Can You SHOW Us a Story?


The music from the choir of Ziburys Gymnasiam was a beautiful start to the APPLE summer session in Prienai, Lithuania. Not everything was being translated, so when the choir director asked us to join the singing in groups, I started singing a round even though it wasn’t a round and then I stared singing with the men.

My storytelling class that I had prepared for since February finally started. After a few modules, late in the afternoon, Adele asked the question, through the interpreter, “Can you show us a story?”

We had been talking about stories in general, then about true, personal stories. They were about to begin to write their own true, personal story.

I said, “Yes, I have an example of an amazing true, personal story on video.” It was Ophira Eisenberg’s The Accident from The Moth.

“No,” she said. “We want YOU to tell a story.” Several people in the class nodded in agreement.

I smiled. I had been talking about the power of stories, to entertain, educate, persuade and transform. I had been talking about how telling and listening to stories in person allows for a connection you can’t always get with reading or writing or from watching a video on You Tube. Even if it is an Ophira Eisenberg video.

I was smiling because it was funny that I hadn’t thought of this. I should have started the class about stories with a story. Sure, there had been shorter stories mixed in during the day and there were more of those to come, but there should be one really big, badass story to show, live and in person, just how a story can draw people in, fill the room with energy and leave a mark, a memory and maybe a change.

But, could I do it now, by request, without preparing forever like I usually do?

More or less.

I chose a story I had written and prepared a few years ago. Maybe I thought of this one first, because it is the one I had prepared for a Moth open mic in New York City, when Ophira Eisenberg was the host. But, my name didn’t get picked from the hat that night, so I only got to share my first sentence….

I was lying on a stretcher, with nurses and doctors all around me, when a priest handed me the phone and said, “It’s your Mom.”

Today, I told the whole story. Now the students know what they are going to do.  I’ll let you know how it goes…

I have the questions y’all asked the students to answer, if you have another one, leave it in the comments or just say “Hello!” They will read the posts and comments in the morning (which is your Wednesday night)!