“Here’s the deal. The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed—to be seen, heard, and companioned exactly as it is.” —Parker J. Palmer
Voices of Our Time
THE ART OF CONVERSATION
“I hope the voices in this wonderful archive will help us to better appreciate one another,” Lois Baum says of the Studs Terkel Archive, an audio treasure trove of the late broadcaster’s newly digitized 6,000+ tapes. In his 45 years on WFMT radio, Terkel talked to a wide array of the 20th century’s most interesting people—and now you can explore those interviews for free.
HOW TO LISTEN
Humans of New York’s Brandon Stanton opens up to Tim Ferriss about the power of biography, how being 100 percent present is more important than the questions in an interview, and hanging in there when things get tough.
NYC: SEEKING HISTORICAL MEMORABILIA
Stonewall Forever, a project launched last year after Google granted a Greenwich Village community center $1 million to preserve oral histories of those present during the Stonewall Riots, is collecting photographs, letters, diaries and protest material to be considered for an online collection.
Stories of Our Lives
“Birth dates, death dates, immigration records, legal proceedings—none of those capture the measure of a person’s soul,” writes Massachusetts-based Nancy West, who chronicles why genealogy is only the beginning of one’s personal history, and how memoir uncovers heartfelt nuance.
BEHIND THE BOOK
“They have the most incredible story and it has been weighing on my for years that we need to get it written down,” Olive Lowe’s aunt told her. And so it was that Lowe, of Life Stories by Liv in Mesa, Arizona, went on to capture how her aunt helped a family from South Korea immigrate to the United States after their son was born with a severe form of spina bifida.
THE GIFT OF BRAG
Karen Bender, a certified guided autobiography instructor in Virginia, has some advice for budding memoirists: “Tell the truth. Not a watered-down truth or a polite truth, but the full ‘hey Ma, look at me!’ truth.” Worried about seeming less than modest? Let your friends and family do the bragging via quotes from interviews.
“So, the morning passed with a daughter peeking into the academic world of a father who had spent a lifetime learning and now was sharing his special knowledge,” reflects Carol McLaren of Unique Life Stories in Pinon, Arizona. How poring over a rare book in seventeenth century Dutch made a cross-generational connection.
NOTHING IS LOST, INDEED
Clinton Haby of San Antonio–based StoryKeeping says he is enriched by his work through the bonds he forms with those he has the privilege of interviewing—and the resulting production ensures the storyteller’s spark is just a “press play” away.
...and a Few More Links
- Five unconventional memoirs recommended by writer Glen David Gold
- “We Survive by Telling Stories,” by Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros
- Paul Sullivan died in Vietnam 50 years ago, and his family has kept his memory alive ever since
- Sarah White on handling the income insecurity of the personal historian lifestyle