More Than One Story is a card game designed to build bridges between people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures. Our staff checked out some of the questions posed in the game and we are sharing their answers here! If you’d like to take a look at the game, you can find the website at www.morethanonestory.org.
Tell about something you have created or want to create.
This is a brief story about stories. Lacking a hobby that didn’t involve getting hurt on the soccer field, I started writing a few years ago. My knees appreciate this, perhaps more so than my readers! The logical place to start seemed to be my childhood, so I wrote a series of stories that took me from elementary school to young adulthood. The stories rapidly became a series of truths, half truths, and a few bold-faced lies, with all the names of the characters changed to protect the innocent.
My main discovery was that writing is one of life’s great pleasures, no matter how good or bad you are at it. An empty page and a good idea sees time disappear and takes one’s mind to another place entirely. Do I want to get published? Absolutely. Does it matter if I don’t? Not in the slightest. The pleasure is in the act of writing and creating something from nothing other than your memories and imagination. So grab a pen and paper (or a computer and keyboard), start with a blank page, and see where your journey takes you. You might surprise yourself when you discover how easy it is to create something that is uniquely you.
—Nick Cronin, Adult Services
Tell about a person who has had an impact on your life.
My grandmother was an amateur pianist, an elementary school teacher, an avid quilter, and a librarian; and most of my childhood memories with her are filled with aisles of hardcover books, the soft playing of her baby grand piano, freshly brewed tea, and her two to three cats she had welcomed into her house. She was one of the people who took me to a quaint library in my hometown of Bay City, MI; a two story, brick building with endless towering aisles and aisles of books; as a kid, the library felt like a place of calmness, warmth, quietness. She encouraged me to take home all sorts of books from different genres, and I devoured them like they were giant melting ice cream cones. (Figuratively speaking; please don’t eat your library books.) My grandmother and I would grab a hot chocolate (for me) and a warm tea (for her), and browse through that historical library for hours, sometimes cuddled up in a comfy chair with our piles of new reading materials near the fireplace when it was wintertime.
She encouraged my love for reading, and as I got older, I began to fuel a passion for artwork. I would check out how-to-draw books, and try to draw different cartoon characters, tracing their form onto a sketchbook. My grandmother loved this; even at this rough beginning stage, she saw potential. As I dived headfirst into teaching myself how to draw, and taking many many more how-to-draw books out from that library, my grandmother’s cancer had returned. She had written and published a retelling of The Elves and the Cobbler quite a few years before I was born; when it became obvious that she no longer had the strength to fight off the cancer again, she asked me to illustrate a manuscript she created for a re-telling of The Three Little Kittens, and to never stop attending the library and never stop reading.
Although it’s been ten years since her passing, I can’t seem to shake off the feeling of her presence with me while working at WPPL in the Circulation Department, a year after graduating college with an arts degree, surrounded by very similar towering aisles of books and the ever-so-faint smell of tea. And, if you’re wondering, I wholeheartedly intend on publishing that book next year, and adding it to our Local Creators section, in memory of her and for our shared love of books and libraries.
—Cat Bedell, Circulation
Tell about something you look forward to.
Over the years I’ve made up a bunch of silly seasonal traditions for myself. In the spring, I go to a comic convention; in the summer, I watch Legally Blonde the Musical; in autumn, I watch Over the Garden Wall; and in the winter, I make peppermint bark. Earlier this year I made cinnamon rolls for the first time, and it went so well I decided to do it every Easter.
They’re all fun and frivolous, and there’s always the next one to look forward to throughout the year!
—Jessica M., Youth Services
Describe a place you lived as a child.
I lived in one place as a child—a ranch house in Olmsted Township, which my parents expanded by adding a family room and new master bed/bath for themselves. Eventually we added an enclosed patio. There was a field behind our house and that was the summer playground for all the neighborhood kids. We spent our days back there exploring and learning about nature—polliwogs, insects, and plants. Playing in that field I learned to love of and appreciate nature, and I think my siblings and the kids we grew up with would say the same. We were lucky to have that bit of nature in our backyards!
Tell about how a film or a book has influenced you.
