“After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”– Philip Pullman
Many years ago, when I had just finished my videography courses, I had a passion project I truly wanted to do. My plan was to collect oral histories, in particular from the elderly, then make them available in bite-sized pieces in an online database. You could sort the clips by interviewee, by topic, or by keyword. The project was inspired by the death of someone who was really dear to me. When I was little, Annie R. told me amazing stories about her childhood in Ireland, and it made me so sad that no one else would ever hear them (and that I could never hear her tell them again). Unfortunately, life got in the way, and I never got past the planning stage. Eventually I kind of forgot about it. This is the written version, and I just love their interpretation of the idea.
Today’s remarkable thing is a website and service called Storyworth. You sign up someone you love (or yourself) and they receive a once-weekly writing prompt by email. They just have to answer the question you selected for them. And if they’re uninspired by the question, they can change it to something about which they want to write. At the end of a year, their stories are bound into a keepsake book which can be customized with photos and captions. I think it’s just about the best gift for an aging relative or friend ever, and copies of the book would make great gifts for the next generations as well. (Extra copies can be purchased for $39 each).
Storyworth is definitely going on this year’s holiday gift guide, but why wait?