Meet the most famous Charlie online. If you have never met him before, you’re in for a treat. If you know him well, go ahead and click one more time. He’s the archetypal kid brother, using what he’s got to surprise his older brother. I have watched this video at least five times. I’m in good company. So have nearly half a billion other people.
Now meet another Charlie. The way I did. Through his blog called Stories Connect Love Heals. Charlie often starts a new blog post with a video, so I thought he would understand if I bait you with one Charlie and then switch to another. As long as you get a good laugh — and something to think about — in the deal.
Here’s how Charlie Hale describes what he does online: “Life Magazine meets Facebook, with a touch of music. A few photos, a story, and a song. Some humor, sadness, irreverence, but most importantly, togetherness and community.”
Charlie has been one of my literary guides to New York City in this year of living in Brooklyn. If you use the categories on the right hand side of his blog, you can see many posts about the city and more than 20 other subjects. He has written beautiful, touching, stories about his family and has connected their lives to the wider history of arts and culture in New York. Since I did my graduate work in American Studies, I love the blog form he has developed using music, stories, and pictures to activate as many senses and to view a story from as many angles as possible, including not only personal perspectives but cultural, historical, and aesthetic ones also.
Charlie honored me by asking if I had a story for him to post. I responded with “The Fresh Air Girl,” the story that won the “best memoir” award in the 2007 Kalamazoo Gazette Literary Awards contest (and has been on my website in this form for more than a year).
By adding music, pictures, and by cutting the story to its essence, Charlie became my editor and made the essay better. Thank you!
I hope you explore his website and perhaps, like me, you will sign up for his new posts to be delivered to your email. I can assure you, they will never bore you. I’m honored that Charlie has posted two items from me. The most recent, if you have not already clicked on it, is the story of Vicky, Shirley, and Mickey.
He also challenged his readers to answer the question “who am I” in a paragraph or two and then published my answer, along with others, here. The exercise forced me to boil down my life into its most important people and themes.
Who am I? Among so many other selves, I am Victoria Carmen Martinez, brave six-year- old adventurer, who blew such fresh air into my life that she is embedded in my memory forever.
I hope you explore Charlie’s blog freely and that you enjoy how well he edited my story.
Do you have any childhood friends you can never forget? Feel free to use the comment section as a way to honor them and share their stories. How about a sibling? Do you have a “Chawlie” in your life? A Vicky?