Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, May 10, 2010

Memoir Monday... Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps by Dave Isay & What StoryCorps is All About

Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps
by Dave Isay

Even though Mother's Day was yesterday, today we can still celebrate our mothers! StoryCorps has done that with their book, Mom: A Celebration of Mothers by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay. But before we talk about the book, you may be wondering what StoryCorps is all about. So, here's what they say about themselves...

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, over 50,000 everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.

The heart of StoryCorps is the conversation between two people who are important to each other: a son asking his mother about her childhood, an immigrant telling his friend about coming to America, or a couple reminiscing on their 50th wedding anniversary. By helping people to connect, and to talk about the questions that matter, the StoryCorps experience is powerful and sometimes even life-changing.

Right now StoryCorps has StoryBooths, which are sound proof recording studios, in New York, NY. ongoing, San Francisco, Ca. through Nov. 2010, and Atlanta, Ga. through Oct. 2010. There are also MobileBooths, which are traveling trailers set up to be able to record on the road in various locations. To see if a StoryBooth is near you, follow the link to Locations & Reservations! It's a great way to preserve the stories of our families and ourselves. You don't need to go to a StoryBooth to preserve those stories though, you can simply sit down with someone and share a story, write it down, record it yourself. StoryCorps has other suggestions for preserving those memories on their website, such as their downloadable Do-it-Yourself Guide. StoryCorps has a weekly broadcast on NPR. You can subscribe through iTunes, or you can listen to StoryCorps right from the NPR website.

Now about that book... StoryCorps has culled from over 30,000 recorded stories, stories that reflect what being a mother is all about and have included them in Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps. Here's what Publisher's Weekly wrote about the book...

Throughout recorded interviews by everyday Americans are numerous memories of parents, and among the many mothers who share their stories in this collection are mothers of every variety—single, working, stay-at-home, with one child or a dozen. A couple describe an unexpected camaraderie between their mothers: one American, the other Ethiopian: My mom would speak in English, and your mom would speak in Amharic, and then they'd laugh and throw their hands up. A mother of 12 tells her youngest, age 12, about her oldest, a soldier killed in Iraq. Reunited at age 60 with the son she reluctantly gave away, Hilory Boucher tells him what happened as she rode away from a Boston home for unwed mothers: You were handed off to a social worker at a stop on the Merritt Parkway, with your pink bunny and your layette. Readers will encounter an emotional range from heart-wrenching to inspirational in these compelling maternal accounts. This is StoryCorps second book. Their first book, Listening is an Act of Love, is a collection of some of the more remarkable stories from their audio histories.

Do you have a story you'd like to share? Not sure what to say? For Mother's Day StoryCorps put together this special animated version of a conversation between a mother and son. "Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old with Asperger's syndrome, prepared some challenging queries for his mother, Sarah". It is such a touching conversation. So honest and poignant. And is an example of some of the wonderful stories you'll either listen to if you go to the StoryCorp website or subscribe in iTunes, or read if you pick up one of their books. Maybe this will give you an idea of something you may want to share...


Book Dilettante said...

What a fascinating project! Thanks for telling us about it.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Harvee!
Yes, it's an amazing project that will have a lasting memory for the people who have shared something with someone close to them. It also reminds each of us to enjoy the people we are with in the time that we have.

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