One of our Speak Up storytelling shows earlier in the year featured four former storytelling workshop students who have gone on to tell stories at Moth StorySLAMs in New York, Boston, and Burlington, VT.
In fact, two of them competed in the same StorySLAM in December of last year in New York, unbeknownst to them.
I don't have the actual count of former workshop students who have gone on to perform for The Moth, but the number easily exceeds two dozen.
Even more thrilling, six of my former workshop students have gone on to win Moth StorySLAMs. If I include a rabbi from a recent retreat where I taught, the number is now seven.
One of them has even won a GrandSLAM.
The fact that almost all of these people live in Connecticut makes this number even more surprising. Moth StorySLAMs are held on week nights, meaning these folks committed significant time and resources in order to travel to Boston or New York on a work night to compete in a Moth StorySLAM and arrive back home well after midnight.
I've also had many of my friends - more than a dozen - go to The Moth and tell stories. Friends who have seen me brave the New York or Boston stage and then followed in my footsteps.
One of my former fifth grade students has gone to The Moth with me and told a story.
Many, many more friends and workshop students have also told stories on Speak Up stages.
All of this thrills me. I like to think back to that July evening in 2011 when I stepped into the Nuyorican's Poets Cafe in New York City to tell my first (and what I thought would be my last) story for The Moth. It was a hinge upon which my life has turned forever. It was a moment that ultimately enriched my life and Elysha's life in ways we could never have predicted. It has introduced us to so many remarkable people. Made us so many new friends. Brought me to stages around the country and the world. Launched a business that has us producing shows throughout the state and beyond and has me teaching storytelling to individuals, schools, universities, corporations, and more.
It's been a surprising and remarkable journey.
But when I think about the multitude of ways that my life changed on that July night in 2011, I often think first about all the other people who I have brought to the stage to share their stories, open their hearts, speak their truths, and kick some Moth ass.
Watching so many people follow in my footsteps into storytelling has been one of the most rewarding parts of all.