I thrive in possibly inappropriately competitive situations.

Next month I will be teaching storytelling at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. This will be my second year teaching at Kripalu and I'm already scheduled to teach there in 2017 as well.

The fact that I teach at Kripalu astounds many. Though my students at Kripalu have assured me that my teaching and beliefs closely align to Kripalu's philosophy and mindset, there are also many way in which I do not seem to fit:

I skip their world class meals and pick up burgers and fries and Egg McMuffins at McDonald's instead.

I was told that I "walk aggressively" and swear more than anyone in Kripalu history.

At silent breakfast, it turns out that even when I don't speak, I still make more noise than anyone else in the room.   

Though I take advantage of their sunrise yoga class, I found the whole thing slow, tedious, and devoid of any competitive incentive. 

This has been my problem with yoga:

 No one wins at the end of a class. 

In fact, it's the competitive element of The Moth that probably helped me to initially fall in love with storytelling and eventually turned me into a teacher of the craft. It's always an honor and a thrill to stand on a stage and perform for an audience, but when my performance is assigned a numerical value and there is a chance to win or lose, I tend to enjoy the experience a lot more.

In fact, if given the chance, I think I'd rather compete in a Moth StorySLAM than perform in any other show. Give me a couple hundred New Yorkers crammed into a used bookstore with teams of strangers poised to judge my story over a beautiful, acoustically pristine theater filled with a couple thousand attentive audience members and zero competition.

Crazy. I know. But probably true on most nights. 

This is why I was thrilled to discover the sport of competitive juggling. No longer are jugglers permitted to just stand and entertain. Juggling is now a full contact physical sport, complete with strategy, teamwork, and body-on-body physicality.

Competitive juggling is tough. And there are winners and losers after every match.

See for yourself:

The Moth: A Mop Sink and Maybe God

In March of 2016 I told the story of my interrogation and arrest for a crime I did not commit at a Moth GrandSLAM at The Somerville Theater. The theme of the night was Now or Never.  

I won the GrandSLAM that night.

I've since told this story for Speak Up and other shows and found kernels of improvement, so once again, this isn't my best. Eventually I'll tell the story of my post-arrest jailing and arraignment and my trial, but those are hard stories for another day. 

The Moth: She Held My Hand

In August of 2015 I told the story of my first date with my wife at a Moth StorySLAM at The Bitter End. The theme of the night was Guts. 

I won the slam that night, but being the hyper-critical person that I am, I hear a lot of room for improvement in the story. It's not my best.

Frankly, I get annoyed at myself during the story for some of the choices I make. 

Still, it's about Elysha and me and our beginning, and, so here it is, in all its imperfection.

Five years ago, I took the stage and told my first story. The most important thing about that night: I was afraid.

Yesterday marked my five year anniversary in storytelling. 

On July 12, 2011, I went to New York to tell a story on a Moth stage. I went there mostly because I told my friends that I would, and I had avoided it so long that I began to feel ashamed of myself. 

My friends pointed me to The Moth and suggested that I go. One of my friends said, "You've had the worst life of anyone I know. You'll make a great storyteller!"

She was probably referring to my two near-death experiences, my arrest and trial for a crime I didn't commit, my homelessness, the robbery that left with with more than a decade of untreated PTSD, the anonymous, widespread, public attack on my character and career, and more.

It hasn't been the worst, but it hasn't always been easy. 

So I said yes. "I'll go and tell a story." But honestly, I had little intention of ever doing so. I was terrified about the prospect of taking the stage and telling a story. It was almost unthinkable. But my friends didn't forget my promise, and nor did I, so Elysha and I made out way into NYC so I could tell what I thought would be the one and only story of my life. 

Even after putting my name in the hat, I tried to avoid taking the stage. When Dan Kennedy called my name, I froze, realizing that no one in the place knew me. If I remained quiet and still, they would have to eventually call someone else to the stage. 

Instead, Elysha made me go. 

Happily, miraculously, I won the StorySLAM. 

The next day, I wrote a blog post about my experience, which included these words:

I know it sounds a little silly, but in the grand scheme of things, the birth of my daughter was probably the most important day of my life. Next comes the marriage to my wife, and then the sale of my first book, and then maybe this. It was that big for me.

Perhaps I’ll tell more stories in the future, and The Moth will become old hat for me, but on this day, at this moment, I couldn’t be more happy.

