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The Moth – Stories Told

Where in the world am I today?: Yellowknife, NWT, Canada

While I was in Seattle last weekend for Moisture Festival, the friend I was staying with, Matt Baker, introduced me to “The Moth – Live Storytelling Performances.” Matt had several of the series on CD so I dumped a few onto my iPhone so I could listen to them in the car on my drive back to Vancouver.

Over the course of the three hours or so that it took to drive back to Vancouver I heard various stories including a couple of great ones that were performed by Thomas Dolby who described how he had met Michael Jackson and another by Joe Jackson who described the moment when it clicked and he decided to become a professional musician. These two really stood out, but all of the stories were great to listen to.

So much media these days seems to bombard you with images and sounds and chaos and confusion, that I found it really refreshing to just sit in my car and listen to various human voices telling stories about events in their lives that had had an impact. There was something quite a bit more human about the stories, the voices and the shared experience of a story that was really great!

I was reminded of a conversation I had with Glenn Singer at one point many years ago. We were discussing his show and how on many levels his show is based around a story that he just loves telling. One of those stories that gets better each time you tell it because it get refined and polished. The intonation in the voice as it’s being told, the pace, the dynamics and expression. Certainly these things are heightened in a live performance situation when you can enjoy the narrator’s physicality as well, but sometimes the telling of a good story is such and auditory experience that it’s better not to be distracted by any visual stimulus because it allows you to craft the image in your mind’s eye and that’s almost always a more vivid playground that what ever reality someone else might create.

Years ago I was on a road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver with Glenn and Amy Rose, and Amy picked up a two cassette tape (yes cassette tapes…this should be an indication of just how long ago this was) story telling package by Garrison Keillor called – The Book of Guys. Garrison Keillor is an amazing story teller and the three hours of tails that the collection contained both amused us and kept us distracted on the very long drive from Edmonton to the coast. There’s something really great about stories on road trips…

Anyway… I quickly devoured the stories that I had downloaded to my phone on the trip back to Vancouver and hopped onto iTunes to download some more from “The Moth’s” podcast. There were six more stories available when I hit iTunes up for my Story fix and I ended up finishing those off on a jaunt on public transit a few days ago… I’ve subscribed to the podcast so that as new stories are posted I’ll download them automatically and feel my hunger for the spoken word.

Sometimes I feel like the world is moving faster and faster and faster all the time, and taking a moment to slowdown and just listen is good for the soul I think. Do yourself a favour, take a moment to slow down and check out ‘The Moth.’

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