Storytelling and The Mosquito

So--as a friend likes to say--I did a thing. During a weekend in October, my partner and I went to Provincetown to celebrate our anniversary.  While there, since we're not into drinking much nor bands, we looked for things to do in the evening and stumbled upon The Mosquito Story Slam. It draws its inspiration from The Moth but looks for a bit more spontaneity.  They provide a theme for the night and when people arrive, they can put their name into a hat.  Assuming there's a reasonable number (no more than 10-12), then they will have each person come up on stage and tell their 5-minute story.  You can check out the different shows and seasons on their Soundcloud channel

We learned about the show sometime in the morning and decided we would go.  In the back of my head, I started wondering if I would go up and tell a story.  The theme was:  Road trips, wanderlust, and getting lost.  I figured I had something I could talk about but would it be clear enough for an audience. 

I put it to the back of my head for the day, only occasionally revisiting it when my mind wandered, but by and large, I was out enjoying the sights with my partner.  The evening rolled around and we walked over to the Provincetown Theater; a small local theater that was about 1/3 mile away from where we were staying.

We got our tickets and began to head in where the hosts were chatting with people and asking them.  The mosquito net they used to put names into looked a bit sparse and the host was welcoming and encouraging to people.  Chatting them up about if it was their first time, about the fun of the show, and the gratefulness of people will to share their story.  So, when asked point-blank what if I wanted to put my name in, I hesitated a little bit but soon came around and wrote my name down.

I had the story but I needed time to flesh it out a bit and I was worried that I would be called first--I wasn't; I was called 10th (out of 11th) so it gave me time to flesh out some pieces, order things around, and most importantly, figure out the bigger theme (in large part, that was nursed by my partner when talking with me during intermission--it just all clicked). 

Now, as someone who has taught over 100 courses and has done probably more than 100 presentations to folks related to the instructional design, I am pretty good with just getting up in front of a crowd.  But when it's content that's meant to entertain as opposed to educate, I can be on a bit more shaky ground.  I mean I did do this bit of stand up and would love to return to develop it more (after the dissertation, of course), but I had no real time to rehearse beyond in my own head.  And that was in-between the other presenters (many of whom were amazing and told such great stories). 

But as a first-time story-teller who had little practice, I thought this came out pretty well.  And it was a lot of fun.  The 5 minutes went by really fast and I feel like I manage to do what I had hoped to do and get some laughs along the way.  There's about a million ways I would improve upon what I did but that's always to be expected.  I still enjoyed doing it and was glad I took the risk in doing it. Here's the video:

So...what did you think?

What story would you tell?  How might you imagine it for a 5 minute format?  What might be the bigger lesson you take from it?  

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