Talk to strangers. Share stories.

Light filtered through oak leaves as the sun sank over Beaver Lake in the Ozarks. I’d pulled my car over at the closed Country Store displaying a Padi diving sign in the window. In bold letters pressed onto the tinted glass of the white SUV was the information to the local dive school. Upon raising my mobile to take a photo of the phone number (rather than writing it down) an older gentleman stepped out onto the second story porch and smiled down at me. I initiated the conversation,

“Do you work with the dive school?”

“I do.” He said.

“Forgive me, I’ve never been freshwater diving; is there visibility down there…is there anything to see?”

“Visibility is about thirty feet, with lots of fish like catfish, bass, and trout. We’ve even sunk a few old cars, a helicopter and plane to attract fish habitat. It’s a shame they tore down all the old houses before they filled it. Now just the foundations and a few bunkers remain…which we go explore.”

“Foundations?” I said, “Bunkers? Then this is a man-made lake. How deep is it?”

“Two hundred feet in the middle. It’s the first dam on the White River. The lake started filling up the day I was born. My daddy was part of the planning process that helped create it.”

We exchanged a few more words before I spun around to watch the sun dip below the horizon. The lake now had much more depth for me after talking to him.


You just read a short story that came about because I made an effort to talk to a stranger and fish for a bit of what lurked below the surface. As you move about the globe, make an effort to listen or fish for stories—simple or extravagant—because, like Barry Lopez wrote, “Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”

Don’t just take my word for it. Listen to what the author of “Writing Away” and editor of “Best of Women’s Travel Writing” tales, Lavinia Spalding, said about how sharing stories can effect global change.

If you have a short story to share; please do so in the comments below. If you’d like to write a bit longer one; please feel free to email it directly to me.

Posted by | Comments Off on Talk to strangers. Share stories.  | May 3, 2012
Category: General

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