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60 Second Storyteller


60 Second Storyteller
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Meet a 60-second novelist who’s been capturing stories with his typewriter about the human experience through the lens of passersby. Find out how he got started, some of the connections he’s made and why he chose not to go from carbon to computers. Reporter: Anna Nelson, Camera: Vladimir Badikov, Dmitry Vershinin, Editor: Natalia Latukhina, Adapted by: Zdenko Novacki, VOA Russian Service

((PKG)) 60 SECOND STORYTELLER
((TRT: 06:22))
((Topic Banner:
60 Second Storyteller))
((VOA Russian))
((Reporter:
Anna Nelson))
((Camera:
Vladimir Badikov, Dmitry Vershinin))
((Editor:
Natalia Latukhina))
((Adapted by:
Zdenko Novacki))
((Map:
New York City, New York))
((Main character: 1 male))
((Sub character: 1 female))

((NATS: Dan Hurley))
Are you ready for your story?
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

So many people just rush by. They’re in a rush. Their head is lost in their thoughts. I think it’s kind of zen. It’s, you know, be here now. Let’s do this. Let’s play.
((NATS: Dan Hurley))
Why Not?
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

So, I was an editor in Chicago
((Courtesy: danhurley.com/60seconds))
at the American Bar Association.
I always had a sense of adventure.
((Courtesy ends))
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

For Halloween one night, I was lying in bed thinking about it and I went, “I think I can do this.”
((Courtesy: Best Documentary))
In April of 1983, I took my typewriter onto the street on Michigan Avenue.
((Courtesy ends))
((Courtesy: danhurley.com/60seconds))
And as I'm doing this, I'm thinking, “This is a big mistake.” I was starting to feel very embarrassed and nervous. ((Courtesy ends))
((Courtesy: Best Documentary))

So, I sit down. I put the little sign, you know, “60-Second Novels”.
“Sir, would you like a story? Miss, would you like a story?” And everybody's ignoring me. And then a older woman came over and said, “What are you doing? I will have a story.” And I just talked to her for a minute.
((Courtesy ends))
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

And I wrote just a few sentences. I pull it out of the typewriter and there's like 20 people around me. And I read it to her, everybody claps. And I'm like, “What just happened?” And I did it for a couple hours and I made like $50. And I thought, “Wow, this is - people like this. What did I just invent?”
I was from the New York area. I said, “Let me go back to New York for a weekend
((Courtesy: Best Documentary))
and write stories.” And I went to New York and I wrote stories for two days and I made like $500.
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

And I said, “I am out of here with this job.” So, I quit my job. My boss told me, “Dan, don't do this. This is a mistake.” And I was like, “Thank you for the…” you know, “Thank you but I'm going to give it a shot.”
I moved to New York and never looked back. You know, sometimes I think I'm crazy. I mean, I've done it. So, I've done it now for 38 years.
((NATS))
I wear a yellow sport coat and a yellow bow tie and a yellow hat. They're like, “He must be some kind of performer. Wow, what is this?”
So, when I started, people were still using type…some people were still using typewriters. In 1983, very few people had a computer. So, to have a typewriter was no big deal. It's turned into this retro typewriter and I'm going to just do this old-fashioned thing called talking. You know, have a conversation, listen.
What I'm doing is interacting with the person, talking with them, trying to get a sense of them. And then writing something for them. And those are selected stories that also make sense to other people.
It’s just for that person. So, I kind of think it's like a unique. Some people are lonely. I definitely get people who I feel like I'm the first person they've had a real conversation with in years.
Folks tell me about divorce, mental illness. I'm like totally open to them. I'm not judging them. I am there to write their story.
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

I did it four years. But pretty soon, I got into the whole party and event
((Courtesy: danhurley.com/60seconds))
where people were paying me a lot of money to show up and do the stories. That's how I've been able to buy a house.
At private parties, big corporate events, birthday parties, all that kind of thing. And it was actually seeming kind of dull and stupid. Like I began to feel, you know, like you know, “What am I doing here?”
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

Yeah, like I really missed doing it
((Courtesy ends))
for ordinary people. And I met my wife doing a 60-second novel for her.
((Alice Garbarini Hurley
Dan’s Wife))

He was really handsome and he had like freckles. And then he also asked me about their lives and wrote me a story that was really comforting. It said, “One day, Alice will be walking by the ocean, will come a man.”
Months later that when he wrote that story, we were sitting at Rye Playland near the ocean, near the beach, sound. And we've been on a long journey together. 30 years of marriage.
((Alice Garbarini Hurley
Dan’s Wife))

I realized that other people were talking about him as odd that he was sitting on the street doing it. But he's also a New York Times writer and a science writer. I'm proud of him.
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

It's not a photograph of a person. It's my creative interpretation. Yes, it's pretty insane that there's 50,000 little life stories. It is.
With COVID then, because like more than a year went by, I would like to do it on the street again
((Dan Hurley
Novelist))

to the original idea which was to be with ordinary people.
((NATS/MUSIC))
When I did it on the street, it's my world. I've invented it.
For the individual person, I think people just like this idea that there's someone there listening and waiting. Why aren't there writers everywhere sitting on the street, ready to tell people's life stories?
((NATS/MUSIC))

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