March 5, 2021
Change and challenge have been two key themes since the pandemic started, and here at The Story Center, we are no exception in experiencing both. One of the first changes we had to figure out was how to continue providing services safely without sacrificing the authentic connection and inspiration that comes with an in-person class or meeting.
One thing I was worried about in particular was how to continue our monthly Story Swap. Every third Thursday of the month, I oversee this event, and it’s an important ritual for all involved. Guided by Joyce Slater, Story Swap is a place for storytellers to come together and share their stories as well as their love of storytelling. Being there together, telling stories and receiving feedback, gives everyone a sense of community and connection.
When we had to switch everything to a virtual environment, I was concerned we would lose that intimate setting where storytellers could come for the experience and be engaged in the process. There is a magic that occurs in the interaction between the storyteller and audience that I didn’t want to lose. When the time came for our first virtual Story Swap, it was an adventure, but noticeably different from being together in person. Nevertheless, I noticed many of the same faces had come to take part. The ceremony of how stories were shared remained the same, and it was a breath of fresh air to have that moment where we were all connected through our mutual love of storytelling.
I noticed as we continued each month that there were some changes that started to happen. Our group of storytellers began to grow, with participants coming from far and wide, rather than just locally. While this was a little unexpected, it was most certainly welcomed! Fast-forward to today, and we now have storytellers from different areas of the U.S., as well as other parts of the world.
To quote one Story Swap participant: “I’m so glad to be here. We have nothing like this where I’m at, and I love to hear everyone’s stories.”
In a way, the pandemic allowed our group to gain something it wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. We now have new voices and new points of view, which give us new stories to experience. While the pandemic has changed many things, I was glad to see it couldn’t change people’s love of storytelling. In fact, at least in my experience, it helped us to grow in a way we couldn’t have imagined.
Everyone has a story to tell, and when we share those with others, that’s how we truly connect with one another. Here at The Story Center, we continue to find ways to encourage you to share your story—no matter how you choose to do it—and we continue to offer resources and events to help all our storytellers on their journeys.
For more information on how to attend a Story Swap, please visit our Events webpage.
The Story Center
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