Stories in the time of COVID – a Love Story

We are all on edge, trying to figure out what each moment looks and feel like and how to navigate this new reality. We have seen neighborhood community action groups rise up to help each other, we have seen local businesses band together to help those who need it, we have seen our town go inside when Spring is arriving and all of this can be seen as a huge collective act of love.

I believe that when given the clear choice, we generally choose love over fear. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty right now, and there are lots of things that we have no control over. I had to really step back and figure out how Tell Us Something can continue its mission of helping people get their stories heard, of how to encourage people to actively listen.

Artwork by Ryan Hawk, Marc Moss and Maxine Beard respectively

The March 25 “Lost & Found” live event at The Wilma was canceled. The April show scheduled for The Orphan Girl Theatre in Butte was canceled. The May 7 “ Be Careful What You Wish For” show at The Myrna Loy in Helena is canceled. The June 9 “No Excuses” show at The Wilma is canceled and the planned show in Bozeman at The Rialto is canceled. I grieved. The live events are my favorite thing about Tell Us Something. For a while, I had to do nothing in regards to Tell Us Something.

And for me, doing nothing is an active practice of observing. I watched the musician community band together (yes, I made that pun) and began performing online, essentially busking in people’s living rooms. I watched film festivals go virtual. I watched fundraisers go virtual.

And while I was doing nothing, I began drafting the bylaws that will move Tell Us Something out from under the umbrella of the fiscal sponsorship of Missoula Community Foundation.

I began thinking about ways to bring Tell Us Something into the virtual space. I mean, it already is in some ways. We’ve had a podcast that you can listen to of people’s stories for 10 years. We’ve had a YouTube channel where you can watch people’s stories for the past 10 years.

And I thought about how to continue serving you.

I am still committed to helping people get their stories heard through a variety of platforms. Tell Us Something has your back.

photo by KMR Studios

I quietly announced a free online storytelling workshop that will take place next week. There will be more.

We are now taking your short COVID-19 stories at 406-203-4683. Please feel free to give us a call and share your story in 3 minutes or less.

Before the month ends, expect to see a live-streamed Tell Us Something event.

There will also be a live-streamed Tell Us Something event during Missoula Gives. That is a looser version of Tell Us Something that I like to call Story Jam! (In a story slam, there are losers. In a story jam, we’re all winners!) If you’d like to throw your name in the literal hat to be selected to participate in Story Jam! You can sign up here.

I’m counting down the days to April 30 – May 1 and Missoula Gives (14 days!). We need your help to make our campaign a success, and we’ve included a few easy ways that you can support Tell Us Something.

Share and share-alike. Online days of giving are successful because of our own networks. Help us grow our network by sending this email to your network and ask your friends to do the same.

Be socially (media) active. Use your social media networks: post on Facebook, tweet about Missoula Gives, and share your story about why you love Tell Us Something. Ask others to do the same.

–> Click here for the link to the Tell Us Something Missoula Gives Facebook event that you can share <–

Become a fundraising champion. Everyone loves a champion, including us! We really need fundraising champions to help drive people to our Missoula Gives profile on April 30 – May 1. If you’re already planning on giving during Missoula Gives, this is an easy way to stretch your donation even further. Please email me to learn how to become a fundraising champion!

Thank you in advance for your support!

Finally, please watch the Missoula Gives clip I made and vote on it. The winning clip will be shared on the Missoula Community Foundation social media channels and air on local TV for the entire week leading up to Missoula Gives.

Tell Us Something has always been a verb. It’s an act of love to share our stories and it is an act of love to actively listen to each other. Now more than ever it is important for us to love each other, to share stories and to listen. Thank you for your support over the years.

I look forward to gathering together in a live in-person setting when it is again safe. Stay safe, and keep sharing your stories, keep listening to each other and keep loving.

Marc Moss
Executive Director
Tell Us Something

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