millions of stories must not be told

A couple of things connected recently in one of those lightning, revelatory moments that gives birth to a new project.

I finished reading Miranda July’s It Chooses You, in which she interviews people who’ve placed small ads in an LA sales listings magazine. It tells the stories of some people scraping by, living lives that are mundane and beautiful and frustrating, and I loved it.

And also, Ted spied this excellent documentary about the Monument to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, and sent it in my direction.

(I discovered the monument and its perfectly capsule-shaped, heartbreaking stories one lunchtime whilst out walking around Clerkenwell.)

And, after listening to the programme, I was thinking about storytelling a lot and, in the words of the BBC blurb, ‘the gap between words and the immensity of a life’. Which is sort of simultaneously a problem and a thing worth celebrating, I think, all meaning being in the gaps.

There must be millions of stories out there everyday that disappear down the cracks. And many of them will be boring and small, but often it’s in those stories that you find something really completely disrupting and heartbreaking and hopeful.

And I wondered what sort of thing I could do with that.

Because on the one hand, those stories deserve to be told, or at least they deserve to be told as much as any other. But on the other, something in the telling risks spoiling what makes them precious in the first place.

So I’m not quite sure what to do, but I’m thinking about it.


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