As I’ve begun to prepare for the upcoming fall and winter performances of my solo show, Piecework: When We Were French, I’ve been thinking a lot about storytelling — not the work of novelists or even old-fashioned tellers of tales, but the capacity of any of us to share the stories we’ve lived.
Telling is a powerful act. In court rooms, witnesses relay the truth of what they saw. In churches, believers testify about their encounters with the divine. In Twelve Step groups, people tell their stories to create personal transformation and to model recovery for others. We tell stories to lovers, children, and friends so they will understand and share in our histories. This kind of telling is an act of communion and can build bridges between individuals, communities, cultures, and generations.
With all these thoughts swirling around in my head, I thought I’d post a link to StoryCorps. If you’re a listener of National Public Radio in the U.S., you’re probably already familiar with this non-profit organization that documents and archives conversations amongst Americans; NPR periodically broadcasts their recordings. Their work is a breath-taking reminder of what can happen when we take the time to talk to each other.