“Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
If you can’t eat or play with it, just pee on it and walk away.”
Doug Boyd and I went to a training this afternoon. Once in the building, we were directed to the last room on the right. There, we found Jesus on the floor, a tiny zen sand meditation trey in the corner, and various other spiritual totems decorating the room. But no people. The room was very small; more pillows on the floor than chairs to sit in. Neither Jesus or Buddha needed our help, so we sought clarification elsewhere, and finally made it to the right room. We’re partnering with Hospice of the Bluegrass to create an incredible collection of oral histories with their patients. The clergy and social workers will do the interviewing, hence the training. Doug, doing what Doug does best, talked to them at length about why oral histories matter and how to do a good one. These people are gifted to start with. Their level of compassion is invaluable. They build rapport effortlessly. They know how to listen. They know how to draw people out. The ease with which they can offer this opportunity is unmatched. As one pastor said, “We’re doing this already. We just don’t record it.” Everybody has a story. Everybody’s story is worth telling. This is exactly the kind of project that made me happy to come work for the Nunn Center for Oral History.