Like it or not, we come to life in the middle of stories that are not ours. The way to knowledge, and self-knowledge, is through pilgrimage. We imitate our way to the truth, finding our lives — saving them — in the process. Then we pass it on.
~Paul Elie (from The Life you Save Might Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage)
Mesmerized by this meditation on history and our place in it tonight.
The rhythm and breath of someone reading out loud takes us to a world far away. As a child, I could spend hours pressed against the warmth of my grandmother’s body listening to her read, the rustling of her hand turning the page, watching the birds and the weather outside, transported by the intimacy of a shared side by side.
Your Life as an Open “Human Book”
by Shubha Bala, associate producer
"I’m talking about things to people which I’ve never spoken about in my entire life. And I actually feel good…"
— Joe, a “human book about depression”
Last November, the Toronto Public Library launched a Human Library project. With people becoming increasingly digitalized, the Human Library concept aims to promote tolerance and understanding through the face-to-face telling of stories. Initiated in Copenhagen a decade ago, patrons check-out people whom they wouldn’t normally interact with in their day-to-day lives and talk to them for half an hour. They ideally gain insight into what it’s like to be them.
In Toronto, for example, over 200 participants got to dialogue with, ask questions to, and even grill (if they wanted) a police officer, a comedian, a monk, and a model, among other human books.
Last March, The Guardian captured a portion of a British human library day on video. Besides the image of a woman talking to a punk about his values, I was touched by a gentleman, in this case a “book” about recovering from near-fatal depression, describing how important it was to him just to have the chance to speak.
I’m curious what sort of human book you would most want to check out for half an hour?