If you had asked me yesterday what I was working on, I would have told you that I was working on a dream project. But it wasn’t until this morning that I realized how true those words actually are.
At its most basic, completely stripped down, core – my dream project involves me interviewing people that I find fascinating and turning their words into a story. I suppose you could say that this is the work of any journalist – but in this case, it’s more like an oral history and a creative interpretation, cased in a contagious and inspiring concept.
All good. But, this morning, I realized something even better.
Once upon a time in Vermont
First, I have to tell you that I hated college. Loathed almost every one of my seconds at Middlebury. And, because of this, I can remember the few good moments that I did happen upon during those four frigid years quite clearly.
One of them came in my first year, in my freshman seminar which was called, “Landscape of a Poem: Robert Frost, the land of Vermont and its people.” (or something very close to that) My professor, John Elder, is a grand man beyond description and he led us all over Vermont experiencing Frost’s words and the very soil of the state.
For our main project, I chose to travel around Vermont interviewing precious old women about their experiences with quilting – living on the farm, the role of women, quilting bees – all of it. And, then I wove these interviews into stories – oral histories. I got an A on the project, but more importantly, it was a sweet spot for me as a writer. I passionately adored the interviewing, I was combustible during the concepting phase, the writing just flowed out of me and felt so delicious, I was proud to share the piece with my peers, my professors and the women who were so integral to its creation.
Back to today
Nineteen years ago I connected to my muse, I clicked into who I really am as a writer and where I wanted to go. I literally remember thinking, ‘This is the kind of writing that I want to do.”
It’s funny. My writing that I do for my clients does actually fit the bill. I literally marinate in who they are, what they do, how they think and how they talk – and then, I tell their story.
But it wasn’t until this morning that I realized that I had truly found my way. Today’s oral history project is the dream fulfilled.
What about you?
Frankly, I was shocked to realize that I had set this all in motion so long ago. And, even more, that it wasn’t until today that I put the pieces together. Have you had a similar experience? What are you doing now, and what did you want to do once upon a time?