Shar­ing our stories

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - COM­MU­NITY Frank Likely Frank Likely is a re­tired Angli­can min­is­ter who lives in Springhill.

Ev­ery­body has a story to tell, but not ev­ery­one has it within them­selves to write a book.

So, a French start-up com­pany has cre­ated a de­vice to help folks tell their stories. It is a short story ma­chine.

The ma­chine, which is pop­ping up at air­ports, cafes, and li­braries around the world dis­trib­utes short stories sub­mit­ted by or­di­nary peo­ple from within the com­mu­nity. Sub­ject to a few rules on con­tent, any­one can sub­mit their story and have it avail­able to the pub­lic at the touch of a but­ton.

The com­pany vets the stories sub­mit­ted by length, topic, and style and then loads them onto the ma­chine. Some­one who is look­ing for a quick read can choose the type of story they want, the length they want, and a story will be printed on a long strip of pa­per like a cash reg­is­ter re­ceipt. The pa­per can then be dis­carded when one is through read­ing the story.

While the ma­chine was de­vel­oped to aid peo­ple pass the time, I think it has great po­ten­tial as a com­mu­nity devel­op­ment tool. Imag­ine be­ing able to read the in­di­vid­ual stories of other folks just like you within your com­mu­nity, whether you ac­tu­ally know them or not!

We, un­for­tu­nately, live in a so­ci­ety where many peo­ple are more con­nected to their elec­tronic de­vices than they are to their fam­i­lies and neigh­bours. The short story ma­chine gives us a unique op­por­tu­nity to learn some­thing about oth­ers from their stories and to share some­thing with them through our own stories. That’s a great build­ing block to­wards com­mu­nity.

I’m not sure if we’ll ever see a short story ma­chine in our lo­cal area, but I know we all have our stories that we could and should share with oth­ers.

And we re­ally don’t need a ma­chine to help us share them if we re­ally want to.

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