Intro To Storytelling: Wow Your Crowd | Kevin Allison | Skillshare

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Intro To Storytelling: Wow Your Crowd

teacher avatar Kevin Allison, RISK! & The Story Studio

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (2h 60m)
    • 1. Lesson 1 v3 1

    • 2. Lesson 2 v3 1

    • 3. Lesson 3 v3 1

    • 4. Lesson 4 v3 1

    • 5. Lesson 5 v3 1

    • 6. Lesson 6 v3 1

    • 7. Lesson 7 v3 1

    • 8. Lesson 8 v3 1

    • 9. Story 1 v3 1

    • 10. Story 2 v3 1

    • 11. Story 3 v3 1

    • 12. Story 4 v3 1

    • 13. Story 5 v3 1

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About This Class

When it comes to making a meaningful connection with other people, nothing compares to your personal stories.

You come to trust others, learn from others and are sometimes inspired by others based on their ability to share their stories. And even if you don't think you have stories, here is where you'll learn, you do. 

In this workshop, you'll apply a series of practical guidelines, step-by-step, for creating unforgettable true stories of your own experience to use throughout your life. Please note that if your aim is to tell stories in the workplace about projects, brands, client relations and so on, The Story Studio has a course called Storytelling for Business also available on Skillshare. This course, Intro to Storytelling, is about stories that may or may not have anything to do with your career.

In both video lectures and workbook exercises, you'll find the nitty-gritty tips and tools of a foolproof workshopping process you can use for crafting story after story.

What You'll Come Away With

After taking this course, you'll know just what to do when you notice listeners losing interest or sense that you're veering off track. You'll identify and explore the most affecting and fascinating moments you've lived through. You'll learn how to maintain suspense and build an emotionally resonant arc. And you'll be empowered from sharing your experience thoughtfully and with heart.

Be heard, be remembered and create the change you wish to see in your communication with dynamic and entertaining storytelling.

Meet Your Teacher

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Kevin Allison

RISK! & The Story Studio


Kevin Allison is the creator/host of the sensational storytelling podcast RISK! ( and a member of the legendary sketch comedy group The State. He is also the founder of The Story Studio: which offers a variety of storytelling workshops and events.

