Live storytelling. There is a communal energy that can only be described as electric when we all share in each other's stories.
There are no phones, no interruptions, no glancing at screens or any place else. We are together with the voice of another in front of us and the audience shapes the story with its listening no matter the preparation of the presenter.
There is nothing like it. All that is outside, remains outside, as we sit and share in each other's lives. We listen, we tell, and we connect with our stories.
I have been listening to live true to life stories on The Moth since I discovered their existence six years ago. The Moth began years before but I was late to the storytelling train. Since then, I haven't missed a day without five minutes spent in hearing about the surprise twists turns and detours that life sends our way.
Stories are addicting, and when you hear them with the emotion of the one who experienced the event? Your storytelling addiction is born.
Three years ago, I brought my husband along for a Moth StorySLAM. He wasn't overly enthusiastic, but he was game. His innocent question, "So... is this like us listening in on a group therapy?" With the first story on stage, he understood my passion for hearing a story. "It's the moment they walk on stage, the minute they take before they begin, you just want to know, what are they going to tell us?"
If you have the opportunity to attend a Moth event, don't pass it by. If you are looking for riveting stories that connect you to the world, click here.
Last night, Madison, Wisconsin held its first Moth StorySLAM. The theme was "Love Hurts."
With my heart pounding, I put my name in the hat to be called. When the name they pulled for the first story for the first Madison StorySLAM was mine, I fell into my boots. When I clodded up to the stage on knee-locked legs, I looked out into the audience and bet against myself that I'd last three seconds before I'd faint.
And as I licked my dry mouth and began my story of the power of love, I could hear the high pitched shrill of plummeting low blood pressure. But the audience laughed, hard and loud with my third sentence and I began to feel blood pump back into my numb arms. When I pointed out to the crowd and apologized to my husband for the story I was about to tell, the laughs rose up into a wave and I began to breathe instead of hyperventilate.
The rest of the story happened by magic. Five seconds later I heard the timekeeper ring the bell that I was at the five minute mark and I stopped myself from turning to her and asking, "How and where did five minutes go?" That is the transcending experience of telling a story.
Everything around you disappears. Not only for the storyteller, but for the storylistener, too.
Time stands still when you're at a Moth StorySLAM.
The scores of the ten of us, the ten inaugural storytellers, were close, tenths of a point close. But the Madison judges chose my story as the night's winner.
I am still flying high from that honor.
Thank you The Moth for existing. And thank you, Madison, for being welcoming and sharing, in my appreciation for the power of storytelling.
To find a Moth event near you, click here
As a friend to you, I mean this sincerely, attend a Moth show. And put your name in the hat to tell a story. Then come back here and let's share about each other's lives.
"The Moth, founded in 1997, is a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling."
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