The Story Core Project and This American Life, both projects that focus on everyday people, confirm what we should have known all along: ordinary people are fascinating. Celebrity may amuse or interest on occasion, but who would take People Magazine over the story of a wealthy business man who attempts to negotiate a peace deal in Iraq or the way a family copes when one member is diagnosed with cancer?
Storytelling is part of who we are as people. Who doesn’t have a reserve of lively tales to toss into the pot when a good conversation is brewing? I readily pull out my two tales involving unwanted bats in our house, or the time myself and a group of friends followed ambulances to Jerusalem’s temple mount and witnessed the beginning of the Intifada in the fall of 2000.
Fiction certainly has an untouchable place in the realm of the arts and humanities. A skillfully woven tale is a masterpiece to treasure. Nevertheless, our fascination with memoirs and personal essays of late reveal more than our society’s vanity. Through these genres we connect with strangers, enter their worlds, and share their experiences. It’s as if we are living in someone else’s skin.
There is no shortage of these interesting stories, only opportunities to share them. Even if a story is committed to paper and never published, the writer provides an incredibly personal gift for future generations to learn from and share.
Regardless of publishing prospects, every person who has lived has a duty to pass on history, stories, or dare I say memoirs to the future generations. If the story is particularly good and the opportunity presents itself, it may even be worth submitting to a magazine or anthology. Writing down our own stories may turn out to be one of our most important accomplishments while on earth.