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Stay In and Listen

On “Black Friday,” StoryCorps wants you to stay in and listen.

The day after Thanksgiving is usually the most chaotic on the calendar. Millions of consumers crowd stores in the wee hours of the morning, looking for the perfect holiday gift at the perfect price and nothing will get in their way.

If you’re looking for a great alternative -- and college football won’t do the trick – StoryCorps encourages you to take part in the National Day of Listening Nov. 23.

“It’s a new kind of holiday started by StoryCorps in 2008,” Amy Adsley, marketing and communications representative for StoryCorps, said. We ask all Americans to record interviews with loved ones. To celebrate the holiday, we really are hoping to create a nation of listeners.”

Any and all recording devices – even a pen of paper -- can be used, and interview experiences are added and collected to the Wall of Listening for the general public to see. This year, StoryCorps has launched a SoundCloud page for users to upload their interviews.

Famous past participants include Yoko Ono & son Sean Lennon, President George W. Bush & First Lady Laura Bush and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis.

However, the National Day of Listening isn’t about celebrity.

“I think it’s more about the idea that everybody has a story to tell, regardless of who you are, whether it’s a celebrity or an everyday American.”

The National Day of Listening also isn’t focused on one particular theme, but participants are encouraged to gather stories from veterans, active-duty service members, and their families.

Next month’s event is the flagship function of StoryCorps, a nonprofit who, according to its website, “provide(s) Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives.”

All of those stories are preserved in the Library of Congress, while some of them are edited down and broadcast nationwide as part of National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.”

Addiitionally, selected stories are adapted into animated shorts in conjunction with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Art Works and PBS’s “POV.” The clips are showcased in New York City area theaters and posted on YouTube, while a half-hour special is in the works.

Overall, StoryCorps has collected over 40,000 interviews from 80,000 participants since its launch in 2003.

Thirty-seven of those come in every week from the MobileBooth, a converted Airstream trailer that travels to various organizations and corporate functions. Adsley said the booth makes around 10 stops a year, staying in each stop for 4-6 weeks.

If you’re interested in learning more about StoryCorps, you can like the Facebook page (Facebook.com/StoryCorps), follow on Twitter @StoryCorps or log on to www.storycorps.com. Animated shorts can be found at YouTube.com/StoryCorps.

The National Day of Listening has its own website: www.nationaldayoflistening.org.