Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps

4.13 avg rating
( 635 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780143125969: Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps

A celebration of the relationships that bring us strength, purpose, and joy

Ties That Bind honors the people who nourish and strengthen us. StoryCorps founder Dave Isay draws from ten years of the revolutionary oral history project’s rich archives, collecting conversations that celebrate the power of the human bond and capture the moment at which individuals become family. Between blood relations, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, in the most trying circumstances and in the unlikeliest of places, enduring connections are formed and lives are forever changed.

The stories shared in Ties That Bind reveal our need to reach out, to support, and to share life’s burdens and joys. We meet two brothers, separately cast out by their parents, who reconnect and rebuild a new family around each other. We encounter unexpected joy: A gay woman reveals to her beloved granddaughter that she grew up believing that family was a happiness she would never be able to experience. We witness lifechanging friendship: An Iraq war veteran recalls his wartime bond with two local children and how his relationship with his wife helped him overcome the trauma of losing them.

Against unspeakable odds, at their most desperate moments, the individuals we meet in Ties That Bind find their way to one another, discovering hope and healing. Commemorating ten years of StoryCorps, the conversations collected in Ties That Bind are a testament to the transformational power of listening.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

DAVE ISAY is the founder of StoryCorps and the recipient of numerous broadcasting honors, including six Peabody awards and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. He is the author/editor of numerous books that grew out of his public radio documentary work, including three StoryCorps books: Listening Is an Act of Love (2007), Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps (2010), and All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps (2012)—all New York Times bestsellers. Dave is also an Executive Producer of StoryCorps Animated Shorts, as seen on the PBS documentary series, POV. StoryCorps' first-ever animated special, Listening Is an Act of Love, premiered last Thanksgiving on PBS.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

On October 23, 2003, the legendary oral historian Studs Terkel, ninety-one years old at the time, stood in front of a small sound studio aglow in the middle of Grand Central Terminal. “Today we shall begin celebrating the lives of the uncelebrated!” he said, pointing at our first recording booth. “We’re in Grand Central Terminal. We know there was an architect, but who hung the iron? Who were the brick masons? Who swept the floors? These are the noncelebrated people of our country. In this kiosk, those anonymous people—the noncelebrated—will speak of their lives!”

Ten years and almost fifty thousand interviews later, StoryCorps stands as the largest collection of noncelebrated voices ever gathered in history—indeed, it stands as the larg­est collection of any voices ever gathered in history: almost one hundred thousand participants, recorded in more than a thousand locations and in all fifty states; eighteen terabytes of data, with hundreds of stories broadcast across the nation and around the world.

StoryCorps started out as a simple, if somewhat crazy, idea: build a soundproof booth where you can interview the most important person in your life with the help of a trained facilitator. The interview is structured to encourage people to dig deep—many think of it as “If I had forty minutes left to live what would I ask this person who means so much to me?” At the end of each session, the participants walk away with a CD copy of their interview, and StoryCorps sends another copy to the Library of Congress, where it becomes part of America’s history. Someday, the great-great-great­grandchildren of StoryCorps participants will get the chance to meet their ancestors through this recording.

StoryCorps was built on a series of basic ideas I’d come to embrace in my twenties and thirties while working as a docu­mentary radio producer: that a microphone gives people the license to ask questions of others that they wouldn’t normally ask, and that being listened to reminds people how much their lives matter. StoryCorps is based on the belief that we can discover the most profound and exquisite poetry in the words and stories of the noncelebrated people around us, if we just have the courage to ask meaningful questions and the patience to listen closely to the answers.

Many of these ideas began taking shape for me twenty-five years ago, just after I’d graduated from college. In 1988, I was twenty-two years old and about to start medical school, when I was lucky enough to fall into public radio completely by accident. One afternoon I walked into a small shop on New York’s Lower East Side owned by a married couple— both recovering heroin addicts with HIV—who told me about their dream of building a full-scale museum dedicated to stories of addiction before they died. While their task was clearly impossible, their spirits were remarkable. When I got home, I called every TV and radio station in the yellow pages to try to convince them to do a story about the pair. No one was the least bit interested—until I got to the news director of a local community radio station, a woman named Amy Goodman. She told me that it sounded like a good idea, but that she didn’t have anyone available at the station to cover it. “Why don’t you do it yourself?” she asked. So I took a re­corder and interviewed the couple at their shop. When the story was aired on the station the next evening, a producer from NPR in Washington, DC, happened to be driving through town, heard the piece, and picked it up for national broadcast. I promptly withdrew from medical school to start down this new path. I had found my calling.

