The Moth (Weekend Inspiration)


The Moth, an effort by George Dawes Green, which is supported by NPR, to reinvigorate the art of storytelling, is part performance, part autobiography, and part stories-for-stories-sake. Since it debuted in 1997, thousands of people have told their stories in front of live audiences all around the United States.

Participants can tell whatever story they want within the universal parameters–each storyteller must present her/his story:

  1. In front of a live audience.
  2. Without notes.

From The Moth’s website: “Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience. Moth stories dissolve socio-economic barriers, expose vulnerabilities, and quietly suggest ways to overcome challenges and see with new eyes.”

This is not only the goal of The Moth, but it is also the mission statement behind this course. By thinking about how we write our own lives, we should get to questions about human existence, life, God, society, and on and on.

You’ve already watched/listened to Dan Savage’s story, but there are thousands of other stories out there. They might be helpful examples for your Remembered Event paper, but they are definitely helpful examples for living an examined life.

Do you have a favorite storyteller in your life? Someone who always has an interesting tale to tell? Tell us about her or him in the comments!


Updates: Week 2

Hey All!

Now that the craziness of the first week is over, I have fixed a few items that did not seem to be working correctly:

  1. Homework: Posting the homework for the week on the blog was a bit cumbersome, and it led to people reading the wrong materials for Friday. So, I have made a page, which is located in the above menu, where all of the homework will be listed. That way you do not need to search through the blog to find the right post.
  2. In-Class Discussion: When you’ve taught as much as I have, you recognize that all classes have a personality. After last week, I am getting the impression that ours is a more strong and silent sort of class. That is great, but it means that our in-class discussion is going to have to include more structured participation. As a first step, in class today we are going to be making name cards (so that everyone can learn names quickly) and engaging in more in-class, pre-talking writing. This will not effect the way you prepare for class, just what we are going to be doing in class.
  3. Discussion Questions: As requested, I have added discussion questions to your reading this week. If this seems to help, then I will continue to do so. You do not have to write anything up formally, but you should be able to answer the questions (or attempt to) when asked. Remember: bring the readings to class! I noticed today many of you did not have access to the readings, either printed or on your computer. This is just not acceptable. We are going to talk about the readings, so, please, bring them.

Those are the things that I noticed last week, if you have any ideas how to streamline the website or the class, then please come see me during office hours or shoot me an email. I would love to fix problems before they actually become problems.

Also, I have followed all of you on Tumblr. I am 99.9% sure that I located all of you. But, if you do not have me as a follower yet, shoot me an email just to make sure that you are on my list.

Comments? Questions? Concerns? Let me know!



Schedule: Week 2, 4/6-4/10

For Week 2…

Monday, April 6th: “Writing is…”

  • Homework Due
    • BP:
    • Read:
      • Lamont, “Shitty Rough Draft” [the PDF is on iLearn]
      • Didion, “On Keeping a Notebook” [the PDF is on iLearn]
  • Paper Benchmarks (suggested, not required)
    • Now that you have an event, brainstorm everything you can about the event. Smell? Feel? Sounds? As well as location and people? What were you wearing? What season was it? … and on and on. Give yourself some time to think through your remembered event. Re-experience it, before your write it.
    • Use SMG pages 33-35 to guide you on this.

Wednesday, April 8th: Taking a Tone

Friday, April 10th: Introductions

  • Homework Due
    • Write up a Rough Draft of your Introduction (shoot for 200 words)
      • Use SMG pages 42-44 as a guide
      • Make the font 18pt (aka, BIG)
      • Double-Space it
      • Print it out
  • Paper Benchmarks (suggested, not required)
    • None, because you are already working on an introduction!