June 28, 2000

Storytelling

Three days and counting.. Younger Son hasn't been fired yet. I'd think he'd actually be a better salesman than Older Son.. he's more outgoing and much more manipulative. That child hasn't lost an argument with anyone (including his beleaguered teachers) since he was maybe five.

It also amazes me that the office isn't too small for the two of them, even though it's a large call center with dozens (hundreds?) of desks. It used to be that they couldn't be in the same postal code without fighting. Now, they're frequently friends and actively invite each other on outings. I knew it would happen eventually but I didn't expect it this soon.

The kids and I paid a visit to Dad last weekend. He's holding his own and seems quite cheerful lately. He remembers very little of what went on when he was so ill between January and the end of April this year. I suppose that's a good thing. He's a bit frustrated because he thinks he's still too weak, but he's able to get around his building, take his car to the mall, do a few errands, and take care of his wife.

(Disclaimer: she takes care of him too.. they perfectly complement each other's weaknesses.. his, physical, and hers, mental - a result of "mini-strokes", as we're told.)

Stepmom's memory is very much a problem, and if it were not for Dad I doubt she could live independently. He has a seemingly unlimited supply of patience with her and a similarly unlimited supply of love. I think it's what's keeping him going despite the health problems still lurking around him.. the feeling of being indispensably needed.

Dad regaled the kids with stories of his misspent youth and tales of army life during WWII. Because of medical issues he was never in combat but rose to the level of Sergeant, training troops for war. He was also quite the womanizer. The kids look at him with new eyes now, saying, hey, Grandpa's a "player". I must have forgotten to tell them that.

If anyone knows how to identify which cricket is chirping in a tankful of the critters, and how to subsequently strangle same, please let me know and you'll have my eternal gratitude.

Linque Du Jour: Digital Storytelling Sites

The Great Canadian Story Engine

which describes itself as follows:
This site is a celebration of Canada and its people...an interactive storytelling community where Canadians can share personal stories about Canada and retell our collective history in our own words, images and voices.

and the
Center for Digital Storytelling:

to assist people in using digital media to tell meaningful stories from their lives, with source material generated from their personal image archives.

I spent most of last evening going through these and a few other similar sites they've linked, and I'm still mulling over the implications of these projects. Will they languish as a fringe element of the internet, largely ignored by all except a small group of people they serve? Or is this the perfect marriage of one of the basic human instincts.. to tell stories and pass on history.. with this most amazing new technology? These sites don't only want your words, they want your photographs, sound clips, movies, or whatever else you can cram into a computer file.

The Canadian site especially intrigues me. It was only launched on June 13, 2000 and I found it (how else) by accident, while surfing around for a linque du jour. I'm disappointed that any publicity they've done didn't reach me but now that I know about it, I can't help but participate.

If and when anything of mine is actually posted, I'll link to it of course. Meanwhile, I've found most of the stories there are compelling (if a bit short) and I only hope they manage to attract a wide variety of contributors to better mirror true-life Canadian society.

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