I had just finished a story that had been cooking for several years. It began in a workshop with Megan Hicks, and went to subsequent workshops with Donald Davis. It captured a painful memory for me about wanting to date a black fellow student when I was a senior in high school is 1968, and the serious fallout that occurred when I broached the subject with my parents.
Several months before the National Storytelling Summit, Sue O’Halloran sent all of the presenters an email asking if we had stories about civil rights that we would be willing to share on the Race Bridges Studio website. If so, would we please send her a copy? Sue is part of this non-profit organization that provides free resources to educators, leaders, and parents to “explore the challenge of creating bridges of cooperation and community in a very diverse and often polarized world.”
The timing of her request was not lost on me. This website gets tremendous traffic, and I couldn’t purchase that kind of marketing. Was the Muse rewarding me? Maybe my story was worthy of being posted. Self-doubt is often a companion of mine, but despite all doubt, I sent the story off, thinking, “If not now, then when, Beth?”
Susan loved the story and wanted me to record it for the website. And what an opportunity! There would be a professional hair and make-up artist, a professional photographer, and a professional videographer at the NSN Summit to record our stories. AND…the photos and the video would belong to the tellers. The tellers would give Race Bridges Studio permission to use them! I was beside myself with excitement!
The taping was Saturday of the Summit. When the make-up artist was finished with me, I burst into a chorus of “I feel pretty! Oh so pretty!” from West Side Story. I was giddy with excitement. In fact, I was so flustered that the initial recording of my story was 11 minutes. Susan was concerned. “If a story is longer than 8 minutes, people don’t listen. Let’s record this again in a bit.”
The second time we recorded my story, it was exactly 8 minutes long. I was elated! Susan was as generous as she was professional. I am so grateful to have had this experience. Thank you, Susan!
RaceBridgesStudio.com is a communications ministry of the Chicago Province of the Society of the Divine Word. The Society of the Divine Word (S.V.D.) is an international religious Order of the Roman Catholic Church. The materials on this site are nonsectarian in content and are meant for wide use by people of faith or no formal faith in the common task of building bridges of understanding and cooperation between very different peoples.
Please visit their website: RaceBridgesStudio.com