A few months before recording that story, I had also ac­cidentally discovered that my father was gay. He and my mother had been married—extremely happily, I thought— for twenty-five years, and the revelation came as a shock. I was having a tough time dealing with the news—and with my dad. Once I started working in public radio, though, I thought I might be able to begin making sense of it all with a microphone and tape recorder. I wanted to understand more about my father and what his life had been like, but I wasn’t ready to hear it from him.

One day my dad mentioned the Stonewall riots. I’d never heard of them, but I was intrigued and decided to learn more. I found out that in 1969, the police raided Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, and, with billy clubs drawn, they tried to shut it down. This was a common occurrence in gay bars all across New York City at that time—but on a series of nights that June, the patrons fought back. Nothing like it had ever happened before, and it sparked the modern gay rights movement in this country.

I decided to set off with a tape recorder to track down everyone I could find who might help me understand the riots, and what life was like for gay people in the years before. The microphone gave me the freedom to go places, meet peo­ple, and ask questions that otherwise would have felt com­pletely out of bounds.

In New York’s East Village, I found an elderly gay woman named Jheri living in senior housing just a few blocks from my apartment, who helped me understand the soul-numbing shame, fear, and abuse that ran rampant in the years before Stonewall. I met tough old Irish bartenders who exploded all of my preconceived notions of gay men. And I met Sylvia Rivera, who, as an eighteen-year-old drag queen and street kid, fought valiantly and viciously on the nights of the riots. No matter how many times she was clobbered with batons, she kept coming back for more. She was heroic and historic— today many consider her the Rosa Parks of the gay rights movement. Sylvia was the bravest and toughest person I had ever met.

These conversations turned my world upside down, and gave me a feeling of deep connection to a culture I’d known nothing about. By airing the program on public radio, I hoped the documentary might do the same for others. While there were some bumps along the way—I remember calling an arts editor of a New York tabloid and asking if she’d write a story about the documentary, since it was the first one ever made about the riots. “Sorry,” she said. “We don’t believe in homosexuality here”—the outpouring of response to the pro­gram was all I could have hoped for and more. I dedicated the documentary to my dad. We’d found common ground once again. It changed our relationship, and it changed my life.

I would go on to produce scores of radio documentaries about people living on the margins of society over the next fifteen years. I came to believe even more deeply in the les­sons I learned from my Stonewall experience about the inti­macy and immediacy of radio, the power of the human voice to transcend differences and divides, and the ability of a radio story to hit like an adrenalin shot to the heart when honestly and authentically told. I also saw, again and again, how affirming it was for people to be listened to, especially those who felt most silenced by the rest of society. Over the course of an interview I could see people’s backs stretch and straighten—I would literally watch the experience make them stand taller.

The people I interviewed in those years—living in hous­ing projects and forgotten small towns, working in hospitals and prisons, serving coffee at luncheonette counters, surviving in hospices and homeless shelters—inspired and moved me. They were some of the most powerful and important stories I could imagine—lives defined by courage, character, and con­viction. People whose spirits could not be broken and whose sense of humor and hope never wavered. Time and again at the end of an interview, I’d have the same conversation:

“Have you ever told your story before?”

“No.”

“Why not?

“No one ever asked.”

Out of these and myriad other experiences and influences, I decided to undertake the fairly radical experiment of StoryCorps. Having seen the positive impact that participat­ing in documentary work could have on people’s lives, I wanted to open the experience to everyone. I hoped to create a project that was all about giving people the chance to inter­view one another, with only a secondary emphasis on editing stories for broadcast. In essence, StoryCorps flipped the pur­pose of traditional documentary work from an artistic or edu­cational project created for the benefit of an audience into an experience principally focused on enhancing the lives of those recording the interviews.

Once StoryCorps opened, it quickly became clear that the idea was going to work. Participants told us that the forty minutes they spent in the booth were among the most impor­tant of their lives. People would sit down in front of the mi­crophone and begin to weep even before the session began. In every interview, participants took the chance to talk about parts of their lives they had never discussed before. When participants passed away, we heard from family members that the CDs had become a cherished and singular record of their loved ones’ voice, life, and spirit.

I wasn’t sure when we launched StoryCorps whether we’d find any stories appropriate for radio broadcast coming out of these recording sessions—but I was wrong. We soon started editing brief audio segments from a handful of the interviews and airing them on public radio. We consider every interview session equally valuable and a potentially sacred moment in participants’ lives, but we came to realize that some record­ings had a universal quality that made them appropriate to share with a larger audience. We also realized that some of the interviews translated powerfully to the printed page— though not necessarily the same ones that worked on the radio—and started compiling our first StoryCorps book, Lis­tening Is an Act of Love.

