Cowbird, Alex and Zadie

BCEach morning, I receive a Cowbird Story.

I have read a story a day since I my invitation to join Cowbird arrived earlier this year.

I think it is a great way to share stories within a community dedicated to personal stories.

Today’s story is from Alex Smith.

Her What is a life? story is about her grandfather, Zadie. In a short story, Alex has time to write this:

So what is it? This life. What is it when we leave this world behind? I thought about this over and over and a quote I’d come across just before I found out Zadie had passed. Words about living the width of life, not just the length. In Zadie’s case, his life is now breathing in and out in me, my brothers and sister, my cousins. We each have slices of him. Some of us givers. Others hard workers (sometimes too hard). Others too humble. There are his blue eyes in my brother. The thick glasses in a few of us. The ladies man is there. The adventurers and the gardeners are also thriving. And I definitely got the ‘talking to strangers’ gene.

Fresh from the weight of the weekend, I came back to Colorado and hung a windchime of Zadie’s on my porch. When the wind blows through it, it’s a reminder that each and every life we touch is the legacy we leave. Each story we take the time to hear. Each hug we give. Song we write. The story we create is our life… and it endures in those who are woven into it.

I like the idea that “each and every life we touch is the legacy we leave”. It makes each touch of each life very important.

Photo Credit

Bennett the Cleanser

@SydWritersFest: Private and Public

The theme of this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival is the line between the public and the private.

The Festival has 300 events in a week’s program that is designed to stimulate, move, inspire and provoke.

In his welcome to the Festival, Chip Rolley observes:

Now, via Facebook and Twitter, we voluntarily tell the world things we previously might not have told even our loved ones. Investigative journalists thrive on leaks and finding out what others don’t want us to know.

He adds that:

The private and the personal are subjects that have always preoccupied writers and have been the focus of much fiction as well as memoir, biography, history and reportage.

He notes that “biographers, journalists and historians have long considered the rules of engagement when tackling their subjects” and asks:

 How deeply do you go into the private life of your subject? Where should a journalist draw the line in pursuit of a story?

It has been interesting to see the development of the Festival’s web presence.

This year there is an App to help track the diversity of the program and like many events there is a Twitter address and a tag (#SWF2012).

I have been following the Festival this week at the same time I have been looking at communication resources such as:




All of which provide great opportunities to reflect upon private troubles and public issues.