This digital story was found on StoryCenter whose mission according to the website is to support individuals and organizations in using storytelling and participatory media for reflection, education, and social change. I was drawn to this story because it discusses the complexities of returning home after one has emigrated to another country and the feeling of vulnerability of being away and yet desiring a connection to home.As an online
There is a well-defined theme for a place to record and discuss digital storytelling. It was easy to find when searching for digital stories. I think that being on this site or a personal blog or website would be appropriate spaces for this story. You could widen access if you linked to organizations that may focus on immigration, family, or trauma.
Presentation and Performance
The story opens with an image of a text message and invites to a family reunion. There are colorful images of cultural artifacts missed by the author. This conveys excitement and energy and a craving to revisit. It visual element then moves into family photos with the images of the faces in the photos being hidden. It gives the sense of protection of witnesses and players in a deep family secret. The focus on the images moves slowly in and out and I think this works well with the narrative being shared. The author speaks quite slowly and in a melancholic tone as the story progresses. At first, I felt it was a little too monotone, but after viewing it a few times I see that the voice is what demonstrates the emotionality of the story, it gives a sense of vulnerability.
In a way, it invites you into the discovery of why family patterns exist and continue to cycle. I also thought that the narrative invites us in and allows us to wonder what may or may not have occurred to create such a family dynamic. Towards the end the story there is a series of questions reflecting upon what is unspoken and sense of wanting to reconnect with home, family, and nostalgia. However, we are left with this desire to go back, but also trepidation about how the history of the family may now inform choice and decision of how one will interact.
The author is telling her own narrative of wanting to return and reconnect with her family from abroad. However, through the interactions with her family, another story starts to evolve and she is not directly part of the hidden history of the family story. She is beginning to wonder what damage or injury may have been caused by the women and girls in her family, by the men of her family. She then is potentially the first woman to speak of this in her family and maybe a catalyst for healing.
Suggestions for Improving the Digital Story
As I mentioned, I thought the tone of the author’s voice was a bit monotone throughout and potentially she may have been able to distinguish her mother’s voice. I think at the beginning of the story her voice sounds a little apathetic, I felt there was a chance to highlight the excitement of returning home. I understand the blurring of the faces in the family photo and it may have been necessary to protect privacy. However, I think exposing her own face towards the end as a little girl may have added connection to the audience. While this story was more serious in tone, I think it matched the content and purpose of this digital story.