One of the surprising things we learn from storytelling is that the things we take for granted are the very things other people are fascinated by. Our insecurities tell us we don’t have anything “special” to say. But the truth is, everyone is a storyteller, and if you’ve had experiences, then you have stories.
StoryCorps founder Dave Isay understands this, and his organization is determined to make every story matter. After 10 years of helping Americans explore and preserve their experiences, Dave and StoryCorps are being awarded the prestigious $1 million TED Prize on March 17. Incredible, right? To see story being highlighted in such a prominent and concrete way? We couldn’t be more thrilled.
A Simple Idea
“StoryCorps grew out of a very a simple idea: we wanted to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record their life stories. We built a soundproof booth in Grand Central Terminal and invited people to come in pairs and interview each other about their lives, with the help of a trained StoryCorps facilitator. Soon after starting the project, I knew we had created something pretty powerful. Many StoryCorps participants tell us that the forty minutes they spend inside our booth are among the most meaningful minutes of their lives.” – Dave Isay, Founder of StoryCorps
How cool is that? Imagine for a moment you and a loved one were going to be interviewed about your history together. What might come up? What themes would you explore? What might you deem bland or unimportant, that someone else might find intriguing? That’s where the good stuff often is.
Three Cheers for Story!
We at Get Storied are huge fans of StoryCorps, and we’re so proud of their enormous TED Prize achievement and the well-deserved recognition. Here are some more quick facts:
- Nearly 100,000 stories have been recorded in their archive
- Over 55,000 interviews conducted – and counting
- More than 1,800 cities and towns visited across America
They’ve gathered life stories in more than 50 languages, across all walks of life and cultures. Even more incredible: their entire archive is preserved in the Library of Congress, to be handed down to future generations. Awesome. They also create fabulous short animations from some stories, like this one:
Do you have a story you’re itching to tell?
One fun way to practice is to sit down with a loved one, some lemonade, and this list of 162 amazing questions. You’ll have an unforgettable storytelling conversation going in no time.
If you’d like to get more involved with StoryCorps, you can reserve studio time to record your story (they have recording booths in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, or New Orleans). Or, you can become a partner in their local library program – we’re huge fans of the sense of community these programs create.
Congratulations, StoryCorps – keep up the incredible work.
Comment below and share your thoughts – or your story – with us. We’d love to hear from you!