02/04/2009

tell me a story

so over the past few weeks, i've been thinking about people's stories. not just any kind - but the kind that people tell about the things that define them, that make them who they are. their personal narratives. at work, i've been finding out all of these super-interesting facts about people's lives; one of my coworkers is a jazz singer, another one has his black belt, and yet another taught high school before she came to work at the university. all of their experiences and histories - no matter how seemingly small - have contributed somehow to who they are today, and i think that's super interesting.

or maybe i'm just a huge creeper.

a bit of my own back-story behind this whole idea - i started university as an english major but dropped as soon as i discovered that one of the prerequisites was 'approaches to english grammar'. (how many approaches can there be!? i was taught in grade six that there was one - the teacher's approach.) i took sociology instead and, over the course of my studies, i'd encountered the notion of the personal narrative and how, with the advent of new and wonderful forms of technology, it's evolved in several different ways.

(stay with me here, this isn't an academic essay. it's goin somewhere - i promise!)

with the advent of blogging/twitter/facebook/msn and all of the other creative and techy ways to keep in touch, old-school critics have lamented the diminishing amount of daily face-to-face interaction (admit it - how often have you sent an email to a coworker who's office is just around the corner from you?), mostly because it reduces the number of chances that we have to chat. chatting turns to discussion, which eventually helps you get to know people and their lives and their stories, and somewhere during that process, their personal narrative is formed. in turn, when shared, these narratives can help us learn and develop ourselves in ways we might not have the chance to do while limiting ourselves to online interactions alone.

furthermore, let's be honest - more often than not, people heavily edit what they publish to the web. (case in point: how many people put a positive spin on their blog content or facebook updates?) to a certain extent, it's necessary to maintain readers. after all - nobody likes a debbie downer. but at the same time, it leaves me (and i'm gonna make a massive generalization here and expand it to 'us') sometimes feeling inadequate. we start comparing ourselves to everyone else, based on what we see and read.

and this, i think, is absolute crap. i find that my favourite blogs to read are ones that, while including great creative content of all shapes and sizes, also includes posts about their lives, including some of the less glossy-magazine-page type of content.

and so, instead of featuring the traditional question/answer feature interviews, i'd like to delve a bit deeper into those things that helped make you the way you are. it doesn't have to involve a tragic or earth-moving incident of some sort. big or small, simple or otherwise. heck - it could just be about how your love of gardening helps keep you grounded when you're stressed. whatever. i'd love to feature some of that kind of information about the oh-so-talented bloggers and artists and other types of awesome peeps out there.

in short: everyone has a story. what's yours?

email me (notice my new lil email link in the left column!) and let's talk.

12 comments:

Tiffany said...

Fantastic idea. I love to hear people's stories and find out the little things that have added up to make them into whoever they are.

And I agree that the blogs I'm most drawn to include the "real" side of life.

Can't wait to read!

Anna said...

I don't have a big enough presence to make an impact with my story, but I'm sure someday I will. I'll come to you when I need a press release of sorts. :)

SleightGirl said...

I agree, peoples stories are what makes life interesting...the good and the bad...sometimes, a bad story can be quite funny once everything has worked itself out.

Rachel said...

Whoa. We have the same brain. The title of my English thesis?

"Telling Stories, Shaping Lives. The Personal Power and Political Influence of Female Storytellers in Contemporary Literature"

Um, no joke. I love personal narratives and examining how the stories we choose to tell shape our lives. I'm having a major dork out right now.

katelynjane said...

OooO! Great post! I've been hearing this alot from other bloggers too. Our blogs tend to be written with Rose Colored Glasses, but that's not realistic at all. There's a few of the blogs on my Roll that are like this and I do find myself comparing my life to theirs. The authors seem to have money, are satisfied with their lives, have successful non-challenging businesses...whatever it is, I'm somehow made to feel unsuccessful and small. Not that they mean it like that anyways...

But then, when you write "normal" will advance in blogging (views, comments)? It could go either way I think...

LoveCreations24 said...

Hmm...something that has REALLY defined who I am as a person can only be credited to God. I am a born again Christian as of a little over two years ago and when I was baptized a little over a year ago, I wrote my testimony that I gave at the baptism. It's a little lengthy - definitly no glitter or gloss to it - but how God essentially changed my life. I don't want to post the whole thing here in a blog comment - lol - but if you are actually interested, then email me and I'll send it to you; clrewkowski@yahoo.com

Blair said...

Fantastic post! I have to say that my favorite posts are when people share personal stories as well--about heartbreak, family or even their pets. It make you feel like there is a real person behind the posts that show up in your feed everyday. I think you are so right that people only post positive facebook/blog messages--I for one am definitley guilty. My problem is more that my mom reads my blog and I will surely get a telephone call if I right something "too personal". Maybe I will have to start a blog that she doesn't know about:)

I have to say that I don't know what my story is but I do know that having a creative outlet is part of it! Hmmm..

Soul-Fusion said...

Tiffany shared this post and I love it! What initially drew me to blogging was the personal nature of it. When bloggers are honest and open (those are the types of blogs that lure me in) and expose themselves a bit, we are far more likely to make a personal connection by thinking "yes, I feel that way too" or "wow, I don't know how they got through that experience."
And I'm not trying to promo my blog or anything (because I really don't get that) but if you want my story (or a significant story in my life), I am writing about my failed marriage and divorce on my blog. Links are on the sidebar. Now I'm off to explore more about you on your blog.

byrheea said...

Love this post! Sometimes I have doubt when I have things to share in my blog thinking, 'Will people like to read this?' or 'Are people going to find me childish/boring/nothing better to do?'
I wouldn't want to stop my fellow followers from coming to my blog. haha. Luckily I finally tell myself that if they do not enjoy reading about me in the first place, they wouldn't have followed me. (Come to think of it, I only started blogging few months ago. Before that I actually hated the idea of blogs but now I'm loving it!)

Ps: I love reading blogs about people's personal life much more than business related topics.

Louisa said...

Totally agree about the rose-colored blogging. We only write things when we can say something upbeat. So everything comes out skewed. Different than in person where I am not good at hiding it if I feel down. The internet is fascinating - in some ways it connects you to so many people and in other ways not so much.

marta said...

couldn't agree with you more. yes, yes, yes. bring on the honest to goodness gritty gutsy truthful beautiful bloggers.


xo.

Aleks said...

Courtney,

I just came across this section of your blog and absolutely love it.

Also, I thought that I should point out that in my five years of university, Approaches to Grammar was by far my favourite class.

- Aleks

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