Friday, December 6, 2013

The Moth

I attended a live performance of The Moth last night!

I've listened to the program a few times on Oregon Public Broadcasting, and the stories have intrigued me. When I saw that Oregon Literary Arts was hosting the show, I talked it up with the family and we bought tickets way back in August!

The venue was beautiful: the historic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in downtown Portland.

Mark, Mom and I sat up in the balcony and looked waaaaay down to the stage. Julia and Scott were seated on the main floor.

The stories were powerful and moving.

When was the last time you listened to a story on the radio? Music and ads, sure, but very little human story. We do so little oral sharing. More and more, our culture is moving into a culture of text--mostly digital, but still print, too. Listening to the storytellers tell their very personal stories drew me in and held my attention for over an hour.

I got to thinking about the roots of oral storytelling.

The Odyssey is part of the curriculum for our high school freshmen. I always try to describe the oral setting of the ancient stories when I am sharing the epic poem with the ninth graders. I do my best to set the scene of the big hall, the wandering storyteller, the flickering firelight, the spell of the story.

In fact, I used to dress up as Homer and try to get the kids in the mood.

This is me in my Homer costume. He was reputedly blind, so I use dark sunglasses and tap with a stick. I tell the kids that their teacher is down in the office for a while and I am the guest speaker. Cheesy! They know it's me, of course, but they seem to find it entertaining, so they play along.

Stories are so powerful. Brain studies have shown that our brains are wired for story. We try to make sense out of our daily experiences by composing them into stories.

If you haven't heard The Moth yet, I recommend checking it out. Good stories.

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