I come from a family of storytellers. Whenever a few members of my dad’s family get together, you can pretty much count on it turning into a storytelling session. One story sparks a memory of another until everyone at the table is clamoring to tell their own. Sometimes I wish I had been carrying a tape recorder with me all my life so I could capture those stories of everyday life and put them together in a book.
No matter what year you were born, you probably have your own “growing up” stories that are unique to your age group. My dad’s stories are different from mine. Even though I grew up about a mile from where my father grew up, we grew up in different times. While we share some experiences, each of our stories are compelling in their own way.
A while back, I found myself in a coffee house conversation with a Vietnam veteran who had been in the same Air Force career field that I was in thirty years after him. We talked for about fifteen minutes, comparing notes on what had changed from his time to mine, as well as what had stayed the same. I felt a connection to this stranger who had shared an experience that was similar to my own, but different because of when we were born.
I often find these stories of everyday life – whether told by my relatives or by complete strangers – more interesting than the stories of the politicians and other public figures of any given era. I have this idea that it could be a lot of fun to collect some of these everyday tales from everyday people and put them into an anthology. But I would need something to connect the stories together.
Then I thought, why not collect stories from a bunch of people who had all been born in the same year? It would be cool to compare the experiences of a variety of people who grew up in different parts of the country – even different parts of the world – in the same time period. I want to start with 1976, because that’s when I was born. How will my tales of growing up in this era compare to those of other “Born in ’76” babies from around the world? I really want to know!
Well then, the idea just snowballed from there… What if I were to create a series of anthologies, with each book focusing on a different birth year? I am so excited about this idea, I actually want to make it happen. I mean, for real. (Not like some of my other ideas.) So, the next step of course, is figuring out how to do it with my limited resources.
My solution, for the time being, is to request stories on Medium, a new online publishing platform that I recently discovered. If I can manage to collect enough stories for a given birth year, then I will move on to the next step, which is compiling the anthology, editing and formatting it, and then finally publishing it. Rather than just doing one year at a time, I figured I might as well set up a new collection on Medium for each year as writers request them.
So, let’s say you were born in 1965 and want to submit stories for that year. You can go ahead and post your stories on Medium, then put in a request for me to start a “Born in ’65” collection (if I haven’t yet done so.) That way, rather than making you sit around waiting for me to be ready to do your year, you can go ahead and start writing your stories now. I will then create each new anthology as I obtain enough submissions to move ahead to the next step for that year.
Of course, this is all assuming that enough people will submit enough stories to a given collection for me to create even one anthology. It may never happen. But if it doesn’t pan out, your stories will still be posted on Medium where we can all enjoy them. And if we’re all doing it together, then we’ll all support each other and, at the very least, go read and share each other’s stories, right?
What do you say? Wanna play with me? If so, do this:
- Go register for an account on Medium.com.
- Post a story. It’s really easy, and you retain all rights to your work.
- Add your story to one of my Collections. (I have already created a Born in ’76 Collection and will create new collections for other years as you request them. Just shoot me a message letting me know what year you are writing for.)
- Sit back and wait to see what happens. Who knows, maybe that’s as far as this thing will ever go.
- Or, you could share and promote the idea and help me get more people involved if you like. That would be greatly appreciated since this project probably won’t get very far without a little (ok, a lot of) help from you.
So go. Write your stories. You know you wanna.