It was a big night for me, and one I will never forget.
— Matthew Dicks

I was remarkably prescient while writing that post. It seems as if I already knew that I had found something special.

And I was right. It was a big night for me. Since that night:

  • I have competed in 45 StorySLAMs, winning 24 of them.
  • I've competed in 17 GrandSLAMs, winning four of them.
  • I've told stories for The Moth and other storytelling organizations in cities around the country to audiences as large as 2,000 people. 
  • I've become a teacher of storytelling, teaching in places like Yale University, The University of Connecticut Law School, Perdue University, Trinity College, Kripalu, Miss Porter's School, and many, many more. I consult with businesses, school districts, industry leaders, college professors, and individuals around the world about storytelling.
  • Last summer I traveled to Brazil to teach storytelling to an American School in Sao Paulo.  
  • In the last year, I've begun to perform my one-person show.
  • Storytelling has landed me in the pages of Reader's Digest, Parents magazine, and more. 
  • I've met some incredible people thanks to storytelling and made some remarkable friends. 

In 2013, Elysha and I launched Speak Up, our own storytelling organization. We've produced nearly 50 shows since our inception, in theaters as large as 500 seats, and we have sold out almost every show. I teach storytelling workshops locally, and we partner with schools, libraries, museums, and more to teach storytelling to our community.  

Last night Elysha and I worked with a group of second and third generation Holocaust survivors, teaching them to tell the story of their previous generations. Tonight I'll be competing in a StorySLAM in Boston. The beat goes on.  

So much has happened in five short years. My life has changed in ways I would've never predicted. Elysha's life has changed, too. The fact that Speak Up is a partnership between the two of us might be the best thing about it.

Storytelling has helped make it possible for Elysha to stay home with the kids for the past seven years, and it will help to keep her home for one more year until Charlie enters kindergarten. 

But here is what I want you to know:  

The important part of my story to never forget how afraid I was when I began this journey. It's important to remember how I tried to avoid storytelling at every turn, not because I thought it was a bad idea or a waste of time, but because I was afraid. Even though I wanted to tell a story and suspected that I might even be good at storytelling, I tried my hardest to avoid it. 

It's important to note that had it not been for my friends' prodding and Elysha's final push to get me out of my seat that night, I might have never taken the stage to tell a story. 

It's easy to see someone who is successful and confident and believe that they have always been that way. We often see the end result of a journey and assume that the person standing in front of us is the same person who began that journey. 

This is never true. I was afraid when I began my journey into storytelling. I doubted my ability. I was almost certain that I would fail. Fear kept me off the stage for more than a year, and it almost kept me off the stage forever. 

Fear holds us back so often in life. It keeps us from realizing our untapped, unseen, impossible-to-predict potential. It blocks us from opportunities. It stops us from being daring. I keeps us away from new things and forces us to reside in the familiar.

Thoreau said that “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

I believe that. I believe it wholeheartedly. 

If fear is holding you back from trying something new, taking a risk, or realizing a dream, I encourage you to rise above it. Push that fear aside long enough to take a leap. Find people who will support you, encourage you, and even force you to try.

I think about how close I came to avoiding the stage, and it terrifies me. 

Frank Herbert said this about fear, which I also believe wholeheartedly:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
— Frank Herbert

I shudder to think about what my life would be like today had I not taken that stage five years ago and told my first story. I hate to think about how fear nearly held me back.      

I nearly went to the grave with a song still inside me. 

Go to The Moth and tell a story. And not "someday." Go soon.

Just this past week I heard from listeners who heard one or more of my stories on The Moth's podcast, The Moth Radio Hour, and/or The Moth's website in:

Cape Town, South Africa
London, UK
Columbus, OH
Hartford, CT
Western Australia
Hong Kong
New Hampshire
New York City
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Blackstone, Massachusetts

The idea that people across the globe are listening to me tell stories about my life is incredible. The power and reach of The Moth cannot be overstated. 

And you could do this, too. If you're in the vicinity of a Moth StorySLAM (and there are many throughout the country and the world), you should go and tell a story. Drop your name in the tote bag and wait for your name to be called. Perform well, and your story might travel the world someday, too.

And everyone has a story. If you don't believe me, start doing my Homework for Life and you'll soon discover that you have more stories than you could have ever imagined. 

