Everyone has a fascinating story to tell. You may not believe that, but after nearly 50 years of seeking out life’s wonders and engaging with people about what makes their own story fascinating, I realize it’s largely about the telling …. but also about the listening.
Listening to each other is a skill that we’d probably all do well to practice more than we do. And since I’ve practiced more than many people, I’ve found that our stories get more interesting when we uncover the treasures within the narratives that we tell … and the inner themes and connections that we sometimes aren’t even fully aware of.
I've been honored to work on oral history projects that have allowed me to dig gently and carefully to find inner narratives that we've also forgotten or think are unimportant. Discovering the connections can be wondrous for me, and often for the storyteller as well.
My interviewing of elders at family reunions has revealed for younger family members just how rich their histories can be, how inspiring and powerful those stories are when you explore the right questions, and how some older members may have led fascinating lives that no one’s ever heard or helped to reveal. I've been honored to spend several days of interviews in preparation for a complete memoir.
But maybe you have a more modest project that you've always thought you should get to, but haven't gotten there. What stories might you like to share from your life? We can discuss ways of making it happen, right here.
This is work that's done discreetly and always with the permission of the teller. Respect for me is basic.
And yes, these interviews, and interactions, can be videotaped as lasting treasures, whether transcribed, edited and written for publication or developed into written narratives to share and hand down .
Your stories, and my stories, are meant to be shared.
And so are my skills as a listener, as an interviewer, as a writer. The highest compliment I've received — one that I've heard repeatedly— is that I've helped people clarify their thoughts and put them together in ways they've never done before.
I’m happy to work with small-group workshops and with one-on-one coaching in writing, interviewing and — most importantly — listening. Because in those small-group settings, we can actually listen better and learn from one another.