As ever I choose too many stories in advance - more than I can possibly swap in (in this instance) five hours. That way I'm not deciding exactly what stories are told. And as ever I feel bad in advance for the stories that won't get told.
And just like last time, a newer thought occurs - to wonder about the stories that people who will come in to the Exchange will tell me, stories they don't know yet that they will think of and tell today.
We open on time, and it's non-stop for four hours.
I swap AN ESCAPED LUNATIC ON CANNOCK CHASE
For CAMEL ON THE BEACH
I swap DEAD JELLYFISH
For I'M GOING ANYWAY
A story told to me by a couple about their son, and contrary to my earlier thought, this is a story they knew they were going to tell me before they came in, the story they came in to share, in fact. Their late son. Their inspiration. Those of us listening know we're privileged to hear them tell it.
I swap A 6B PENCIL
For INSPIRED BY M
I swap DESIRE PATHS
For A RUCKSACK, A PENGUIN & GREAT DETERMINATION
I swap I'M GOING ANYWAY
For THE SIDESWIPE
I swap 01369 870212
For A STRANGE NIGHT
I swap "YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!" "I KNOW!"
For WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
I swap 4 FOUNTAIN PENS
For A PANTS DISASTER
I swap TAKE THE CAMERA HOME
For LEARNING TO BE PATIENT
I swap LETTING GIRLS BE
For KATE LOVE
I swap A PANTS DISASTER
For REAL LIFE SUPERHEROES
I swap A VERY M1 CHRISTMAS
For MAD CRAZY DOGS
I swap CAMEL ON THE BEACH
For "YOU DON'T HAVE TWO TONGUES & ONE EAR"
I swap TAKE AWAY THE SCAFFOLDING
For CATHERINE WHEEL: SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE
I swap THE BIG FIREWORKS
For MAX & DOM'S BIKE RIDE
And then there's a pause. Even Dominic, who's been with me for over three hours, has to go.
A little re-set in the tent. Stretch the legs. Stand up straight. Sunlight.
It occurs to me that today is a day of stories about determination in the face of adversity - particularly, sadly, adversity in the shape of cancer. Stories of finding what makes you happy, and what makes you who you are. About what we believe, and about what we choose to believe.
Stories about the importance of other people: friends, family, community, this place we're in, this festival. Stories about love.
I swap 36 DAYS LOOKING FOR STUFF IN THE FRIDGE
(during the telling of which I double-check the maths of this statistic and am reassured)
For AGE OLD MEDICINE.
Then, after the telling of this Story of the Day, a woman with a five year old daughter falling asleep on her lap, asks if she can hear LETTING GIRLS BE. And so the conversation carries on, and rather than stopping, the Exchange seems to wind down into the evening around it.
Thanks to everyone who came in for listening, and for your stories.