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What’s Your Story?: Theme of ds106

When I first read the theme for Digital Storytelling this semester, I felt sparks of excitement. I love reading and writing stories, both on my own and with others.

After I read Week One’s assignments and “Thoughts on a theme,” I considered my own interests, or rather, the things that I’m passionate about, that fire me up, that I love and want to share with others. These are the first things that came to mind:

  • Fantasy reading (especially Tolkien!)
  • Music + drums (I’ve been playing for a few years)
  • Animals
  • Writing (+ creating)
  • Relationships with people and getting to know them better
  • My faith as a Christian

Although these aren’t all academic topics, they matter to me. Some of these have bases in academics, or they can be tied to school subjects.

To me, the topic “What’s (y)our story?” feels kind of like an extension of our introduction posts. This takes us from the very basics of how we present ourselves to a deeper level. Autobiographies have their place, but they are often filled with facts…they aren’t always an exploration of what moves people, what they’re motivated by, or what they care about.

We are all living ongoing stories—those of our personal lives, those of the communities we engage in, and those of the whole world. We each have certain interests for certain reasons, and many of those interests overlap. These kinds of connections fascinate me, because it demonstrates to me how unique yet how similar we are. Something I’ve considered is that each of us will have experienced living through a global pandemic, so we will collectively have an overall knowledge of what life was like. However, how it affected us specifically, how we coped with it, how the people around us were affected and coped, our mental states, and our thoughts and feelings regarding it will all be different. And this is only one experience. We have the opportunity to reach out to one another and create amazing things together.

I’m not really interested in autobiography though, as much as what people are motivated by, interested in, and find meaningful in the world. As another ds106 master put it, “Everyone has something that they can geek out on.” 

From raptnrent, “Thoughts on a theme”

I think “What is (y)our story?” is quite a versatile theme, and I for one really like it.

As for inspirational media, I don’t know if there’s a specific example I would pick for everyone. For me, Lord of The Rings—both in book and movie form—is an incredibly well-written story that wrestles with so many big, big themes that are present in our lives. It is a story of hope, ultimately. It is a story that inspires me to want to live and see that there is a world worth fighting for, that love and courage really do matter. The world is not all death and violence and hate. There are other stories that demonstrate this as well, and I think different ones will resonate more with different people.

In my literature class in the spring of 2020, we were going to have an exercise where we discussed our “personal canon” of texts and literature. (Unfortunately, because of all the upheaval with COVID, that activity was scratched from the syllabus.) The concept of a list of books that I found significant to me was fascinating; it made me consider books I read when I was younger that were formative to my idea of what stories were and the various perspectives they presented. If we applied this to our theme this semester, we could expand this to be all media, not just literature. It could be fun and interesting to see similarities and differences between our lists, and it could also be a good examination of our personal stories.

Some ideas I have for media to use going forward would be videos, such as various clips from the daily lives of multiple students, audio of students discussing their passions, and visuals that students create (possibly collages of favorite things). As I’ve been reading through multiple students’ blog posts introducing themselves, I’ve noticed that some of us have included clips of music that we’ve created. I believe stories come in many formats, and music is absolutely one of them. (There’s a LOT of room to work with the idea of stories existing in multiple modes and subjects….besides music, I’m thinking visual non-digital art, drama & theatre, science, history, literature, etc….)

I’m looking forward to coming up with more ideas for how we could dive into the theme and hearing what others think, too!

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