I’d really like to ask you to do is to experience this for yourself. It was an incredibly intimate experience having this conversation with Momma. Having the recorder there for a purpose took some of the fear out of doing it. We started out with a series of questions chosen from the website, and after the second one, I was drawn in and forgot about the list of questions. I just wanted to know more. I’m not sure how it felt for her, but I felt very touched. I think you will find it to be worth the 40 or so minutes that it takes.
Don’t know where to start? Have no idea what to ask? Here’s a link to some of the questions you can ask.
What I love about Baton Rouge today is being close enough to my parents that I can drive over the day after Thanksgiving and have a conversation that I wouldn’t have been able to have in the fuss of a big holiday or in the rush of a short vacation.