Story Collections Address Diverse Needs

Here are some interesting sites I’ve come across recently that offer story collections. Some solicit stories from the public.

  • Fear.less collects stories about people who have overcome heir fears. From the site: “fear.less is a movement borne from our right to live without fear. It’s where human potential meets the courage to act. Every story you read is an example of conquering fear, whether an immediate physical danger, the looming threat of failure, the pressure to compete in a changing world, the incessant quest for identity, or the overwhelming uncertainty of death.”
  • The Maine Women’s Fund offers inspiring stories of women making change happen. From the site: “Each month, the Maine Women’s Fund recognizes and celebrates women and girls who are making positive change happen in their lives, their communities and in Maine. Through Making Change Happen: Women Creating a Better Maine profiles, we share the stories of bold women who are building businesses, nurturing families, teaching young people, leading industries and strengthening communities.” The stories download as attractively designed PDF files and serve as an excellent model for any organization seeking to spotlight people’s stories.
  • Place + Memory is “recreating places that no longer exist. Places that were important to us. we are creating a series of stories for radio and an online map where you’ll be able to add your own memories through text, photos, sound, whatever.” Categories of places for which stories are sought include Where We Shop & Dine, That’s Entertainment, In The Neighborhood, Where Things Grow, The Natural World, Institutional Life, Byways, Gathering Places, Landmarks, Where We Work, and No Place Like Home. If I were submitting a story, it might be about the Peter Pan Bakery in my hometown, Moorestown, NJ. This best-bakery-ever, which closed last year, made out-of-this-world cream donuts. I learned just yesterday that my sister’s best friend has two of these donuts in her freezer. I would kill for one of those! Of course, given that the series is for radio, it would be hard to capture the most distinctive sensory aspect of Peter Pan — the amazing smell!
  • Here’s a great idea for nonprofits: The Michigan Nonprofit Association has a Nonprofit Storybank, a collection of articles “that prove the impact of our sector on the lives of individuals. By submitting your story through the following form, you can easily outreach to a broad audience who is interested in the diverse human interest stories of our members, and help to advance your organization’s mission.”
  • Tea Cart Stories require audiences to experience them at a certain place and time, in this case, the Lower East Side in New York City. Reports the blog The Food Section: Tea Cart Stories is “an interactive public art exhibition exploring tea as a locus of tradition, memory, and culture. Artist Michele Brody will set up a tea cart … and invite guests inside to share family stories and experiences dealing with tea. Brody will record and transcribe the stories on paper tea bags steeped in tea leaves which will then be displayed on a structure made of copper pipes installed on an early 20th century pushcart.” Story-gathering takes lace at certain times during the month. Here’s a different incarnation from 2007. (Thanks to Thaler Pekar for telling me about this one.)
  • I’ve written here before both about science stories and The Moth. A convergence of the two in which The Moth sponsored an evening of science stories told in Moth style with Moth rules mostly exists as a moment in time, although at least one story exists on video (see below). The site The Scientist had this to say: “Science is a story — a story about ideas, but also a story about the remarkable people who devote their lives to unraveling the wonders of nature. Scientists themselves, however, rarely have a vessel to impart their personal wisdoms since the main outlet for scientific research — peer-reviewed literature — is typically devoid of narrative. … at the World Science Festival in New York City[,] two Nobel Laureates, two neurobiologists, and two writers poured their hearts out to a packed room of showgoers at an event called Matter: Stories of Atoms and Eves, which was sponsored by The Moth, a nonprofit group that hosts storytelling slams. In keeping with The Moth’s traditions, each story of the event had to be true, short, and told without notes.” The stories sound fascinating. The most significant aspect of this event, to me anyway, was the “rapt audience,” as The Scientist described it. Compare this way of reporting about science to the dry papers presented at conferences.

Two final sites deal with fiction. Although I don’t focus on fiction much in A Storied Career, I spotlight these sites because of their interesting approaches.

  • Her Side is a “multimedia fiction project conceived by author Mur Lafferty and photographer J.R. Blackwell. Mur Lafferty’s narrative leads the reader through a story of violence, love and self discovery as J.R. Blackwell’s photography illuminates the unspoken elements of the story. Together, they combine two different storytelling methods to tell one story.”
  • Sniplits MP3 audio short stories run from under a minute to about an hour. “They are professionally narrated and produced as MP3 files, so you can download them just like you download music,” the site says.