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51% Show #1284

Joel Montes de Oca

The art of storytelling is enjoying a resurgence, but being a writer is paying less and less. Plus, a writer's festival and the writing life in a recession.

We love a good story. It probably began when our ancestors sat around a fire and told stories to pass the long, lonely nights. Myths and fairy tales offer lessons as well as stories of things that never were. Audio books let us immerse ourselves in a tale..and the wonders of technology now let us edit our work so easily that more and more people are drawn to writing their own stories. A search of literarytourist.com reveals dozens of writers festivals around the world, all year long.

In the Berkshires of Massachusetts, the month of March is chock full of events for women writers. Suzi Banks Baum is kicking off the first night of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. She's the editor of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice.

That's Suzi Banks Baum, the editor of a new book, An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice. Find out more about the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers at berkshirewomenwriters.org.

A writer who's been a friend of 51% is SariBotton. Her current book, Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving NY, remains on the bestseller list at New York's revered Strand Bookstore. She is also co-founder and editorial director of the TMI Project, a Hudson Valley-based non-profit that offers workshops in memoir and storytelling as well as performance. We sat down earlier this winter to talk about the dark side of being a writer – the fact that it doesn't pay the bills.

Coming up, scouting for the digital age... plus innovating the stay in school campaign.  

Girl Scouts – it conjures up memories of stiff little uniforms, sashes covered with badges and a world that seems gone forever.

There’s a new, co-ed version of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts for the digital age — one where kids get to make up their own rules. It’s called DIY.org Their motto is: Get Skills. Be Awesome.

And finally, I like to feature creative solutions to social problems. This one comes from Toledo.  Like all of Ohio's major cities, high school dropouts are a tough problem for Toledo. One of the reasons students say they leave is because a traditional school setting just isn't a good fit for them. A Toledo community college program is offering an alternative--and challenging---option: place high school dropouts in college classrooms. StateImpact's Amy Hansen reports.

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance.  Our theme music is by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio.  Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock.

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