In t-minus 8 hours (give her take for my lack of math skills), I will be in Scranton for the second installment of the Scranton Story Slam. I will be telling stories along with local talent including the freshly-minted Andrea McGuigan, Rock 107’s Dave DiRienzo, artist Ted Michalowski, and many more. In the spirit of The Moth, the StorySlam is a place where the community comes together to share in true stories. From the humorous to the dramatic, the sublime to the banal, and everywhere in between, it’s about sharing a piece of your life with the larger community.
I’ve really labored over what story to tell tonight. I don’t think of myself as a natural storyteller, I’m a poet. The world I share with readers/listeners are passed through the filter of form and craft and ultimately the story of a poem is only an aspect of what I’m trying to convey. For the StorySlam, it’s a different… story.
The more I thought about it—about telling a story and not performing a poem—the more I began to panic. I don’t mean, run for the hills panic, but I think there’s a vulnerability which exists in this space that doesn’t when I’m performing poetry. It’s a slight difference but a difference nonetheless. I think part of it had to do with the fact that I couldn’t think of a story engaging or endearing enough to tell. All things considered, I’m a pretty boring guy—too many records, drives a Buick, enjoys cake. I don’t think a five minute story about driving to a record store while enjoying a Little Debbie snack cake would really get to what the StorySlam was looking for—unfortunately the theme is “Dirty Laundry” not “Husky Nights.”
When I finally figured out what my story was going to be, I also figured out what StorySlam was about. It’s not the story, it’s the connection. The art of sharing is truly what will take center stage tonight. Regardless how we package our tale, it’s about connecting everyone in the room in a shared experience. That common ground exists not in the details of what’ll be said, but in the emotion of what we will feel. It’s why I write and perform—it’s why I listen and read. It’s why I am going to Scranton tonight. I hope to see you there.
Scranton StorySlam 7:30PM The Banshee in Scranton.