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1. Lesson 1 v3 1: Hello and welcome to intro to storytelling. This is the first lecture lecture one. What is a story? And be sure to check for more ideas and activities in the supplemental materials on the you Timmy site. I'm Kevin Allison, founder of the School, the Story studio at this story, studio dot org's and Host of Risk, the live show and podcast where people tell true stories they never thought they dare to share in public. Now this workshop is perfect for people who might want to tell six minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes stories at shows like Risk or the Moth. But working on this kind of personal storytelling will in fact make you more skillful at communicating in any creative or social outing. As I've said, we're going to start with the elementary question. What is a story for our purposes? Because that word is used in different contexts quite a lot. So it's important to define a couple of things that the kinds of stories will be working on here should always have. You've probably read a lot of personal essays or heard a lot of stand up comedy routines where the author took a thesis statement and then riffed on that idea with a series of examples that illustrated, Like, What's the deal with airplane food? The portions air so small. And do people really like that much salt on their peanuts? And of all the nuts they give you? Why are they always be nuts? That's not a story. It's more like a stream of consciousness that's merely sticking to a theme. If you appear on my show risk or on any other oral storytelling show on stage or on the radio or online, you want to make sure to include two essential ingredients of all stories. The first thing you need is a human. At least one a story usually centres on a person you might think, Oh no, I wanted to tell a story about skydiving, But perhaps you could reframe that idea so that your story is about how your wife became obsessed with skydiving and you just couldn't seem to change her mind about it. Now, in both of those reframe ings, people are having felt experience. People are reacting to incidents, taking actions, connecting with each other, witnessing incidents, having thoughts and feelings about these experiences all along the way the first thing that we the listeners latch onto when hearing a story is a person to be able to relate to, maybe even to sympathize with the person who is making most of the choices taking most of the actions engaging in most of the interactions were following is called the protagonist. She's like the driver of the car, and the story is like the road trip. And for most personal stories, the protagonist is also the narrator. There are some exceptions where another character is doing most of the doing, and the narrator is mostly observing and reacting to the more protagonist IQ character. Like that example story of how your wife became obsessed with skydiving and then you just couldn't seem to convince her otherwise. But either way, we're drawn into a story first by people having felt experiences. So when you do think back on a particular Siris of incidents you'd like to share about, ask yourself now, who was I before all that went down? What was I most hopeful for at that time, or most anxious about? Was there a belief or a habit or a mood or a memory that I was preoccupied with that affected how I moved through those events. And if those events might be similar to events I've heard other people talking about before , how was I different from most people? What were the voices in my head saying that were only my values talking, pushing and pulling me this way and that, And by the end of the experience, was I even just a little bit changed? Did I end up seeing things from a slightly different perspective? Or was I maybe just in a slightly different mood? And if your wife is more the protagonist of the story and you the narrator arm or the Observer and the sidekick, you can ask all those same questions about both of you. Now the second essential ingredient in a personal story was already hinted at when I mentioned your changing moods before. The second thing that listeners latch onto is an emotional through line, if the narrator and or protagonist, while just call the hero From now on, if the hero really cares about what's happening in the story, we're likely to care, too. If you can illustrate how depressed you were in the beginning, how frightened you were in the middle and how euphoric you were at the end. We listers are likely to have a satisfying emotional experience as well. Most good stories have what we call high stakes. The hero is convinced that there's something of value that might be lost or something of value that might be gained depending on how this story unfolds. If you ever attend a storytelling workshop with other students in the room, you might have a class where some woman gets up and she says, Oh, she was once stabbed by a mugger, and the paramedics said she might not get to the hospital in time to live. And you sit there in class thinking, Oh my gosh, the stakes of this woman's story are so high, it's life and death. My stupid story is just about how much I wanted Barbie's dream house when I was seven years old. But when you were seven years old, getting Barbie's dream house for Christmas might have meant almost as's much to you as getting to the hospital fast enough was for that woman because your seven year old heart and mind didn't know of anything more precious and important than Barbie's dream house, So show us how invested you were in getting that gift. Show us your fantasies. You're sleeping dreams, your conversations you had with your mom and dad about it. And Santa maybe what you remember of the TV commercial for the dream house and so on and so on. Show us your hopes and fears, rising and falling throughout the story, and we'll begin to care about that Barbie's dream house as much as you did back then. In most stories, the hero is in one emotional plane at the beginning, and then he or she lives through some incidents and that those incidents they kind of complicate or intensify that emotion. And the hero arrives at a slightly different emotional plane at the end. So it's not just the character of the hero that we latch onto as a traveling companion to relate to during the story. It's also the shifting values and moods of that character as life throws sad or ridiculous or delightful or scary circumstances at the hero so that the hero starts really caring. That's why an electric tube will focus on brainstorming on stories about moments in your life where you really cared how things were going to turn out. Thanks for watching 2. Lesson 2 v3 1: Hello and welcome back to intro to storytelling. This is lecture to brainstorming for stories to tell Now, as I said in Lecture 11 of the two essential elements of all stories is an emotional through line. The incidents you describe living through should be incidents that you found compelling in an emotional way, and you noticed your emotions shifting over a trajectory. You cared you took action, and then you started to feel a little differently. That's a standard pattern. The ancient Greeks had two words for types of time. Crow knows just just ordinary dated, a mundane reality passing by and Kairos, which is precious Time. Those moments when you thought, Oh, this is something. Let's say you're walking down the street on an ordinary day you might get stuck on a song lyric that's being sung into your ears from your iPod. For a moment, you might start day dreaming about what you're gonna have for lunch. You might momentarily think you you see a friend and then realize, Oh, no, that's not her, but it's all kind of in one ear and out the other. But what if a little girl was suddenly struck down by a bicyclist about 20 feet in front of you. Suddenly, everything changes right. Your heart rate increases. You feel pins and needles in your hands. You do a super quick scan of the environment for any other threats or anyone who could help you yell out with your voice in an emotional way. It's okay, sweetheart. We'll get you help. Right now, you're super aware of how you feel in your guts in your chest. Your super aware of how she seems to feel what's going on in our eyes, in the emotions that are showing through her body language, you are aware that something precious might be lost or gained in this moment. You really care. Now, psychologists tell us that the reason people so often include the phrase it was as if time slowed down in their stories is because when something really traumatic or really crucial or really be a tifico happens to people, their psyches start paying much more attention. They're not filtering so much information anymore into the unconscious. They want to make sure they're getting all the information around, and so the perception seems to stretch to be about fit. All that information into their consciousness. Those are Kairos moments, as the age Greeks would say. Or, as they say on the moth story worthy moments. Now you might think, Well, I've never climbed Mount Everest or saved someone from a burning building. But that's not what it's about. You might have had a profound realization while riding the bus one day and a tear came to your eye. That's a story worthy moment. The circumstance, maybe Monday. But because the moment meant something to you, the moment is not mundane at all. Now, I'd like for you to grab a pen and paper or open a new document on your computer so that you can jot some things down while I continue talking here. I'm going to lead you through a brainstorm of some of the most story worthy moments of your life as I talk, jot down phrases or even whole sentences. If you're a quick writer type, er, just know that I'm gonna keep moving at a pretty quick clip, so you'll have to jot things down quickly. You can always stop the video whenever you want. Stop and start again, and you can always come back to this document or this list whenever you think. What could I tell a story about next? It might be that a phrase or a sentence that you drop down at the beginning of the brain storm could be combined with a phrase or sentence from the middle of the brainstorm to make one story. Or it could be that one little phrase you jot down ends up yielding three different stories . It's all just grist for the mill. Have you got your pen and paper ready or your keyboard? All right, let's go. What was a time in your life when you were most inspired? Maybe you discovered a new thing that became a fascination for you. Or maybe you fell in love with someone. Maybe you had some sort of eureka moment where your perception of something shifted, Or maybe a big opportunity knocked on your door. Now, how about a time in your life when you were really upset? Maybe you were totally at odds with someone or with some institution. Maybe you felt betrayed or disillusioned by someone or something. Maybe you put a lot of effort into something, but it just wasn't enough to work. Maybe you found yourself really mired in a bad habit or found that you had gone down a really bad path. Now, how about a time in your life when you were filled with compassion? Maybe your heart really went out to someone, and you knew you had to be there for them. Or maybe you experienced a great loss yourself, the loss of a loved one or a job or a dream. Or maybe there was a circumstance where someone else had compassion for you and was really there for you. All right, how about a time in your life when you were super embarrassed? Maybe you told a lie that just became so messy you couldn't stay on top of it. Or maybe someone laughed at you, and it really stung. Maybe some unconscious area of weakness really tripped you up. Despite your best intentions. Maybe you did something you later considered pretty seriously wrong. And you felt like you had to make amends. How about a time when you were filled with joy? Maybe a weekend that was just filled with laughs or excitement, thrills or maybe a blissful sort of entrancing experience? Maybe the best date you ever had or maybe the worst date you ever add. How about a time you were really scared, Your worst injury, a time that you were panicked because you thought you might screw something really important up or a time that you felt that you were emotionally in harm's way. You felt like you had to protect yourself from someone or something. And finally, how about a time in your life when you were really surprised? Maybe you were blindsided by something? Or maybe there was this mystery that for the longest time, you couldn't figure out what's really going on here. Or maybe you had an experience that you feel with supernatural. Maybe something really shocked you at the time. But it's funny to you now. Okay, pens down. Now, what you have in front of you is a big brainstorm that you can return to again and again over the years for developing various stories over time. Remember, one little incident that you jotted down just now might later trigger the memory of another incident you haven't thought of in years. Somewhere down the line now in the next lecture will talk about taking a first stab at telling a story. Thanks for watching 3. Lesson 3 v3 1: Hello and welcome back to intro to storytelling. This is Lecture three, taking a first stab at telling a story. Now, in the last lecture, you did a big brainstorm on some of the most memorable, meaningful and emotional moments from your life. Now I'd like you to zero in on one and start work shopping it as you watch the rest of these lectures. One thing to keep in mind is that most stories have at least one major incident that is more important than most of the other incidents in the story. For example, if you want your story to be about the near death experience that you had after a car crash , it would make sense to make the 1st 3rd of the story to be about what was going on in your life that day in general when you took the car out for a ride, then make the 2nd 3rd of the story about the accident itself, then make the 3rd 3rd of the story about losing consciousness and beginning to see the light that people talk about experiencing when they start to die. And then the last paragraph of the story might be about how nearly dying left you slightly changed. Or let's say you want to tell a story about losing your virginity on your wedding night. The 1st 3rd of the story could be about the romance that led up to the wedding. The 2nd 3rd of the story could be about the wedding night itself, and the 3rd 3rd of the story could be about that crucial moment of actually losing your virginity. And then, in the end, there could again be some sort of reflection about how that first time changed you a little bit. In other words, when you're trying to figure out the basic shape of a story in the earliest stages of working on it, see if you can zero in on a main event a moment of climax or of discovery of succeeding or a failing or a feeling some sort of shift in your head and heart. Let that main event be like a road marker that you put in the middle of the highway. The beginning of the story can be about journeying toward that marker. The end of the story can be like riding off into the sunset, leaving that marker behind now remember how I said that Stand up comedians often think in terms of riffing on a theme in storytelling. You should be more concerned with actual incidents the hour during which you gave up drinking the morning your boss fired you the weekend you ran that marathon. You want to try to recall actual conversations that took place physical interactions that occurred, choices that were made and acted on changes You remember happening in your body in the moment like when you felt like someone punched you. So in starting to think about what story you might want to tell, see if, just for a moment you can start re seeing some of the story playing out in your mind's eye like movie scenes, just little flashes of certain moments. Get a general impression of what some of those key scenes might be, and then you're ready to improvise. Now, you might be kind of surprised to hear me use the word improvise. But that's the way that I recommend you take a first stab at telling your story. The easiest way is just to find a friend that you really trust and tell that person Hey, can we sit down for about five or six minutes. And can you not interrupt me? Well, I try telling this story. Let's just see what comes out. But just Azizi, and actually even more practical is to tell your story into a recording device rather than to a friend. The voice memo app on your smartphone or the audio recording application on your computer. Our perfect tools forgetting that in perfect rough. Let's just see what comes out of my mouth, this first time version into the world. The reason I recommend actually using your voice to tell your story for the first time is because you'll be using your voice to tell it in the end. Also, if you start working on your story by typing it out on a keyboard or jotting it down with a pen, you run the risk of composing it with the syntax and the style of written prose rather than the way you actually speak. Also, when you're just improvising that first version, some very interesting details might pop out of your head that you're in. A inner critic might stop you from John ing down if you're writing. Also, you can listen back to your first version and start jotting down the parts you really liked . There you can improvise the second draft and listen to that one again and jot down the parts you like from that to and begin to build a script. But it will be a script that is based on the way you actually speak. Not on the way you were trained to write essays in high school. Remember that stories are remarkably adaptable. You can tell a story one way to a potential boss in a job interview. Tell that story in about two minutes, right? And then you can tell the same story to a crowd in a comedy club with lots more juicy detail in it in about eight minutes, you can tell the story of, for example, losing your virginity in a very sweet way one year and re tell the same story in a very dark and ironic way. Three years later, it's not uncommon for storytellers to suddenly have a flash of memory about a particular incident while they're telling the story live on stage in front of an audience, although that memory eluded them while they were preparing to tell the story It's also not unusual for people who hear your story to share insights with you based on what you said that you might not have been conscious off when you said it. That is, after all, why we go to therapists right to tell our life stories and get extra insights into our narratives. So your first draft doesn't have to be perfect, nor does your second or third or any draft ever. What's most important is that you're attempting to be as honest as you can and as vivid and as generous in your sharing each time you tell the story in new, whether it's into a recording device to a friend or to an entire auditorium of people. Many cities have open story slams. Unlike curated story shows like Risk Open Story Slams Air shows where you can put your name in a hat and see if the host is gonna call you, pick your name out and call you to come up and share your story. Some are competitions, but others are more casual without the official judging going on. Those more casual ones are especially good places to try stories. For the first time, the audience is almost always a supportive as can be. They know that your story is not set in stone. It's a work in progress so you can get the feel for how people react when you tell the story. But you can also ask individuals what they liked or what they wanted to hear more about, or what they were a little bit confused about, if anything, if they felt there was any room for improvement. Some shows and slams have a rule that a storyteller is forbidden to bring notes up onto the stage. Others allow for storytellers to bring a change sheet of bullet points phrases that jog the memory about what comes next. And you can place this cheat sheet on a music stand on stage, and it it's kind of like a security blanket. Should you momentarily forget where you are in your story, you can just glance down for a moment at your little cheat sheet. If your city doesn't have an open mic, a story slam like that, you might consider creating one of your own story. Slams are enjoyable, their edifying and they're a great way to meet people. Those are my recommendations for taking a first stab at telling a story in the next lecture will talk about the actual text of your story and the difference between scenes and summary . Thanks for watching. 