What’s Your (Quarantine) Story?

Hi there. My name is Brandon. I used to collect stories. No, I still do. It’s just a little different all of the sudden. Let’s back up.

I run the Strangers Project. If you haven’t heard of it yet I’m super happy that you’re finding it now.

So, do you ever see a stranger and wonder…

“What’s it like being you?”

I’ve been asking that question for the past 11 years and have received more than 60,000 hand-written, true, and anonymous answers from strangers I’ve met.

Back in 2009 I was sitting outside of a coffeeshop watching people pass by. I’ve always been curious about people and their stories, so on that afternoon I thought the best way to satisfy that curiosity was to just… ask.

I didn’t start with much of a plan. I opened my notebook and wrote:

“Hi there! I’m collecting your stories. Stop and share anonymously!”

I propped my notebook up on the table and waited. I didn’t know if anyone would do it — whatever ‘it’ was I was doing — and felt anxious waiting for someone to engage.

I didn’t have long to sit with that feeling. Almost immediately two women stopped and asked what I was doing. I told them “I’m not sure yet,” and invited them to anonymously write something about their life in my notebook. They wrote, and by the time that they finished, someone else wanted to write.

I ended up getting a handful of stories the first day — probably fewer than 10, but it sure felt like a lot. Some were funny. Some were tragic. I thought this was going to be a one-day experiment. I knew I should probably go out again the next day.

And here we are, eleven years and over 60,000 stories later.

Collecting Stories during a Pandemic

The Strangers Project has always been very much tied to a physical experience over the past decade. I create installations of handwritten stories from the collection. Somtimes it’s outside, sometimes it’s inside — a single wall of stories or an entire building. The shape and the scale changes but the core experience is the same: it’s an invitation to explore and to leave a piece of your own story behind for those that come after you.

Since these spaces exist out in physical space, I also get to meet every stranger that decides to add a story. While I do post stories to read online, every story has been written spontaneously on the spot somewhere in the world. No online submissions. Nothing mailed in. I did this for a lot of reasons — but then the pandemic hit.

For the first time since starting I was no longer able to go out and collect stories.

So… we adapt

A little over a week ago I temporarily opened up online submission for the project. I asked the community to write and send me their stories of what life is like RIGHT NOW during this pandemic. I plan to continuing collecting and sharing these quarantine stories for as long as I need to until the world heals enough for the project to return outside.

Read the stories here (list will update with new releases)

Strangers Project Quarantine Series: Part I

Strangers Project Quarantine Series: Part II (Coming soon)

SHARING YOUR STORY

I want to hear what life is like for you during this time of quarantine. Here’s how to participate.

What to write:

  • Share anything about “what it’s like being you—right now.”
  • Keep it anonymous (no names!)
  • Include the date, and if you choose, where in the world you are
  • You can submit more than once over the coming weeks

How to write it:

  • Hand-write your story on a blank piece of paper (you can doodle, get creative, cross things out — this is your canvas)
  • Keep it to one page
  • Try to use a nice pen if possible (.7mm if you want to match the original Strangers Project “look”—but that’s not required)

Send it in:

OPTION 1 (Best option!):

(note: If you have an actual scanner, please use that! If not, phone scans will work)

1. Download the free app “Adobe Scan” (iOS + Android)

2. Capture the story

3. Send the generated link to hello@strangersproject.com

OPTION 2:

1. Use your phone to take a picture of your story. Be sure to follow the extra tips below—especially if using this option!

2. Send the photo to hello@strangersproject.com

Getting The Best Quality

  • Be sure there is good light. Try turning on the flash on your phone, or taking the photo near a window
  • Watch for shadows. If there are shadows from your hands or other objects it may be difficult to use your submission.
  • Please ensure the photo is captured straight up and down and not from an angle.

That’s it! Please reach out if you have any questions.

I post stories daily. Learn more about the Strangers Project at the links below. I’m most active on Instagram.

StrangersProject.com

Instagram: @StrangersProj

Facebook: StrangersProject

Twitter: @StrangersProj

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The Strangers Project is an ongoing collection of over 60,000 stories collected from strangers. What's your story? Instagram: @StrangersProj

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Brandon Doman

Brandon Doman

The Strangers Project is an ongoing collection of over 60,000 stories collected from strangers. What's your story? Instagram: @StrangersProj

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