In 2014, I had a free evening and, on a whim, I joined a Burlington Writers Workshop session on oral storytelling, led by Gin Ferrara, a very talented local storyteller. She made us break up into pairs and tell each other a five-minute, off-the-cuff story. Before I left the room, I knew I needed to finish and tell that story.
I went home and stayed up until the wee hours writing the first draft. A couple of weeks later, I stood up at StorytellingVT and told the story. That night I posted: I did my first live storytelling event tonight at the Monkey House. I’m a little worried about how much applause feels like I imagine the effects of crack cocaine.
When I look at that story now, I blush a little that I told it in public, but the Monkey House is a very friendly place for first-timers, and the warm reception kept me coming back. Which I’ve been doing in every available venue ever since.
How lucky we are to live in a place where the art of storytelling and a community of wonderful tellers is thriving. Here’s where you can find me telling whenever there is room for my latest tale of adventure or memory:
- ExtempoVT—second Wednesdays (or Thursdays) around Central VT
- StorytellingVT—first Tuesdays at the Monkey House in Winooski
- Burlington’s Moth Story Slam—second Tuesdays at the Skinny Pancake in Burlington
Blind Date: A blind date on a trip to a museum leads to unexpected results. (Tied for first place at Moth Story Slam in February 2015. Winner at March 2015 Extempo. Read an article about Extempo’s fifth anniversary.)
Wild Things: I find out there’s no such thing as living alone in Florida—the critters will always be there to keep you company—but it takes a shock to give up my illusion I’m in control. (Tied for second place at the April 2015 Extempo.)
Pirate Jim: A young American tourist is stuck in a foreign jungle with a pirate, and friendship ensues.
Traffic Stop: A redneck cop is frightened by a lesbian and tragic consequences nearly follow.
Rival: I attempt to explain how I became a polo player by improbable accident, and then risked my neck as the price of admission.
Wardrobe Malfunction: An embarrassing moment in kindergarten leads to a life of fashion conformity until I see the light.
Foot in Mouth: The best intentions don’t prevent me from insulting two very nice men.
Private Lives: I expropriate a very funny and touching letter from Liv Ullman to a famous director, and, years later, I solve its mystery.
The Neighbors from Hell: Noisy upstairs neighbors cannot be ignored forever.
Road Canyon: A near drowning incident in a remote desert canyon makes me better appreciate my brother-in-law.
Cousin: Reconnection with with a long-lost, beloved relative doesn’t go quite as planned.