4. Lesson 4 v3 1: Welcome back to intro to storytelling. This is lecture for the difference between scenes and summary. Now, in the last lecture, I suggested you take a first stab at a telling a story by using the voice memo app on your phone and just improvising it into that. If you haven't already done that, maybe you can pause the video now and do that. Once you've done it, I'll bet you can listen back to the story you told and notice the most common room for improvement place that most people have in the first versions of their stories. They included too much of one of the two modes in which narrative text is usually operating and not enough of the other. The text of a narrative is usually functioning in one of two modes. Narrative, summary and scenes. It's not always cut and dry, but usually you can point to a sentence or a couple of sentences in a story and say that's mostly narrative summary and point to another consecutive sentences in a story and say that part is mostly seen. It narrative summary is an overview. It's expository and explanatory. It's a way of moving us through broader concepts of the story you've probably heard the writers axiom whenever possible. Show DOn't TELL. Well, narrative summary is telling Think of the beginning of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It's a broad conceptual explanation rather than a cinematic presentation of moment by moment incidents unfolding in a specific location during a specified stretch of time. In narrative summary we don't see in here specific actions and utterances were considering facets of life in a more general way. From a distance. Here is a summary sort of sentence. I've always considered myself a runner. I saw myself as being a runner even before I knew all that much about the sport of running . See how that sounds kind of conceptual. Compare it to this so I'm running as fast as I can. It's so foggy out I can barely see my fist pumping in front of me. But I keep saying to myself right out loud, Bill, you're a runner. You always have been. Now, when you say it like that, you're in scene mode, not summary. You're communicating the same general idea, but you're showing the idea in action, not just telling us about it. In theory, when narration goes into scene mode, we go into something that feels more like real time events unfolding moment by moment, with sights and sounds and smells of days textures, whole spoken utterances, physical action, physical sensations inside the body, thoughts running through the head and other details unfolding for us. Play by play. Here is the opening line from Thomas pinch ins novel Gravity's Rainbow. That book starts with the line. A screaming comes across the sky, and in the next sentence we learned that this is a bomb that is in the process of falling onto the city of London. We can see and hear this bomb falling at a particular time of day in a particular place. And because the bomb is falling now, something else is about to happen in a chain of cause and effect. This is dramatic action both seen and summary are necessary. There are stretches of a story where important things happened, but they're not so important that we need to be shown them in cinematic detail. So a broad overview of those events should be covered quickly in summary so we can get to the next juicy part the next scene as soon as possible. Think of a typical story joke. Summary will be used for the less important parts that get us from seen a two seen Be So The lady heads home and follows the doctor's orders, and she's a little unsure if it's gonna work. But she figures here, What the hell? She gets a good night's sleep. She drinks the glass of water, and she shows up again the next day. It may bring some imagery to mind, but it's not rooting us into really being present toe a specific moment developing. It's giving us a general summarized overview, then the jokes, which is Maurin to scenic mode. When we get to the next juiciest part the part where the most consequential incident happens, the doctor swings the door open, and in a split second he sees her. He drops his clipboard and grabs his chest. He says. Mrs Sullivan, what did you dodo your heads turned into an orange? And she thinks, is this guy's crazy. You must be seeing things, she blurts out. What yours is Purple. That's a scene. Most stories we love have a mix that adds up to a little bit more seen than summary. If you've got 60% told in scene mode and 40% told in summary mode, you're probably just fine. Now I'll quote for you to little bits from the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and see if you can tell which is the more scenic and which is summarizing . Here's the first bit. My family have been prominent well to do people in this Midwestern city for three generations, the cara ways or something of a clan, and we have a tradition that were descended from the Dukes of Book. Look. Okay, here is the second bit. Miss Baker's lips fluttered. She nodded at me almost imperceptibly and then quickly tipped her head back again. The object she was balancing had obviously tottered a little and given her something of a fright. Again, a sort of apology arose to my lips. Well, if you guess that the first bit was more of a summary and the second bit was more of a scene, you got it. It's not perfectly cut and dry. There are sometimes scenic ish moments that seem to be happening in summary or summary ish moments that seem to be happening in scenes. But we make the distinction for the reason that if your story has too much summary and not enough seen, we will grow bored. We like to witness life happening, action being taken, dialogue being spoken, sensory experience being observed. It's important to have just slightly more scenic stuff happening in your stories than summary. In the 19 seventies, sociologists did a huge study to find out when therapists were succeeding at making patients change and when they were not so they listened to thousands of hours of therapy sessions. But what they found was that it didn't so much matter what the therapist was doing. What mattered was what the patient was doing. If the patient spent the hour speaking in summary, not much changed. If the patient started to recieve Re here, re feel some of the traumatic incidents they live through, walking the therapist through a play. By play of the dramatic action, things started to shift. So if a Vietnam vet were to sit down with a therapist and speak in narrative summary, it might sound something like this. Oh, the summer of 1969 was the roughest. We lost a couple of guys early on, so morale was just low. There was a lot of confusion about the terrain we were moving through. Ah, a lot of communication breakdowns. But if that same that were to sit down with a therapist and speak in scenic mode, that might sound something like this. So there he waas just six feet in front of me and blood was gushing from his shoulder. He was screaming something at me and I thought, Help him help him. But I could not move my legs. My calves and my knees were just frozen solid as ice. And then I started hearing this awful sound coming up from right behind me, and I started to turn my head. That's speaking in scenic mode, and you can see how it's more compelling in the next lecture will look at how to get more scenic stuff happening in your stories by including details from the six senses. Thanks for watching 5. Lesson 5 v3 1: Welcome back to intro to storytelling. This is Lecture five, the 1st 4 of the Six Senses. Now, in the previous lecture, we talked about how important it is to have scenic moments in your stories. Scenes show us incidents unfolding moment by moment, in a specific location at a specific time of day. They helped the listener feel like he or she is witnessing life happening. In fact, it's possible to make the listener identify so much with the character in a story that some part of the listener might feel that they are vicariously going through that character's experience in their place. And that's key because the more the listener feels that he or she is witnessing or even sharing the experience being described, the more likely the listeners emotions will be evoked. And remember, Emotion is one of the two essential ingredients of a story. In the previous lecture, I also quoted the famous writers Maxim, Whenever possible Show Don't tell telling is the job of narrative summary, but scenes show us the incidents being described by including sensory details that recreate felt experience. The novelist E. L. Doctorow put it this way. I don't want to tell you it was raining. I want to make you feel the rain falling around you In the west, we say there are five senses, but the Buddhists say there are six. I encourage storytellers to include these six senses in their story scenes because the senses are the way that we experience life while it's happening. So referring to sensory experience in your scenes helps the listener connect to the felt experience. In this lecture will cover the 1st 4 of the six senses, and we'll start with site. Remember how outward appearances of people, places and things created a visceral reaction in you instead of just saying I was nervous, you could say I glanced down and saw I bit my finger nail so low it was bleeding. Now we, the listeners see that blood in our mind's eye, and we get nervous with you. Instead of just saying he wasn't so confident, you could say he couldn't seem to look me straight in the eye that night. He kept his eyes on the floor like he was might find something down there. Now we, the listeners air, engaged in observing his lack of confidence in action. The way you were when it actually happened. We'd prefer not to be told he wasn't confident. We prefer for you to prove it by showing evidence. There's a story a guy told on risk once he was visiting Colombia, South America. When he got into a terrible accident in the story, he said, I was on my back on a gurney being rushed into the hospital. I looked up and saw the rows of fluorescent lights passing overhead. I thought, Oh, no, they're about 1/3 as bright as the lights in an American hospital would be So he used the way that he saw those lights to show an emotional realization he was having. He was becoming scared about this hospital's ability to take care of him. He could have just used narrative summary to say This hospital didn't seem to have the best funding. But that's not as dramatic and emotional and showing him looking and saying, Oh, no. So see if you can include more site details in your stories. Instead of saying something like, she seemed angry, you could say her smile was so forced. It was almost a Ziff. She was baring her teeth like a growling dog. Don't forget that you can use site in story. Also, by giving the audience something to look at in your performance, imitating someone's facial expressions, showing us how you were gesturing. You can use your face and body to show us how things looked sometimes, too. Now let's consider sound the tone of someone's voice, the ambiance of a room, the music off in the distance. These are all mood triggers. Instead of saying I was jealous of her work habits, you could say her constant typing was getting to me the sound of her fingernails against those keys going tickety tickety tickety tickety to giving ticketea dick. It was the sound of only one of us getting work done. Now you've got us hearing that typing in our imaginations it gives us more of a direct link to your annoyance and jealousy. Instead of saying she was depressed, you could say on the music was gone from her voice, the highs and lows of her laughing and singing and shouting. Now she spoke more like a robot. That's a more dramatic way of saying she was depressed because it gets us hearing two opposing emotional states in the way they're made manifest in vocalizations. Instead of saying my father was a cultured man, you could say my father was often reading the classics by the fire, while Bach, Beethoven and Mozart came floating out of this stereo to swirl around his head. Now it's is if we can hear the culture in the air around your father's presence. I once told a story about how I completely blanked out on stage, completely forgot the next part of the story I was telling in front of a jam packed audience full of very important people, I said it was like I'd been one of those clowns in a dunking booth, yammering and yammering away until someone threw a ball at me and I was under water. So in that example, I created a sound with my mouth to create this sudden feeling of being separated and disconnected from the audience. You can use your voice on stage to imitate the attitude or inflection in any of your characters voices, and you can sometimes think of your story itself as being somewhat like a song with certain parts that go higher in pitch or lower in volume or faster and rhythm, and so on. How about the sense of smell? Instead of saying he had a drinking problem, you might say I met the alcohol steaming out of him before we were close enough to shake hands. Now we've got his alcoholism up in our own nostrils, not in reality, but in our experiencing of this story. Instead of saying she was dying, you could say in her breath was a rotting odor, as if parts of her inside had already begun to decay. We use smell and taste less often. Then we use sight and sound in our day to day perception of the world. But they're still incredibly powerful senses. I can remember what Manhattan smelt like in the couple of weeks after the tragedy of 9 11 That acrid odor of burnt steel was so jarring it hit you in the face when you walked outside. Have you ever returned somewhere after a decade or so, like high school or a relative's house? And it all comes back to you when you smell the environment. All that is very evocative and great for storytelling, for this lecture will wrap things up with the fourth of the six senses taste. Instead of saying she didn't like me, you could say it seemed like my just being there put a taste like spoiled milk in her mouth . Also, that's a reminder that the century details in your scenes can be figurative rather than literal. Now her not liking you is more palpable, more concrete for us because we associate it with an unpleasant taste. In one story told on risk, a man said, When I hear the crack of a baseball against a bad, I can instantly taste that coppery taste of blood in my mouth, like the day that ball hit me in the face in the fifth grade. That sentence has sound and taste happening in it, and it definitely brings cinematic action to mind, so you can begin to see how the six senses help to bring scenic moments in your story toe life. Ah, lot of what you first expressed as narrative summary in your first version of your story that you recorded with your voice memo app. You can now transpose you can reframe, reword certain parts to include sights and sounds and smells and taste in. The next lecture will get to the last two of the six senses. Thanks for watching 6. Lesson 6 v3 1: Welcome back to intro to storytelling. This is Lecture six, where we'll look at the last two of the Six Senses if you're familiar with the radio show This American Life. Ira Glass, who hosts that show, once, said that when he edits a storing, he often has a person more or less say this happened, then that happened. And then I thought, and then this happened. And then that happened. And then I felt so. He keeps checking in, as it were, to the interior experience of the married ER. Let's focus now on the fifth of the Six Senses, the thinking mind. You might not be in the habit of considering the thoughts in your head or thoughts being expressed out loud as being one of the senses. But thoughts are indeed another sense through which we grasp what's going on. Our thoughts are always key to how were observing and experiencing things. If you've ever read a book by Proust or Virginia Woolf, you know that almost nothing at all happens in the outside world. In those books, there isn't a lot of dramatic action in those novels, comparable to, say, dramatic action in a novel by Stephen King. But there are stormy outbursts and intense arguments going on inside the protagonist. The heroes of Proust and Wolf are complex characters, with angels and devils battling inside themselves, filling those books with interior drama. So don't just tell us what happened outside. Tell us what was happening inside, too. Instead of saying I didn't know what to do, you could say I thought, What's the harm in keeping him on staff? One more quarter? And then I thought, Are you out of your mind? Karen, Every week you spend with them, you end up doing twice as much work instead of saying I got whole hot and bothered, say, But why should he be steamed at me? And I ever grilled him like this? Was I really the hot head here? And then I thought, Dammit, is my face getting red? Notice how, in both of those examples, we're hearing one person's mind work its way through more than one position because we often argue with ourselves. And that's drama and drama makes for good stories. But thinking mind details also include dialogue spoken right out loud and consequential. Dialogue spoken out loud is always dramatic. Instead, of saying he wanted another chance. You could say he grabbed me by the shoulder and said, Please, please, please just give me this one last chance to make this work, Phil. Instead of saying as she suggested, the report was almost done, you could say in the hallway, she waved the binder and called out in the final stretch. Make sure to let us hear your characters speak. It brings them to life in the listeners imagination. You can even talk about what you imagine they were saying in their heads. How many times have you been frustrated with a friend because they summarize a juicy conversation? Your friend might call and say, You know, my girlfriend broke up with me last night and you say, My God, what did she say? And he says she just wanted something else and you say No, do what did she say? You want him to relive the pain to recreate her exact choice of words, her tone of voice and his reactions, the drama of a play, that story telling. But there's 1/3 aspect to thinking mind, sorts of details, fantasy, those little scenic moments that take place on Lee in your head your hopes and fears of incidents that never actually happened in the narrative, but that you envision in your mind as you're going through the events. Here's a famous little fable. A scorpion wanted to cross a river. So he asked a frog Hey there, frog. Would you be so kind of carry me across? But the frog was no idiot. He could instantly imagine what it would be like to be stung by a poisonous scorpion and