I thought this was an excellent idea. Brad is one of the best storytellers I know. He has a great rhythm and knows how to deliver a punchline. He also has no shame and is not afraid to revel in some of his life's most mortifying moments for the benefit of a good laugh.
Well, 2015 came and went and Brad never came near a mic open or otherwise.
But Brad still wanted to give comedy a try. And I was still bugging him to give it a try. So when it was announced that York was starting a monthly Story Slam (each month they pick a theme, people put their names in a hat and 10 are selected to share their story. The winner takes home bragging rights and a leather journal), Brad got to work on his story.
The day of the event he was stressed out about work, didn't feel like he had the delivery quite right on his story and was ready to bail on the whole enterprise. (I couldn't go for moral support because the girls were sick). He went anyway, shared his story about new beginnings and won (you can watch his amazing performance here.)
First lesson in storytelling: Just show up and tell the damn story.
Last night we had two healthy kids and a babysitter, so I went to the York Story Slam with Brad.
This month's theme was "sick" and we'd both prepared stories. Again, Brad's story was (literally) the shit:
He won his second leather journal and cemented his slot in the Grand Slam in November. And all he had to do was talk about how sometimes he passes out while taking a crap.
I shared a story, too:
You know, it's interesting. When it comes to discovering your voice as a writer, everyone tells you to write how you talk. Write like you're sharing a story with a friend. And I feel pretty comfortable doing that. But then when I have to share something I've already written down (the framework of my story was based on a column I wrote years ago), I found it really difficult not to talk like I write. Each time I practiced it felt a little awkward and a little unnatural. Like my voice got in the way of my voice or something.
Luckily, nobody really seemed to notice or care. I think we were all just looking for entertainment and community.
Maybe that's the second lesson in storytelling: It's not about perfection, it's about connecting with other imperfect people about our imperfect lives. For me, that's nirvana.