If someone asked you to tell your life story, where would you begin? For a lot of people, the answer to that question is “I was born in…”
When we interview people, we often start there, too. “Where were you born?” is a perfectly fine way to begin a conversation. From there, Veterans might talk about where they grew up, who their parents were, where they went to school, when they got married, etc. In other words, they talk about their life chronologically, focusing on “milestone moments” along the way.
We have a phrase for interviews that go like that. We call them “Just the facts.”
A lot of Veterans we talk to are far less straightforward. They, like most of us, think in tangents, speak in anecdotes, and play hopscotch on the timeline as they recount the biggest moments in their lives. Writing stories from interviews like that can be harder than composing a “Just the facts” life review. But those tangents and anecdotes can be gold when you’re looking for a good story.
In this episode of our podcast, “Steve” did something we truly found delightful: he centered his entire life story around a single friendship that spanned a lifetime. It was an unusual way to tell a life history, but we loved it. We hope you do, too.
Seth Jovaag is a writer, editor and producer for the My Life, My Story project.