At StoryCorps, they believe “that if we take the time to listen, we’ll find wisdom, wonder and poetry in the lives and stories of the people all around us.” Inspired by the interviews collected by Alan Lomax and others in the 1930s and ’40s as part of the Works Projects Administration’s Federal Writer’s Project, StoryCorps collects stories from people all over the country—some powerful, some poignant, some funny, some romantic. You can hear short two-minute StoryCorps stories here:

You can also buy the book Listening is an Act of Love and immerse yourself in the stories of America. You’ll read about the hospital chaplain who used to bless the hands of all the people who worked at her hospital, from the surgeons to the people who packed the surgical equipment to those who served the food and cleaned the toilets. You can read about the gay man who agreed to go live on the air on a Christian radio station to be the one voice on that frequency letting a stranger who might be listening know that he was not alone. Or you can read the words of a daughter interviewing her father to honor and record for posterity his twenty years of compassionate, dedicated social work at a rescue mission in Los Angeles, despite his own struggles with depression. Talk about stories of hope! This book is jam-packed with ’em.

When I need a little pick-me-up, something to fill my heart and remind me why I’m here, I go to and take two minutes and listen to a story told by a real person about an important moment in his or her life.