Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another Approach to Life Stories

It is not the purpose of this site to promote any commercial venture, and I have no financial interest in or experience with Dennis Stack's American Story Keepers. However, his idea is one I have found very interesting.

Here is the mission statement:

"Our mission at American StoryKeepers is to help preserve our American heritage. We believe that by capturing and sharing the life stories of all Americans, especially our country's oldest and wisest members, everyone can benefit from the wealth of experience and wisdom we all possess."

The idea is to promote the capturing and sharing of life stories through audio recording; Story Keepers (for a price) can join and order tape recording kits and instructions for starting a home-based business. They receive teleconference training in recording and interviewing techniques, marketing help, and other benefits.

Individuals may also order a variety of kits containing instructions, interview questions, etc., for about $39.95 each. I have not seen the kits.

Whatever the value of Story Keeping as a business venture, I see value in the basic idea. As I've often said before, we "oldest and wisest" members of society need to tell our stories for those who come after us. I am a strong advocate of the printed word, and with the wide availability of inexpensive, easy-t0-use computers and printing and self-publishing opportunities, writing has always seemed to be the way to go. The basic minimum requirements, paper and pen or pencil, are available to all.

However, I must concede that there are some, especially among the oldest of us, for whom writing is difficult or impossible. Some have physical disabilities; others simply feel uncomfortable about their lack of writing experience and skill. How sad if their stories are lost!

In short, if you or someone you know is mentally alert and has stories to tell (as everyone does), consider audio (or even video) recording. You may be able to help elderly friends or relatives or nursing home residents record their life stories. Whether as a volunteer activity or as a commercial venture, this idea deserves examination.

Check out Story Keepers at

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne
Photo from the official americanstorykeepers web site

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