Archive for the ‘grandpa’ Category

One Story, Two Versions

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

I’ve been experimenting with Audacity since we were introduced to it in class. My grandpa has been my partner in my test runs, willingly sharing stories about his past. I like Audacity because I’m used to writing; audio is a new experience for me. I’ve recorded and transcribed interviews for newspaper articles before, but I’ve never used audio as an element that accompanies the story online or as the single story itself.

So, while the first stages of my actual project are in the works, I’ve been asking my grandpa to tell me a true story. Like Ira Glass discussed, it has been at times difficult to find a decent story. My grandpa and I spoke with each other for twenty minutes yesterday; I’ve probably omitted about a third of that already, and assignment 7 is still in the works as well.

In my audio posts featuring my grandpa, I haven’t done a lot of personal reflection from my end on what Glass describes as one of the two basic elements of storytelling: “here’s why you’re listening to the story, here’s the bigger something:”

In my first audio post, I mentioned my grandpa has Alzheimer’s disease. His memory has been deteriorating for the past several years; a lot of his past is gone, and sometimes what he does remember can’t be trusted. I’ve heard some of the stories he’s shared before; I know them. He’s beginning to tell them differently than he told them in the past, even when the same story is told within minutes of the original telling:

I asked him how he met my grandmother, and he had some trouble remembering. I asked several questions during this first clip (edited out), which jarred his memory:

Effie Story 1

A few minutes later, without any prompting from me about the subject, he launched into another version of the story. We’d moved on to a completely different subject (cars), so I was quite surprised when he suddenly began talking about how he met my grandma again, with more details, no questions asked by me, and at a much faster pace:

Effie Story 2

So, an element of this class-having people/yourself narrate through audio, has opened a new way of capturing stories, one I’m certain I’ll be using throughout my career. I could only write what my grandpa says down, could quote the words, but the story becomes so much more personal and interesting when it is also the storyteller’s voice coming through the computer speakers, in this case, especially when it’s the same story told twice. My grandpa told the same story twice with different details, and I think these audio stories are powerful because they don’t just communicate how he met his wife, they also reflect his personality and the side effects of Alzheimer’s disease in a way that reading his words printed on a page likely wouldn’t.

Driving Through the Past

Friday, October 8th, 2010

I wanted to experiment more with audacity before venturing into assignment 7, so I asked my grandpa if I could record him talking with me about a topic of his choice. The result: cars.

Here he is talking about the family’s first car, a Model T Ford.

Jay on the First Family Car

My grandpa’s first car was a 1931 Chevy Coupe.

Jay’s First Car

The more I play with Audacity, the more I like it. I’ve never attempted to use audio before, so I’m really excited about working on assignment 7 and producing an audio story.

At the end of our conversation, after I played back what my grandpa said, he had one question:

“You mean you recorded all of that? In that little box? Somebody was pretty smart.”