drown. No, no, no, no, no, Said the frog. No, thank you. If I let you on my back, I can see that you'll sting me. And I know the sting of the Scorpion is death. Now hold on, said the scorpion. Where is the logic in that if I sting you, you'll die and I'll drown too? So the frog thought, Yeah, there's no arguing with logic. He thought how heroic he would seem, having the courage and compassion toe carry a scorpion across a raging river to safety. He thought of his friends on the other side, watching him from the shore. The sight of them carrying such a dangerous animal on his back would amaze them. they would make him king of all amphibians. He decided to let the score being on his back. But just in the middle of the river, the frog felt a terrible pain and realized that after all, the Scorpion had stung him. What? Said the frog as he started to sink, taking the scorpion down with him. Where's the logic in this? Your rights at the Scorpion? It's not logical, but it's my character now. In this famous story, the thinking mind details come in dramatic dialogue between the two characters. The Scorpion pleads and persuades. The frog resists and then resigns, and they offer each other different ways of seeing things. But there's something else happening here. Fantasy. A turning point is when the frog has a moment to think to himself. It's that interior moment where he actually talks to himself and then envisions himself having great success with this decision. So whether it's in the form of day dreams or memories or theories or chatter in the head or chatter spoken right out loud, thinking mind details bring drama to life and help us to relate to and sometimes even sympathize with the character. Having those thoughts Now there's just one more of the six senses to cover, and that is the feeling body In the West, We call the sense associated with body touch, but in fact, the body senses things in myriad ways. When you feel a chill, go up your spine when you get a lump in your throat just before you start to cry. When you feel the blood coursing through your veins or the hairs on your neck, stand up straight when you feel your stomach twisting and knots or your forehead pounding with a headache when you shake someone's hand. But you can feel that they're not wholeheartedly shaking yours back when you hug someone and are surprised to feel that it kind of excites you when you find yourself backing away from a conversation that you find tiring. And, of course, when you find your eyes starting to glaze over because the story that someone is telling you doesn't have enough of the six senses in it so feeling. Body details include sensations inside the body and outward expressions from the body. Instead of saying I finally calmed down, you could say, then I felt as if my shoulders relaxed and I got this lighter, airy feeling in my chest instead of saying he was so into me, you could say he would kiss me so passionately would sometimes have to stop for a moment just to catch our breath instead of saying she was not happy, you could say she hit the wall and I was afraid she was gonna put her fist right through it . Instead of saying we weren't connecting, you could say I felt both of our faces turning slightly away from one another as we spoke. Like we were magnets set to push away from one another. In all those cases, we have a much more direct link to the emotion of the moment when you include bodily sensations or bodily actions for us to witness. So now you know all of the six senses, and you can listen back to that recording you made of your first stab your story on your voice memo app, and you can stop the recording every time you come to a place where you think, Huh? I could rephrase that part so that I can include a sensory detail there, instead of just summarizing in the next lecture will cover story structure. Thanks for watching 7. Lesson 7 v3 1: Welcome back to intro to storytelling. This is Lecture seven, where we're going to look at story structure. I always teach this close to last, because structure is actually a little bit less important than everyone seems to think it is when it comes to oral storytelling. And that's because you already sort of subliminally understand structure. You've been doing it all your life, and story structure is sort of hard wired into our psychologies. But let's start at the very beginning. Let's start with Aristotle, who was the first person who tried to nail down what a story should be structured like, Aristotle said, that a story should have a beginning and a middle and an end. So that's three beats, as the common way to express that is nowadays three beats beginning, middle and end. Aristotle said that the beginning is usually about establishing a character and that character's motivations reasons for wanting to do things. The middle is usually about a process that that character enters into, and the end is usually about that character arriving somewhere slightly different, not necessarily a different location, like a physical place that the character arrives but definitely arriving at a slightly different emotional place, which I've hinted at before in the emotional trajectory, the emotional through line of the story. But by Shakespeare's time, those three beats expanded to five and a classic five beat structure is a standard that we see all over the world again and again and again. Joseph Campbell and Carl Young pointed to this five beats structure in the forties and fifties. Nowadays, if you go to Hollywood and try to write a screenplay, they might suggest that you write according to a 15 beat structure. But it's still gonna have the Big Five as the tent poles. Uh, other people sometimes refer to 12 or 24 beats structures. The Big Five are always the biggest ones in. They're the ones that everyone remembers and the basics. So let's look at those. But again, the reason I've taught you to improvise your story first is so that you're not consciously thinking about something like story structure, because if you start from thinking according to a structure you run the risk of being too formulaic. You run the risk of creating a story that feels a little bit cookie cutter esque, whereas if you just improvise a story first. Interesting little nuances and twists might happen in your telling that might be useful to actually include in later tellings. In any case, once you've told a story once or twice and you find yourself thinking it's a while before anything really happens here or cheese, what is my ending? Should it end here? Or should it end later? Or you think, Gosh, there's a kind of a stretch in the middle where it seems to be going in two different directions? Well, that that stage of working on a story when you've already told it once and you start to notice things that you consider problematic. That's when being conscious of classical story structure of those classic five beats that Shakespeare oh is used is useful because you can think of those beats and use them like a toolbox to go in and say, Ah, I need to have an inciting incident happen a lot earlier in order to get this thing really moving or oh, okay, I see The appropriate ending is when he realizes he can't accomplish what he sought to do, that sort of thing. So let's look at these five beats and I'm going to introduce them through two different stories. One is the Wizard of Oz, and I use that one because everyone knows it, and the other is a sort of fictional addiction recovery sort of story, the sort of story that someone might tell at a 12 step program like Alcoholics Anonymous. I use that because it's more realistic sounding in The Wizard of Oz and because everyone's also familiar with that typical trajectory. People know it from the movies or from people in their own lives. So let's look at these five beads. They are the set up, the inciting incident, the rising action, the main event and the resolution. Now you might have already figured out that the most important of these five beats is number four, the main event in the early stages of figuring out what story you want to tell. That's probably the first scene that popped into your mind because the main event is going to be that marker that you put in the highway that I was referring to in an earlier lecture . If you know what the big climatic moment is going to be, if you know what that moment of achieving success or facing failure or having a eureka moment of discovery or having a moment of acceptance that I can no longer go this way, some sort of shift in perception. If you know that part of the story, you can set that as the marker in the road and build the story. Everything else you're doing is going there to the main event, and then everything afterwards is just kind of like resolving things after the main event. But let's go back to the beginning. Let's consider the set. The set up is usually the 1st 0 minute or two oven Orel story. Now here's the thing with aural storytelling. These things don't work like math like they do in some Hollywood movies. Some Hollywood movies, like Literally, they'll tell you you should have your inciting incident by Page 10 and you should start Act three by page 75. Orel storytelling. Sometimes the set up can be quite long, and the main event can be super Shourd. But it's all very bendable and breakable, and you can even throw things out of order, and we can still figure it out. That's especially common since the 20th century. But let's consider how a very typically classical, almost predictable five beats story would go well. First, look at The Wizard of Oz. The set up establishes who and where Both the protagonist and the world they come from have a deal. The protagonist has a belief system or a mood or a way of being or a behavioral tic. That's gonna be important to us. And the world that the protagonist comes from also has some sort of personality, some sort of values, some sort of a character of its own. That's important for us to know. That's why in the trailers for movies, you're always hearing them say, in a world where So that's what you want to establish Dorothy Gale of The Wizard of Oz. She lives in a world where everything is perfectly nice. Nice farm, nice family, nice home. It's Americana. But Dorothy's deal is that she doesn't think it's good enough door. The dreams of there being a place over the rainbow. She's a seeker. She's a searcher. She has the soul's desire to go out and discover. So that's that set up there. How about an addiction recovery story, this little fictional story I was referring to before that kind of story might start like this. I was born into a family of extroverts. My mom and dad were hilarious with the jokes and the stories they tell. My brothers and sisters were so talented at singing and dancing and acting, and we were always having parties at our house. Cocktail parties, pool parties, barbecues, everything. Our house was like the life of the neighborhood, but I was so filled with social anxiety as a little kid, I was so shy. I barely spoke one word before I was five. People thought something was wrong with me, and I just felt uncomfortable in my own home like a fish out of water. Okay, there's that set up. This guy is an introvert with social anxiety who lives in a world where everyone else is an extra vert, and he's unhappy about that. That's the set up for the A a style story, the second beat of a typical story. The next important thing that usually happens when a story is going to the classic pattern is the inciting incident. Something happens that kind of kicks the protagonist in the but maybe a crisis happens, maybe an opportunity arises. But something happens that motivates the protagonist to now want to give or get or do something to enter into a process. So for Dorothy, what happens is that one day a tornado comes and rips her house out of the ground and hurls her and her home into another universe. That's a big inciting incident. And, by the way, in fairy tales, the inciting incident almost always starts with. And then one day, right? So that's what happens to Dorothy. She knows she's got to do something once she arrives in a different universe. How about our A a guy? What would his inciting incident sound like? Might sound something like this. Then, when I was 17 I had my first vodka tonic. I went to this high school party, and the stuff started making me feeling all warm and fuzzy, and I found myself telling a joke. Everyone was laughing. And then I had another one of those drinks, and I found myself singing this song for everyone. Everyone thought it was hilarious. People kept coming up to me saying, Oh my God, you are the life of the party. What happened to you, and I thought, Well, it can't be me. It must be that stuff I've been drinking. I want to drink that stuff all the time now. So now that guy has a sort of motivating factor, right? Something's clicked. Something's kind of kicked him in the butt That's going to set him off on a little bit of a journey. The third beat of all stories that follow this classical structure is the rising action, and that is the journey for Dorothy. It's arriving in Munchkin land, going from that all the way to arriving at the feet of the Wizard, and there's a lot of ups and downs along the way, right? She learns that she has friends, and she also learns that she has enemies. Sometimes they accidentally wander off the path and then get back on. And at one point, the stakes raise because Dorothy is kidnapped so everyone's original goals change a little bit and become more important. Originally, everyone wanted a home. Ah, hard a brain courage. But once Dorothy is kidnapped, the group protagonist starts to have a new goal of saving her life. So sometimes in the rising action, the stakes really do raise. Now. How about our A a guy? How would his rising action sound might sound something like this? Then, when I was 25 I lost my first job because of my drinking, and he shares a little scene of the boss firing him. And then when I was 28 my wife left me because of my drinking little scene of the wife leaving. Then when I was 31 I almost killed myself in a car accident because of my drinking. Now we can see that things are escalating here. That's one of the reasons it's called the rising action. This is where the plot thickens and things become mawr intense, whether things are becoming better and better and better or worse and worse and worse or weirder and weirder and weirder. That's what goes on in the rising action. No, you can see that the stakes have also raised in his story. We began to feel that this, too, is becoming a matter of life and death. You already know what the fourth beat is. It's the main event, and this is that making the term right this is having that climactic moment of success or failure or eureka or whatever, where you actually feel like. Okay, now the pieces can fall where they will, because we've really gotten over the hump, right? So for Dorothy, it is when, with the help of the Wizard and Glinda, she finally has this profound realization that home is where the heart is and that she and all her friends have always had a brain and courage and everything else within right. So now that she knows that because it's a fantasy, she's able to go back home. How about the addiction recovery guy? His main event might sound something like this. Then one day, I fell asleep in an abandoned building and dropped a cigarette and accidentally sent the whole building on fire. And when the fire trucks arrived, I was standing outside with those fire people thinking, Oh, my God, I hope I hope, I hope, I hope. I hope I didn't kill someone in that building and they put out the fire and everyone was OK . But once those fire trucks were rolling away, I said to myself, That's it. I'm never drinking again. So in his main event, he's got this big climactic exterior action of a fire. But most importantly, he's got the interior change where he's turned that corner. Now he's able to emotionally, except he can't drink anymore, Period. Now the resolution. The fifth beat of the story. This is in personal stories. You don't need to wrap things up with a bow right on my show. Risk. The emphasis is on how messy life can really be like, Let's face it, life doesn't often end in profound, simple self help e sorts of lessons. So on risk, people will often end with the last traumatic thing that happened and not really give us a resolution. And that's something that's an option that you have when telling true stories on a show like the moth. They really like to encourage that. You do end on a very, uh, you know, a sort of a moral of the story, right? So the resolution is more often than not, where people do step back and reflect a little and say what they got out of all of that. If you're telling a story for business or or for an official purpose where you want to persuade people of something, you definitely want to include a resolution that clearly states what that story just proved . So those are the classic five beats through which most stories move. And like I said, you don't have to go by those five beats by wrote. Some people start with the main event, and then once they get to Justus, the main event is about to end. They pull back and go back to the set up. Sometimes the inciting incident is left a little bit of a mystery. You know that is solved later, that sort of thing. But if you want to tell a classically structured story going 12345 those air the beats to follow the set up, the inciting incident, the rising action, the main event and the resolution. Thanks for watching. 8. Lesson 8 v3 1: Welcome back to introduce storytelling. This is Lecture eight, and in this lecture I'm going to do something a little bit different. I'm simply going to try to answer very typical questions that people always ask in workshops. Let's start with this one. It's how do I edit a story? How do I decide what exactly to leave in and what to take out? Or in other cases, how do I decide what to flesh out as a big scene and what to just skim over as summary? