A Road Traveled

“And whatever my personal story and perspective might be, it now pales to the story that our community has become.”

The launch of this chapter describes the power of idea evolution – what once was and what exists now. Joe Lambert might be an originator of digital storytelling, but his understanding that it’s not about him anymore, but about the community, is critical. It speaks to the success of an idea when it’s no longer about the idea or the developer, but the impact it’s having.

“…the populist artist in the folk traditions sought out a way to celebrate the ordinary, the common person, and their daily battles to survive and overcome.” 

This was the first opportunity I’ve had to discover the roots of digital storytelling. To be honest, most of the time I don’t feel a need to uncover origins or explore the history of things. It’s probably not a great thing to admit, but true. In this case, however, I am happy that through this assignment I was able to discover the connections to folk music. I think one of the reasons that so many people are engaged in digital storytelling is because ANYONE can do it – it’s not something that you have to be super skilled at or have an overly exciting experience to write about. The common person has an entry point into this broader community, just as the folk artist aimed to celebrate.

“My references of identity – the stories that I connected with – were becoming less about people that looked like me and shared my background, and more about people that I thought were heroically struggling to remake a world beyond the legacies of oppression, racial mistrust, and class hierarchies.” 

I pulled this quote out of the text because I felt it was inspirational. How often do we take the time to not only learn about other cultures, but immerse ourselves into a different world? Joe’s experience in San Francisco allowed him to feel empathy and truly engage with others on a level that most of us never experience. This time seemingly had great impact on his abilities in acting and storytelling because of his ability to relate and connect easily to all people.

“He had sold his identity, and a small part of his soul, to the devil…”

The rest of this chapter supports the idea of failing forward. There was potential for the idea of storytelling to die altogether when Dana’s deal fell through. Instead, an opportunity some years later led to a rebirth and transformation that ended up being larger than what they could have ever expected. This is a lesson to be learned by all of us – the road doesn’t end, it may just take a different path.


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