Tag Archives: StoryCorps

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.



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Living and Listening

storycorps airstream

Since 2003, the nonprofit project StoryCorps has been celebrating, recording and collecting the oral history of nearly 30,000 Americans; the concept, everybody’s story matters. The National Public Radio affiliated project archives each recording at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress.

The idea is simple, a facilitator who works for StoryCorps and two individuals who know each other go in the both; one person listens while the other shares their story. Each session lasts 40 minutes and the participants get to keep a copy of their recorded history. Topics range from the “big questions” to becoming a business woman in the 1970s. Pittsburgh was lucky enough to have an Airstream trailer of its own for a few weeks in June, 2006.

Listen to hundreds of stories archived on the StoryCorps website. Bummed out about missing the mobile booth 2 years ago? Grab a loved one and record your own story with this do-it-yourself guide.

Also, take a look at Listening is an Act of Love, an anthology of stories from StoryCorps’ collection.

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