Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Dude, did the lizard get your pants too?"

I love storytellers.

And I’m not speaking philosophically about screenwriters or novelists. I’m talking about people who tell incredible, hilarious, jaw-dropping stories – in the car, over dinner, or while waiting in line at Disneyland. Stories that burn themselves into my mind as precious gems of life experience that unfold in unexpected, funny, tragic, or moving ways.

I reference my friends’ stories like they’re movie titles. James Spader, Awesome, “I’m blind, you asshole!” – they’re all on my story bookshelf. My former director from the Children’s Museum in Boston had amazing stories – about being directed by a terrifyingly commanding Gates McFadden in grad school, his boa constrictor demonstration for kids gone wrong, how he’s always picked as the audience volunteer. Another friend has several winners in my mental catalog, including the one about the time his mother tried to kill him. (Not really, of course, but that’s what he accused her of as a kid – “You’re trying to kill me!!!”)

I, unfortunately, am not one of these storytellers. Yes, I’m a writer, but I don’t have sparkling dinner party fodder. Most of my stories are about being a pathetic, fearful kid or a clueless overachiever – not the kind of stuff that makes people laugh or gasp in awe.

So imagine my delight when I discovered The Moth, a non-profit organization that produces live storytelling performances in New York, LA, and around the country. I live vicariously through the stories they produce, drawing inspiration from the way their storytellers shape the facts of their lives into entertaining, remarkable performances. Even the most ordinary of topics come alive at The Moth. It gives me hope that my experience reading the most books in the 4th grade could be a compelling story – if I tell it right.

The Moth offers a free podcast featuring one story a week – experience the magic for yourself. I listen to Moth stories on my iPod like they’re pop songs – hitting repeat at the end, mouthing the funniest bits along with the storyteller while driving in my car. I’m a total Moth nerd.

Check out my latest favorite story, from writer and frequent Moth storyteller Jeff Simmermon. So many great lines – “It’s not just about you and your little pants! It’s about all of us!”

5 comments:

  1. i love the moth! i often think the stories would make great monologues

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  2. Yes! I almost have a few memorized, I listen to them so much, I might as well try it! :)

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  3. Ha! I loved this one, he even does the Aussie accent pretty well!

    -- Elliot

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  4. too awesome. I LOL'd indeed at the end.

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  5. I know - I've been listening this one at work a lot! I love "I'm throwing books like discs of Tron!"

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