So choose a true story from your life, take the stage at a Moth StorySLAM, and speak into the microphone. Tell your story. It need not be funny or sad and suspenseful or perfect. It simply needs to be a story. The Moth actually offers some tips and tricks to help your performance. And there is no better place in the world to tell a story than at The Moth. The men and women who host and produce these shows are remarkably supportive and exceptionally professional. The sound equipment is second to none. And best of all, the audiences are warm, kind, and more accepting than you could ever imagine.  

And who knows? It could change your life. 

It changed mine. 

July 11, 2016 will mark my five year anniversary in storytelling. On that day in 2011, I took a stage at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and competed in my first Moth StorySLAM. I told a story about pole vaulting in high school and managed to win the slam. 


That story eventually made its way onto The Moth Radio Hour and podcast. 

My original plan was to tell one story on a Moth stage and never return. Do it once and put it behind me. Check off the box marked "The Moth" and move on. 

Instead, I fell in love with storytelling. I worked hard and got better. Today storytelling is an enormous part of my life.

In the past five years, I've competed in 43 Moth StorySLAMs, winning 23 of them. I've also competed in 17 Moth GrandSLAM championships, winning four of them. I've performed on stages small and large throughout the country and around the world for The Moth and many other storytelling organizations.

In 2013 Elysha and I launched Speak Up, a Connecticut-based storytelling organization with the goal of bringing the art of storytelling to the Hartford area. By the end of 2016 we will have produced more than 40 sell-out or near sell-out shows throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. We've partnered with theaters, museums, art spaces, and more, performing for audiences ranging from 150-500 people.

I've also taught storytelling to thousands of people, both in workshops that I run and in my role of storytelling expert on Slate's The Gist. Recently, I've begun performing solo shows at places like The Pound Ridge Storytelling Festival, The Lebanon Opera House, and Kripalu, and I've begun delivering keynote and inspirational addresses for a variety of organizations.   

My wife has been able to stay home with our children for the past seven years in part because of storytelling.

All I wanted to do when I began this journey was tell one story for The Moth.

And I am not special. I did not grow up in a family of storytellers. I didn't learn to tell stories from some master storyteller. I didn't spend nights in coffee bars and at open mics honing my craft. I just went to The Moth and told a story. Then I did it again and again and again. 

So if you're in the vicinity of a Moth StorySLAM, you should go and tell a story, too. As frightening or daunting or nerve wracking or impossible as that might sound, you should go. Since I began telling stories for The Moth, about half a dozen of my closest friends (including one former elementary school student) have gone to The Moth to tell a story. Many of my former storytelling students have taken the stage at a Moth StorySLAM and performed.

Dozens more have told a story for us at Speak Up.

If you live near a city that host a Moth StorySLAM, go and tell a story. I can't imagine what my life might be like today had I not conquered my fear and told my first story. 

And if you live in the vicinity of me, I'd be happy to take you to one. Climb into my car and we'll drive together to New York or Boston and listen to ten strangers (and perhaps me) tell a true story from their lives. The stories will be honest, funny, heart-wrenching, surprising, suspenseful, and more. Some will be told exceptionally well. Some less so. 

It won't matter. You will have a fantastic evening of entertainment and human connection.

Maybe you'll even tell a story yourself. You should. You never know what may happen.

My first comic books. Too bad I can't show my kids. Or my students. Or anyone squeamish.

Last year, I had the opportunity to work with Double Take comics on their new comic book series based upon the original Night of the Living Dead film.

Double Take asked a handful of Moth storytellers to consider writing stories for their zombie-filled universe, and I decided to give it a shot. The result was two comic books in their Slab series that feature some of my writing and one of my Moth stories, which I adapted for the comic.

Seeing my name along the bottom of the book as one of the authors was thrilling, but sadly, because of the nature of the comic, the content (and even the covers) of both books are too graphic to show my children or any of my students.

As a result, the people who would be the most impressed with my work can never see it until they have reached an age when they are probably no longer impressed. 

But here they are in their gory glory.

You can actually read Slab 2 online. Slab 3 will be made available online later this summer. 

My former students discover that their teacher is still alive (and maybe doing cool things) thanks to The Moth

In the last two days, The Moth - the preeminent storytelling organization in the world - has oddly brought me in contact with two of my former students in fairly bizarre ways. 

