Three days before one of the biggest shows I’ve ever produced, one of my performers called with bad news. She’s an up and coming comedian and her agent insisted she be somewhere else Saturday night. Then a day before my show, another performer emailed to say she was very sick and had to pull herself out of the lineup. I had a few options upon hearing this news. I could freak out, and/or resent the hell out of these performers for potentially ruining my big night. I could also let the setback fill me with fears of my own inadequacy. Programs were already printed, social media was filled with their names and images. What would my audience think of ME that I couldn’t put on the show I promoted and promised? The third option was to dig into my mental Rolodex of performers to find replacements and trust that the show would go on in the way that it was meant to. Grateful that I had enough wits and grace to choose option 3, and Saturday night’s storytelling show at Tilles Center was, simply, magical.
There is a maxim that when something is right and meant to be, doors that were previously locked will suddenly fly open. Ever since I got up on a Moth storytelling stage at Housing Works in New York City almost two years ago to tell my first true story, I have found that to be true.
I discovered a vibrant, exhilarating storytelling community in the New York area, and quickly became a part of it, making new friends and telling stories all over the five boroughs, Westchester and Long Island. Then I got an idea in my head that I should start my own show on Long Island, and in June, my storytelling show “Now You’re Talking” will be celebrating its first anniversary.
I took a storytelling class with the brilliant Jeff Simmermon, and learned how to incorporate more humor into my stories, and to conquer my lingering stage fright.
I then became adept at telling longer-form stories with the incredible guidance of coaches Cyndi Freeman and Michelle Walson, which landed me on Kevin Allison’s Risk! stages and podcast.
I pitched a story idea to Crain’s New York Business to write about the growing NYC storytelling scene and how it’s spilling over into storytelling for business. The resulting story led to requests from Long Island libraries to bring storytelling to their members, a corporation to do a storytelling workshop for their staff, and an invitation to be interviewed for an hour(!) on a live radio show, “Let’s Get Radical,” where I gushed about my love for all things storytelling and how I also use it in business.
This past week, my friend Jude Treder-Wolff, who started the first Long Island storytelling show, Mostly True Things (I’ll be performing there this weekend), interviewed me about my storytelling odyssey and wrote up a wonderful, thought-provoking piece about the “Conduits of Connection” – how storytelling connects us all, and is a vital skill in all facets of life.
On Sunday, I’ll be giving a storytelling workshop at Long Island’s premier literary festival, Word Up: Long Island Litfest.
And in May, I rented out the 180-seat Merrick Theater on Long Island for a night of storytelling stars in a bid to bring my storytelling show to a wider audience. I know the theater will be filled and that it will be a harbinger of even greater things to come.
I have never been more busy, more exhilarated, more fulfilled. In my bio that hosts read at shows where I perform I include the line that I came to storytelling later in life, but I have since embraced it with the fervor of an evangelist. I am so lucky to have found my calling and my storytelling tribe. I can’t wait to see what doors open next.