I think of StoryCorps as being in the wisdom collection business, and I have had the privilege over the past decade of immersing myself in the truths and life lessons that spring from the stories we record. Listening to the experiences of regular people living life to its fullest and exemplifying hu­manity at its finest has, time and again, stirred my soul and strengthened my faith in this nation and its people.

I think of Lynn Weaver, who recorded a StoryCorps in­terview about his father, Ted Weaver, in 2007 at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center in Atlanta. Ted worked as a janitor in pre-civil-rights Knoxville, Tennessee. In Lynn’s interview, which appears on page 172 of this book, he remembers a time he was struggling with high school algebra—and how one night his father stayed up until 4 a.m. teaching himself algebra from Lynn’s textbook, so that he could in turn teach his son.

I was fortunate to be at a reception at the King Center where we listened to some of the stories recorded there, in­cluding Lynn Weaver’s tribute to his dad. The next day, I re­ceived this e-mail:

Mr. Isay,

You will never know how honored and touched I was by the playing of the remembrance of my dad. After I got home, I realized that the evening of the StoryCorps reception was the anniversary of my father’s death. Even in death, he continues to embrace me with his love. This project has touched me more than you will ever know.

Lynn Weaver, chairman of surgery, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

After you read Lynn’s story, you’ll understand why I think his father, Ted—a janitor from Knoxville, Tennessee—is the kind of man we should be building statues to and nam­ing bridges after. He exemplifies America at its very best. The lessons we can all learn from a life like his are timeless and sacred.

This past decade’s journey has been the most exhausting and exhilarating of my life. So much about StoryCorps goes against the grain of what can feel like a celebrity-choked cul­ture. There were more than a few instances over the past ten years, especially when struggling to raise the money needed to keep StoryCorps afloat, that I’d think, This isn’t going to work, the whole idea is just nuts—maybe it’s time to give it up! But then I’d remember the small devoted army of facilitators fanned out across the country working tirelessly to lift up the voices of everyday people. Or our production team would walk into my office to play that week’s NPR broadcast, and the truth and power of the story coming out of the speakers would jolt me back into reality.

Six months ago my seventy-eight-year-old dad, who seemed like the type to live to one hundred, was diagnosed with cancer. Nine days later, he died. His doctor later de­scribed his illness as “a violent tornado that came out of no­where and left total destruction in its wake.” At 3:00 a.m. on the day after he passed, I listened for the first time to the StoryCorps interview we recorded together several years ear­lier. I had thought I couldn’t believe in StoryCorps any more deeply than I already did, but hearing his voice speak to me from my computer twenty hours after his death, alone in my dark living room, knowing this was the way my two young children were going to get to know this man who meant so much to me—that was the moment the rubber hit the road, and I fully felt the significance of the work we’ve been doing.

The small team that launched StoryCorps in 2003 has now grown to become a staff of more than a hundred. We’ve recorded interviews in thousands of places—in cities, towns, and hamlets, and everywhere from a remote Alaskan fish­ing village to the White House. We’ve launched nine national initiatives, including StoryCorps Griot (a griot is a West Afri­can storyteller), which today stands as the largest collection of African American voices ever gathered. Our latest en­deavor, StoryCorpsU, is a yearlong curriculum for high-needs schools that uses StoryCorps stories and teaches the StoryCorps interviewing method in order to help young people feel more connected to their teachers and each other, and help them recognize how much their lives matter. Early research shows the program’s enormous potential for moti­vating, engaging, and inspiring kids at some of the toughest schools in the country.

But our work has really only just begun. It’s our dream that someday the StoryCorps interview method and the sto­ries that we distill from these interviews will be woven into the fabric of American life and the lives of all Americans; that StoryCorps will grow into a sustaining national institution that reminds people that every life and every story matters equally. We hope, one day, to help foster an American culture that is a little more just and tolerant and that strives always to respect and nurture human dignity.

As I see it, one of the most important reasons to record a StoryCorps interview, and certainly the reason closest to my heart, is to honor the person or people to whom you feel most grateful. That person who stood by you during your darkest days, who recognized something special in you when no one else did; the person who rescued you or guided you or sustained you with their kindness, generosity, and strength of character. The family member, friend, teacher, neighbor, colleague—sometimes even stranger—with whom you feel a connection so powerful that the relationship can take on a sacred quality. These are the stories in Ties That Bind—a book of gratitude to mark the tenth anniversary of an undertaking built on human connection and kindness. Mother Teresa used to say, “We have forgotten that we belong to each other.” This is a book that helps us to remember.