Yesterday, a former student who was in my class 15 years ago texted me this photo, which was sent to her by another former student of 15 years ago who spotted it on the NYC Snapchat feed. It's a photograph of me performing at The Moth Ball on Tuesday night. The NYC Snapchat feed was handed over to The Moth for the evening, so it was full of photos from the event. As my former student said, "That's going to be seen by a lot of people!"

I can't imagine what it would be like to see Mrs. Laverne or Mrs. Shultz on some public social media feed, performing at an event alongside celebrities like Carrie Brownstein.

Yes, kids. I'm still alive and still doing stuff. 

Earlier in the week, Elysha ran into a former student who was in my very first class 18 years ago. She lives in Australia but was in town visiting family. She told Elysha that recently, she met a guy in Australia and the two got talking. In the midst of the conversation, he brought up a show about storytelling that he had just been listening to and said, "I heard this great story by an American named Matthew Dicks."

My former student, who is now a 24 year-old woman, said, "Matthew Dicks? He was my second grade teacher."

On the other side of the world, a man heard my story on the radio and mentioned it to a girl who I once taught when she was seven years old.

Only The Moth could make something like this happen.

A not-so-disappointing disappointing night at The Moth

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.  

My son, the storyteller. I had no idea.

My three year-old son made up a story about traveling to New York to visit his cousins Ari and Zoe. If you listen closely, it actually many of the all of the elements of an excellent story.

  • The story is concise. 
  • The story is simple,.
  • It contains mystery and genuine surprise (critical for creating an emotional response in your listener) 
  • The story continually flips on itself. Instead of an "and then and then and then..." story, Charlie tells a "but and therefore" story, which is always better.  

He's a little young for The Moth, and he's still a little rough around the edges, but he's a hell of a lot closer to being an excellent storyteller than I ever expected.

The secret to great storytelling: Make the big moments incredibly small. Or find your tiny moments and tell just them.

Last night I was fortunate enough to win The Moth's GrandSLAM in Somerville, MA.

I told the story of my decision to confess to a crime I did not commit after a $7,000 deposit went missing from the McDonald's that I was managing in Bourne, MA, and a police officer made the decision that I had stolen the money. It's a story about the series of interrogations leading up to my decision to confess to the crime rather than risk jail time, and the moment in the police station, while standing in a mop sink in a dark closet, that changed my life.

After the show, three people - two storytellers and an audience member who is a fan of my work - all approached and said almost the same thing:

"I can't believe you hadn't told that story yet."

A year ago, one of The Moth's producers - a woman who knows many of the stories from my life that I have yet to tell - said almost the same thing to me: 

"I can't believe how many of your big, crazy, unbelievable stories that you haven't told yet." 

It's true.

In five years, of storytelling:

  • I've competed in 43 Moth StorySLAMs and won 21 of them.
  • In those same five years, I've competed in 14 GrandSLAMs and won four of them.
  • I've also told stories at half a dozen Moth Mainstages, almost 50 Speak Up events, and many, many other shows throughout the country and around the world.

Yet it's taken me all this time to tell the story about the time I was arrested for a crime I did not commit.

Kind of a big story to keep under wraps for so long. Right?

But this is the secret that I tell people when I'm teaching them about storytelling:

Everyone has a story, and oftentimes, your biggest stories are not your best stories. Those enormous, unbelievable, insane, life changing moments from your life are probably not as compelling as the smaller moments that happen all the time but go unnoticed by so many of us. 

Some of the stories that I have told that people love most take place at my dining room table, in my bedroom, while standing in a line at a baseball game, and while sitting across from a friend in a restaurant. Seemingly tiny moments like these - when recognized, captured, and crafted well - are oftentimes so much more compelling than the life-or-death moments that I've spent in police stations or hospitals or jail cells. 

Don't get me wrong. There'a a way to tell those big stories, and I've told many of them.

  • A car accident two days before Christmas that left me dead on the side of the road.
  • A horrific, armed robbery that still plagues me to this day.
  • A vicious and unparalleled attempt to assassinate my character and destroy my career by a group of anonymous cowards.
  • A bee sting that left me dead in my dining room when I was a boy.
  • The story of my homelessness.

The key to telling these big stories is to forget why they are "big" and instead find the tiny moments within them. The moments to which people can connect.