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question. That is really the hardest thing about storytelling. Remember, storytelling is like writing. It is a form of composition. So, just like with writing, it's important to have a first draft, a second draft, 1/3 draft. And because storytelling is also in the moment, Orel sharing with people, it's probably going to change with the way you tell a story from one audience and situation one context to another. So the most important thing to do when you're trying to figure out what parts to leave in and what parts to take out is to share the story with friends, get some feedback. Record yourself again. Listen back and try Teoh. Try to notice. Are there parts of the story that are just not so important for us understanding the way that it ends and resolves? Because somewhere in your main event, somewhere in your resolution is the true meaning of the story. Even if you never explicitly stated as a moral, there is always meaning to be found in the way that things shake out at the end of a story . So if you're wondering if something to be left in or taken out, the thing to ask is, does it help me to understand why and how this story arrives, where it does in the end and you'll have to experiment. It's trial by error. You know, you try it out. You see, if a part of a story is resonating with people or not, I always say that there's three places the brain has to be when you're telling a story. One is on where the story is going, right, the map of the story. The second thing you have to be aware of is, are you actually reaching people? Are you communicating? Are people getting it? Are they liking it. Are they hating it, that sort of thing so that you can adjust psychologically to actually be reaching them. And the third place that the brain can go is that sometimes you do start to have what actors call sense memory, especially if you really do use those six senses. You can begin sometimes to re feel or re here, re see parts of your story. You might get choked up and start to cry or start toe laugh because you now find something so insane. But that's okay. We appreciate that. We appreciate when we can really see the emotion coming out of you, as long as you remember to get back on the path and keep the narrative flowing forward. But yeah, I would say recording your stories and getting feedback from people is the best way to try to figure out what is the final form. I'd like this story to take as much as I can possibly determine that so that I can figure out how to get what could be 1/2 hour story down to say, 20 minutes. Listen, if you find yourself basing a story simply on a stretch of time, like, for example, I went to Peru when I was 7 17 years old. That was a seven week trip. But in order to tell the story of that trip, I just focused on one moment that really haunted me from that experience and then put context around that if I had done, you know, this week this happened this week that happened this it would have just been a epic long, you know, travelogue. That didn't amount to much, but because I focused on one moment, that was especially meaningful toe to me. Then I could shape the story around that. So sometimes it's a matter of cutting a story and have realizing now that should actually be two different stories, that sort of thing. Ethics and accuracy. People always ask about this. Never forget that you can change the names of any of the characters in your story. You can change the names of locations or institutions. Uh, you can change little facts that don't matter all that much as far as accuracy goes. But what you really want to try to stay true to is the feel of what was going on. If you make up out of whole cloth, something that someone said that's particularly emotional in a way that they really didn't speak. Then we will feel probably, unless you're a really good actor, that you're lying. When the audience starts to suspect that someone in your story has said something a little bit too profound and too emotional and it doesn't quite add up, then we might begin to suspect you're lying and you don't want that to happen. You want to stay as true as you can to the way things felt, even if you have to fudge every now and then. I don't remember exactly what she said, but it really feels when I look back like she said something more or less like this, you don't have to say it that way. You always want to say Space it, you know you never want to say I guess it was January or maybe the beginning of February. No, no, settle on. It was January or it was February and you don't want to say I think she said something like no, say what it felt like, she said. But attach yourself. If you find yourself embellishing to such an extent that you feel like? Nah, it really didn't feel that way. I really am making something up there. If characters are inconsequential, if you know you were with three people rather than two people. But two of them were so similar that it kind of doesn't matter. You can put two characters, make them one. You can do all that sort of thing as long as you don't really feel like you're going over the line and really making something up that it's significant character. Don't forget that we're always much more interested in characters that are dimensional. In other words, if you've got a villain in your story, don't paint that person as just being bad and bad and then bad and then bad and bad, right? We want to know. For example, if you're going to tell the story about falling in love with someone who turned out to be a terrible person, we want to know, why did you fall in love with them in the first place? What were the things that you saw in them that were admirable or endearing? Right? Maybe some funny jokes that they told or an impressive thing that they shared with you once . We always want to see examples of people saying and doing things that show their character . So don't make characters purely good or purely evil. Make them interestingly, nuanced by giving us different. On the one hand, she could often say this sort of thing. But then there were those days when she did this sort of thing that makes a character much more interesting to us. Digging deeper. How do you really assess the meaning in your story? I always encourage that people, when they do make these recordings on voice memos of their stories or start to work on a script of a story based on some voice memos they've made stop and start every now and then to ask why or how ask questions like a therapist. Now, wait a minute. I did. I really respond that way. How did I end up becoming so obsessed with that? Ask questions that will force you to dig a little bit deeper beyond what you might just ordinarily tell someone in a passing conversation. See if you can sense any ulterior motives in yourself or in other characters in the story. See if you notice any patterns where you behave badly not once but twice in the story and in a fairly similar way. And what do you make of that? Always ask yourself after finishing the first draft of a story. OK, but so wise. Like, why would someone listening to this story feel that they had something to gain from listening to this story? Ask yourself if there is a deeper meaning. If the story. If you could summarize this story by saying When life is like this, I sometimes act in such in such a way or because I have the tendency to be such in such a way life often reacts to me like such and such to try to kind of suss out. It doesn't have to be an absolute truth that's written in stone. It could just be. Sometimes things work out this way for me, and here's what I make of that. And again, you don't have to explicitly state the moral or meaning of your story. But it does help to at least have an idea of what it might be. Performance. Some people worry about fidgeting too much onstage or speaking in monotone or not moving at all. or using too much volume. All these sorts of worries about tics and habits, of course, there's always the, um, like basically these literally these words that pop up all the time. These filler words. So how to work on that sort of thing? Don't beat yourself up over it. Don't make yourself so self conscious about some of your maybe weak spots performing, but try to be conscious of them. That's why it's a good idea to sometimes videotape yourself telling a story and watch yourself see if you're moving around enough, or if your stock still or if you're moving around too much or if you're not using enough of your vocal range. Are you not using your voice like a musical instrument getting low and then high, soft and then loud, fast and then slow? You know, I sometimes do this exercise with students where I'll choose a 32nd chunk of their story, just the most interesting part of the story where the most action is happening and I'll have them retail. That store that part of the story, once really big, really exaggerated, really performed, not necessarily exaggerated in terms of the taxed but exaggerated in terms of how they perform it with their voice and their body, and then once to do it really, really, really subtle and nuanced and quiet and understated, and then 1/3 time to try it again. And the third time it always ends up being more interesting because they've stretched these muscles of their voice and their body. And they've learned that it's rather interesting when I get louder here and softer there or faster here and slower there. So become more and more and more comfortable with being your mostest as a storyteller, by trying things, sometimes a little too big or a little too soft, and then playing with the nuances of them so that you don't sound monotone or are always saying sentences the same way. The last thing people often ask about is getting out there. How to find storytelling shows There are plenty of outlets like Facebook exact, especially where people connect with storytelling groups. Some people have salons in their own apartments, where they'll gather to tell stories or at a local bar. You can put one together yourself if you don't have one in your home down, and if you do live in a home town that has a lot of storytelling shows. Just keep one thing in mind when people are getting up on stage and being authentic and being honest and revealing truths about their experience. There's a natural reaction from an audience, and that is to open up and be supportive. It's not quite like the stand up comedy world where the audience can sometimes be rude and challenging. No story telling. Audiences tend to be very, very open and lean forward and are ready to listen closely and support you for simply being honest. So don't be afraid. Don't be shy. Get out there and do it if you If you blank you can always say to the audience, Oh my gosh, I forgot where I was in the story. What was I just saying? Because it's a conversation. Storytelling is based on the way we actually talk to each other anyway, so don't feel like it's the end of the world. If you blow a story once or several times, don't give up on it. Keep getting out there And don't be shy. Thanks for watching 9. Story 1 v3 1: welcome back to intro to storytelling that we're going to shift gears a little bit and hear some actual stories from some storytellers that I know. Some are former students of mine. Some are people who have shared stories before on my show risk, and I'm going to do pretty much what you're doing. I'm going to listen to them telling their stories and jot down notes and see how I feel about what I think they could possibly improve and ask them how they put their stories together. Ask them anything I might want to hear a little bit more about. It's good to become conscious as you listen to people's stories of those little things that you notice the imagery that most strikes you, the places where you wanted to hear Maura about something or other, or where you got a little bit confused. So let's listen now we're going to start with our first storyteller. She's a former student of mine and a super talented actress and storyteller in her own right. Here's Jill Ente, so I know what you're thinking. When you see me standing here, you are thinking that that is one strong independent woman and you are correct. But I have a little secret, and that is that When I was younger growing up, I was plagued with crippling social anxiety. I lived in fear of having to say my name to new people. When I found out that selling Girl Scout cookies involved knocking on Stranger's doors, I broke out into hives and I would have rather dropped dead than answer a ringing telephone . And I think the reason that I was this way was because I was coddled. You know, all of the adults in my life my parents, my teachers, my baby sitters instead of telling me to be brave and strong. When they saw me being scared, they would scoop me up and cuddle me and tell me everything was gonna be okay. And and really, I think they encouraged me to be weak, and it took me a long time to sort of grow up and grow out of my insecurities and become this strong, independent woman that you see before you. And one of the things I do now as a strong independent woman is I teach. I teach Children theater at a fancy off Broadway theater company and I am really good at it . I am a theater teaching machine. You give me any 15 7 year olds 10 Saturday mornings and some glitter, and I will give you an adorably original play that is written and performed by those Children. I I can handle anything they throw at me. At least I thought I could until I met Little Jilly. Now, little Jilly. Excuse me. Little Jilly was sweet and tiny and adorable and a recent new student. And on the first day of class, I kneeled down in front of her and I say, What's your name? And she looks at me and she just freezes and her eyes get all big and she starts to tremble on her little face, gets all red and her and are face just explodes into tears, and she starts having a little seven year old meltdown. And as she is crying in a heap on the floor, her parents just waved goodbye and say, Don't worry, she does that all the time. She's a crier, and Jilly proceeds to cry for the whole 2.5 hours of our first class. And as I'm standing there looking over her, I think. Shit, it finally happened. I finally got that student that is just like me. 20 years ago, I was that crying seven year old on the floor on the first day of school, and and I've been sort of living in fear of this moment as a teacher. The moment when lightning would strike and I would be confronted with that kid that was just like me. And I would be confronted with the question of how do I handle this? Do I do with the adults in my life? Did do I pick her up in color and tell her everything's gonna be okay Or do I take this opportunity to make things right? So on that first day of class, I make a silent promise to little Jilly that by the end of the semester, I will have made her into a strong, independent woman. I was not gonna let history repeat itself. I was not gonna let little Jilly grow up to be a teenager that almost gets kicked out of high school because she can't get out of bed for three weeks because she is so crippled with anxiety. That is not gonna happen. Not on my watch, not in my classroom. So from then on, every time Julie cried when we didn't art project and she didn't know where to put the glitter, I would say, Jilly, dry your tears and put your glitter wherever you want because that's what a strong independent woman would dio. And every time we'd be doing a writing exercise and should start to cry because she didn't know how to spell a word I'd be like, Jilly, just buck up and sounded out because that is what strong independent women dio. And one day when we were playing a game we had played a 1,000,000,000 times before and she started to cry. I was like, Jilly, stop it. You know this game strong independent women do not prime when they already know the rules to the game. But this time she should just kept crying and crying and crying, and she she started to tug on my sweater and I looked down and I see that little Jilly is standing in a little puddle. She has had an accident and peed her pants. And as a person whose job it is to hang out with tons of seven year olds like you deal with this all the time. It's easy, but I start to panic because I know Jilly cannot handle this. The girl cannot even say her name to her classmates. How is she gonna react when they know that she has peed her pants? So? So in my panic, I do something I've never done before. I grab my cup of water that I keep in my classroom at all times because you should always be hydrated. And I take that cup of water and throw it on the ground over Jilly's P. I shoved her out of the way and I know a man. I spill my water. And while the kids were teasing me and my teaching assistant is unknowingly cleaning up water down P. I grabbed Jilly Runner to the bathroom and start cleaning her up. And while we're in the bathroom and I'm helping Jilly change into her spare pair of tights , she looks up at me with her little tear filled eyes, and she says, I was scared when I had my accident. But now I feel safe and my heart just melts and I think shit, I love feeling safe. Feeling safe is like my favorite thing to feel. Why on earth am I being so hard on this little girl instead of making her feel safe just all the time? And after that, I knew my mission to make her a strong independent woman was just out the window. And every time Julie cried, I'd pick her up and color and tell her it was gonna be okay. And she finished the semester of no more strong and no more independent than when she started. And on the last day of class, we have the kids perform the plate that we all wrote together and to start the performance , we line all the kids up on stage and have them step forward and introduce themselves to the audience. And while this is going on and the kids are all saying their names and being adorable, I'm just bracing myself for Jilly's turn and for the waterworks that are just bound to happen. And it comes up to Jilly and she just freezes and she turns bright red and she starts to tremble, just like on the first day of class. And her eyes fill with tears And then she just takes a deep breath and goes, My name is Jilly And in that moment I became one of those teachers that I hate that are like, honestly, they teach me more than I teach them. But sometimes it is true. And it does happen because Jilly taught me what all of the adults in my life had tried to teach me way back then, which is in order to become a strong, independent woman. The first step is just to be able to feel safe. And once you're safe, you can make the next steps to be stronger and more independent as you grow into womanhood . And and sometimes those steps are just a small as being able to say your name. Okay, so now we're going to talk to Jill Ente about the story. She just told I loved that. Thank you. That was my first time hearing that story. So it really was an opportunity for me to, like, hear a story for the first time and react immediately to like my first impressions. The first thing that struck me was that you had such a strong beginning. You started with that line, so I know what you're thinking, and that's actually a really good idea to include a line like that that acknowledges the audience and what they might be bringing to the table in the conversation you're having with them. And it's also very provocative because you start off that way. So I know what you're thinking. And the audience is like, What? Why don't we think you've got their attention immediately? Because you've said something that's kind of curious. It's good to start a story with either a provocative statement or in the middle of some action, or maybe a question. So instead of starting with just like some set up, that's all just like narrative Summer. I was born here, that sort of thing, starting with something a little bit, attention grabbing. So that was great. Uh, also, I love how this story has two values in it that keep pushing and pulling at both Jolanta and this other character in the story. The little girl Jilly and the values are or what would you come in? These polar feelings are independence and self sufficiency versus kind of feeling unsafe and feeling weak, and those two things are at play throughout the entire story. It's really wonderful when a story kind of lets two opposing forces have a little bit of a tug of war or a seesaw pattern throughout a story. And this did just that. Also, this story really focused on connection and disconnection right moments in a story where two characters see eye to eye and then have other moments where they're like. I'm not so sure how I feel about you think this is a perfect example of that We love to hear about those moments when people share a laugh. Sharon Insight have something where they're on the same page and then other moments where people are, uh, shying away from one another or feeling unsafe about one another or having to get away from one another. Now, when you pointed out your social anxiety when you were a little girl, Jolinda gave three examples of that. I forget what they were right off hand, but that's really great whenever you make a big statement about yourself. Um, I had a lot of social anxiety as a kid. It's good to show that in action. We got to see three examples of Jolanta being a socially anxious little kid. And I think you could