Last summer was the 50th anniversary of both the moon landing and the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival.
We wanted to do something special for those events. Our plan: Anyone who was there could share their stories with us. We would compile the written stories, video, audio, photos into a book or something online.
So what happened? Well, our Facebook page was new. We were still learning how to use our website. Didn't know how to get the word out.
But the general idea still remained. How awesome would it be to take a shared national experience, record people's stories, and preserve them for future generations?
Unfortunately, here in 2020, we have a new shared national experience with a much different tone than a 50th-anniversary celebration. What we're living through now with the Coronavirus has radically changed our lives, is one of the hardest things we've ever gone through, and will be a significant moment in history for future generations to learn about.
And we'd hate for that to be just a couple paragraphs in a textbook.
Because there's no one Coronavirus story. There are billions and each perspective is important. When future generations have questions like:
What was it like working as a nurse? A doctor? What was it like being married to one?
What was it like to be 9-years-old, taking classes from home? To be 18 and miss your senior track season? Not to walk at graduation?
What was it like working from home with your kids? Going to the grocery store. Wiping down bags and wearing masks. Did anyone you know get sick? Who were you with? Did you get lonely?
How meaningful would it be for people 10, 20, 50+ years from now to be able to access these stories, ones that we can all record right now over the next couple of months. Future generations can learn directly from us.
It'll be a mix of stories. Some tragic, some heroic. Some will be about how chaotic things felt. How much anxiety there was. The financial challenges. But also some silver linings. Being around family more. Drinking wine with friends over Zoom. Wearing sweatpants way more often.
We don't have to sugarcoat the experience. Don't have to pretend it's something different than what it is. What's always true with storytelling holds true here: Write what you know. Be authentic. Share the truth. That's what people will connect with.
We're in the middle of this right now, not through it. And everything still feels scary and foggy. We think talking about it together may help and our hope is that recording stories can provide a creative outlet and maybe a stress reliever. A project to occupy some time. And, with God's grace, when we eventually get through this challenge we can record more stories once it's behind us.
We'd love to help compile stories from everyone. All ages. Have this be a way to connect. We'll publish essays/videos/audio here on the blog, on our Facebook page, and someday maybe a physical book. You can send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get them posted.
We also can help you set up individual family libraries where you can share stories privately for family and friends. The same thing as above, just email email@example.com for more information on how to get started.
These are hard times. We wish we knew, or anyone knew, how much longer it would last.
But when this ends - and it will, we'll be honored to do whatever we can to help you share the stories of today...
With the people you love tomorrow.