Sister-pal Sherry and I were among the throng that arrived an hour early to get a seat in Atlanta's Georgia-Pacific auditorium for a special live taping of the weekly author interview program, Between the Lines. In welcoming us, host and former First Lady of Atlanta, Valerie Jackson, instructed us to maintain strict silence and to save our questions for the Q&A after the show.
And then, the ace interviewer with the velvet voice introduced StoryCorps founder and journalist Dave Isay, who shared stories of love and healing from the largest oral history project in the nation’s history. Many of the stories are recorded in his latest book, Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project.
Dave Isay on telling stories
- Stories tell who we are. They are the poetry, grace, and wisdom of people walking down the street or sitting next to us on the bus.
- People want to know that they matter and that they won’t be forgotten.
- We all own family secrets, which can be destructive so we need to talk about what’s real and important and to put things out in the open.
- Everybody can participate in telling stories (directly; not through politicians, journalists, academics, or others). Their stories might be about a first date remembered 25 years later, the Sunday school teacher who inspired a generation, a widowed father who raised healthy children amid profound loss, a hospital orderly who prays for patients, and families whose loved ones have Alzheimer’s disease.
Update | March 27, 2008 In a virtual StoryCorps booth — this blog, Sherry told her story, Sherry's baby pictures: a portrait of Jim Crow segregation laws.