In this episode, you’ll find that a griot is a storyteller; the keeper of oral tradition and the one who helps to pass the culture forward. We take a trip down memory lane to share some of our own stories and the lessons we’ve learned along the way. We also get to sit down NPR’s Chief Diversity Officer, Keith Woods Sr., who’s also Keith’s dad. Listen as we tap into a century’s worth of his stories!
Woods spent 16 years inspiring people to feel through the stories he wrote and edited for the Times Picayune in New Orleans. A former sports writer, he then worked his way up to become the first Black city editor. At the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, he trained professional journalists on ethics and diversity in reporting and personal essay writing. Woods is also a podcast lover and contributor on the NPR podcast, Code Switch.
Here is a preview of the lessons we share in this episode:
Lesson #1: Start taking advantage of the ease and access that technology gives in respect to preserving your story. Woods says, “As human beings we don’t start appreciating the value of this until significantly later in life. And at the point that you start thinking, ‘Oh! That might have been important to preserve’, then it’s too late”.
Lesson #2: Everyone has a story worth telling. One of my favorite quotes from him on this is, “How many people have written a story about teaching their child to ride a bike?…Everybody. But nobody has ever written mine.”
Lesson #3: Don’t take the ordinary moments for granted. Not every experience worth telling is rooted in trauma. As we learn to notice and tell the ordinary stories, we begin to see how much more fulfilling and satisfying our lives really are.
Lesson #4: “The more personal a story becomes, the more universal the lesson.” If you can get down close enough to the details of your own story, not only will it liberate you, but it will also inspire others to do the same.
You’re going to walk away with so much inspiration and insight from this episode.
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Links mentioned in this episode:
Write Your Heart Out personal story writing course
Keith Woods also edits a podcast on NPR called Code Switch. Check it out here!
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