Everybody’s got a backstory.




So here’s the story:

Last month I showed up at a MA Mouth story slam at the Rosebud in Davis Square, just to recon—and won! (there hadn’t been enough storytellers that afternoon to make it an “official slam,” was urged to tell a story simply to have the required ten warm bodies on the stage, yadda yadda yadda.) So last night, having stumbled into this whole thing, nervously walked to Club Passim in Harvard Square to compete against other winners of other storyslams  at other greater-Boston MA Mouth venues.

Didn’t win, of course—several of the competitors were gifted, experienced storytellers—but didn’t throw up onstage, either. (I was the 16th out of 19 storytellers so had plenty of time to work myself into a lather.) The presence of dear and recently-made friends calmed me. A receptive, supportive audience meant that the actual storytelling experience was fun! And at its heart, my story had been about my love and admiration for my women’s creative writing class students; my love for those “wise, resilient, funny”women grounded me and my story.

So Suzanne, Harriet, Mary, Irene, Gladys: thank you.*

Both last night and during a Friends Meeting at Cambridge retreat this past weekend, I got to listen to a LOT of stories. And was reminded that everyone has a backstory and that when we hear that story, our ability to acknowledge “that of God” in others is so much easier!

* Harriet, Mary and Irene have died, Suzanne’s in a nursing home, Gladys, who was the only student my age, is happily retired.


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