The Moth’s tagline is, “True stories told live.” Louisville got our very own Moth StorySlam a little more than a year ago. I listen to the Moth podcast all the time. I’m a big NPR junkie myself. You get five minutes to tell your story on the topic of the night. Topics are things like, “Music” or “Chemistry.”
Our Moth StorySlams are held at Headliners, which is a bar/music venue type place. I get there early to get a seat, and try not to touch the floor because eeech carpeted bar floor = eeeeeech. I put my name in the hat and hope I get called. There are always a lot of different people there – lots of ages and clothes styles, for instance.
I “won” two StorySlams, one on the topic of the Derby and one on the topic of Music. I say “won” because you don’t really win anything except the right to say you won and you get invited to the Moth GrandSlam where 10 winners compete for a spot at the Moth Ball. Which is the Grand Poobah of Moth story events….or something. The Big Names in StorySlamming.
If you are really lucky, your story gets on the podcast. Neither of mine have been on there. The Derby one probably because I said “tits” every 30 seconds and the Music one because it…I don’t know…wasn’t Serious and Introspective and Told with Gravitas. Whatever. I have a good time.
Our first GrandSlam was about a week and a half ago. It was quite a night. In the weeks before the event, we were encouraged* to run our stories by one of the producers. There was an interview with the local paper (I’ll give you a link when it comes out – follow me on Twitter and you’ll get it faster @thwritingspider). We had to arrive 1.5 hours early for a sound check.
I was the last person to do soundcheck and since I didn’t have any really loud parts to tell, I just did my favorite theater vocal warm up: I am a mother pheasant plucker. I pluck mother pheasants. I am the most pleasant mother pheasant plucker to ever pluck a mother pheasant. That got their attention.
I drew lucky number six – first after the intermission. I love going in the second half. The house was packed to the gills, totally sold out and standing room only. I feel good about my performance. My story was about my three plus weeks in India and feeling hopelessly out of place. It was a fun night, even though I didn’t take home the GrandSlam first prize.
If you have a Moth in your town, go try it. At least GO to it, even if you don’t put your name in the hat to tell a story. People will amaze you. They’ll probably also piss you off because the story won’t be on the topic, or they go on for eleventy million minutes. But by and large, they will amaze you.
*No, we were totally forced. Coerced. Guilted into.