Unfortunately, I was unable to tend the Moth Story Slam at Zingerman’s Grayline. I would have much preferred to be there over my Statistics review session. I would story slam over calculating confidence intervals any day of the week.
Anyways, I instead tuned into a Moth story hour radio episode all about Transit.
The first story was about a young male’s role in his family’s sneaky airport practices. A fun, lighthearted story told in a fun manner actually transforms itself into a fascinating look into a culture and the way in which generations change in America.
The second story was all about kicking yourself in the ass until the real you shows up. This guy’s story juggled the ideas that you can’t have something good without getting kicked in some other way. It was a little sad to listen to, but he maintained a strong composure and used humor in a slightly deprecating manner that made it more enjoyable.
When I finished listening to this story, I took a break and did a little research on the Moth genre. I wanted to understand better where each story was coming from and what the guidelines were. As we discussed in class, there are actually rules for the moth genre. The story has a time limit (depending on the level), it must pertain to the theme, and it must have a beginning middle and end. This last rule is what I imagine is the hardest. Especially after spending time in class today trying to come up with our own story, I realize how complex a genre this is. The stories always have a purpose. They aren’t just “I walked to the ice cream store. I bought ice cream. I walked home.” Rather they are simple stories that speak to character, values, and morals. It can be hard to verbalize these ideas in the form of a story.
After my research, I finished up the moth hour and in all honesty, I would try and put my notes into sentences, but I was half asleep. I have already downloaded two more hours of stories to listen to on my next road trip though. They’re like mini-narrative Ted-Talks. I keep thinking back on that first one I listened to and how effective it was. It incorporated cultural tradition, family dynamics, personality, humor, and of course a form of transit. It also held my attention throughout, which I admit can be hard to do. I like the formal informality of them. That may sound stupid, but there is something about speaking a story in front of people that is very formal and eloquent. Yet the audience allows for informality. It is comforting and new.
I’m excited to think more about Moth storytelling and I definitely plan on attending one of the next two to see it in action. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a story of my own by then!