My car accident story is not so much the story of the accident. It's about a moment in the emergency room between me and my teenage friends that still lives in my heart today.

The story of the robbery isn't so much about the horrors of that night.  It's about the way that events of that night have changed the way I see my children and the world today. 

The story of the attempt to destroy my teaching career isn't as much about what those people did to me, as unbelievable and unprecedented as it was. It was about the moment when parents, students, and colleagues stood up for me and let me know that I meant something to children when I had begun doubting myself and my career. 

The story of my death by bee sting isn't so much about the way I died and was brought back by paramedics. It's about the connection that my mom and I created in that moment - a connection that was finally broken (or perhaps not) on the day she died.

The story about my homelessness isn't about my means of survival on the streets. It's about the shame associated with being helpless and alone and being saved by people who discover a truth you're unwilling to admit to anyone in your life (even yourself).

And last night, the story wasn't about my decision to confess to a crime I didn't commit and my subsequent arrest. It was about a moment in a closet in a police station, while standing in a mop sink, when I asked a question aloud, received an unexpected answer, and discovered that perhaps I wasn't as alone as I thought. 

Big stories made small by avoiding the focus on the unbelievable and instead finding the part that everyone can understand. The part that everyone else has experienced and connected to. 

Not everyone has gone through a windshield, but everyone one knows what it's like to be disappointed by parents and saved by friends.

Not everyone has experienced character assassination on an enormous scale, but we have all experienced moments of doubt about ourselves and our life choices.

Not everyone has decided to confess to a crime they did not commit, but we have all experienced the sense of being so alone that it hurts. 

The good news about all of this is that you don't need to have led a life of unending disaster in order to be a great storyteller. You simply need to open your eyes to the tiny, incredibly meaningful, oftentimes missed or forgotten moments that people love. 

Find them. Capture them. Craft them. Tell them.

I still have some doozies left. Some enormous, unbelievable, life changing stories. And eventually I'll get around to telling them. But don't hold your breath. I have a million tiny moments, too, and I can't wait to tell most of them.

The Moth brought me and my elementary school principal back together

Earlier this month, I told a story at a Moth GrandSLAM in Brooklyn about a time in my life when I had to face down the principal as a third grader. After stealing a classmate's stamp catalog, I was forced to admit to the theft or risk allowing my entire class to be punished for my crime.

Walking into the principal's office and telling him the truth that day remains one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I can still remember the moment like it was yesterday, and I think about it often when faced with the need to speak a difficult truth or admit to a mistake.

It was a lesson for a lifetime. 

It wasn't a typical story for me. Too long for a Moth slam, I stripped the story down to its bones and retained more humor than heart. Not my unusual strategy in storytelling, and especially in competitive storytelling, but I enjoyed telling it just the same. I don't often go for the laugh as often as I did that night, and I probably swore more on the stage that night than all the stages I've ever stood on combined. 

It was a different side of me as a storyteller. Not my most effective side, but a fun alternative.

The principal's name was Fred Hartnett. I had not seen or spoken to him since elementary school, though a few years ago, I discovered that the new middle school in my hometown - built on the street where I grew up - bears his name. I thought it was the perfect choice of name given how much that man still lives in my heart and mind almost four decades later. 

I assumed that Mr. Hartnett had probably passed away years ago, given that he was my principal back in 1979 and already seemed old to me even back then, but when I mentioned on Facebook that I was telling a story about him, a former classmate sent me a message informing me that Mr. Hartnett is alive and well and passed along his email address.

Since then, Mr. Hartnett and I have exchanged emails.

I can't believe it. 

In addition to the message I sent him, I attached a recording of the story made at a Speak Up event, where I had first told the more complete version of the story.

He replied:

"I certainly do remember you as well as other members of the Dicks family. I must admit, however, I do not recall the incident you referenced. That having been said, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation."

He went on to expound on the fates of several people in the story, including my teacher and a classmate who plays a significant role in the tale.

In regards to the new school bearing his name, he writes:

"As for the middle school at BMRSD, it was my responsibility as superintendent to construct it, The school committee announced the dedication at graduation in 2003, the year I retired. I was, and sometimes remain, uncomfortable about it, though relieved it's not posthumously! On occasion, when I drive in I reflect it's similar to seeing one's name on a tombstone."

