Hometown Junket wants your stories about Richmond. The website ( hometownjunket.com ), launched in mid-August, is a "kickstarter for storytelling," says Phillip Gravely, the site's editor and creator.
"There are a lot of creatives out there who don't have a venue for their work," explains Gravely, who by day works as director of web and editorial strategy at the University of Richmond.
With the help of colleagues from UR's web team, Gravely was able to launch it in just six weeks, though he is quick to point out the site is not affiliated with UR. It invites Richmonders to share everything from narrative writing and videos to poetry and performance art. A recent visit to the site turned up nearly two dozen submissions on everything from a story about a local Elvis impersonator's elaborately decorated home to a video of kayakers paddling the falls of the James River.
The website does not pay its contributors, nor does it own the rights to any work it showcases. Gravely says, "We are just trying to collect stories, not own them." One need not be a professional to submit a story, either.
Hometown Junket has gained the support of a few local sponsors, among them Secretly Y'all , the live storytelling event held every other month in the city. "What we do is different — they are about the live experience, and we are the online equivalent of a community campfire," he says. He hopes to attract enough sponsors not only to support the site, but also to give back to the community.
Since launching Hometown Junket, Gravely has been contacted by people in other cities who are interested in creating a similar site for their own locales. "My first goal is to provide this for Richmond," he says. "There is such an awesome creative energy here right now."