What’s your story?

CLP StoryCorps

When I drive to work in the morning I listen to NPR,which means that every Friday at 8:30 am, I am going to cry. That’s when the weekly StoryCorps segment airs. As soon as I hear the intro music, I know my mascara is doomed.

In the StoryCorps recordings, everyday people conduct interviews with friends and family, resulting in intimate, honest conversations that express extraordinary humanity. It doesn’t matter how different the person’s experiences are or how long ago or far away they happened; the stories they tell are incredibly moving. Some that have recently started me sobbing are:

Did you know that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has its own StoryCorps archive?  As the page explains:

In 2006, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh partnered with DUQ 90.5 FM to become the first library to host a StoryCorps Mobile Booth recording studio. The StoryCorps oral history project allows everyday people to share and record their personal stories for posterity and is the largest oral history project ever undertaken. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was host location and received digital copies of these stories to share. These files are also archived at the Library of Congress. More than 150 local stories are available for your listening pleasure.

This is wonderful. Not only can I seek the same inspiration among my neighbors that I experience from the national radio interviews, but my inner nebby Pittsburgher can scan through the pages hoping to find someone I know.

Here are some of the CLP StoryCorps episodes I’ve enjoyed (interviews are listed alphabetically by the subject’s last name):

  • Lillian Allen talks about: Alaska, beauty shop, United Airlines, Bali, biography
  • Deborah Brooks talks about: bike riding, God nature, Adirondacks, self-taught painter
  • Ali A. Masalehdan talks about: Iran, Farsi, San Francisco, English, revolution
  • James A. Ryan talks about: spirituals, black history, parenthood, marriage, pastor

These interviews dedicate the time and attention to people close to us that we normally reserve for celebrities and cultural heroes. Listening to them reminds me to treat people with a little more compassion and to take a little more interest. Every person is walking around with a story inside that is rich in history and full of heart.

-Renée

3 Comments

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3 responses to “What’s your story?

  1. Tara

    I also cry like a little baby whenever StoryCorps comes on. I had no idea we had our very own online Oral History collection though…thanks for sharing this, Renee!

  2. lizzy

    Add me in as well! I remember when the truck was here and trying to convince my father to come down and record (no luck)….but just love these brief, personal moments of people’s lives.

  3. Interesting! I always cry when I listen to StoryCorps, too. I admire the people who are willing to tell their stories for listeners and for the historical record. They are brave!

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