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Friday, 06 November 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Elder Storytelling Place Retires

You may have noticed that the addendum that is posted at the bottom of each story inviting readers to send in their own contributions has been missing this week. That is because The Elder Storytelling Place has arrived at the end of its run.

It's done pretty well for the past eight-and-a-half years. Over that time, about 300 individual writers have delighted, entertained and informed us with somewhere in the vicinity of 2200 stories.

ESP, as I refer to it in shorthand, began on 6 April 2007 (the day before my 66th birthday), with Norm Jenson's wonderfully funny story titled Curiosity. You can read it here.

The final story, Quandary, which appeared yesterday, belongs to Marc Leavitt.

In between, the stories and poems have been funny and silly and serious and enlightening and to a large part, reflective the kind of the world we have lived through for 50, 60 or 70 years and are still managing to navigate pretty well in our dotage.

The reasons for the shutdown are lack of interest - fewer submissions and declining readership over the past two to three years. Certainly, I take responsibility for that, in part, as I have never made the effort to promote ESP in places around the web where there might be interest.

Another, and I suspect bigger reason for the decline, is the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterist, Instagram and other social media websites where such little effort is required to participate. It is so much easier to post a link to a news item or upload a photo or a YouTube video than to write something longer than 140 characters.

(Frequently, these days, I despair for the the written word and the actual thought required to produce it in a world where the most important newspapers in the world are actively sussing out how to not only write shorter stories but to have robots do the work of it.)

The Elder Storytelling Place has had a good life. The site itself will remain available with a link from Time Goes By – there's no reason to take it down. Writers will be able to find their stories and others may want to dip in to the collection to see what they can find. I promise you will be well entertained.

Thank you all – every one of you who have contributed stories through all these years and the readers, too, who have made it a real community with your own thoughts in the comments.

You have all given me, personally, a great deal of pleasure.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Thank-you for posting these stories. ESP was a service, one that very few blog publishers give so freely.

That said, I completely understand.

I enjoyed it as well. Thanks for a great run! Jane

Oh wow..,thank you Ronni for allowing Syd and I a place in ESP. 😯
Best of luck.

Sorry to hear this. I enjoyed it as a reader very much. Thank you for providing this possibility and for hosting so many wonderful stories. Wishing you the best, Victoria

Good call and the right decision for the times. And if something really good comes over your desk, you could consider it running it as a guest post. My 2 cents worth.

Ronni, this is a loss for us, but I understand. Thank you for undertaking such a project, it's been great fun.

A big thank you Ronni for your effort and to all who contributed to the Elder Place. I've enjoyed reading each one.

It's been a pleasure to read and write for ESP, Ronni. You continue being the best friend us old folks ever had.

Thank you so much for developing and running this site. I have enjoyed the work of many gifted writers. If any of us write a story that we particularly like, could we send it to you to read just for the fun of it? Thanks again for the pleasure that you have brought so many.

Ronni, this is such a great loss. I have so loved reading and writing for this weblog. It has been full of ideas and wonderful reads and encouragement from other participants. I hate to see it go. Thank you for everything you have done for so many years.

I only wish I had found your site earlier; it's been such a pleasure starting my days with all your nifty writers.
Thanks, Ronni, to you and everyone for your offerings! Seems like we almost got to know some of you!
This didn't make my day, oh woe....


I completely understand the need to make this decision, but so sad to see the Place shut down. I thought of it as an opportunity waiting to happen as much as a place to read. Maybe one of these days I'd write and submit another story. Maybe I'd read one from someone else which inspired me. I have noticed lately that aging is defined somewhat by things falling away. I no longer sew. I no longer rollerblade, etc. So I am sad to see one more thing gone from my life: the possibility of human contact through the written word at the Place. This was a great idea you had - to host it and to encourage us to write. Thank you for all the work it took and the inspiration you supplied.

I was about to write you to see if you received my story yet. Thought I'd look in and read some first. Like any good story, there is a beginning, a middle and an end. This has been a great story. You can be proud of your work here. It's been fun giving and receiving. With so much already written, I'll still come and read. Who knows, perhaps you've shown someone that even at 66, they can begin something new and wonderful. We love you and respect your decision.

Dear Ronni,

Thank you for the many years that you provided us with a place to tell our stories.

I had a lifetime of family memories all stuck in my head and no one to share them with.
It was like being all dressed up and no place to go.

Then along came Ronni Bennett and her wonderful Elder Storytelling Place and suddenly I couldn't write my memories down quickly enough and send them off to you.

Then would come a wonderful Email from you telling me what a terrific story I had sent and I just knew that you,being the very kind person that you are, were telling ALL of us what a terrific story we had sent.

What encouragement we received from you.So, I thank you for that and my children thank you,too, because I made hard copies of all the memories I sent in and they are in a large Binder. Whenever my children are in the house they love to find that book and read the stories that were mostly about them. They chuckle as they turn the pages and tease one another about some antic one or the other of them did.

I will miss reading all the other stories,too.

I do like the idea Yvonne suggested about printing an especially interesting story as a guest blogger.

Thanks again, Ronni. You have made my life considerably more interesting than it would have been without the Elder Storytelling Place.

I have looked forward to the stories, especially the ones recalling days of one's youth, or early married times. So I am quite sad to see it done way with.

I can't believe that today was the day I found the Elder Storytelling Place - only to read that it just ended! I found it while reading about Norman Lear, the 93 year old TV producer, who is trying to get a show called "Guess Who Died?" produced. I am working on a musical about aging that will be produced here in San Antonio in August that will touch on the same themes..If there is any interest, I will send particulars once they are available. I have already had ten of my shows produced as songwriting is my passion, but this one is truly special as it is more than entertainment.

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