I hope that this collection—and every experience you’ve had or will have with StoryCorps—will do for you what it’s done for me: that it will remind you it’s never too early to say the important things to the people ...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Isay, Dave
Published by Penguin Books
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Mesilla Internet
(Mesilla, NM, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0143125966 New. Bookseller Inventory # Z0143125966ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
3.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.02
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Isay, Dave
Published by Penguin Books 2014-01-01 (2014)
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New Paperback Quantity Available: 11
Seller:
BookOutlet
(Thorold, ON, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books 2014-01-01, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9780143125969B

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
3.12
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 4.55
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Dave Isay
Published by Penguin Books, United States (2014)
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. A celebration of the relationships that bring us strength, purpose, and joy Ties That Bind honors the people who nourish and strengthen us. StoryCorps founder Dave Isay draws from ten years of the revolutionary oral history project s rich archives, collecting conversations that celebrate the power of the human bond and capture the moment at which individuals become family. Between blood relations, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, in the most trying circumstances and in the unlikeliest of places, enduring connections are formed and lives are forever changed. The stories shared in Ties That Bind reveal our need to reach out, to support, and to share life s burdens and joys. We meet two brothers, separately cast out by their parents, who reconnect and rebuild a new family around each other. We encounter unexpected joy: A gay woman reveals to her beloved granddaughter that she grew up believing that family was a happiness she would never be able to experience. We witness lifechanging friendship: An Iraq war veteran recalls his wartime bond with two local children and how his relationship with his wife helped him overcome the trauma of losing them. Against unspeakable odds, at their most desperate moments, the individuals we meet in Ties That Bind find their way to one another, discovering hope and healing. Commemorating ten years of StoryCorps, the conversations collected in Ties That Bind are a testament to the transformational power of listening. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143125969

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.36
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Dave Isay
Published by Penguin Books, United States (2014)
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. A celebration of the relationships that bring us strength, purpose, and joy Ties That Bind honors the people who nourish and strengthen us. StoryCorps founder Dave Isay draws from ten years of the revolutionary oral history project s rich archives, collecting conversations that celebrate the power of the human bond and capture the moment at which individuals become family. Between blood relations, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, in the most trying circumstances and in the unlikeliest of places, enduring connections are formed and lives are forever changed. The stories shared in Ties That Bind reveal our need to reach out, to support, and to share life s burdens and joys. We meet two brothers, separately cast out by their parents, who reconnect and rebuild a new family around each other. We encounter unexpected joy: A gay woman reveals to her beloved granddaughter that she grew up believing that family was a happiness she would never be able to experience. We witness lifechanging friendship: An Iraq war veteran recalls his wartime bond with two local children and how his relationship with his wife helped him overcome the trauma of losing them. Against unspeakable odds, at their most desperate moments, the individuals we meet in Ties That Bind find their way to one another, discovering hope and healing. Commemorating ten years of StoryCorps, the conversations collected in Ties That Bind are a testament to the transformational power of listening. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143125969

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Dave Isay
Published by Penguin Books, United States (2014)
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A celebration of the relationships that bring us strength, purpose, and joy Ties That Bind honors the people who nourish and strengthen us. StoryCorps founder Dave Isay draws from ten years of the revolutionary oral history project s rich archives, collecting conversations that celebrate the power of the human bond and capture the moment at which individuals become family. Between blood relations, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, in the most trying circumstances and in the unlikeliest of places, enduring connections are formed and lives are forever changed. The stories shared in Ties That Bind reveal our need to reach out, to support, and to share life s burdens and joys. We meet two brothers, separately cast out by their parents, who reconnect and rebuild a new family around each other. We encounter unexpected joy: A gay woman reveals to her beloved granddaughter that she grew up believing that family was a happiness she would never be able to experience. We witness lifechanging friendship: An Iraq war veteran recalls his wartime bond with two local children and how his relationship with his wife helped him overcome the trauma of losing them. Against unspeakable odds, at their most desperate moments, the individuals we meet in Ties That Bind find their way to one another, discovering hope and healing. Commemorating ten years of StoryCorps, the conversations collected in Ties That Bind are a testament to the transformational power of listening. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780143125969

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Isay, Dave
Published by Penguin Group USA (2014)
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Group USA, 2014. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VP-9780143125969

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.47
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.02
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Dave Isay
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Random House. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0143125966

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.76
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.65
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Dave Isay
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
ReadWhiz
(Portland, OR, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780143125969_ing

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
11.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Isay, Dave
Published by Penguin Books
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0143125966 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI2132146767

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.62
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.02
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Dave Isay
ISBN 10: 0143125966 ISBN 13: 9780143125969
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Grand Eagle Retail
(Wilmington, DE, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 224 pages. 0.159. Bookseller Inventory # 9780143125969

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
13.21
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book