Friday, August 9, 2013

Writing Stories

For my summer employment, I've been transcribing oral histories of women veterans for the Grand Valley Veterans History Project.  Fascinating stuff. stock picture


Dr. Smither, who leads the oral history project, has a knack for getting the best stories out of the veterans.  Good details, memories that connect to larger events, preferences for the WAVE uniform over the WAAC uniform as a deciding factor in which branch of service to join.  Honestly, this came up several times.

Stick photo of WAAC uniforms.

An hour's recording takes about 8 hours to transcribe.  So, sometimes, it's not the most exciting project.  Until, unless, you get caught up in the story. 

I have a few interviews that I want to turn into short stories.  Like the woman whose first memory is of her father being taken away by Nazis on her seventh birthday.  Or the woman who worked as a decoder and ran messages to the White House.  And there's simple stories, too, of wives who followed their husbands all over the country, from post to post.  Or who had absolutely no contact with their loved one for the entire war period, not knowing if he were alive or dead. 

Listening to these twenty two stories, watching their faces as they shared memories and laughter and pain, reminded me that I'm a story-teller at heart.  I try to tell stories with my beadwork.  And it's the stories of every day, ordinary women that I find so fascinating about history.  'Cause it's in the stories that our strength shows, our sense of adventure comes alive. 

Oh, I have so many stories to write...


  1. The world definitely needs more people to tell important stories.

  2. Yes. And more women's memories need to be recorded. Sometimes it seems like we only hear the "important" voices. When really, everyone's story is important to the whole.

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