TED Talk Nominee
Genesis of The Life Chronicler Project
My name is Gregory Leeson and I am a chronicler of people’s lives. Oh, and an aspiring author of a book I will entitle "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives: Stories from The Life Chronicler." I am also retired from the three careers I had – investment banker, software engineer, and project manager. I guess I could not decide what to be when I grew up. I am a dual American and Canadian citizen and presently live in the United States.
In 2015, I was the Master of Ceremonies at my 40th high school reunion, a role I have traditionally assumed on those occasions. Whether it is running a reunion, jumping out of a car to direct traffic and unclog a stalemate, or something else, whenever the occasion arises, I am comfortable taking the lead and running a show. Given my role, I felt obligated to have conversations with as many of the 85 classmates as possible. In doing so, I heard some great stories. Were these the kids with whom I grew up? I wondered if we all had these stories. I believe we do and believe they are worth telling.
In my youth, I was an avid reader of biographies. While others were reading popular books such as Treasure Island, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Anne of Green Gables, I was reading more obscure works such as It’s Good to be Alive, I Am Third, and The Wizard of Westwood, among others. Those books dealt with real life experiences such as prejudice, dreams, triumph, failure, loss, and so much more. I am convinced that the lessons I gleaned from those books have led me to where I am today.
As I reflected on those 2015 reunion conversations, I thought about my own life. It, not surprisingly, has had a few highs and lows. Furthermore, I concluded that we all want our life story to be heard. That is what “The Life Chronicler Project” is all about. I plan to listen to, and chronicle the lives of, people I meet as I travel the United States and Canada for 14 months. So, while the book comes later, I will contemporaneously write brief stories about people I meet and post to the website under STORIES.
What follows is my story.