Let’s Know Each Other

Jaimie SumnerBy Jaimie Sumner
Published: Jan. 28, 2012.

 

I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. 

I come from a place where I know the neighbours and they know me.  Where the neighbours live half a mile away, but they’ll be at your door when your dad is in the hospital or when a fire has burned down half the farm. 

Since leaving that place, I have lived in Calgary, Germany, Vancouver, and now, Squamish.  And along the way, I have come to realize how precious that was . . . to know and be known.

I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. 

I think there’s all too much of that going on these days.  People who don’t know each other.  Faces in crowds.  Urbanization.  Anonymity. Disconnect, loneliness, forced migration, dislocation.  Apathy.

I want to care.  I want to support those around me and be supported.  I want community.  Last year, I had an idea:  Maybe that could come about if there was a time set apart from the daily rush to share stories. 

People, I think, are often afraid to share if they don’t know they will be listened to.  Why not declare, then, a space where listening is guaranteed?  In which the express purpose is to share and to listen?

From this thought was born the idea for “Me and You.”  You may have seen the posters around town.  They’re kind of rudimentary; I made them in 15 minutes, trying to outrun the deadline to submit them to the research ethics board at Quest University

Their focal point is two blobs that sort of resemble faces.  Blob 1 and Blob 2.  But maybe that’s fitting.  Many of us are blobs to each other.

“Me and You” is about giving shape to those blobs.  It’s six sessions of sharing our stories through creative means.  Each session, we do creative exercises exploring events in our lives.  

Between sessions, we work either from prompts or from our own ideas to express and understand our lived experiences.  Then, we come together and share our stories with each other—not to critique, but to find resonance. 

The medium, whether oral storytelling, writing, drawing, interpretive dance, or another means, is up to the individual.

We’ve had two sessions so far.  Sessions replete with laughter, coloured paper, and good conversation.  Some of us have brought poems to sing.  One participant has thus far been taking part by sending her stunning life stories to others via email.

This project is more than a project to me.  It’s about getting to know people on a deeper level.  It isn’t about following a rigid plan or achieving set goals or getting a degree, although it will form part of my degree.

It’s about inviting anyone in Squamish who is interested to share their stories in whatever way they’d like.

Sessions are 1:30-3pm in the Squamish Public Library for the next four Saturdays.  Please contact me or come to a session if you would like to.

To know and to be known.

jaimie.sumner@gmail.com. I can be contacted at 604-329-6585.

Jaimie Sumner is a fourth year student at Quest University.

{Personal essays, stories, poems, travalogues, political comment, gripes: Share your view with Squamish. Email your article, along with your photo, to submissions@squamishreporter.com} 

Comments

  1. ted prior says:

    Seek and ye shall find

  2. Kristy Berezowski says:

    I totally agree with you Jaimie!! Since I have known you for awhile and live where you are from and were quite close to you, I know of what you speak! My kids live in the city and sadly they know their neighbors dog better than their neighbors! Sometimes life gets in the way and things move too fast. I hope many people partake in the joy of getting to know you as I have. Take care and Good Luck!

  3. Jeje says:

    Let’s.