go even if you had more time to tell that story. I think you could even include mawr of that because I had such a great feeling of you as an adult. But to have an even more fleshed out feeling of you when you were kind of like little Jilly at that age would be like, I think, even better. Um, so let's Oh, the description of Jilly crying The first time was great because you had It was almost like a scene in a movie where we could really see her face start to get red. She started to kind of jitter, and then she kind of exploded. So it was like, we really saw the body language. What was happening? The emotions happening on someone? Um oh, and a pattern. There was another great pattern in it, which waas continuously telling her that's not what a strong woman would be. We love it. It goes back to the fairy tales where we just love when something happens several times in a story. If some if two things that are alike happen in a story, it happens once and then it happens again. There's a thing we call the rule of threes, where we're kind of gonna want to see it happen just one more time. When something happens three times, it really feels like, Ah, that has some completion to it for us. So that was great the way that there were those three moments of telling her she's got to be an independent woman and then kind of give up. And I love the way that it had a little bit of a false ending to that that way that you felt like, uh, it didn't work. Then in the end, you learned to come. It's not black and white. One of the things I love about stories is that they communicate that not everything is so simple. You know a lot of these ideas that we have about values in life. Things can be a little bit more in the gray area, mixed emotions. And that's what seems to happen at the end of the story, realizing you know what, there's a middle ground between feeling safe and then eventually being an independent woman . Um, how did you feel sharing it? I felt good for the most part you had you Have you had good experiences telling the story before? Yeah, Yeah, I've had a really good experience is doing it before I had to learn Teoh be nicer to Little Gillian story. Oh, I think when I would first tell the story, I did a lot more of my inner monologue and I was really harsh on her. Like to hear you like thinking really mean thoughts about? Well, there is sometimes that that that thing where you have to temper a little bit one aspect of a story or another or the way you're you might embellish just slightly in the way that you're talking about, the way you did something. And people might I need a caveat here in every now and then You can literally say something again. Like I know what you're thinking. I was being a little harsh on her, right? But then, you know, kind of defend yourself. You can actually, like, present yourself a little bit too much one way, and then, like, literally acknowledge it to the audience is Well, if you feel like they're becoming uncomfortable. Yeah, yeah. All right. Great. Well, that was a wonderful time. Hearing that one. Thanks so much for coming. Thanks for having me. Alright. 10. Story 2 v3 1: And now let's hear from someone who has shared some extraordinary stories on both the moth and risk. Here is Ed. Well, when I first came to New York, I had been trained as an architect. I had a lot of experience in construction, and I really wanted to open a furniture design shop. So I went to what was then the No man's land of the Brooklyn waterfront down on front Street, and I opened up a little wood shop. I bought a van, and I hired a few very earnest bearded will hat wearing carpenters from Vermont to help me build my custom furniture pieces. And for the next year, I would design these pieces one at a time for my clients. We would then build them one at a time and deliver them. And, uh, the end of the year I realized that my business model was suffering from reality and that I was actually funding a nonprofit support group for Ernest Woodworker's, and I realized that I needed a Plan B. I needed some secondary revenue stream to augment this creative outlet that I really love to do, but I was just not able to make make a foreseeable living at, and so one night were at this bar that we would go to after we finished making our furniture pieces like 10 oclock at night we knock off in the shop. We'd all jump on our motorcycles and roar over the Manhattan Bridge and come into the village, and this bar had a pool table and sawdust on the floor and a black spray painted ceiling and a good jukebox. And there was a fight every now and then. But for the most part, we we really like Teoh go there and hang out one night. The owner is at the end of the bar, and he's belly aching to me about how his lease is going to be up and the landlord's raising the rent. And there's no way that he can cover this additional rent money by raising prices on the beers, because there's no way we're gonna pay this higher price. And so his bar is going to have to close and life as he knows it is going to be essentially over. And the light bulb goes off in my head because I had just finished building a bar for a client a few blocks away, And I saw how that place worked, and I saw how much money he had started to make. And I saw that Hey, didn't seem any smarter than me or my my friend here at this bar. And I just thought, you know what? Uh, let me propose something. So I told him if he bought the materials, I would design it. I would build it and they would come And we did. The deal shook hands. I built this place myself. My brothers came out from Wyoming to help me, And at the end of the summer, we opened the first week after Labor Day and the crowds came and it was just It was a beautiful thing. And on Sundays, uh, the neighborhood, uh, Mafia guys would come in and sit around the end of the bar. Um, they all had their matching ankle bracelets all in a row on, and they would drink Glenfiddich in a champagne flute that that was their drink. And one day, one of the guys takes me outside. He puts his arm around me. You were standing in front of my bar. He looks back and he points it it and he goes, You know what? He you did a beautiful thing here for the neighborhood. You took a cockroach and turned it into a butterfly. You're all right. So I was kind of a little mascot for the Mafia, having made this beautiful, mahogany lined bar that they love to come in on Sundays and just talk in hushed tones. And then the other nights of the week, we had a deejay. They're beautiful girls coming in. We had great bartenders, and I remember about two months in feeling like I had cracked the code to New York. I was standing outside the bar on a Friday night. I've got six or eight motorcycles lined up, my friends Aaron drinking the DJ's playing great music. And I felt like, kind of like the opening montage of a Saturday night Saturday Night Live show where you here the saxophone and you see the neon lights and famous people are getting out of cabs and it just seemed like everything was was better than I could have imagined better than I could have planned. And, um, and everything just seemed to be working out. Be able to carve my my furniture pieces in Brooklyn, have the bar and just make it all work. And then one night, I was decided to go visit a friend of mine who had a restaurant around the corner who's about 2 a.m. And as I turned the corner off Bleeker Street to walk down to his restaurant, I walked into what turned out to be an initiation for a Brooklyn gang who had come to Manhattan and for three guys who wanted to move up in the gang. They had to kill somebody that night. And I happen to be the guy that, uh, that walked into their ambush. So there was a lookout at either end of the block that gave the all clear signal that there was no no people walking around. And these three got up off of the stoop and walk toward me. And without a word, they they just pounced on me and began to stab me as many times they could. And one guy had a knife with a 10 inch blade, and he stabbed me in the side and then was going for my throat, got me in the neck. The other guy on my left side was stabbing me up my back like a sewing machine just in and out, in and out, all the way up my back. The guy in the middle was a little confused, Um, and and he kind of paused. And as I realized I was being stabbed, one lucky thing among many that night was that when I was in college, I was on the boxing team at Notre Dame, so I got one straight right punch and I just threw the best punch I've ever thrown and knocked the middle guy out. And then I charged over him and just started screaming and running down the street. And the two other guys kind of were startled and confused, and they kind of grab their guy that was down and started dragging him away. And as I was running, my lungs were both collapsed and they began to fill up with blood. If you know anything about anatomy, my inferior vena cava was cut, uh, which is about the size of a garden hose, the vein that brings all the blood back to your heart. So that began filling up my collapsed lungs and I went down to my hands and knees and start to crawl. And I was literally drowning in my own blood and I rolled over on my back and the waitresses from the restaurants on the block had heard this screaming and they came out and they saw me. And I tried to explain what happened, and they're all just distraught. And then this being New York 2 a.m. garbage truck pulls up and off the back of the garbage truck, jumps This guy who's a Vietnam vet and the girls the waitresses start just shouting animal like this guy just got stabbed, you know? He's bleeding everywhere, and this guy stands over me and he picks me up by the front of my sweater and he just starts to smack me the backhand, me and you, Don't you die on me, man. And the pain from being smacked and on both sides of my face was sharp enough that it kind of roused me. And I said, Can you stop? You're hurting me. And at that moment the ambulance pulls up and the two guys jump out of the ambulance and come running over and they get, you know, everyone explains to them what's just happened? And, um the, uh the young ambulance guy grabs me, shoves the needle into my neck, I guess with adrenaline and then grabbed me by the chin and he looks to me and he goes, This is gonna hurt And I'm thinking to myself, I don't know what it is about this block, but everybody's hurting me here tonight. And then he takes the scissors and he starts to cut up my clothing up my sweater. And and I recall that I had a really nice cashmere sweater on and I said, You have to cut the sweater and he stops and he looks at me and he looks back at his party , goes, Why do they always say that? And at that moment, I had this feeling that he's done this before and that and then I might make it out of this , that it might be OK and that and that his experience is gonna help pull me through. And so now he's cut everything off of my chest and hey, takes lifts up my right arm and he takes a knife and he just slices open between my ribs and he shoves a tube in between my ribs into my lung to drain it. That hurt worse than anything I'd ever felt like Came up off the sidewalk art right back. And he pushed me back down and goes, Wait, we got to do the other side. They lifted up the other arm and he cut me and he shoved in the other tube. And then they put me in the ambulance and, uh and we made it Teoh surgery, and the surgeon worked on me all night. I took out about 1/3 of my intestines, um, took out organs that I didn't know that I had. I needed about four complete blood transfusions. Um, but, um, but I lived. I lived through it, and when I came to in the morning, uh, the foot of my bed were two homicide detectives. Now Homicide had gotten the case because the surgeon had said to them, There's virtually no chance this guy's gonna live. He's got, like, a 2% chance of making it, so they didn't want to do the paperwork swap when I died. So they just gave the case right? Homicide. Now it turns out they had caught the guy that I knocked out and he gave up everybody else. So by the time I was out of surgery, they had arrested everybody that was that had attacked me. And they had these mug shots that they wanted me to. I d before I died. Um, now I'm on morphine, and the night before was so confusing, and I just don't feel like I can make any identification. So I say I explain that to the cops, and then the detective looks at me and he says, Buddy, I've been on the force for 17 years. I never seen anybody get hit with the kind of knives you got hit with and live. What do you eat? I should have said, uh, Guinness. But, um, anyway, the next day, the, uh you know, I'm on life support and, um, they, uh you know, they d a comes in and he tells me now that I have five attempted murder trials that I'll probably have to go to, um, they are still not expecting me to live. And I'm on life support for another four days, and then they take me off life support and I'm in the intensive care unit in the nurse comes into the clipboard and she starts to talk to me about my insurance. Now. I was self employed at the time, so I was insurance free, and she did not like to hear that. Um, so the following morning, they came in and said, You know, it's just amazing how good you're doing, and we think you ought to continue to get better at home. We're gonna take these tubes out the I V out my catheter, the chest tubes to bad of my nose that was draining fluid from my stomach. And they gave me a bottle of Percocet and a cane and showed me the door. And the flowers that people had sent weren't hadn't even wilted, right? I couldn't believe it. I and I end up at home, and I'm having these terrible nightmares. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I can't lay on my back because of all the stab wounds. I can't lay on my stomach because of all the surgery scars. I can't lay on either side because of the chest tubes. I can't go to sleep. I am having these flashbacks. And so, over the next few months, I begin, Teoh lose it. I lose my business. My landlord padlocks my shop. My van gets towed. I end up having the goat housing court where they tell me that, you know, no matter how bad my circumstances are, If I can't pay my rent, I can't stay in my apartment. And during this time, there's one One person who really was great for me was this bartender, this Lebanese Canadian woman. Um she was rocking this Simone de Beauvoir attitude and she smoked like it was a part time job and she poured such a great shot of whiskey. You had to go down like a hummingbird. Take the top off of it before you could pick it up to drink it. And, um, she would just listen to me and was unusual because most people, um, did one of three things when I tried to talk about this fear and pain and confusion and the first thing they would say typically, I mean, they meant well, but it was just of no use was, you know, everything happens for a reason, and that made me want to punch him in the face and see if they knew What the reason for that? Waas. The second thing that people usually said was, um you know, you've just gotta pull yourself together and get your alive. You're lucky you should get back on your horse and just, you know, keep going. Don't let this get you down. And that made me want to stab them six times and then just go check up on them in six months and say, you know, how do you feel now? You know, I could really use some advice from somebody who knows what they're talking about. And then the third thing that people said was whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger. And that was the hardest thing to hear. Because, you know, I went to college. I studied philosophy. I read Nietzsche. I thought it was cool. Then, you know, up all night in the student union, drinking coffee to say a man, whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger. But at this point in my life, I felt like, uh, like it was actually possible toe break a person and that things could happen to them in their life that would that would ruin them and then not only what? I not be stronger, but that I would I would never again have anything like like what? I had my little business, my life. I thought I would never get that back. My health. And, um, it was a very, very difficult time because I would alternate between this feeling of gratitude, of walking down the street, just feeling every single vibration of the universe and being so glad to be alive. And it would alternate with this crushing fear and depression and like, anxiety that that I was never going to be able to surmount it and ended up marrying that Lebanese Canadian bartender and and we ended up having a kid. And, uh, after the wedding, um, my brother called me from Wyoming who had had come out to help build the bar. And he said, Eddie, why did you never leave New York? You know, after everything that happened to you could never catch a break after that, And it just seemed like things were just going downhill. How come you didn't just pack up and come back home And I thought about a minute, and then I said to him, You know, you can almost die anywhere in the world. But it was this city that saved my life. Well, that was amazing. I have heard that story. I don't know how many times, but every time I hear it, it's just so striking and so many remarkable details in it, and that it was It was a real reminder this time of how many amazing characters there are in that story. And you also do a lot of really, really good imitations. Well, I pay attention. You know, when those guys are, You know, it was it was an important time, Teoh, between the Mafia guy, the ambulance guy. You know, it's kind of burned into my memory. Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure. How did you? Because a lot of the people that tell stories around the moth and risk and that sort of thing come from a writer's background, a theater background, acting. How did you first end up sharing the story? Well, my wife and I used to go to the moth, um, on a regular basis just because we loved the storytelling. So we would go on Bleeker Street and for months and months, we just went and listened and saw people put their name in the hat and, you know, heard the whole, like, you know, five minutes and, you know, the whole moth experience. And then one night, you know, they have a theme for each night, and the theme of the night was rescued. Uh, and my wife texted me to say she was running late from work, and she just wasn't gonna make it. She would see me for dinner afterwards and, you know, enjoying myself. And I thought to myself, I don't know anybody. She's not gonna be here. I don't really have a story prepared, but I have been rescued right off Bleeker Street. You could see where I was stabbed from the front door of the bitter end. Wow. And I just thought, You know what? I'm gonna put my name in the hat. They probably not even gonna call me. They put my name in the hat on. I was so nervous about, uh, going over time that I told that story in 4.5 minutes. That's amazing. I sat down in the room, was very quiet, and I remember the girl, Sara Barron was the host that night, and she got up and she just looked at me and she goes, That was 4.5 minutes and it had a arc on. So that was funny. And then the creative director from the moth, Catherine Burns, was there, and she came up to me and she said, You know, we're doing a longer format show at the Players Club. Can you expand that story up to, like, 12 minutes? Um, and I thought, Well, I could definitely had some more details because I didn't have a lot of the diamonds. 