I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.
― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
What is Storybookish?
Everyone has a story, and I’d like to listen to all of them.
This project is about understanding. Its’s about learning to listen. Not just to hear stories but really to listen. When you listen, you connect. In their story you hear echoes of your story, and a tiny thread connects your heart to theirs. And that’s a really powerful thing.
We live in a culture that has an obsession with fixing things, and because of this, the importance of stories is severely underrated. Because stories don’t directly stop hunger, poverty, or crime. But everybody wants to be heard. More than wanting you to solve the problems that they are strong enough to figure out themselves, people want you to listen. To experience and understand them while they figure it out. They want you to trust that they’re strong enough to do so.
And that’s just the altruistic side. Additionally, stories create ideas. And they’re interesting. Fun.
And that’s what I’m trying to do. Share stories that are worth telling.
- The Interviewer. That’s me, Miranda Sofe Nelson. But really we should use the term “Interviewer” loosely. Because real interviewers actually do a lot of work, asking questions and guiding conversation and being all around in charge. I really don’t have the power in these stories. Mostly, my job is just to be a listener. Mostly you’ll just hear me laughing or sounding astonished. Any questions I do ask are to prompt empathetic responses. But it’s all pretty easy. My job is a lot of fun.
- The Interviewee. The person telling the story. Just your average human, but don’t use their lack of fame as a measure of how interesting they are. As for the storytelling process, they don’t have a lot of rules. They just share what they want to share. And it always ends up being something really interesting, even when you don’t expect it to be.
- You. The real listener. Your job is to pay attention. Don’t worry, it won’t be hard. It’s all pretty entertaining. The hard part is to make it personal. To say, “That’s just like when I…” or “I felt that way when…” or to just nod in understanding. If you don’t, you’re missing a huge part of the experience. The stories can change your life. Don’t act like your too cool to learn something important from the stories of another every-day citizen. You’re not that cool. It’s okay, though. I still love you.
If you want to learn more about this project and how it all started, you can listen to my interview with Christopher Snider on the Just Talking Podcast.