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All There Is

Spring holidays, like those in winter, are a time we may find ourselves gathered around the table with distant relatives. Once we’ve exhausted the topic of the menu, and skirted around religion and politics, what is there left to talk about? This year I drew inspiration from a list of conversation starter questions put out by StoryCorps.

StoryCorps is an organization with a mission “to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” The group hosts interview booths where people are invited to come in and ask each other questions, or have questions asked by a trained interviewer. The questions can be about anything, but people focus on the things that matter most to them: love stories, life-changing events, advice received and given. They interview family members, teachers, colleagues, and friends. The conversations are all recorded and saved in the Library of Congress, and excerpts are regularly shared on National Public Radio and compiled within books.

Two bearded men speaking at a table with two microphones.
Image from the StoryCorps Animated Shorts Page


StoryCorps has put out five of these compilations, including collections focused on love, on mothers and motherhood, and on work. They have stories that will make you smile, make you think, and make you sob. And, hopefully, listening to the stories will inspire you to ask questions and share stories with the people you care about. And if too much family is getting you down, just think, “What would Mr. Rogers do?

Bonnie works at the Squirrel Hill branch. She’s a confused Pirates fan, an overly ambitious quilter, and firm believer in fairies. She wants to read too many books.

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