YOU GUYS! I’ve become slightly obsessed with a podcast that I have been recommending to anyone and everyone and now it’s your turn. It’s called The Moth and produced in the US by a storytelling organisation of the same name that runs events called Story Slams where people get up on stage and share stories about their lives; no notes, just incredible storytelling. The podcast is a collection of audio recordings of these live storytelling gatherings. It pretty much ticks EVERY BOX for me, here’s why:
For the past two years and a bit, the only books to grace my bedside table have been about one or another aspect of parenting. I’m quite daunted by reading novels as a result and can mostly only read a page before falling asleep. Apparently, to read a book properly, you need to read a few chapters in one sitting, preferably during the DAY – who knew?! This podcast is my train commute buddy and my kitchen companion after Gus has gone to bed, while making dinner. And let me tell you, getting lost in a story while chopping carrots has never had more appeal…I have been known to make the meal AND do all the cleaning up in one go just so I can finish listening a story (?!)…
Also, I want and need to consume more stories. It’s the number one thing recommend to improve your writing: read more (of other people’s work obviously)!
And I’m fascinated by oral storytelling traditions. As humans I believe we are wired for this, but it’s sadly a fading cultural norm and I’d love to do my bit to keep it alive.
I’m actually a terribly listener, in a teaching context you wouldn’t describe me as a verbal learner – when I hear instructions or directions I find the words really difficult to pin down – they blow away like dust bunnies under a couch when you try to reach them with a broom. But if you tell me a good story….I’m hooked….and can retell it with great enthusiasm and accuracy.
By now I’ve listened to about 50 stories. They’ve made me squeal with laughter, stop in my tracks gasping for breath, cry quietly at the heartache and applaud out loud.
Here are some of my Moth favourites…
The Ghost of Rue Jacob
synopsis: American Joan Juliet Buck lands a new job as editor of French Vogue and settles into life in Paris by renting a peculiar apartment with a secret that she can’t share with anyone.
best line from the story: The French, they’re always punishing you!
How to draw a nekkid man
synopsis: Burnt-out corporate exec challenges herself to try something new where there are no rules or benchmarks, and learns a valuable lesson.
best line from the story: “Even though I’m not wearing pearls, they are emblazoned on my chest.”
Who can you trust?
synopsis: A researcher endures a series of heartbreaking events in a pivotal week in her career over three decades ago – one which had a far reaching impact on breast cancer treatment today.
best line from the story: “If you can’t trust Joe DiMaggio, then who can you trust?”
listen here (the individual story is not available so you have to access the 13 Jan 2015 podcast and fastforward to 38:00 mins)