Deciding you're on a hunt for meaning is not the most steady of searches. I read a lot. In retrospect, these were the most influential.
What are the assumptions underlying your thesis?
What values are you promoting?
Describe a world in which your thesis is incredibly successful. What would this world look like (good & bad)?
I want to create a point of conversation, a framework for viewing (or listening, experiencing) these stories without prescribing what to do with them. A world in which this is wildly successful involves more thoughtfulness about what joins us, what connects us. More thoughtfulness about the way we think of our own stories, what dictates them. The worst case scenario would be if this just became another way to monetize people’s experiences. If memories tied to songs became commoditized just as the songs are.
In what I didn't think was research at the time, I went with a friend to Honk, a Festival of Activist Street bands. In speaking with the organizers about the connecting power of music in their work, I started to focus in on it as the tool I was looking for in both drawing people into out of themselves, and connecting them to others.