I just uploaded a story to Cowbird, a five year old public storytelling site that combines personal reflective stories with photographs, hoping to archive the collective wisdom and insight of human experience. It's a lofty goal. This is only the second story I've shared at this site, only to discover that today is the last day they will accept new contributions. In the face of more popular storytelling technology, like Facebook, they are closing down and turning their resources towards archiving the nearly 100,000 stories they have collected. It makes me a little sad to think that I barely dipped into this "public library of human experience" as Cowbird's creators call it. I can however go back and read all I have missed.
But I really wanted to talk about the necessity of telling my own story since I am in the business of helping to collect and tell those of others. I've long felt this was imperative. That to do otherwise is to become a kind of voyeur, encouraging others to stand in their truth and risk being vulnerable, when I don't have the courage to do that myself. So that's where the discipline comes in. Personal storytelling as a practice.
Today's Cowbird story, The Vase, could be transformed into audio voiceover for a digital story, if I wanted to take more time and continue to develop it. But for now I just want to act on this storytelling impulse and share this tiny moment, this thinnest sliver of insight. I'm happy I got it in under the wire.
You can read the full story about my mother's black vase here at Cowbird.