This Friday I have a suggestion for you, for us all. In addition to reheating the left-overs, partaking in the 'Black Friday' sales at obscenely early hours... listen to someone. Ok, that sounds rather odd -- but Friday is the official 'National Day of Listening'.
Put forth by the non-profit organization 'Story Corps' they recommend and invite you to "set aside one hour to record a conversation with someone important to you. You can interview anyone you choose: an older relative, a friend, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood."
With so many readily accessible technology tools - it is easier than ever to document the life stories of folks who are important to us, whether they are family, friends or community members. My first experience with a life store is when I recorded my grandmother some 20 years ago. I was amazed at the stories she shared with me (and my video camera)... I had not previously heard of what she shared with me that day. I now treasure her stories preserved. I have also interviewed my father on a couple of different occasions and glad for that as he passed away this April.
I like how the Story Corps call this a Day of Listening... kind of takes away some of the 'pressure' on both sides of conducting an interview. Really that's what a good interview is anyway -- an opportunity for active listening... where we _really_ listen to the stories of another person.
The website has some good materials to get you started on this project... after you click on the 'National Day of Listening on the Study Corps website you can
1. Download the Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide. This 4-page PDF document takes you though pretty much all you need to know and do to prepare for and conduct your Listening
2. Create a question list using their custom Question Generator. This is really cool - it's a series of about 4 interactive web pages that allow to construct your own questions to ask your 'subject'. Then you can print it out... there are lots of great questions for you to peel away the years and open up some great memories.
And these resources are free!
You can read more about the Story Corps on the StoryCoprs website