Boy howdy, I’m tired.

We just went through another iteration of the GCDD Storytelling Project, this time, an all-new Treasure Maps in Macon. It was so lovely to be able to work with people who were in person and all in one place! I fell in love with Macon, a town rich in history and music and chill vibes.

Here are some of my favorite photos from our adventures:

Photos by Jessica Whitley Photography.

Before the film started, we had a band, food trucks, and a community resource fair.

The sun went down fast. That’s what we wanted so the screen would be visible. However, it got pretty hard to see the storytellers when they came up to introduce their stories.

We started off by collectively reading a poem by Jane Hirshfield, “Let Them Not Say.” [Please consider taking a moment to read the poem. It is well worth your time. I’ll wait…] I came across it a couple days before the show and was just really struck by the resonance between the poem’s themes and our project.

Because we had asked every storyteller within her or his film to say their one wish for the world or how they would change the world if they had a magic wand, I gave everyone wands so they could talk about their hopes and dreams between the films.

This took the manifesting stories work I do to a whole new level!

Looking back at these photos, I’m struck by the ones of me holding up a mic for a storyteller. That was a functional need the night of the show because we had some Mercury retrograde tech shenanigans going on.

HOWEVER, it feels like a deeply resonant image, holding up the mic.

Some people will talk about community advocacy work as “empowering,” or even that they are “giving voice to the voiceless.” I like to think that every person I work with–every kind of person I work with–has their own power, their own voice. At the end of the day, the best and most important use of my trade as a storyteller is to hold up a mic to that story. We all deserve to have our voices heard, not just the loudest people from their bully pulpits.

The StoryMuse mission statement shifted at the beginning of this year to reflect deepening appreciation and understanding of what this looks like:

StoryMuse offers storytelling techniques as a tool for personal discernment, team building, and community development in effort to cultivate a world where all stories are heard and honored.

As I gather a blanket around my legs with the quickly approaching autumn, I’m still a-glow from the warmth of that beautiful sunset on a soft, late-summer evening with an amazing community.

Full video below!