Friday, October 03, 2008

Why StoryCorps Should Sign Kleenex As An Underwriter

"Morning Edition" Friday Mainstay Grabs Heartstrings, Then Rips Them to Little Shreds

My wife often tells me how she listens to the weekly "StoryCorps" segment on NPR's Morning Edition on Fridays while driving to work and often starts to tear up.
I usually catch "StoryCorps" on podcast, but today I heard it in the car. Now I know how she feels.
For the uninitiated -- and please do change that status soon -- ordinary folks come to StoryBooths, basically mobile recording studios that travel the country, and talk about their families, their jobs, passions, triumphs, tragedies and guideposts that have made up their lives and legacies.
Since 2003, over 35,000 stories have been recorded, and one is broadcast each week on NPR. To be sure, not all of what we hear is tinged with sadness. Sometimes, we hear two family members sharing memories and perhaps healing wounds. Other times, the conversations are a way to say thanks or a version of "I love you."
For a few minutes you feel like you know these people and are glad to have met them. But "StoryCorps" grabs hardest, like it did today, with its tales of loss, especially when participants can celebrate a life instead of mourn a death.
Such is the tale of Andrea St. John, who fell in love with fellow teacher Kevin Broderick, who was dealing with a rare form of cancer.
St. John talks about when it became clear Broderick was terminal, she put on a dress she told him she'd wear at his wake. Broderick started to cry, and St. John apologized. But he told her, "It's just that you look so beautiful. I'm so glad I got to see you in that dress."
Broderick later told her when had gotten up that morning, he realized he was ready for the end. St. John asked him what that was like.
"Well," I guess it's the same thing you felt when you put the dress on this morning."
It's moments like these that make "StoryCorps" a treasure. And even if you wind up with a lump in your throat or shedding a tear, it will make your day.

1 comment:

listenclose said...

Hi Steve,

I'm writing from StoryCorps to let you know we saw your blog post on the emotions StoryCorps stories can evoke. It's really great for us to hear how these pieces touch listeners.

I wanted to write to let you know about a new initiative we're launching this year that might also appeal to you and your readers. StoryCorps is asking the whole country to set aside one hour on Friday, November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving, to record a conversation with a friend or loved one. We're declaring this day the National Day of Listening. We launched a website ( with more information and tips for a Do-it-Yourself style interview as well as a video walking through an interview scenario. Since so many Americans aren't able to make it to a StoryCorps recording booth, we're making it easier for everyone to share this experience in their own homes.

Again, thank you for writing about StoryCorps on your blog. Please share the idea of National Day of Listening and these Do-it-Yourself tools with your readers, family, and friends, helping us make the experience of listening as an act of love even more accessible.

Thank you again,