Listen Up!

In the past few weeks I have taken two road trips with my family, and while we are huge music lovers and relish this opportunity for uninterrupted song play (not to mention great car acoustics!), there were times when we wanted something else.

Here’s a sampling from our non-music playlist that I hope you, as fellow life story tellers and memory keepers, may enjoy!

Listen to Dawn Roode interviewed by Amy Woods Butler on the Life Story Coach podcast

The Life Story Coach Podcast Interview

Since I had a captive audience, I previewed my recent interview with Amy Woods Butler, host of The Life Story Coach podcast; I figured my husband and son were as safe an audience as any. I am someone who typically likes to be behind the scenes—taking the pictures, asking the questions—but in this case I was delighted to have the tables turned on me.

Amy’s podcast is geared specifically to life story professionals like myself (so it's a bit of “insider baseball” for those of you who aren't in the business), but I do recommend a listen to this episode for any creative entrepreneur. A few of the topics we discussed:

  • the pros and cons of publishing your prices

  • making a highly customizable product easier to buy

  • trusting your gut over your mentor on occasion

  • stories deepening over the course of personal history interviews

  • using lifestyle magazine techniques to tell engaging stories

It was a true pleasure conversing with Amy on topics so close to my heart, and I hope the resulting podcast provides value and food for thought for some of you.


Oral History Jukebox

The Oral History Association holds something they call Oral History Jukebox at their annual meeting. I won't be able to attend this year's conference in October, but found many of the clips from last year’s session (which turns an open ear to the granularity of oral history recordings, including insights into interview technique, archiving, and more) interesting. 

It is always gratifying when an interview subject hits upon one small story that represents something larger, whether universal in nature or fateful for them. Here are two snippets I found particularly worthwhile:


woman ranger

In the following clip, Major Lisa Jaster recalls the 180 days she spent away from her family in Ranger School. During a long pause at the end (powerful even now for me as a listener), Jaster “is overcome by her intense memories of [a particularly] challenging and emotional moment,” writes oral historian Lieutenant Commander (Retired) Scott Granger. “Those of us in the studio struggled as well, and the interviewer, unable to ask a follow-on question, had to pause the interview to allow everyone to gather themselves before continuing.”


those that didn't make the team

“I think almost every black male friend that I had that wasn’t athletic is now dead due to that war.” Interviewers enter into conversation with Ike Blessit, a former outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, about Vietnam, sports, and friendship, and this two-minute clip speaks not only to the power—and importance—of silences during an interview, but also to ways of suggesting discourse without asking leading questions.


And One More, Just Because

If I'm sharing first-person stories derived through interviews, it's rare that I don't include one from StoryCorps. Not only have I long admired that they are trailblazers in making personal history interviews mainstream, but I am a fan of the ways they make those stories available and oh-so-tempting. Their animations, for example, provide a unique and inviting portal to listen, so here’s a recent one that moved me:


What are you listening to, fellow life storytellers?