Friday, November 2, 2012

Everyone Has A Story


I went to the Moth Story Slam with my wife last night at the Miramar Theatre in Milwaukee. In case you are not familiar with it, it's basically a story competition. People put their names in a bag if they have a story to tell, then names are drawn out of the bag and people get on stage and tell their story. There's a few guidelines that have to be followed:

1. The story must be true.
2. Keep it to 5 minutes, with penalties for going over.
3. No notes.
4. The story should have a beginning, middle and an end. (Conflict and resolution are always nice too.)

When the person is done, the emcee' then calls on the 3 teams of two judges each to score how they did. They allow 10 people to tell stories and the whole thing takes a couple of hours. Each story is interspersed with the emcee reading audience responses to a question. Last nights question was "Tell about an accident that ended happily." That made for some interesting diversions from the main act of listening to stories.

Every slam has a theme, and last night's theme was "unintended". The stories ran the gamut. Stories of love and love lost, adventure, sadness, dumb mistakes, death and much more. Some were really, really good, and a couple were pretty badly done. I give everyone who went up there credit however. You're opening yourself up wide open when you do that, and it's not for everyone.

My friend Deb gave a story and it was really good. The only problem was hers was first and they tend to be fairly conservative with scores for the first couple of people, so she just got an average score. I think hers was one of the top 3 for sure, but that's just me.

It was a cool, somewhat moving experince. The emcee' put it best when she said that by the end of the night we'd feel closer to everyone around us, mostly because of the shared human experience. I was skeptical when she said that, but by the end of the night, I did feel like I knew some of the people there much better. It drilled home for me that everyone has a story to tell. Some are tragic, some happy, but all common to us as brothers and sisters on this planet. The phenomena is easier to experience than to explain. You'll just have to go and see for yourself. (The next theme is "Aftermath.") Maybe you even have a story to contribute.

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