These love stories recorded by StoryCorps remind us what matters
Love got you down? There's encouragement aplenty in All There Is,
Dave Isay's compilation of personal tales of true love recorded by
the StoryCorps initiative. This book is sweeter - and occasionally
gooier - than a box of chocolates.
One salient impression from these generally uplifting
testimonials is the strong correlation between avid communication
and long-term romantic happiness. In story after story, couples meet
- usually by chance - and end up talking for hours, often all night.
Then - and here's the rich center of these sweet relationships -
they continue the conversation through decades, right up to their
recorded interview. (Granted, StoryCorps, which seeks out people
willing to articulate their life narratives for the record, probably
attracts a self-selected, more naturally loquacious sampling of the
population. There are no doubt plenty of successful relationships
with a less verbal core.)
Since it was launched in 2003, StoryCorps has collected the
personal stories of some 75,000 people, focusing on those "who are
often excluded from the historical record." Isay notes that "Almost
all of the interviews we collect touch on the great themes of human
existence, and ... there can be no question that the greatest of
these themes is love." "All There Is" includes more than three dozen
tales of romantic love, each rigorously edited down to a few pages
from 40 minutes of tape. They are divided into three categories:
love found, love lost, and love at last.
Like Isay's 2010 volume, "Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from
StoryCorps," the focus is positive - these are mainly heartwarming
celebrations. I assume there are bitter tales in the archives, or
angrier, more intense interchanges, but you won't find them here. If
it's irony or edginess you're after, look elsewhere.
"All There Is" has been assembled with an eye toward diversity
and inclusiveness over literary prowess. Cleverness and originality
are not the point. The point is earnestness, feelings spoken from
the heart. True love, alas, often comes across as trite - though
never, I dare say, to those lucky enough to experience it.
Eighty-four-year-old Jane Bloom, who went back to school and
became a doctor after having 10 children, reminisces with her
husband of 64 years: "We've come through some hard times, but we've
had lots of rewards - lots. …