The Wisconsin Story Project Roxx!

Yeah. Yeah, I did say roxx. Because I was a rock star this morning at the recording studio, telling my story that will appear in next week’s podcast. With the fat headphones on my ears, and the fine, super sensitive mic, I was like Barbara Streisand. I was like Celine Dion. I was like all those people in “We Are The World”… but not that new, shitty version.

Mike Lawler is the guy behind The Wisconson Story Project. — an amazing, amazing organization whose sole mission is to promote the art of storytelling in the state of Wisconsin. It’s kind of like the StoryCorps project on NPR. Or The Moth. Or This American Life. But way more locally oriented.

In addition, WSP puts on cool events like a monthly storytelling series as well as an upcoming original documentary theater project called Cancer Stories. Think The Laramie Project meets Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. The play will make its debut at the end of this month at the Overture Center, and EVERYONE SHOULD GO. Cool, right?

I e-mailed Mike on a lark a few weeks ago when I saw an blurb about auditions for Cancer Stories posted in the State Journal. He e-mailed me back and told me he recognized my name, both from the Isthmus story and my irate letter in the New Yorker. Turns out Mike is a cancer survivor and a writer, too, so we hit it off right away. Even though I’m thrilled to be moving to Minneapolis in June, I’m sad that I won’t be able to get more involved with WSP before leaving. We’re really lucky to have an organization like this in our own backyard.

Because as Wendell Berry said, “In a truly grounded, locally adapted culture, the artists would be the rememberers. They would memorialize great occasions, preserve necessary insights and so on.” Telling our stories, and listening to other people’s stories, is not just a novelty — it’s a means of survival. If it weren’t for stories, how would we survive harsh winters and devastating setbacks? How would we develop our morality?

I mean, plus, it’s just, like, really fun, you know? And you get to meet great people.

So if you feel like it…and by that I mean unless you want a good arm-twisting from me…become fans with Wisconsin Story Project on Facebook or find them on Twitter! You can also subscribe to the podast by searching Wisconsin Storycast on iTunes. And hear my beautiful, beautiful, semi nails-on-chalkboard voice.


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