Stories about blue

Nov 30, 2007

On my way to work this morning, right about the time I was unwittingly passing the ribbon cutting for the new Trader Joe’s store in Chapel Hill, I was listening to NPR on WUNC, and StoryCorps was bringing me the voice of Charles Jackson talking about Alzheimer’s disease in his mother and now in him.

That poignant and personal story charged me up for the day, and in between article editing and internal communicating, I stitched a few more ideas to the oral history + blogging project that I’ve been mulling for too long now.

One idea I’d like to explore is an oral history booth at Duke Medicine, a way to capture the life stories and health experiences of the patients, staff and visitors.

Meanwhile, I spoke with Wayne Sutton about starting to plan for a faith blogging conference sometime next year (once the science blogging conference is done). This will be an event to gather people together to explore how blogs can be used to communicate faith and how that faith can build community.

By next March and in time for the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism (an event I’ve attended three times before), I hope to relaunch Storyblogging, maybe even have an organization formed to support the effort.

At the end of the day, my mother joined me at Six Plates, a new Durham wine bar just opening — we walked up as the big sign dangled above the front door, the cherry picker holding it in place while a couple of guys fastened it to the wall. Co-owner Matthew Beason beckoned us in.

I ordered the cinnamon-crusted scallop with pumpkin risotto and tender braised arugula and a glass of Gurrutxaga Bizkaiko Txakolina, and as I enjoyed the delicious food and wine, I told my mom about my passion for storytelling and community building.

Sherry Honeycutt and Luke Everett, backers of Six Plates and law-school classmates of Erin, joined us at our table. Sherry and Luke attended the food blogging dinner with Michael Ruhlman back in September, and we talked about food and cooking, and how I grew up with mom not being able to smell or taste. She didn’t use spices, for sure, but she did make a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies.

We also talked about blue jeans. Sherry had read an article about pricey designer jeans, so we shared stories about our first pair of jeans. I looked to my mother sitting next to me and recalled how she’d taken me to Farm and Fleet in DeKalb at the start of my freshman year of high school. “You need pants,” she said, and I was able to get two pairs of Lee jeans.

When we returned home and told Erin about the swank new wine bar and our conversation with her friends, she had an immediate answer to the jeans questions: “Eighth grade, purple flowered jeans from The Limited.”

Anton Zuiker

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