The man still has it. 

Remarkable how the power of The Moth has once again brought someone back into my life and re-established a connection that means so much to me. Mr. Hartnett and I continue to exchange emails. A man who once lived only in my heart and mind has come to life once again for me. We have discussed our teaching, writing, and course of our lives.

It's been remarkable.  

Tell your stories. On stages or in living rooms or at dinner table. Share them with friends and family and people willing to listen. You never know what may happen.

The best worst magic show ever

Last week I told a story for The Moth at the beautiful Brooklyn Academy of Music about the armed robbery that I survived back in 1993.

The story opened with an anecdote about a magic show that had taken place just a few days prior to telling the story. I managed to record a little bit of the magic show. Whether or not you ever hear the story, the magic show is worth a peek.    

The Moth: A Strip Club of my Own Making

I have never entered a strip club.

Sitting beside my male friends and watching women who want nothing to do with me remove their clothes has never appealed to me. 

Unified public, unsatisfied arousal is just not my thing. 

I attended a bachelor party at a strip club once, but when we arrived at the establishment, I told the guys that I would be waiting in the car, reading Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. They thought I was crazy, but when I told them that they could drink and carouse all they wanted, and I would be happy serve as their designated driver, they relented. 

The one exception to my avoidance of strip clubs took place about 25 years ago in a McDonald's crew room, but in that case, it was sadly a strip club of my own making. 

Here is the story:

The oddities of becoming a somewhat (but not famous) public figure

I am not a famous person, regardless of what a couple of my friends may insist. I am not even close to being famous.

I am not even fame-ish.

I've had the honor of occupying the same space and even spending time with famous people this past year.

A long backstage chat with Dr. Ruth.
A backstage discussion with The Daily Show's Samantha Bee.
A conversation with the magician David Blaine.
An elbow rub with Louis CK at an event where we shared the same stage. 
An email exchange with Kevin Hart.

These are famous people. I am not because none of them knew who the hell I was. 

Nor does anyone else.    

But thanks to my books and storytelling and public speaking, I am a bit of a public figure, and that means that every now and then, my name pops up in strange places, oftentimes unbeknownst to me until someone else points it out.  

Elysha recently found my name attached to a lemonade recipe, apparently inspired by my latest novel, The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs. Characters drink lemonade on two separate occasions, which was enough for someone named Ingrid to create her own lemonade recipe and share it with the world. 


Earlier this week, this splash card was forwarded to me by a friend on Facebook. I'm not entirely sure what it means, but it's always odd to see my name attached to something as seemingly random as this. 

The Moth: The Great Stargazing Betrayal

On December 29, 2014, I took the stage at The Moth StorySLAM at The Bitter End in Manhattan to tell a story. The theme of the night was Rewards. I told a story about an evening of stargazing with my students that went terrible wrong. 

I finished in first place. 

Here a recording of the story I told that night.

You can find all of my stories on my YouTube channel. 

The Moth: Sex and Frozen Corn

The first gift that my daughter ever received was a stuffed ear of corn from our friend, Justine. It's been sitting on the corner of her bookshelf for the last six years. 

She knows that it was the first gift she ever received - given to her before she was even born - but she's never asked why someone chose corn in lieu of a teddy bear or a baby doll.

There is a reason. A good one. It's also one that Elysha and I have never explained to her, nor do we plan on explaining it anytime soon. 

The question is when? When do we tell Clara why a stuffed ear of corn made for the perfect first gift?

Watch this video of my Moth GrandSLAM winning story from earlier this year and you will better understand our predicament. Then offer your own suggestion about when we should tell our daughter this story. 

Mashable on The Moth

Last month I competed in a Moth StorySLAM at The Bell House in Brooklyn (and won!).

Mashable was there, shooting a story for their website. The result is a beautiful look at The Moth and all it does for the art of storytelling.

It was also great to see StorySLAM manager and storyteller Robin Wachsberger featured in the video. Robin is a fixture at almost every Moth StorySLAM and GrandSLAM, ensuring that things are running smoothly and the event is trouble-free. Seeing her always puts me at ease, and you couldn't ask for a more supportive person of storytellers.

Audience members may not notice all that Robin does, but storytellers do, so it was nice to see her thrust into the limelight for this video.  

I've also heard Robin tell stories on the stage, and she is an equally great storyteller.