Voices and stories

I never heard his voice, but the words of Dean Allen were an early inspiration to my blogging. Dean wrote at Textism.com, and then created Textpattern, the content management system that I use to run my blogs. When he started the hosting service Textdrive, I became one of the original subscribers (I was #20 on the original VC200). Dean sent me a t-shirt, and one of his Textism calling cards, with a short note written on the back. Dean eventually disappeared from the Web, and I sensed he was living his life in the best way he could, as difficult as it could be. Dean died last month. I’m sorry I will never get to speak with him, but I’m inspired anew to put pattern to my own words and speak up. Thank you, Dean.

At Duke, my proposal for a Voices of Duke Health listening booth, patterned after StoryCorps, is gaining steam. I was one of 18 finalists invited to present my idea, in just 5 minutes, to the health system leadership for pilot grant funding through the Duke Institute for Health Innovation. The plan is for our listening booth to provide material for a podcast similar to Ear Hustle. (Update — Voices of Duke Health has been funded!)

In the Department of Medicine, we’re planning another Voices of Medicine storytelling show for February 28, with a theme of humility. This show is part of a year-long Duke Narrative Medicine Colloquium I’m leading to connect all those at Duke with an interest in writing, storytelling, and other activities.

And at home, Anna worked for months on a family history project for school. That included interviewing her grandparents. Anna inspired me to rebuild the online genealogy, which I’d let lapse many years ago. It’s back up, at tree.zuiker.com. I’m hoping to include some of the audio interviews Anna and I have done recently.



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