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Story Slam

Submitted by Katie on April 11, 2011 – 11:43 pmComments

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Story Slam- thetellingroomI recently challenged myself to participate in a Story Slam. It’s a competition where I had five minutes on stage in front of an audience to tell a true story about my life. As I prepared for this event, I focused on how I would feel telling my story, what this experience would do for me. I didn’t think about what it would give to my audience. I wanted to feel a catharsis, or at least an adrenaline rush.

However, I was so distracted trying not to say “um” and remembering my story and figuring out what in the world to do with my hands that I didn’t really notice anything else. Could the audience see the sweat pooling at my armpits? Could they tell I had secretly memorized the entire five minutes? Could they hear my voice crack in the microphone? When I was done, I just felt relieved to be off the stage.

However, at the intermission I had a few people tell me that they enjoyed my story, that they thought I was funny. They were surprised to hear I’d been nervous. (Thank goodness for black shirts.)

As I relaxed and listened to the other stories, I began focusing on what the storyteller was giving to the audience. The best stories were the ones I found myself in.  I could tell everyone else did too by the feel of the room—the genuine laughter, the shared glances, the deeper silences.

“What makes your story different?”

“Nothing.” That’s why I need to tell it.

(Photo courtesy of thetellingroom via Flickr)

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  • Blaine Sellman

    Nothing is worse than ten minutes before show time.  That feeling of re-rehearsing over and over again in your head.  Then when you are up in front of the attending audience, time slows down and every word, every sound, and every move that you make is completely absorbed into your mind, almost as if your memory banks have become the great vaccuum of time sucking in everything.  Your perception is enhanced and your senses increased as the shaking begins and you begin to take notice that your audience is on to you.  But when it is over, and you walk off of that arena of nervousness and paranoia, you become normal and feel relieved and hyper-manic.   Well put Katie, it's good to read your work again.   

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