Want to Tell a Travel Tale? Be a Story Catcher

by Lisa Wolfe on March 19, 2013

Like many of you, I’ve never thought of myself as a storyteller. I guess I think I’m more of a “story catcher.” Like the “song catcher” in the movie. Remember her — Lily Perleric? The movie Songcatcher (2000) takes place in the first decade of the last century, and it tells Lily’s story. Lily was a brilliant musicologist, a Ph.D. who was denied a promotion at the university where she was teaching. Bitter and disillusioned, she decides on the spur of the moment, to visit her sister in Appalachia . To her amazement, she soon discovers a treasure trove of old Scots-Irish songs that have been handed down from generation to generation, preserved orally in the seclusion of the North Carolina mountains. As Lily treks into isolated mountain regions, she becomes obsessed by the rugged purity of the music, and the courage and endurance of the people. Before long, she finds herself torn between a desire to preserve the musical heritage of the mountain residents and a drive to share the music with the outside world. In past years, those of us who are “story catchers” may have felt that we were in the same either/or situation. Finding the story was much easier than finding a large audience for its telling. Luckily we can now do both! New digital tools enable us to record stories and transfer them to our computers — “catch” them if you will — quickly and easily. And the technological wizardry of the Internet allows us to inexpensively share them with broad and diverse global audience. Now we can all be “story catchers,” sharing the heritage stories of our families, neighborhoods, and cultural communities — even the people and places we meet on our travels. To me, that’s what oral history, storytelling, and travel tales are all about: catching stories, recording and preserving them, then transmitting them via the Internet to interested listeners and viewers around the world. In coming posts, Travel Tales Matter will show you exactly how you can do this — quickly and easily!

We at Ordinary Stories want to help you find your way as a storyteller and/or oral historian. Check in often for “how to” tips and tools that will help you tell your personal travel tales. Please be sure to write and share your interests and concerns. Your feedback and ideas are important to us! Add a comment or send us an e-mail: info@ordinarystories.com.

Photograph courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/dok1/ / CC BY 2.0

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