What is The Moth?

For 11 months, Angela and I have been doing 1 goal per month that we’ve chosen ourselves.  We decided at the beginning of the year we would mix it up in December and decide each others goals this month.  So, she has challenged me to speak at The Moth and I have challenged her to do a recording – seeing as how she’s a professional musician and all.

The last month of 2015, here we go…

Dec 1:  What is the Moth?!  Similar to Ted Talks (at least from my preliminary research), it’s people sharing stories on a stage in front of a live audience.  The only thing I know of the Moth are the few talks I listened to via Podcast after Angela was raving about them (this was a few months back).  She told me about a talk where a Mormon girl shared how Mormons stereotypically say “no” to a lot of things and she wanted to dispel that myth, so she spent one night saying yes to everything.  She unexpectedly ended up on a cruise ship that night and the story just kept unfolding.  I ended up listening to a couple other talks after that – one from a guy who was a pick-pocketer (which I kept thinking about when I was in NYC last month) and one was Molly Ringwald talking about her daughter (all I remember was her daughter’s name was Matilda and she was kind of bullying other kids, or something).  So, I guess I’m competing with the Molly Ringwalds of the world for center stage?

Before I share what I am learning and planning, I do have to give a shout out to Angela because she picked the perfect goal for me.  She knows I talk a lot and she knows being a speaker is a dream of mine.  Good pick, Angela!

I started with going to the Moth website to see when the heck the events are and how I was going to get myself on the stage.  Here’s what I know on day 1:

*There’s large events where I believe speakers are selected based on an audio submission they do online.  They seem to be held at large venues and you have to buy tickets to get in.  The site gives an “upload your stuff here, and we’ll contact you if we’re interested” type of blurb on the bottom.

*Somehow talks are put on Podcasts, not sure where those are taken from…actual stage events or just dedicated Podcast recordings?  (There is an actual podcast for The Moth).  I think they come from live events because I could hear people in the audience on Molly Ringwald’s talk awhile back I thought.

*There are other ways to speak at the Moth outside of just the large events – they have what they call Story Slams.  They are held all over the U.S.  You just show up, sign up, and they draw 10 names the day of the event and if you’re one of the lucky ones whose name is drawn, you get 5 minutes to tell your story.  It appears to work like a contest, there’s judges, and there’s a theme for the night that the talks must relate to on some level.

*There are Grand Slams which I assume means it’s the next phase if you win a Story Slam?

Dec 2:  I decided I would submit an audio recording to see if I could get into the big Moth events, but TBD on the topic and/or when and how I will do the recording this month.

I researched the Story Slams a little more since that seemed like a feasible way to get on a stage within the designated month for this goal, and if my July jackpot win in Vegas were any indication of my luck….I mean….I have to be one of the 10 people’s names who get pulled from the hat, right?  (Insert me just wanting to tell you I won a humorous speech contest through Toastmasters a couple years ago.  I have a trophy and everything).  There are Story Slams happening all over in December, many of them throughout the week, none of them in Ohio.  I found 2 happening on December 29th (a day I’m off work!), one is in Chicago (decent driving distance and/or a quick flight) and one in Louisville (definite driving distance, and possibly close enough to sneak in a visit to my great grandparents).

I sent a calendar invite to Chris that says “Roadtrip – The Moth (Chicago or Lousiville)” for December 29.  He didn’t ask any questions and accepted the invite – which makes me love him even more.

Dec 3:  Where else to research than YouTube, really?  I watched a few Story Slams to get a sense of how they compare to Ted Talks.  Some lost my attention in the first minute, but I managed to get through one where a guy who wasn’t Jewish but liked dating Jewish women went on a Jewish dating website (describing himself as “Jew-ish”….clever, huh?).  The lady he met had a huge butt which he referenced several times in the talk, she ended up being married, turns out she wasn’t Jewish either.  His talk was hilarious.  Hopefully he won.  Hopefully he will never read my horrid description of his talk.

Dec 4:  I started brainstorming what I could speak about for December 29th.  It looks like each Story Slam has a theme and it’s not uncommon for many locations to have the same theme.  For example, happening last week and next week, there are several locations whose themes are “Paybacks” or “Excuses.”  It looks like the theme for the 29th for Chicago and Louisville (and several other locations) is “Joy.”  The website says….

“JOY: Prepare a five-minute story about an experience that brought you utter delight, or a time you were able to provide it for somebody else. Long dark roads to happy revelations and new hobbies that help keep a smile on your face.” (http://themoth.org/)

Suddenly I can’t think of anything joyful.

Do I talk about hitting a jackpot?  That brought some joy.  Do I talk about writing handwritten letters even though I’m so over telling that story because I wrote a chapter about it in my book?  Do I talk about this blog?  Is this bringing others joy?  Do I talk about my mother-in-law or my mom’s bestie whose names are Joy?

I wanted to talk about Gals With Goals in general when Angela said this was my goal.  Mmm….how to center it around joy?  It has brought me a ton of joy that would take me way longer than 5 minutes to describe.  I can edit.  I guess that’s my topic.

Dec 5:  We had a Christmas party at our house with coworkers and friends.  40 people in our house.  With shoes on.  The only thing I did for my goal was talk to Angela for a couple minutes about what I typed above (minus the Jewish big butt talk story).