An Unusual and Beautiful Request

A student I just met–we were strangers on Monday–asks if she can photograph me for her class “Stranger Project.”

“Sure,” I say. Why Not? 

She must find someone she knows nothing about, discover this person’s important stories, and document this conversation in settings that matter. 
So while I’m traipsing around my most treasured places on campus (the library, the coffee shop, by the birch trees, in my classroom), the student takes photos and listens to my stories. 
I tell stories of books, of nature and of God, of students, of coffee shop conversations, of writing and love and romance and food and daughters. All my stories. 
She listens. She documents. She makes art out of my life. It wasn’t that I was extraordinary or beautiful or famous; it was that I was simply an unknown person on a college campus. 
And to solidify my point that this was about common people and their common stories–with no special power or privilege– when I asked her if she would process the photos today and send them to me, she said, “Wow, so pushy.”
To which I said, “I am rather pushy.” 
I’m glad she noticed. 
I gather my things, zip up my coat, and venture back out into a world of strangers. I’m noticing them, now. I’m thinking about their places and their stories. I’m going to find some strangers and listen and notice. 
If the photographer shares the photos, I will share them with you! 


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