The Moth is a not-for-profit storytelling organization which features true stories told live on stage without notes. I’ve been listening to their weekly podcasts for a long time and attended a live performance earlier this year. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Looking for an opportunity to tell me own stories, I flirted with the idea of creating a Connecticut version of The Moth, which currently is based in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago. But then Moth organizers recently put out a call to potential storytellers as they launch the new Moth Radio Hour. If selected, storytellers will have the opportunity to record their story for the radio program with the possibility of being asked to appear live on stage as well.
Good enough for me!
And since I have been blessed (and cursed) with an interesting life, I am full of stories, ready to tell. Yesterday I called The Moth and recorded my first, one-minute pitch, a pretty tame story by my standards but one that can be quite funny when told right. If I don’t hear from The Moth in the next month, I will call back with a new pitch.
Here was my first:
In high school, I was an average sprinter and a sub-par long jumper. One day my coach announced that he needed two more pole vaulters to compete with our state champion, James Dean. These two vaulters, Coach explained, must be capable of clearing opening height in order to qualify for the district relays, and at that point, the team had no one. And so after an eventful and amusing tryout, Matthew Dicks, Jack Daniels, and the great James Dean became the Blackstone Millville Regional pole vaulting team for the next two years. During our first meet, James cleared opening height with ease, but Jack and I failed miserably on our first and second attempts. If we both cleared opening height on our final attempts, James’s eventual vault of eleven feet would be more than enough for us to take first place. Failure would mean that our team would be disqualified and would earn no points from the vault competition. More importantly, if I failed but Jack succeeded, I would be faced with the additional stigma of having cost the team a chance at a gold medal. As Jack approach his third and final attempt, I found myself secretly hoping that he would fail, taking the pressure off me. Even though his failure would undoubtedly cost me a gold medal, there was far more at stake in this competition. Meaningless adolescent pride and misbegotten social standing. I’d love an opportunity to tell this story.