In an old group of friends, we welcomed new people with stories. When you sat down with us, having met us for the first time, inevitably someone would make reference to “that one time when….” and the (probably raunchy) story would begin. There was the time that Tim spilled his heart and his guts out over the patio railing at a New Year’s party, or the time Nick’s prank involving a jug of Soylent went a little too far, or when I once slopped a bowl of Chef Boyardee, barbeque sauce, and Gogurt over my head for fifteen dollars. That last one I actually told to a crowd at Spontaneous Storytelling, although the photo has unfortunately been lost to time. Some of these stories got to the point where anyone could tell them with perfect accuracy.
Storytime is a favorite at your local library’s children’s section, but how can we translate the art of hearing and telling stories to other patrons of the library as well?
There’s a joke in the amateur comedian circles that everyone has a podcast and local comedians just rotate being guests on each other’s podcasts. As absurd as it can sound, there is power in a podcast, sharing your authentic in-the-moment thoughts to an audience who could listen whenever and wherever. Stephens suggests using podcasts in libraries as a way of “packaging” stories, by and for patrons. Inviting patrons to share a story on a weekly podcast, along with suggestions of materials they enjoy, could be a fun and inclusive way to involve patrons in the library and increase its hyperlinked connectivity. Through reading and research, we can learn a lot about gender transitioning or traveling to Thailand or the process of adopting a child, but through hearing personal stories on these topics, we can empathize and potentially challenge our original thinking on the topic. The Wilton Library’s experiment with “The Human Library” does just this, matching people up with a “human book” who can share their thoughts and stories with patrons based on their lived experiences. You don’t need to author a book to have stories to tell.
As a personal fun thing, I’m attaching one of my favorite episodes of a favorite storytelling podcast, RISK!. I remember listening to the inaugural episode of this podcast at entirely too young an age (think middle school), and I didn’t miss a single one for years. I don’t listen much these days, but I can nearly recite this one by heart. Here’s a link to Sara Barron’s story synopsis, and here’s the link to the episode itself (jump about 28 minutes in).
Also, my local comedian friend would always encourage me to pump up his EXCELLENT podcast, Kid Tested, Mother Approved. If you like movies and/or mothers, please give Ruben and Dawn a listen!