I have been listening to Story Corps on National Public Radio for many years. The program shares audio recordings made in booths that travel around the country; e.g., usually two or more people talking about family history or some life changing event. The sponsoring organization provides the venue, equipment, and probably some starter questions, but the participants invariably take the conversation into surprising directions.
In my last blog I mentioned the storytelling tradition of Iceland; that small frozen country has a spot reserved in its national library for the memoirs of any citizen who provides one. In their tradition, few things are sadder than a life that is not remembered. Story Corps’ slogan — Listening is an Act of Love — is certainly in keeping with Icelandic customs.
It has never been easier to write a memoir or record an interview. If you have a computer, or even a smart phone, you can get started right now or perhaps tomorrow at lunch. A mini-tape recorder might be more convenient, especially if you have a summer road trip in your plans. While my particular interest is in getting people to chronicle their gear industry sagas, I am confident that once people start talking, the topics will expand beyond “work-related” yarns.
Do not worry about transcribing or editing just yet. There is plenty of time available in the future for that chore and the technology for turning audio into text is getting better every year. Future generations will thank you for giving them a chance to hear a loved one’s voice many years from now.
Don’t filter responses either; perhaps some family secrets will need to be kept quiet a while longer, but you’ll regret missing the “truth” behind the official story. I’ll be taking my own advice in the coming months and expect a few tales will even be suitable for posting here.