25 September, 2013

Gator People Live in The River: Moth Slammin'

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it. -- Hannah Arendt

The problem with performing is that it's addictive.

In spite of a marathon day working at the Writing Center, Amanda and I made it to Headliner's for the monthly Moth StorySlam. This month's topic: TRUST. I'd been mulling over a story -- one I have written about here regarding my pocket knife, traveling by bus, and life in our ever burgeoning Police State -- and I think I told it fairly well. I like being on stage, whether I'm telling a story or reading poetry or trying to pick a song on some stringed instrument. It's a free space. It's a public space. It can sometimes be an extremely lonely space.

The evening's highlight, however, was when Amanda took the stage and killed it... beating out a mexican cyclist, a cross-dresser, a dick joke, and me.

People who know me know I am patently non-competitive, except for when I get suckered into a game of Monolopy (It brings out the lingering shred of a petty capitalist that I've been starving out of existence for some time now.) Art culture is itself competitive, and writers are some of the more spiteful bunch, beat out only by the visual arts because of it's cold commodification of the soul. Generally you are given or assigned a role as leader or as follower. I decided some years ago that I would do neither and go my own way. Sometimes I cross paths with other art folk. Mostly I stick to comfortable bars, cozy coffee shops, and anything that sounds like fun. If I'm happy and I'm having fun I figure I have at least half a leg up on the folks who would hold my happiness for ransom at the cost of a paycheck and a weak promise of retirement.

Last night was fun. It was fun because even though I was too mentally tired to be nervous, I got on stage and told a story I wanted to tell. It was especially fun because I got to leave on the arm of the best storyteller in the room.

And it reinforeced for me that even though art culture is a shark tank, I don't have to be a shark to be happy. All I have to do is be happy, whether I'm on stage or off.