Storytelling is a Rush

Last night I was graciously given my first-ever on-stage storytelling opportunity! I got up in front of a bunch of mostly-strangers (a few friendly faces graced the audience, and thank you SO MUCH to those who came out!) on the stage of Union Hall and told a very personal story about how I first fell for my girlfriend… at a swinger party in Brooklyn. I won’t give away details, because after all, that’s what live storytelling is for! The immediate experience! And anyway, poo poo to anyone who didn’t make it! You missed out! (I hear the whole thing was recorded on video, but I’m not sure if/when/where the footage is/will be available, so let’s just assume it’s not/won’t be for now.)

But the thing is this: I consider myself a storyteller far more than a journalist, reviewer, curator, or artist. Storytelling is my preferred mode of expression, as anyone who’s ever spent any time in a room with me can attest. I tell stories to explain myself, I tell stories to illustrate points, I tell stories just to tell stories. So when Jefferson over at Bare! Stories invited me to tell a story of “Sex, Romance, or Desire,” I jumped at the opportunity. The storytelling craze is a big deal right now, and I want to jump on it… but I hadn’t done so before yesterday because honestly, I was scared I’d suck at it. I’ve stopped myself from working on performing stories in front of audiences because I want so badly to be good at it that I’ve been afraid to try on my own. I was TERRIFIED last night.

But… It went beautifully! The story was humorous but not side-splitting, and the audience responded perfectly. I was the only female in the lineup, and that may have helped soften the crowd, but I’d say that I  honestly think I did pretty damn well. I was also the only first-timer, and the only person with a not-strictly-funny story. Mine was more heartfelt, I guess. I think that was a good thing in the course of a night that involved H. Alan Scott’s explorations of his own inadequacies, Nate Rand’s embarrassing and hilarious drug-fueled story, and Nate Rand’s gasp-inducing coincidental tale of drag queens, bent members, and ruined weddings.  My story fit right in the middle ground as a breather. As soon as I had the mic in my hand it felt natural. I enjoyed telling the audience about my experience falling in love with my girlfriend, and I think they enjoyed hearing it. It was a really beautiful moment (or ten minutes, rather), and one that I’m excited to recreate. And I shall!

I’ll be onstage (incidentally, with Jefferson, who’s also performing) at Titillating Tongues on June 26 at the Soho Playhouse! Tickets here! Can’t wait to see you!

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