Like most kids in my generation, Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie was on the list of summer reading books going into fifth grade. It was a classic; a young girl, Opal, adjusting to living in a trailer park in Florida with her father, a single parent and preacher, whose lives turns upside down when Opal decides to adopt a stray dog, naming it affectionately after the place she found it running about and making a mess- a Winn Dixie Supermarket. I saw the dog illustrated on the cover and I immediately picked it off the shelf. (I must admit, I’ve always been a dog person.) I hadn’t learned the hard lesson to “not judge a book by its cover” at that point in my childhood. The book was a quick read, a nice little snack, if it wasn’t for it’s harsh and real lessons.
Although I was reading the book when I was the same age as Opal, her fictional life was foreign and magical, and the characters she met through Winn Dixie as bizarre and complex as adults get. One such character is Otis, the quiet local pet store owner who calms down the store’s animals through playing the guitar. Opal asks for a job, as she needs to buy a collar for Winn Dixie but comes from a poor household. They become close friends, and eventually Otis’ secret is revealed to Opal; he was once incarcerated for hitting a police officer, after being told to stop playing his guitar in public. Otis seemed so kind, sweet and quiet, he loved his animals and never hit anyone – or anything – since. In another chapter, Winn Dixie leads Opal to the local library, where she meets a mousy librarian whose great grandfather fought in the Civil War and invented his own hard candies. They taste sweet, like root beer and strawberries, but there’s something… bittersweet about them. Everyone who’s tried them describe the flavor as melancholy; ingredients balanced to reflect the complex feelings of life. Ten year old me hadn’t experienced much hurt up to that point, but puberty and middle school was right around the corner. I didn’t have to wait long to learn what melancholy and sadness tasted like.
I learned through that book three things: there is no true good or evil in this world, everyone’s stories are worth telling and listening to, and you need to experience hurt and melancholy to really appreciate love and happiness in life. I might learn more lessons in my next read, now viewing the stories and its themes as an adult, and I think that makes a story worth reading over and over again in different chapters of someone’s life.
—Cat Bedell, Circulation
Talk about a mistake you have made.
Mistakes are easy, I’ve made a lot. The mistake in this story was from my time in the Army back in 2012 when I was deployed to Kuwait. I was Specialist Feenaughty, U.S. Army Broadcast Journalist. On this day I was tasked to join a VIP and fly around to Kuwait bases and take video of all the grips and grins, speeches, interactions with soldiers at each base. This video would be sent to news agencies back in the states for use.
That morning, my photographer partner and I boarded the Black Hawk helicopter and rode with the VIP and his entourage to our first camp where he would give an inspiring talk, honor achievements of specific soldiers and hand out challenge coins to select worthy individuals.
When we arrived at the tent, I set up my tripod, mounted the camera, plugged in my headphones, and flipped the camera on. My stomach dropped. In red on my LED screen it blinked, “NO P2 CARD”. This basically meant I had nothing to store footage on and the camera was useless to make any video, I had left the card back at my desk, miles away. I discretely stepped away and called my NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) from my government-issued Nokia brick-of-a-phone to confess and hopefully find a solution.
There was no real solution. My NCO was not happy of course, but said, “Just go through the motions and don’t let anyone know, we’ll deal with it when you get back.” So, I rode around to different bases throughout the day and pretended to shoot video. I think there were five stops total. When we returned the VIP asked if I got some good shots. I nodded and said, “Yes, Sergeant Major.” He then shook my hand and thanked me for my work.
As he shook my hand, he transferred within it the coveted coin of the Sergeant Major of the Army.
—Heather Feenaughty, PR/Marketing
Describe a place where you lived as a child.
I was born in Baltimore and lived the first nine years of my childhood in a 3-bedroom row house (side-by-side duplex) with my parents and six siblings. I shared a bedroom with my four sisters but I don’t remember it being cramped or crowded. Although our house was not spacious, we had a large yard with a big tree – perfect for climbing and reading books underneath its shady branches. Our house was ideally situated on a hill which was great for riding bikes in the summer and sled riding in the winter. A wide alley separated the backyards of the houses on my street with the backyards of the houses the next street over. The garbage trucks used the alley to pick up the trash cans but the kids in the neighborhood used it to play Kick-the-Can, SPUD (ball game), tag, and pick-up baseball games. As the sun set on those summer evenings, I remember the parents standing on their back porch stoops calling for their kids to come home. We never wanted the fun to end. I have many happy memories of our house on Lilyan Avenue.
—Ms. Fran, Youth Services