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  • That was the first thing I learned about Cowbird. What attracted me were the words community and storytellers. My earliest memories are stories, the ones my father told me at bedtime, the ones my mother read to me, the ones I listened to during library hour at school, the ones I made up to tell my dolls. As I grew older, I learned stories were written as well as told and my appetite for books was born. But a story was always more than a piece of writing for me and my favorite storytellers were just as likely to be people who had no interest in putting anything on the page. It’s the oral nature of storytelling that’s always fascinated me. The living word, passed on by unique voices using colorful language not to be found in Webster and often challenging the existence of a Strunk and White. I love that Cowbird, through the sound option, carries on that oral tradition. While most of the stories are written, they still capture the nature of the living word by taking me to campfires and kitchen tables around the world.

    “Stories help us be students and teachers of life. They help us untangle experience, and they help us find meaning. Telling a story increases awareness; hearing a story increases compassion. Stories are guidebooks for living and lifeboats for memory: they help us not to forget, and then later, not to be forgotten.” Cowbird FAQ

    That Cowbird was a community told me it was a place where people shared common interests. As I read and listened to the stories, I was encouraged that while there were common interests, there was a rich diversity of opinion. But most attractive was the mutual respect that allowed so many different voices to be heard without judgment.

    “We support the broad empowerment of individuals to voice their honest ideas about life, and we believe they deserve a clean, ad-free, uncluttered environment for sharing personal experience.
    By encouraging self-reflection and deeper connection, we hope to foster a feeling of empathy among people all over the world, so we can start to see our species — and indeed our planet — as a single living organism.” Cowbird FAQ

    What I didn’t find anywhere when I entered Cowbird was a requirement, suggestion or subtext that my storytelling was dependent on my writing ability. That has been one of the many surprising and welcome side benefits of my participation here but what keeps me coming is still the nature of Cowbird as a community of storytellers. I am enjoying the rich discussion about how Cowbird members use this site. I’m benefitting from the reflections on the competitive nature of writing for an audience, the pitfalls of ego, and the benefits of thorough editing to improve the craft.

    The operational difficulties of too many stories in my in box? A luxury problem I can easily cope with. Too much love, not enough love, greed, envy, frustration? Sounds like the stuff good stories are made of and at the end of the day, I know just where to go with a wealth of such stories from people who love to tell them.
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