It's always disappointing to drive almost three hours to a Moth StorySLAM and have your name remain in the hat for the duration of the night.
I went to The Moth StorySLAM at Housing Works in New York on Tuesday, and sadly, this happened,
I had a good story, too.
Thankfully, it doesn't happen too often, though 2016 has been unlucky for me so far.
Despite my disappointment, The Moth rarely disappoints.
Even though I didn't have the chance to take the stage on Tuesday night, there were moments that made the slam unforgettable for both me and the audience.
Two people who began the careers in storytelling in one of my workshops in Connecticut (and then performed at Speak Up multiple times) dropped their names into the hat to tell a story, and one of them took the stage and performed. When a storyteller who has taken one of my workshops or performed on a Speak Up stage goes on to perform at The Moth, Elysha likes to refer to us as proud parents.
She's not far off with her description.
I sat beside a woman who I had an ongoing conversation all night long about storytelling. It was her first time at The Moth and was thrilled beyond imagination about finally making it to the show after listening to the podcast and Radio Hour for so long. She knew who I was from my stories on the podcast and had many questions about how slams work, how The Moth operates, and how to craft a successful story. She was over the moon about seeing Dan Kennedy - host of the podcast and host of Tuesday night's slam - in the flesh. He is an A-level celebrity to many storytelling fans.
I remember feeling the same way in 2011 when I finally made it to my first slam. It was a good reminder about how lucky I am to have found The Moth and its community of storytellers and storytelling fans. I shouldn't take any of it for granted.
If your name is not pulled from the hat, you're given the opportunity to take the stage and say the first line of your story. After doing so, I was approached by a woman who had heard one of my stories on the radio recently about the death of my high school girlfriend. She surprised me with an almost violent embrace and the story of the death of her college boyfriend. She told me how much my story still lives in her heart on a daily basis.
This might have been better than having my name pulled from the hat. Maybe.
I had the chance to chat with my fellow storytellers. We talked about recent stories that I had heard them tell at The Moth and other venues and some storytelling strategies. I offered some advice to a couple of storytellers, which is always odd for me. Coming from Connecticut and attending about one slam per month, I have always felt like a bit of an outsider in the storytelling community. I have friends who are storytellers, but I'm not exactly in their city or in their non-storytelling lives. And they are telling stories all the time. I couldn't imagine why such seasoned New York storytellers would want my advice on their stories or storytelling in general.
It was good. A sign that perhaps I'm not the outsider that I imagine myself to be.
I also lined up least two of them up for future Speak Up shows. Always good.
Then I had the chance to hear three of them tell fantastic stories about a snowstorm in a theater, a highly unorthodox dance move, and a questionable orgasm.
I had the chance to watch Dan Kennedy host the show. I love all The Moth hosts dearly, but Dan is the one who seems to inhabit the same brain space as me. I always feel like I'm home when Dan is onstage.
To cap off the evening, Moth regular David Arroyo took the stage and told a story about taking his girlfriend to meet his parents in Puerto Rico and then proposed to his girlfriend onstage. An unforgettable moment for everyone, to be sure. David and his girlfriend have been coming to slams together for more than year, so it seemed fitting that he propose to her on a Moth stage.