I've spent a substantial amount of time during the past two months writing about the April 27 tornadoes that devasated the South (for the magazine). The project is a few weeks away from appearing.
As part of this experience, I've had the privilege to sit with many survivors, who have shared their personal stories. Today I spent about nine hours at a church in Tuscaloosa, hearing about the sounds and sights and experiences from people who lived through the storm.
From a woman who was 38-weeks pregnant the night her home was hit to the many people who have spoken to the kindness of strangers, it's one story after the next of courage, and hope in the midst of devastation.
Here's a clip that aired on FOX6 tonight:
There's much more that I'm looking forward to sharing once this project is completed. One thing that I can share is that it's reminded me of a sense of purpose to my storytelling. Locking eyes with a survivor, hearing about the day that change his or her life, is a powerful thing.
The process has reminded me that good storytelling begins with listening, aka, knowing when to turn the camera on, and your own comments off. Listening and hearing amount to telling. And the white seamless backdrop becomes a sacred space where we honor the truth.