Story time: my collection

Hannah Ash

My friend is collecting lies. One night while we were on campus, he told me he is gathering fibs to help gain some sense freedom from his overbearing parents. While he is perfectly capable of finding and forming his own additions for the collection, he has also started asking others if they have anything to offer. A few friends have made contributions to the cause, and my friend’s collection is growing steadily each day.Hannah

This unusual collection made me start thinking about collections in general. Had I ever collected anything? I never collected Pokemon cards or souvenir thimbles or even pogs. However, I had never even considered the idea of collecting something immaterial.

I began to wonder what immaterial things would be in my collection and asked myself, “At the end of the day, what do you empty from your metaphorical pockets? What do you spend all day searching for? What is the thing you feel happiest to find?”

As I walked back to my car in the Central Lot on campus, I considered that I feel happiest when people share stories with me. Then, I remembered that at its core element journalism is really about gathering and sharing stories and I thought of all the stories I already have in my growing collection.

I still have a special place for my favorite childhood stories like The Giving Tree, which my aunt used to read to me each time I spent the night at her apartment or The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, with its determined heroine and talking flowers that woke my childhood imagination every time I heard it.

Then, my thoughts turned to the stories I have collected as a journalist. The stories of my all-time favorite teacher and journalism mentor – her novel ideas, her days as a college journalist. Or the little boy who bounced up and down with excitement as he explained to me why he appeared on a national television show. The story of a Civil War re-enactor who told me about the day he realized his calling to help make history come alive.

All of these stories are interesting and important, and I love collecting each one of them. I like to watch people’s eyes light up when they talk about the things that get them out of bed each day or the moment they were most proud of themselves.

I firmly believe that everyone has a story worth sharing and that each of those stories is beautiful and captivating in its own way.

That night, as I made the drive from campus to my home, I wondered what other types of collections people have. Maybe the person I pass in Crestview loves telling jokes and thrives on the simple, ringing sound of laughter. Or maybe another student collects handshakes because they love meeting new people.

Whether we collect tea cups, marbles or stories, all of us are collectors. We collect the things we find value in and our unique collections reflect the kind of people we are. No matter what you collect, be proud of your collection and keep gathering the things you believe are beautiful.