storiesAs a contrast to the frenzy of commercialism that erupts after Thanksgiving, StoryCorps founder David Isay suggests a quiet interlude spent listening to the life story of a loved one on Nov. 25, which will be the fourth annunal National Day of Listening.

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Over eight years and more than 30,000 individual recording sessions, StoryCorps has enabled and captured key slices of form all sorts of lives. The only constant, says StoryCorps founder David Isay, is the basic process.

IsayDavid Isay

Over its relatively short history, StoryCorps has not only captured all of these first-person biographical moments, but shared many of them with NPR listeners, as well as the readers of two books of selections from the interviews. But when the program began. Isay  admits, he had no idea if any of that would actually happen.

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If there is a single inspiration for StoryCorps, it would have to be Chicago writer and radio personality Studs Terkel. He was invited to the opening of the first StoryCorps recording booth in New York's Grand Central STation, Isay recalls, and characteristically reframed the mission of the new enperprise. 

storycorps There are guidelines and a lenghthy list of possible questions at the National Day of Listening website, where you are alos invited to shrare your thoughts about the experience on their online Listening Walll. There's a separate site for StoryCorps, where you can both hear selected stories and learn how to record one yourself. There are also three semi-permanet StoryCorps recording booths set up in New York City, Atlanta, and San Francisco at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

The National Day of Listening was also written up in WIRED in 2008.

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