Other People’s Stories

Posted On: 12.06.12

The other day, I waited outside school to pick up my girl. And a few moms I know were there and we all started talking. One mom mentioned she’d read my blog, and one post in particular thanks to the Stroller Traffic mention I’m convinced brought many of you here. Anyway, she told me she liked my piece and then she told me she’s also been through something very hard. But then she said something, something simple, but absolutely striking:

I have a story to tell, but I am not a writer.

And I looked at her and tried to insist that she is a writer. I think part of me thinks everyone is a writer, but I am realizing that’s not necessarily true. Some of us are word people, some of us can’t stay away from the page or screen, but not everyone.

Then she asked me something:

Would you ever be interested in telling other people’s stories?

And something in me clicked and lifted and I felt myself smiling. And I said yes. I would absolutely be interested in telling other people’s stories. I would love doing that because I think we all have stories big and small, simple and profound, happy and sad, and I believe and deeply that our stories should be told. I think stories are what save us and unite us.

And suddenly it was time to walk through those doors and collect our kids. But before we scurried away, this mom and I made a pact to talk after the holidays. And we will.

And I can’t stop thinking about this, this other people’s story thing. The funny thing is that I have been so careful here to tell only my own story. There are so many things I want to write, and say, but don’t because I feel like these things belong to other people. For some reason, I’d never thought about putting in words other people’s experiences, but I find the idea to be compelling, and important.

And so. Here I am at 9:47pm on a Thursday night in December, sitting in my cozy library, listening to Handel’s Messiah, buzzing about this idea, this idea to make this place about more than me. The truth is that it has always been about more than me; it has been about life and love and struggle and sweetness and sadness and all of the things that come with being human. But this is different, this idea. This would be about real stories other people have lived, stories people want told.

Anyway, I am tired and in danger of rambling on, so I will cut myself off. But I wanted to come here and tell you guys about this, this idea, this beginning of an idea. Because I love it. Whatever it turns out to be.

I guess what I want to know is whether you guys would be interested in glimpsing bits of other people’s lives here at ADR? Now that I am posting more, I feel a brilliant sense of freedom that I can add elements to the pot and also keep my old school silly and serious musings. Do you think people would feel comfortable sending me stories that I could then share (anonymously or no) here on the blog? I’m really interested to know what you guys think. I know it’s late and you are all tucked into your cozy nights and busy lives, so I don’t expect many comments, but hopefully I will get a few and some sense of whether to run with this.

Night night, guys.

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Oh, and...

Want to send me a story? Email me at aidandonnelleyrowley [at] gmail [dot] com. Hope to hear from some of you.



17 Comments for: "Other People’s Stories"
  1. Mandy

    I love this idea! I too have stories to tell but I am definately not a writer. I come from a family of attorneys and writers and I am envious of their natural writing talent. I just don’t have it. I am a corporate finance girl, I can present a recommendation to the Executive Committee or Wall Street without a second thought but ask me to write a personal story and I start sweating.

  2. Gina

    I think so. I think you go with it if it feels good to you. I sat here a few minutes pondering it because in the blogging circle where I find myself most often, they encourage and love deep, dark, heart on your sleeve, bare your soul stuff. While I have lots of tales I could share, I don’t. It’s not me. I find them too personal to share myself or revisit. That said, some of them should be told. I just can’t. So I’m sure many people would benefit from your kind offer to help shape the words of their stories. Get them out and quite possibly help others. Do what’s in your heart!

  3. One of the best parts of reading blogs, blogs like yours, is discovering that we are not alone in the obstacles we face, the issues we tackle. If people are willing to share their stories, it will only open up our pool of understanding and compassion even wider. We will feel even less alone in our struggles. I think this is a brilliant idea, Aidan. I look forward to hearing about the complicated, complex and beautiful lives of other women (and men).


  4. AG

    First I have to say I feel so strange because I am actually tucked in bed reading your blog. A blog I religiously read at my desk at work while I eat my lunch! But I love this idea. I think it’d be great for you to give people the opportunity to share their stories by helping them do it at the same time. It kind of sounded similar to what you are doing with your sister writing too. Anyways, I think it’s great and look forward to seeing how you evolve it into something more! …good night!

  5. Rushing a bit but wanted to throw in my vote: YES. Love it. You and I have had so many convos about how everyone has a story, about how this or that would be a great story or needs to be told. Please, please, please do this (whatever this is). Love it.

    And PS love the bangs. And love how this heavy post was right after the bang post. That is what I love about this place….can I use “love” one more time? Oy. 🙂

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Yes. I was also thinking about the juxtaposition of the bangs post and the deep story-telling post. Alas, that’s me, no? Now onto ponder that enormous balloon mistletoe 🙂

  6. I stopped blogging a few months ago when I took a new job, but I would LOVE to be able to do this. In the three years that I blogged (mostly about my own life), my hands-down most popular posts were a series about a guy from my hometown who had just been released from prison. I interviewed him and wrote some pretty emotional pieces about his story.

    What did this guy have in common w/ me, a young mother in the ‘burbs? Why did my readers embrace this series so? I think we’re all hungry for stories of real life, stories about what really matters. It’s fascinating to learn the bits of wisdom that people have picked up along the way.

    Yes, I would love to read other people’s stories here!

  7. Hilary

    I love this idea! I would definitely read stories written by you about others and would share mine as well….I feel the same way-I have a story but do not have a gift with words to tell it.

    So pleased to have found your blog:)

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      So pleased you have found my blog too! And so happy you and others seem to be liking this idea… I can’t stop thinking about it. And I really should as I have a huge party to plan!


  8. Tara

    Yes, yes, triple yes. Survivor stories of all kinds! Bring it on.

  9. Kristen

    I’m all for this idea.

  10. I think people come to this blog, because they love the thoughtful long ramblings AND simple short musings of AIDAN DONNELLY ROWLEY! If there’s a way to share these people’s stories while also maintaining ADR’s flare for writing (somehow all within the same blog post), it could be very interesting. I love that this opportunity might open a door for you and would be very interested to see if and how you pursue it!

  11. B

    This would be great. I have a reader story section on my blog and it’s my favorite part. It is so interesting to hear people’s stories and we don’t get to hear them often enough.

  12. Debi

    I came to email you, as promised. Crazy week of Christmas and Hanukah preparations have left me with little time for myself. I was so pleased to read your post and all the positive responses. I can’t wait to share my story. Thank you.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I am so happy to see you here, and so look forward to future chats. I thank you for giving me this simple and wonderful idea to share other people’s stories and very much look forward to sharing yours as I know it will help/inspire so many. xox

  13. Coming in late to this conversation, but I too love this idea. And what an honor to be asked to put words to someone else’s story!

  14. A belated chiming in… This is a great idea. Love how you are freshening things up in this space.

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