Have you ever seen someone perform and say silently to yourself, “I think I could do that!”? I’ve spent about 90% of the tens of thousands of hours in my car listening to talk radio. Not political discussion. Informative and entertaining talk radio. The most compelling shows are the ones in which real people share stories from their lives. So, naturally, one of my favorite programs is “The Moth Story Hour” on NPR.
The Moth is dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Once a month in cities around the world, local Moth organizations announce a theme. Anyone who comes to the show is invited to put their name in a hat for one of the coveted ten spots per show to share a story from their lives based on that night’s theme. A panel of judges ranks each storyteller. The winner of each monthly competition is entered into the yearly “Moth Story GrandSlam” which, in Houston, will take place at Cullen Performance Hall at the University of Houston this Friday night, March 4, 2016, at 8:00 p.m.
I know all of this because I will be competing. While I’d always listened to The Moth on NPR, I had no idea we had a local monthly event until a year ago when I learned about it an hour before the show. I was told the night’s theme was “Delusions.” Fortunately, I needed no time to prepare because if there is one subject I know a few things about, it is delusions. So, I showed up, was surprised to see several hundred people already gathered; I put my name in a hat and, as luck would have it, my name was called first. I was thankful. I didn’t want any more time to think about it.
It is awe-inspiring the first time you walk out on that huge stage with 500+ people looking at you who are waiting to be entertained. I remember taking a deep breath and thinking, “Just keep talking.” That’s why you have to feel good about the story you are going to share.
I told the story of being a delusional 12-year-old navigating my parents’ divorce by spending 2-years to get to know The President of The United States, Jimmy Carter. (It worked! Many years later President Carter would introduce me to Nelson Mandela as “A young man, but an old friend.”)
As I told the story, I could feel the audience was with me. I could tell they were enjoying where I was taking them. This was an indescribable feeling. The only better feeling I had that night, after listening to 9 other great stories, was when I was announced the winner!
The Moth Radio Hour has tapped into a hunger for the timeless art of storytelling. The show airs on 500 public radio stations across the globe — and its podcast, is downloaded more than 30 million times a year.
In short, if the opportunity ever comes your way to step out of your comfort zone and live out a fantasy: GO FOR IT! Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering “What if I’d tried to . . .”
The Moth Story Slam is Hosted by Dusti Rhodes, a high school English teacher by day and a stand-up comedian by night. The evening will include stories by ten local StorySLAM winners: Aryana Rose, Brian Anyanwu, Cesar Cano, Debra Chronister, Greg Audel, Michel Winters, Paul Normandin, Randall Robinson, Sam Young, and Tyler Darnell. Drawing on the theme “When Worlds Collide,”
Native Houstonian Greg Audel works for the personal injury firm The Law Office of Pearson Grimes III, having previously directed the Homeless Unit of The Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, where he worked primarily with abused women and children and is now proud to serve on the Board of Directors of Houston’s Writers In The Schools. At night, he turns into a producer of live entertainment and a storyteller. He lives by the credo that if you want to have amazing experiences, you better get busy making them happen. Thanks to his appearances at “The Moth Story Slam” Greg was invited to first be a guest, and now a co-host, on the radio program, “So, What’s Your Story?” on Houston’s 90.1 KPFT!