On Monday night I preformed at Tad Talks, a story telling night organized by my friend Martha Grover, at Tad's Chicken and Dumplings in Troutdale. It's similar to The Moth, true stories told by people without notes, only minus a theme. Also it's free, but Tad's would probably appreciate if you bought some dumplings or a drink.
I had never done a story telling night before, but I did improv for a long time so I am used to standing in front of a group of people only knowing the gist of what I want to say. Because I had listened to The Moth so much in the last few years I felt a lot of pressure to come up with a story that would be funny or poignant. I actually had insomnia a few weeks ago because I started to panic that I wouldn't be able to pick a story to tell. This all seems pretty ridiculous considering that almost all of the writing I do is creative non-fiction, but there are just some things you write which don't read well, they don't have that conversational quality to them, and a lot of my writing felt that way. Also I didn't feel as interesting as people on The Moth.
Once I realized that I needed to stop comparing myself to The Moth's well curated lineups and to chill out, the perfect story came to me: The time I had to run the mile in sixth grade so that I could go on a class field trip. Like many of my childhood stories from Talkeetna, it involves me bursting into tears. I used to tell this story to people all the time, I'm not sure why I stopped.
I was last on the bill on Monday and there were a lot of really great stories from the start, funny stories that got a lot of laughs, and by the time we got to intermission I was nervous that my story (which I initially thought was funny) was not funny enough. But once I got up there I got that focus you get from preforming and all you can think of is the next thing you are about to say. I hardly even noticed my friends who were sitting up at the very front. It seemed to go over pretty well and I felt like I did a good job for my first time.
Martha recorded all the stories from that night, here is mine:
You can see more pics from the night, and links to all the other stories from the evening on Martha's website. I had a lot of fun and I'm glad I was able to participate.
Tad's Talks is going on a summer break for July and August and will start back up in September, you can stay informed on more talks by liking Tad's Facebook page or following Martha's blog (she also puts out calls there for story tellers).