Telling Stories To Cope With The Alabama Tornadoes: McWane Science Center and DISCO


"I think that instinct, that storytelling instinct, rescued me most of my life."

- Armistead Maupin

In Alabama, "good morning," and "hi there," have been replaced with new language:

"Are you OK?"

"Everyone safe?"

"What can I do?"

It's what you say to friends, to strangers, to the cashier at the grocery store and gas station, if you are lucky enough to still have a grocery store and gas station. Our state has been ripped apart, and not metaphorically.

We tell stories to process the every day, and especially to process our wounds, the trauma that we can't quite wrap our minds around. It's human nature, and it's definitely Southern nature. We are storytellers.

Which is why The McWane Science Center is doing a great thing in giving visitors a forum to share their stories of their fears, hopes, survival, and loss. They've set up a place in the lobby for kids and adults  to share their stories of what happened when tornadoes changed us.

It's part of an exhibit they set up in response to the tornadoes. From The 35212:

"It will include recent news coverage about the tornadoes, a list of ways people can help those who are in need and a writing booth for kids to share stories about their experiences on and since April 27.  In the coming weeks, a section explaining the science behind a super cell and a display of objects found in people’s yards will be added."

Visitors can write their stories during normal operating hours.

In addition, volunteers from DISCO (an Alabama non-profit that encourages Birmingham kids to write) have been working with McWane Center visitors to help them tell their stories. (To learn more about DISCO, click here.)

Here are some young participants writing their accounts:


And a visitor reading stories:

One child's first-hand observation:


DISCO volunteers will be at The McWane Center through the month of May from 1 to 5 p.m., helping visitors share their stories.

Tell your story.

Related Links:

DISCO: Superstar Onion

Desert Island Supply Company Writing Workshops: