And so we have arrived at December 21st, the shortest day and longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. I miss the daylight, but the long night hours are good for a few activities–among them storytelling. With telling and hearing good stories in mind, my wife and I have recently started attending The Moth, hosted by Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor, and on Wednesday night I made it up on stage to tell a five-minute, true story about joy–the theme for the evening.
I haven’t done much public speaking, so my heart was pumping a little stronger than normal as I took the stage. Having written down the story, I had rehearsed beforehand, but as I was given my instructions–“Stand with your feet here. Speak loudly. Don’t touch the microphone.”–all my pretty words fell out of my head. I pulled it together and began, I know I rushed a bit, but it came out okay.
I’m still not sure what I’ve learned here so far, however telling a true story from your past in front of an audience has a much more immediate feeling of danger to it than writing a novel where you have so many ways to hide. I’ll definitely try The Moth again with the hope that it will improve my craft.
I hope you have a happy holiday with friends and family, or a quiet time with your dog and a good book.