4.5 minutes. It was actually much more about the ambulance and living. Then it was like my business partner in the furniture workshop in all of that. So I just kind of filled out some more details until I got up to 12 minutes. And then I did it on stage in front of a paying audience at the Players Club. Like a month after I did it. The bitter end for the very first time. Did you go over it with Catherine or any of them? Yeah, so she would, because I was not experienced at all in speaking on a stage and I definitely was not experienced that making it be, you know, 10 to 12 minutes. Yeah, but even people with plenty of experience, it's super super helpful to run it with someone, get some insights and feedback. So just just questions that people ask like But where was this or when was that? Yeah. And you know, the other thing that came out of that which I Then I ended up telling three kind of a trilogy of being stabbed. And the 1st 1 was that one of kind of the night and the hospital. And then the 2nd 1 was I had five attempted murder trials to be, Oh, court dates and I had meetings with D A. And I got to confront each of these kids. So that was a story. And they told that for the first time at a benefit that the moth did for I think it was the Legal Aid Society or some group of attorneys. And then that the 3rd 1 waas a version that came after the guys were all sent to prison. And I'm trying to get back on with my life and the post traumatic stress, which I didn't even know what that WAAS I was suffering from it and how I kind of dealt with that. So that was there's three stories and it kind of goes this whole arc of where you know I am this little trying to be a successful little New York guy and then completely devastated and then homeless and and scared of my own shadow freaking out every minute and then, you know, getting married and trying to pull things back together. So yeah, and it all came from, you know, getting up for the first time in doing it and starting to tell the story in just 4.5 minutes and then realizing, Wow, you know, I if I If I keep coming back to this thread, there's all this context around it, That's amazing. That's great. And now you share this story sometimes with with doctors or police, that sort of thing and and then the other kind of interesting thing is that the that kind of confidence that I got from from the moth and then, you know, other people asked me to come and talk. I've told stories about other things in my life is, well that uh, you know, it kind of my experience, anyway, is that it helps me to process whose experiences and sometimes you find out that the thing that you think is the story when you work on it becomes not the story. Like I I thought that when I was working with Catherine for the For the Players Club story that that it was just this, like, blood and guts story and at the at the end, by the time we're done working on, it's actually simply gratitude. Like I'm just so happy to be here. And every time I tell it to anybody, I get to read, energize my gratitude, you know, because I sometimes like, forget. You know, it's a busy week and I'm It's New York and I have a family and a business. And, you know, you kind of let where you could have been slips away. And so, like, you know, I tell a story with them off, and then I walk out and I remind myself for another while that Oh, yeah, it's about It's about being grateful that I'm just so happy to be here that this person that's very inspiring to hear because I often have students say, 01 probably going to get tired of telling such and such a story. But if you ever sit down with, like, a narrative, a therapist, a narrative psychologist, they all have you retell a story in order to like. Now let's look at that again. You know, let's let's maybe shine a little bit of a different angle on, and you can unpack The different. You know, there's there's motivations for kind of everything that you did or that people did to you or that you felt or thought or, you know. And there's certain things now in my life that I will never do again used to do. And there are certain things now that I will always do that I rarely did. And it all comes from that kind of examining. You know, your behavior through a story, you know. That's amazing. Thank you so much. Pleasure. Thank you. 11. Story 3 v3 1: And now let's hear from someone who is a national speaker. She's taught at this story studio before and appeared on risk. Here's dawn. I'm sitting in the stands of Delays Drake Stadium, along with my mom, my dad, my older brother and my older sister. And I absolutely love this track. I love everything about it. I love the way that my spikes bounced off the Astro turf as if I'm dancing on air. I love the way that the blue light reflected off the track like it was a mirror of the sky . I loved winning more so than anything. I just really loved winning. And this was my mecca, my training grounds in pursuit of Olympic gold looking down on the track because as much as I want to be there running that particular day, I'm not were actually there to watch another member of my family who happens to be my twin brother doing now to get you to this point in what's happening. Ah, few months. Um, prior to this, I have been training. I was a runner of the family, mostly mid distances, miles, half miles and every single morning while growing up my mom will get my twin brother and I ready for trap trap. Infield practice should put these lightning bolt cornrows in the side of my hair. Because why I corner of lightning bolts of the only way that you can look intimidating as our runner. And she would put O meal in my brother's bowl and we would eat and get our hair braided and get ready to win. And this is our routine every Saturday, every Sunday, growing up until here, we were finally athletes together, but there was one major pitfall I have been running and I have been training. I was working on my sprints as opposed a long distances because my track and field coach told me that, Dawn, you really want to win the race. That last 50 is where you're gonna have to really push. So it was a hot, balmy day, and you see Elise Drake Stadium, my Spicer, and I'm feeling good. For some reason, I'm not getting the oxygen. I feel like I can't breathe during the spring, so my body is not liking it because of my body is getting tighter and tenser and tenser and tighter. I feel like a capri. I feel like something is definitely wrong that I finally feel like something that shot me from behind and I go flying face forward down under the track. I start screaming and paying just screaming, and I looked back at my quad. It's not a good look. I had tourney it from the bone, it was completely dislodged and this was gonna be the end of my season is in my career. I felt at the time that was the end of my life. Because if, you know, I had to drop picture of what I was gonna do with my life. I was a skinny little black girl, corner of lightning bolts, preparing for the Olympics. And if I had to draw another picture, I would've just on a blank. So here we are, you see, like Stadium. And I'm looking down at the track and I'm looking at my twin brother who is going to go and compete in the Special Olympics because my twin brother, Dwayne, has Down syndrome and so growing up our entire lives, of course, it was important to be equal because if if I couldn't win in this particular situation, Duane could. And out of all the places in the entire nation where the Special Olympics could be taking place, it was gonna be happening at U C L A like this was going to be my one and only shot for redemption. I was having flashbacks. I'm sitting there. I'm looking down at the stand, feeling I should be there. But Dwayne is. So we're gonna do this. The tools he's gonna win it for the two of us. Dwayne lines up his race of the 200 yard dash, and the officials say, All right, runners on your mark get set. Go. And Dwayne is gone. I mean, he is just jetting. I have no idea who's winning as he comes around the bed, but I'm up in the stands like, yes, we go. Go, go, go, go. Just like like we're ready. We're doing it. He's gonna win this race. He's at the hundreds of the nineties up 80. I know for sure now doing is gonna win This race is gonna be redemption time. We're gonna do this. Take home. The gold is at the 70. The 60 40 the 30 right before he's about to finish and finish in first. Mind you, he stopped short and he's like looking back and I don't know what he's doing. Like Dwayne. Just let the other winners go. Let's go. Which is probably the most inappropriate thing to be yelling at the Special Olympics at about four or five people catch up with him, pass him and Wayne wastes for the guy and last to just cross over the finish line. And as he does, I'm up in the stands yelling, Dwayne, what the He looks up at me like, Oh, hey Don. And in this moment I was this mind blown, wishing I could tap into, like, any type of mind reading powers, you know, that twins are supposed to have and just figure out what was he thinking? I mean, was, what did he get confused by something which wasn't likely because he's done this twice before. Was he just trying to help some other people out? I didn't know until, you know, I just saw him walk over together athletes and start giving them hugs and high fives. And as I sat there in the stands watching this, it hit me that, you know, maybe he did this because he just cares, You know, my entire life, I have been worried about being born first coming in, first winning, and that was my mission. Clearly, Dwayne's mission was just to make sure that everyone finished the race period. And I started realizing, you know, that Duane probably received this memo on sportsmanship, and I I didn't When I I started thinking about it, I realized that there were a lot of things that maybe I should be learning from Dwayne. I mean, maybe I wasn't just a runner. Maybe I could do other things in my life as well. So I picked up my crutch. At this point in time, my leg is still busted. Still not feeling great, but have a smile on my face, says I walked down the steps of Drake Stadium and I'm gonna go meet Wing as he picks up his medals for the day, which included uh, silver in softball room, about 1/5 in the long jump and 1/3 in the race where he helped out all the other runners. But as I did stand there with my arm around him and thinking about what he had done, for that day, I realized, you know, maybe it's his heart That's really truly made of gold. Okay, great. So we just heard Dawn story. I heard that story years ago, but I think it's changed over time. When did you first start telling that story? I first start telling it, actually, in your class. I took 13 years ago, and it was something that I didn't know how to tell it first, because it was like, You know something. It's a personal story, but it also is a story that I want to be able to portray some type of. It was more about my journey than it necessarily was about Dwayne's, Right, Right, right. Well, sometimes you have those sorts of circumstances where there's another major character in the story, and you go back and forth about how much to make it about you or how much to make it about that person. So it's probably shifted a little bit, right? Told it right. I think when I first started telling this story, I didn't really know how did too make emphasis more on what I learned on my own lessons because of something that I learned about my twin brother s. So that was one of the things that you really helped me to figure out was how to make versions of the story where I can't efforts. It's size. What happened, you know, just another external character. But then also how it specifically impacted my own life has changed. And have you ever talked to members of your family about the fact that you share that story in public? Yeah, I dio I've spoken t Dwayne about it. I spoken Teoh my family members about it and they all remember very vividly. So they're actually kind of happy that the story is not there. Oh, great, Great. I always tell people that you can always change the names of characters in your stories or locations or anything like that. But it's hardest to change family members because you only have one mom. You only have so many siblings, and they are They are. So yeah, it can be, especially if you're sharing information That's a little bit not so flattering about someone in your family. That could be a really moral problem for people figuring out whether or not they really can share some of that if they can live with that. But this is a very flattering for one of your brother, right? Yeah, And I think of anything. It was really a matter of trying to find the right words, the right word choice right in describing anyone in my family or anyone that close Teoh, you know, because I think that it's it is important to be able to like to show them in a in a way that's not giving anyone any type of like negatives. Yeah, look, or especially with someone that you know so well, someone that you've known all your life. There are things that you understand about that person and you might forget. People should be introduced to this facet of the way he can do things sometimes. Yeah, that's great. I also loved how you started in a scene and that there was a little bit of a misdirect there that we started with us thinking that you were on that track about to run that race. And then there was a little bit of a surprise, and then we pull back again to go to another point in time. So it was really interestingly structured you can really like. I was saying before in the lecture about structure. You can really play with flashbacks or surprises as far as what you're doing with the time structure there, Um, but but But that's something that I learned how to reshape and re craft stories. You know, I think at first everything was very but the way that we talk sometimes it's just, you know, we have, like, these flashbacks and flash forwards. And and I think that being able to structure the story in that way kind of lent itself to the reveal later on that Dwayne had down syndrome and that we were here for a different reason. Then I initially may have set up. Yeah, it's a little surprising. One of the things I noticed that really stuck out to me was that metaphor about drawing a picture of myself right? And then if I had to draw another picture of myself, I would have drawn a blank. I really liked the use of that metaphor to kind of bring a concept about one's self perception into a very concrete form, like an almost poetic form there that's very useful to use metaphors like that to bring some of those sorts of ideas into concrete right there in front of your eyes. Um oh, and I also love the way that once the race starts, there's that amazing rhythm. You know, it starts to really pick up your voice. That pitch of your voice gets higher the pace at which you're talking. It's faster and faster, and we get really excited along with Yeah, yeah, that's like something that just, you know, is it was So I feel like that people are really with me in those moments. Like, really see that Duane is like running the race. I mean, even when I tell the story, my heart gets a little bit like a little faster. Isn't that interesting? Like sometimes using your own like sense memory and also just using some of your performing skills will get you re feeling some of those feelings. And that gets the audience feeling those feelings as well. And the same goes for the way that the rhythm suddenly ended with you being like what? Bringing everything to a standstill. Right, So great. That was great fun. Thank you so much for doing that. Thank you. 12. Story 4 v3 1: and now he's a stand up comedian, actor and writer who has appeared on risk as well. Here is Joel growing up. I knew I was gay before I knew I was Asian. Um, my parents in the eighties they adopted me as a baby from Korea there White, as are my brother and my sister. But I'm not. And I didn't actually make that connection because my parents, they home schooled me growing up. So I wasn't around a lot of other kids, so I didn't actually know that until we went to a family reunion and Alabama and one of my cousins ran up to me, pointed at my face and said, You don't look like everyone else here, which came as quite a shock to me at the time. The gay thing? Not so much. I knew I was gay from the time I was four until well, now I'm still gay, Actually, to this day I knew I came out of the closet when I was 16 years old. It was weird at the time I came from a conservative religious household, so I didn't know a lot of other gay think people I didn't know a lot about being gay in general, except from what I'd seen on Will and Grace. And then I met Henry when I was 16. He was a year older than me. He was a senior in high school and he was gay, and he taught me everything I needed to know. He taught me how to shop that express for men who Madonna, waas and how to do all sorts of things with my mouth and hands in the back of his Sunfire, Pontiac Sunfire on dimly let suburban streets. So things were with Henry. We're going super well. He was my best friend. We hung out every day after school, and I thought after a couple of months that I was in love with him. So one day after hanging out, I looked at him straight in the eyes and I told him I said, Henry, I think I love you. Do you want to be my boyfriend? And Henry looked at me, cocked his head to the side and got this look in his eye and said, Oh, sorry. No, I'm not really into Asian guys. And it was one of thes huge, paradigm shifting moments of my life where one identity and another identity sort crashed into each other, and I realized that they were sort of intrinsically connected and would be for the rest of my life. Flash forward. Several years I'm in college and those words have never left me, and I've seen them written, and I've heard them said a dozen other times from the first time. And it was hard and I sort of receded into myself, thinking I wasn't really worth much because of my race that in this community, the gay community, being Asian was actually sort of a detriment that no one would ever find me attractive and that I would end up alone with 1000 cats in an apartment. It was 2010. I was on my first trip to New York City. I was just there to have fun. Do if you show see a few friends, and I was not expecting to meet any men at all, much because I was seeing the same things in New York that I was seeing in Chicago at the time. No fats, no fams and no Asians. Sorry, just not into Asian guys. It's my preference. So I wasn't really expecting much when my two best lesbian friends decided to take me out and show me what New York really could be like. They took me to what is now my favorite bar, dimly lit sort of divey gay bar in Brooklyn, and we sat sipping on PBR's just waiting for something to happen. And I kept telling them, Nothing is gonna happen. No one's gonna be into me When suddenly I looked across the bar and I noticed him staring at me. He was this six foot three, blond haired, muscular guy. He was like a Nordic God or something like that. And they kept telling me, Joel, that guy is staring at you and I said, No, no, no, there's no way. There's no way that that New York eight is looking at a Chicago four like me. There's just no way. And then finally, after I guess a few more PPR's. I finally got the courage to go up to him and see what was going on here because he was staring at me and I thought maybe there was something on my face, so I approached him and I said, Hey, and he said, Hey, you're really cute And that was it. We started talking. I told him that I was a comedian and he told me that he was a comedian, that he played music and he bought me another drink. And before I knew it, my two friends had receded into the background