Earlier this month, I shared a post that was inspired by a StoryCorps story. The StoryCorps project has been active for ten years now. In addition to their mobile recording studios that travel the country, StoryCorps has also created what they call the “National Day of Listening.” The goal of the National Day of Listening is to remind us that anyone can be a curator of history. Today, you are invited to sit down with someone who matters to you and have an informal interview with that person.
The tagline on the National Day of Listening’s website is “Ask great questions. Share great stories.” I have not had the chance to actually be in a StoryCorps booth, but I do come from a family of wonderful storytellers. And while we might be in the “never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” variety, our stories are still an important way that our family history is remembered and shared.
These stories ground us. They tell about the things that matter most, or the things that were the funniest. They remind us that we aren’t alone in the world.
I’ve written before about stories, especially in the context of patient stories. And when I hear about projects like the National Day of Listening, I find myself hoping that many people will choose to stop in the middle of the holiday rushing about and sit down to share a story.
Stories allow you to connect and to see new sides of the people in your life. Stories allow room for healing and change. And they create a chance to make space for engaging with one another in ways that are outside of our normal habits and routines. For example, I learned last night that my dad, who was an avid reptile fan as a kid, used to leash his pet lizard to the Christmas tree, where it would proceed to eat the popcorn and cranberry strings. This gave me a brand new perspective on my grandmother–I had to reconcile her formidably clean house with pictures of leashed lizards.
I know that this is a busy, busy weekend for folks. I still have my big holiday meals to prep for myself. But I hope you take the invitation offered by the National Day of Listening project. I hope that you reach out to someone who matters to you and ask for a story. And maybe share a story of your own. You don’t need to record it, or write it down. Just listen to one another.
Not sure how to get the conversation started? The National Day of Listening has suggested questions on their website.
Want to share a favorite story here? Go for it!