The Gift of OurSTORY
Every family has a story, let me help you capture yours.
OurSTORY is a digital storytelling platform that brings the skills of professional journalism to the challenge of helping family members to tell their life stories.
Nowadays, we live so much of our lives — and share so much of our families' lives — online. But what we gain in ease and speed of connection, we lose in the stories and mementos that used to be passed down from generation to generation in the form of family photo albums and personal histories.
Your story, well told.
Perhaps you have a great love. Maybe you've started your own business, overcome a serious illness, recovered from an accident, just graduated from university, gotten married or had your first child. Maybe you're a hero. Maybe you're your children's hero. Perhaps you have a family member who fits this bill. And perhaps I'm describing your entire family — sprawling, messy, perfectly imperfect.
Whatever the story, whatever the legacy, I will help you capture it.
OurSTORY produces beautiful life stories with both a concrete and multimedia finished product so you can share your family's history (and add to it) for years to come.
The process involves sending me a few photos, followed by a simple Skype interview lasting less than an hour. The result is a hand-crafted story of 500-700 words.
And that's just the beginning. I can build a collaborative interactive timeline around a life (or family) story, adding more and longer stories, photos, videos, letters and documents. Everyone's family has a story, let me help you capture yours.
How Long Are Your Stories?
OurSTORIES are long enough to be compelling and richly informative, but still short enough that parents and grandparents can easily read them to young children, share them with friends and refer to them as needed. Typically, this means they run about 450 words, plus photo captions and other media, but we can adjust that word count on an individual basis where necessary.
Why Would We Want A Story?
OurSTORY makes the perfect birthday, wedding, anniversary or graduation gift. It's a way to welcome a new member to the family and honor a family elder who may be nearing end of life. The overarching goal is to put your family member's personhood—their life experiences, passions and interests—at the heart of their identities. OurSTORIES also improve family visits and become cherished family heirlooms that preserve the life stories and identities of the people I profile.
Does This Mean You Have to be Older, Ill or Disabled to Have Your Story Told?
No. OurSTORIES is for any person or family to have their own experiences honored and recorded. But families whose members include those with particular challenges often grace and thrive from these deeply personal recordings of their shared experiences.
How Do Families Use Them?
Living far away from loved ones or watching a family member you love who is living with a disability, dementia or another form of memory loss can be emotionally challenging and even scary.
For the younger generations who may not share many experiences with a relative or for someone who has a disability or an older loved with dementia—OurSTORIES are invaluable guidebooks and keepsakes. And for those suffering from memory loss, they can be a reintroduction to themselves, and a gift by which they might become engaged, and soothed if they become agitated or overwhelmed.
I am a global storyteller who has spent the past 17 years chronicling the universal experiences of joy, struggle, privilege, dignity, loss and resilience of people at the nexus of peace and conflict. My background is in narrative-driven writing, reporting, photographing and digital content creation. I have also taught journalism at Georgetown University and Northwestern University in Qatar, and I am now a freelance writer for National Geographic.
My esteemed and beloved grandfather, a man of great accomplishment and great pride in his family, has begun to suffer from late-onset dementia. His son, now 50, had debilitating seizures as a young boy and has been mentally disabled since he was 9. Over the past year, I have begun to record their stories -- in writing, photographs, video and a special website. As I've gone along, I've added the biographies, stories and Q&As with other members of my extended family.
It's been an honor and a privilege, and it's a service I now offer for other families.
PRICING & PLANS
$500 for an original story about an individual family member.
$1,000 for an individual family member story with a specially edited video, photo and audio slideshow and an individualized website with special domain and privacy settings in place for family access.
$3,000 for the stories of two family members (a mother and father; grandparents; children, etc.) with a specially edited video, photo and audio slideshow and an individualized website with special domain and privacy settings in place for family access.
$6,000 for as many as 5 family member stories with a specially edited video, photo and audio slideshow and an individualized website with special domain and privacy settings in place for family access. Additional family members can be added for a customized package, with details available upon request.
Payment via PayPal. Complete story and packages delivered (and available at a newly-created online website with privacy settings) within 7 business days.