I am so happy that something like StoryCorps exists. It took a really windy, cold, wet, no good Monday and transformed it into a life-affirming love fest. Why don’t we stop and tell stories more often? I miss the concept of the front porch; I want a piece of the day-to-day to be sanctified in the re-telling, and that is what StoryCorps does. Their mission “is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.” I started with one story and then just kept on.
In “Q and A” I heard point-blank the questions that we all wish we had the courage to ask of those that love us the most. He was twelve, an age where the average pre-teen does whatever possible to cover up the desperation to be needed and liked, and because of his Asberger’s syndrome this boy isn’t able to dissemble his emotions; they are bare and reckless. It is humbling to hear without the veil of pretense and, because of his disability, even the possibility of a buffet of social rules.
Many of the stories are love stories; most of us have them, but we live with them so long without really thinking of them that they can become rather pedestrian. When called upon by new acquaintances to answer how we met or what we though of each other at first glance, I often hedge in my memories- say the right thing- rein in emotions that might sound too strong or unrealistic, but in a room with just two people and a tape player there comes a sweetness and honesty that makes even the most common of these love stories inspirational.
I also loved “Miss Devine” a portrait of a “wiry lady” the “only woman who had more power than our grandmother.” Some people just demand to be immortalized, and that is what stories can do. They memorialize a place or a moment or a feeling. The simplest words and simplest stories somehow become profound when someone speaks and we listen.
Definitely worth a visit: