Happy November! November is looking great, because lots of fun live storytelling related things keep appearing, and I’ve been growing more and more passionate about storytelling by the day.

Have I ever told you how much I love Portland’s live storytelling series: Back Fence PDX?

Last September I went to Back Fence at The Mission Theater  It was the first time I’d gone to something like it–whilst living in NYC I never went to The Moth, though I wanted to. (Actually, untrue, I was in a storytelling series in NYC called “How I Learned” which is SO FUN–listen to my story called “Prime Meats & Prime Bitches” here. )

Anyway, the theme at Back Fence that night was “Mistakes Were Made”. Meg Worden, below, blew my mind. A year has since passed, and I still often think of this story. After Meg’s son was born, she and her boyfriend at the time got a knock on the door from the feds. Meg was to spend years in federal prison for selling ecstasy tablets. Just watch the video. 

The next Back Fence show I went to was in March, when I went to Portland AGAIN. This was a double-whammy show for me because I’m in love (real love) with Lauren Weedman and I was introduced to Beth Lisick.

Here’s what I’ve noticed: You can learn a shit ton about everything while watching live storytelling. It makes me think of my friend Courtney Maum’s article, “Six Ways Reading Series Can Improve Your Writing” on  Tinhouse. So once past the writing part, writers have to do readings. Maybe I’ll write something about how watching live storytelling can improve reading your own work out loud. I’m decent at it but I would like to get better.

Watching people live story-tell makes me more aware. Of body language, of voice, of the rhythm, of craft, of posture. I love it. I’m hooked. I want to grow the balls to do one sometime in 2013 or 2014.  It’s a scary thing for me, as I’ve done a bunch of readings but I always have my papers or book to hide behind. Storytelling is vastly different than reading. B. Frayn Masters, producer and host of Back Fence told me that there is no ball-growing. You JUST DO IT.

What about you? Have you ever done it? Would you ever do it? Do have a storytelling series in your city?

If you’re in Portland, come to the Back Fence show on NOVEMBER 14TH. Theme is CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Details and tickets here.

P.S. I noticed I just chose all women. But I’ve seen lots of awesome dudes too, (Arthur Bradford, Matt Smith–oh! Riley Michael Parker!) You can watch all of the videos here. Go do it! You’ll thank me.) 



  1. Yes I am going to Story Department every month and watching videos like these so I can do it. I am skeeeeeered. I was going to suggest “Caught” as a theme to the Story Dept but I like Catch Me If You Can better.

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