Tuesday, December 05, 2006


"StoryCorps is a national project to instruct and inspire people to record each others' stories in sound."

I found out about StoryCorps one day while watching Jane Pauley's now defunct talk show. I'm a sucker for a good, personal story so I wanted to know more. The organization was founded to record personal interviews. The first booth they set up is in Grand Central Station and for a small fee, you can make an appointment to record a 40 minute interview. On site is a facilitator to help you get the best sound quality, etc. Afterward, you are sent a CD of your interview and if you give permission, a copy is put into the Library of Congress Archives.

I went online to their website one day and spent forever it seemed listening to excerpts from different interviews. I cried, I laughed, I cried some more. Some of the stories are of painful events in the lives of the tellers but there is a poignancy in them that draws me to them. The commonality of the human condition, I guess.

Every once in awhile, I go to the website and find new stories and listen again to old favorites. It is the equivalent of sitting down in front of a favorite old movie or re-reading a book knowing that it will make you cry. The experience is cathartic. It allows me connect with others by listening to their stories and reminds me of the capacity for love and compassion in all of us. Although God is rarely mentioned in the stories I listen to, I sense his presence in them.

Today was one of those days. I'm a little weary from my husband being out of town. I'm a little premenstrual. But also, I spent part of the last couple of days reading Darlene's writings about her life and the loss of her twin babies. She writes with grace about the joy her babies brought her and her husband and about the pain their s brought into their lives. I have a friend who lost a twin and so it brings some bittersweet memories back to me. Tears that came close to being shed while reading Darlene's writing maybe needed to work their way to the surface.

In the blogosphere, I've been touched by many, many stories that I've read. Here is a chance to listen to some via links to the StoryCorps Listen page. The interviews are short--one to three minutes in length--but are very powerful. There is one silly, sweet one thrown in to offset the tear-inducing quality of the others. I hope that you will get some of the same sort of appreciation for others that I receive from these.

Debbie Fisher and Terrence Hicks - Debbie talks about her father, a Holocaust survivor.

Cathy and Kelly Slumber - The story of a treasured Christmas present.

Sarah and Joshua Littman - A boy with Asperger's Syndrome interviews his mother.

William and Seth Jacobs - A grandson and grandfather share.

Doris and Lisa Cohen - A mother and daughter discuss painful life events.

Philomena Luciani and Alison Purcell - Adventures in housewares

I have to stop but there are so many more. I encourage you to stop by the website to listen to more. In addition to the two booths in New York City, StoryCorps has expanded their operations to include two mobile booths. You can look at the schedule and see if they are coming to a town near you. They also have an equipment rental program. For a very reasonable price, you can rent a mini-recorder with professional quality microphones for one week. You return the equipment with your recording and they send it back to you in CD form. I am just waiting for the day when I can participate in one of these interviews.

To show you how much of a StoryCorps geek I am, my husband, in New York City on business, knew I would want to see this:**

This is the StoryCorps booth that is near the World Trade Center site. In addition to all the other stories they are collecting, they have three special projects: 1) collecting stories from friends and families of 9/11 victims--really, any story about someone touched by that tragedy; 2) collecting stories of people who are experiencing memory loss; and 3) collecting stories of people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Let me know what you think...

**Come to think of it, this picture is probably part of the reason I had my StoryCorps binge today!


Anonymous said...

Okay, so I just listened to Joshua and Sarah Littman's interview, and I'm crying, crying, crying.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the Story Corps series...thanks so much for passing along the links.

Mary-LUE said...

B&P: Isn't the dialogue between Joshua and Sarah amazing? I am awed by her honesty with her son. She really floored me. When Joshua asked his mom about his sister being liked more, it just killed me.

I know this is a personal one for you.

MarillaAnne said...

ok ... I've bookmarked your post ... I'll come back ... I'm a sucker for this sort of thing. Here they are just a few hours from me. I will have to look them up.

Beck said...

I'll have to check that out! That sounds amazing.

Kristen said...

Yeah, I listen to story corps on NPR every Friday. It almost always makes me cry.

blackdaisies said...

oh wow ... i'd never even heard of story corps, how amazing and heartbreaking and wonderful all at once ~ i can see that i'm going to be spending some time there ... thanks for sharing this ...

Izzy said...

I LOVE Story Corps. They were here about 8 months ago. Actually, they were in Sarasota, about 45 minutes away and I really wanted to go but with the kids and all, it was impossible.

ECR said...

I listen to StoryCorps every week on NPR, and I have yet to get through a single one without crying. They're always the kind of stories you need to stay in the car to finish listening to after you arrive at your destination.