When I tell a story in front of a live audience, I get to exist with my listeners inside the moment of the telling. It’s a scary and thrilling space. As a writer, I’m more comfortable hiding behind my pages. But when I’m brave enough to expose myself to the imperfections of the unfolding moment, that’s where I discover true vulnerability and specificity. The first time I went to a Moth performance was in winter 2009, with a man I knew was about to break up with me. Though I sat beside him anxiously aware that he was checking out a petite girl two rows over who was still young enough to look good with her hair in a high ponytail, I was also powerfully swept up in the fearlessness taking place on the stage as strangers–within the framework of stories–confronted the raw truth of their lives. I knew I had to climb up on that stage, too. This was the beginning of finding my way to writing memoir. One month later, I went alone to Housing Works Bookstore, stood up, and bombed. Thankfully, the experience made me feel so alive and on the edge of discovery that, a few weeks later, with a different story, I tried again.
This was my third story. The theme of the night was Lost and I won the Moth Slam.