and completely disappeared. And I was alone at this bar with this man that I had just met, and suddenly he was asking me if I wanted to go home and do gay stuff with him. So I said, Sure, So we go to his apartment and having a great time, and he reveals to me this piece of terminology that I'd never heard before. And he said that he was a Rice queen. And for those of you not in the know, a Rice queen is a gay person who is specifically into Asian guys. And that blew my mind. I'd never heard that before. Someone who was specifically into this insane. All I'd ever heard before was rejection and racism, and it felt gross. And it felt amazing to hear the reverse of that for the very first time. So we spent the rest of the weekend together, mostly in bed, sometimes eating, sometimes drinking, but mostly in bed. And then I was time for me to fly back to Chicago, and I was sad. But he asked me to call him, and from that point on, it just turned into this weird long distance sort of relationship. It was hours long phone calls, video messages, pictures being sent back and forth. And before I knew, I was planning my next trip to New York just to see him. It sounds crazy in hindsight, and it was a little crazy even back then. But I was flying. They're constantly to see him and spend time with him. And I really thought that I was falling in love with him more than in the way that I ever felt as a teenager about Henry and adult sort of way in a crazy sort of way, and in a way that made me ignore all of his flaws. Because in my head, in that moment I thought, Well, this is it. If I I couldn't find anybody before, and here is this God, this guy that's got standing in front of me saying that he likes me for this thing that has just been keeping me down for years. My entire life, I'm all in flash forward. It's January of the following year. Things have been going fine, but he had slowly been warning me that maybe he wasn't all that he seemed to be. And maybe I shouldn't be investing so much energy into this. But I was 22 so I said, Fuck that and I flew back to New York anyways, So we're there and this week is different. It's colder, just in the weather and in the apartment. He doesn't talk to me. He sort of ignores me. He lets me do my own thing. He sleeps for most of the time. He leaves his computer open with all of his other dating and hookup sites open for me to see while I'm there, and I didn't understand it. I tried my best toe, play it cool and be the cool guy and not worry about it and not nag him about it. But at the end of the week, I was getting ready to go, and he barely even looked at me. So I said to him, We're gonna have a serious conversation about this relationship as soon as we get home from the bar, which in hindsight, probably wasn't a great order of things. But we did it anyways. We ended up at that same dimly lit divey gay bar, sipping PBR's angrily at each other from across the bar, and I realized maybe he was right. Maybe this isn't it. And suddenly I had this panic in my stomach that oh my God, I am going to end up alone. If this isn't it, then it's just the cats and the cold, empty apartment forever. But we made it back to his place and we had that serious conversation, and maybe it was because I was drunk and maybe it was because I was panicking. But I, at one point in our argument, blurted out, I love you, and I waited for him to say it back and square. Littler. He never says it back. Fact. The next night, the night before I was supposed to fly out, invites his best friend over to hang out with us, and I end up sleeping with his best friend on his bed at his behest. While he plays video games in the next room and didn't end up actually leaving in the triumphant manner that I had hoped. A couple months later, I was thinking about it. And now, a couple of years later, I've been ableto digest it, and Michael is no longer this protagonist in this great big romantic comedy that I had built up in my head. And Henry is a footnote in my history, and all of this is sort of receding into the background of my consciousness and my identity as an adult man. And I realized that one guy won't like me for one specific part about my face, and another might like just that specific part about my face. But until I realize that I need to love myself as Tourney as that sounds, I'm never going to find that guy who's gonna love me back. So we just heard Joe's story. Joel actually first shared that story on risk at the Risk Live show in New York City. I think one of the things that strikes me the most about the story is how vulnerable you make yourself, like how much you're kind of bearing your soul. It's very emotional. How does it feel to do that. I mean, honestly, it weirdly feels more comfortable in front of an audience of a lot more people than just the camera and you and I. But I don't know. I feel like and at the end of the day, like that story represents the vulnerabilities that I had a long time ago, things that I wouldn't have been able to tell this story if I hadn't sort of grown a little bit above them and been ableto you know, if those were emotions that I were feeling viscerally now, I don't know if I would have been able to, but I think that's the distance from it. Actually, those two moments happening in my life to now have really helped me be able to tell the story a little bit with a little bit more. That is a very excellent point. I've tried to tell stories before that I was really in the middle of, and it really shut me down It it kind of left me with a writer's block for a while or just really freaked out, and sometimes you can just say, Hey, why don't I go back to my brainstorm of various moments in my life and it's okay, toe, go back to the past rather than trying to figure yourself out on stage right then and there , like you would have the therapist. Definitely. Yeah, and I think that the first sort of anecdote the Henry part of this story wouldn't have made any sense, really, without the second part and those two for me anyways, just because it would have just been like, Oh, this happened to me and it made me feel terrible about myself for years without any sort of closure to those what's brought up by that first. Yeah, that's another interesting thing is that oftentimes you'll have something happen where you like. I think that this anecdote is a story, but I don't feel like I'm done with that. You know, I feel like it's just bleak. If that's the story in and of itself, it feels like something else has to happen for me, too. Put an end on that story. That's great. Another thing that's really interesting is that this story kind of brings out one of the paradox of paradoxes of storytelling, that is, stories make us feel more connected, but often times we the storytellers are talking about how we might feel or even be different from other people. Um, what is it like? How does it feel to you telling this story from that angle, that whole dealing with both those issues of, uh, understanding, being Asian understanding, being gay and then understanding what both those things mean together? Well, I think that like that. That's like its representative. I think for a lot of how people feel gay or straight, I mean, I make up a big case for for specifically, you know, the no Asians. I'm not into Asian guys being sort of a trope of being gay within the gay community. But I feel like you can sort of impress upon that any number of things gay or straight, you know, like wait, you know, or other races or body type. You know, just anything really can be sort of impressed on that. And we all have the same sort of parallel struggle, whether just insert, you know, however you feel different. Yeah, I absolutely feel the same way that when you if you feel like oh, my story is this certain circumstance I was in was so different from what most people have been through that maybe I shouldn't share it. If you just get to how it felt inside, it will resonate with other people, no matter where they're coming from. Um, let me see what else I wanted to talk about. I thought I loved your recurring vision of being in a house with or in an apartment with 1000 gats. It's still very real. Well, I hope you never make it. Thanks so much. 13. Story 5 v3 1: and now she's a published author, and she has appeared on both the moth and risk. Here's Michelle. I've always been the kind of person who thought no meant. Find another way When I was a teenager, my dream was to one day be an artist and go to the School of Visual Arts, and I got in when I was 20 right before, when most people graduate, I decided to come. I decided to become a performer at the age of 35. That's the age with most people. Give it up. So when my husband told me he no longer want to be married, I was sure I could change his mind. I mean, after all, hadn't we spent the last nearly 14 years living and loving and making work together? But I had to face the truth that sometimes no, it means now. And there were days when I got to my job and I did not recall getting up getting dressed or how I got there. There were nights that I sat alone on my kitchen floor and I wept, and my friends, the friends are great. They really tried to cheer me up. They were like Michelle. You don't have to be alone. Just sign up. Okay, Q bid. Now there are a couple things that you need to know about me. Well, that you should. There are a couple of things that you should know about me one. When I was young, I walked into New York City subway tunnels to write graffiti. I've also performed on stage wearing a three foot tall hat, thigh high boots and not much else besides a riding crop. But I did not have the stomach or the Kohona is for online dating. I mean, come on, whatever happened that just getting trashed and taking someone home? Of course, the last time I had done that have been 1990 and they married him, and I also had to contend with what seemed to be another conspiracy going against me all that year. Every time I turned on the television, opened the magazine or listen to the radio, I just was faced with yet another segment on the Invisible Woman And how now, being that I was considered a woman of a certain age, the blue was now off my rose and the rot had now begun. Now I was my age. I was more likely to be struck by lightning than ever, again by love at first last or any site. But being me, I said No, that's not how it's going to be. But after a couple of years of facing more knows that I had never, ever faced in my life, I reluctantly came to the conclusion that maybe I had reached the point in my life, which I called menopause, and for one off something to do. I decided to write a book. I mean, there was nobody around anymore to tell me what I could or could not do, So I did. Now it took a while, and when I was nearly done, I I took a walk near where I live near Prospect Park near the south end of the park. And it was it was cold. It was one of those, like, last cold days before the spring really kicks in on. I passed by this little grove of magnolia trees and they were really starting to blue. I mean, really starting to blue. You could see each branch of each treatment each bud, we just pushing, just straining to push the confines of those green little sheets with the hairs on them and the pink. Can I started again? No, no, just that part, Okay. And for want of something to do, I decided to write a book. Why not? There wasn't anyone around now to tell me what I could or could not do. And it took a while. And when I was nearly done, I decided to take a walk in Prospect Park near where I live. And as I passed by the south and the park, they were this grove of magnolia trees. And it was one of the last cold days before the spring finally started to kick in, and these magnolia trees were just trembling. Every branch on every tree was just trembling with the weight and the energy of these big, fat, pink, creamy magnolia bloods buds just straining to get rid of the confines of the Lee of the Levy cases that held them in. And I just looked at them and, like, this sac just started to rise in. Me, too. And I just looked at these trees and they yelled out of them. I did. I I know how you feel I want to be pollinated. And then the very good looking, age appropriate man who was walking his dog ran straight into the park, never to be seen again. And I went back home and sat on my kitchen floor and I cried again because now that even more time had passed, I was even now more women of a certain age, and statistically I was more likely to be mauled by a tiger than ever again by any lover of any kind. And then a few weeks later, the unthinkable and unimaginable, unlikely and the unexpected thing happened. One night, a redhead walk into a bar before I was later walked out, not alone. The next morning I woke up with a man in my bed, and then I remembered his name was Larry. Oh God, the worst name in the world. How could I sleep with a guy named Larry and then because he lived in Historia and he didn't know my part of Brooklyn all I had to walk into the train and he kept trying to hold my hand, and I didn't want to let him, and he kept trying to hold my hand, and I didn't want to let him. Because come on, this was just like a one night stand. How could ever be anything else? I mean, besides, how old were we? But as we walked was you walk to the train and he went down into the subway. He waked up at me and he said, I'll call you and I went back here, right. But two days later, he did call and we went on a real first date and then a second and then 1/3. And then I saw him sneaking tic Tacs in his mouth right before he kissed me. And that's when I realized, My God, he's nervous, too. And the more I got to know Larry, the more I realize that we had been kindred souls these past 20 years, lived leading parallel lives and just now had finally found ourselves in the same place. And now this coming April, it'll be six years since the man I now call Bobby and I will be together. And sometimes I wonder how just how, when I was statistically and societally and everything else, Lee supposedly would never be able to find another soul Toby with again on when I was supposed to be at the point of my life, When my life is over, I was able to start over again. Good loving at 50. Maybe Sometimes miracles happen. Maybe just like those magnolia trees, which is waiting for the right breeze to come along. Well, maybe maybe I'm just the kind of person who always thought, no find another way. Well, that was great. Michelle first told that story at a risk show a couple of years ago, and it was great to hear it again. One of the things that I love about it is that you get to share what it's like to feel like in the story. You talk a lot about not feeling represented by, say, the mass media, like you keep opening up magazines and seeing that they're saying this about women of a certain age in Yamagata, and then being able to express yourself in saying no, you know how it is. Everybody's different. Yeah, I mean, you always anyone that's marginalized in society, which is anyone that's not I don't know, the patriarchy for one of the better word always has. Toe always has to fight to like, say, Yes, you could do this. I mean, this age discrimination, this all kinds of stuff. I mean, think about it. Like women, okay, Special with women, women that have that choose to have their families later in life. Ah, lot of times there. There's a lot of stuff against them. There, there, people tell them you, if you do it, your kids are going to come out with a 1,000,000 diseases. Your health is gonna be a risk. But women have been having babies over the age of 40 for ever. And one of the people that that was fella, Redhead, Lucy on the bluesy anyone that she had both before Children after the age of 40. And she was married to a man that was nine years younger than her. Not that it might have been a particularly good marriage in her time in the 19 fifties that was groundbreaking. Now, how many women would have taken would have become inspired by that story. Had that been allowed to be publicized right? That was kept down by the media at that time. Because for women to be going with man nine years younger and have babies after 40 scandalous these things can happen. And that's just one example. And that really ends up making a difference in changing the world. When Mawr and more people share their true stories about that sort of, because everybody thinks that they're the only person that ever felt a certain way. But it's not true. And when somebody has the colonies or whatever to say no, I felt this way to its for want of, ah, millennial word empowering It makes people think, Well, yeah, I could do it. If they could do it, I could do it. And I think that's good way. All should break the shackles off expectation, you know, and forge a path that's, you know, human. How did it feel? Did telling stories on stage? Did that inspire you to write your book? Um or did you write the book for partially I My my book for shot of agua basically came from stories I had told at the mosque. Okay, over a period of years, I have been doing it so much that people would say when you gonna my book and I would be like but then, like, you know that during this one year, my life basically fell apart, you know? And after it fell apart even more. I'm like I got to do something different. I have to change my life. So one of the things I did, one thing like that was put smoking. And the other thing I did was I thought it really seriously. Writing and fish out of Abu came out of it and and telling stories orally was what? Yeah, that's great. And it was a way that I could be myself because as a performer, I always would hide behind a character telling stories at at the mosque and at other places . It allowed me to discover what my my own true voice was and what it was like to be me on stage, as opposed to, you know, somebody some other character that's great. And it's great. Yeah, I also one of my favorite metaphors, and it's really I mean, it's actually really you're seeing it in real life, but it becomes kind of a metaphor. Is seeing those magnolias trying to bloom. Yeah, yeah, I passed that Grail Grove every march. It's crazy. You really bring that to life and you and you give it a lot of like energy. That's the point in the story where I feel like there's a real climactic emotion to you, like letting it all out. Yeah, I think so. Because I think at that point you don't know where the story's gonna go. Once I'm just like, uh, you're like, OK, something's gonna happen now E did it did. I mean, it's just it's just ironic that the turning point came two weeks after. Maybe that's when I was ready. Well, you know, it's funny because I think that a lot of older people might be inspired by your story. But I think a lot of younger people might be inspired by your story to the human story. Everybody loves everybody, wants somebody to, you know, no matter what age that's right, when the matter what, whatever that text universal, and that that's what the best stories are. Kevin, the best stories of the human ones to the universal ones that they're ones that you can't you can't put in the box. That's great. Thank you so much. Yeah, well, now that you've heard all the principles and the tips and techniques, it's time to get out there and start giving it a try. And don't forget to stop by the story studio dot org's because we have a lot of other sorts of work shopping that we do. For example, one on one training over Skype we have in person workshops in both New York and Los Angeles . And be sure to check out our podcast risk where people tell true stories they never thought they dare to share in public at risk. Dash show dot com Thanks for watching.