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  • Writer's pictureBreanna Boersma

Studio Dispatch #2

It’s Friday and my body and soul are tired from all the walks I’ve taken this week. Over the past 7 days, I have walked over 30 miles. Many of those miles have been in the company of friends. I’ve talked a lot this week, but there also have been moments of deep introspection.

I’ve been thinking a lot about stories. The ones we collect and polish off to retell over and over again. The stories speak of quiet moments or loud cacophonies of celebrations. I’ve also been thinking about the stories we’ve collected and we no longer remember. They are very much a part of us as the ones we savor but they hang back, forgotten.

This has been on my mind ever since I discovered this podcast called 365 Stories I Want To Tell You Before We Both Die by Caveh Zahedi. It is an interesting collection of stories that make up the life of 61-year-old American film director and actor Caveh Zahedi. Each day comes with a new story narrated by Caveh. It’s beautiful and soulful and it shows, to me at least, that our lives are just a collection of small and pivotal stories.

Along with listening to these mini-podcast clips, I’ve also been enjoying the audible field guide by Pop-Up Magazine. It’s a 4 part collection of stories. Each episode is centered around a theme, walking, water, night sky, and trees. I joined a Zoom call early Tuesday morning to listen to the Water episode with a group of strangers scattered around the world. As I walked and listened to this episode I felt connected and tethered to these people from Berlin, Australia, Cincinnati, and more, in this profound way. I was walking with headphones in, along a busy street by myself, but I was not alone.

There’s been a lot of new formats of storytelling that have developed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. One, in particular, that has shaken me has been the A THOUSAND WAYS phone call experience put on by 600 HIGHWAYMEN.

In order to experience this story, I would have to call a number. The phone would then connect me with a stranger somewhere in the world. I’ve participated in these conversations 4 times, each time I was met with only fragments of an idea of this person. The year they were born, the name of the kid they went to school with, something yellow in the room they were in. Each fragment painted an incomplete picture of this other person, someone who I will never know the name of, but I felt connected and seen.

As I come closer to the start of my year of my Independent Project (IP) I’m curious about how I can mimic the same sensation of feeling tethered and known through communal story sharing.

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