Mother/Millenia Project
Seeks to Web the "Story as Story"

There's been a history of seeing difference, in terms of culture . . . as problematic. For me, difference is celebratory.
... Gurinder Chadha, Director Bhaji On the Beach

We must be looking not just for peace, but for the kind of world in which peace can endure.
... Eleanor Roosevelt

Concept: Two thousand, or more, densely-linked stories of Mother, related by elders (and others) of as many different cultural backgrounds as possible, world-wide. The stories will be a mix of fictionalized and straight memoirs, visual narrative, oral histories and/or any other media found appropriate by the participants, and which can be supported by the World Wide Web.

For instance, the recorded sound of birds outside your mother's window, or video of a dance or a birthday, or perhaps, a child's drawing of her great-grandmother. Method of expression is limited only by the current state of the technology. Some version of the Web material may also appear as a printed book. The project will continue as long as it remains dynamic and could conceivably still be functioning as a vital site well into the next century.

Rationale: Family histories in some sense create the lives of the people who create the stories. They are natural webs which link people beyond the facts of individual lives. The Story as story is intimately useful to human beings because Memory and Desire together are the generating factors in generational narratives, as indeed they are in all our narratives. In hearing and then telling my mother's or grandmother's memories of her mother, I also receive her depiction of herself, and in retelling these, I create my own stories as well.

A Web site modeled on this idea might be a living example of how difference can keep its own integrity and also overlap spheres as a linked world enters a new millennium. The point where we remember our mothers, or hear older relatives remember their mothers, is a human commonality that will never sound the same twice but will always resonate with the memory and desire we all use to create ourselves.

The stories are anticipated to be painful and angry as well as happy or nostalgic. One of the main reasons to use Mother as subject is precisely its universal character, which should help foreground individual stories in all their own specificity. This is true even in the negative, the absence of mother. Indeed in focusing on memories of memories and the regenerating of generation, we also inevitably utilize death itself as part of the universal field.

Mother/Millennia has the potential for expressing in a vast, nuanced, gestural expanse how we are different from one another and where we may be similar. It will invite people to explore these permeable differences again and again. Turning among many perspectives, readily shifting our angle of vision, is the kind of fluid movement likely to be a cross-cultural necessity as we all become more and more connected.

If you are interested in participating, or in finding out more about Mother/Millenia, contact:

Carolyn Guyer
43 Point St.
New Hamburg, NY 12590

E-mail: caroway@aol.com

KAIROS Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments.
Vol. 1 No. 2 Summer 1996