“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
With so many diverse links of interest to storytellers and family historians this week, why don’t we skip introductions and dive right in—shall we?
Meghan Vigeant of Stories To Tell in Maine is making a change to her personal history business: She’s paring away the multitude of offerings she once listed, including book production and memoir coaching, and is now focusing on her audio services: audio memoirs & oral histories. Read why this time, it’s all about the audio.
FROM PHONE MESSAGES TO FAMILY STORIES
“When I was a kid spending the night at my grandmother’s house in Harrisville, Michigan, I’d stay up past my bedtime and lay on the bedroom floor with an ear pressed against the heat grate, straining to hear the conversations of the adults in the parlor below,” says Rebekah Smith. She was “seeking out good company and soaking up their stories” then, something she continues to do now in her QuOTed podcast. Check out the 30 mini episodes the Minneapolis-based Smith posted as part of National Podcast Post Month in November 2017.
Signs of the Times
THE FAMILY TABLE
“Occasionally, I would come home from work and find a strange, unshaven man dressed in rags, sitting at our kitchen table,” Ellie Kahn's grandmother told her. Ellie learned of her great-grandmother’s Depression-era generosity (serving strangers entire meals in her home, “from soup to dessert”) while the family shared stories around the Chanukah table. There is no better time to tell such precious stories than during the holidays, and Ellie Kahn, a Los Angeles-based oral historian and owner of Living Legacies Family Histories, offers up myriad suggestions for starting new storytelling traditions this year.
HOW NOT TO CONDUCT AN INTERVIEW
“Those of us who interview others for a living can learn a lot from [Matt] Lauer’s disastrous outing,” writes NYC personal historian Samantha Shubert, who goes on to detail four strategic & substantive ways to get the most out of any conversational interview—not à la the former Today Show host’s example.
When a photographer sets out to live with and document the everyday lives of an order of contemplative nuns in New Zealand, the silent observance reveals a rich narrative.
First Person Reflections
After reading Sarah White’s recent post about her first car (“The Pinto”), guest writer Dorothy Ross submitted a tale of her own youthful automotive daring to True Stories Well Told. (“I named my sweet car Daisy, after the girl in The Great Gatsby,” reflects Ross.) Consider adding your voice to the reminiscences about first cars on Madison, WI-based Sarah White’s blog.
- Carol McLaren of Unique Life Stories in Pinon, Arizona writes about her father on the occasion of his 91st birthday.
- Hear, Here is an oral history project in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, that focuses on place-based stories that bring the experiences of the everyday person to light.