by Mel Wells
When The Moth came to Portland this December, they not only sold out the Schnitz with their Mainstage show, but they brought a smaller, quieter program that is a force in its own right: The MothSHOP. As part of The Moth’s community education programs, MothSHOP brings Moth professionals to spend a week at a local high school, working with a group of students who refine their own stories and then perform them for an audience of their peers in a High School StorySlam. This year, The MothSHOP came to Gresham High School.
Moth stories have a few important rules. A storyteller must tell a story that is 1. true, 2. about the storyteller (not their mom or brother or best friend’s dog’s squeaky toy) 3. has stakes, and they must do so within the five-minute time limit and without any props or notes. Even for experienced public speakers, telling a story for The Moth can be a daunting prospect.
Seven daring students from Gresham participated as storytellers. They stood on the bare stage, just them and a microphone, before an auditorium of their peers. Each one eyed the audience, took a deep breath, and told their story. These tales were diverse in content and emotion, from humorous to heartbreaking, but all were authentic and brave. Each student managed to transcend the confessional nature of telling a true, personal story, and got to the heart of storytelling: to share what it means to be alive. Listeners learned about overcoming struggles, losing loved ones, and many variations on the theme Don’t Look Back. Thanks to all the tellers, to The Moth staff, and to the teachers and administrators who helped coordinate this great event!
Literary Arts in the Give!Guide 2017
November 1, 2017
Help us break this record of giving and raise more than $20,000 to…
December 20, 2017
Anne Richardson Chelsea Beiker Annette Benedetti Jackie Shannon Holis Rebecca Smolen
Master Class with Javier Zamora
February 11, 2018
Master Class with Javier Zamora Sunday, February 11 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.…
Everybody Reads 2018
April 5, 2018
In partnership with Multnomah County Library and The Library Foundation, Literary Arts is…
April 26, 2018
Come celebrate Portland’s creative youth during our seventh annual Verselandia! poetry slam.
Oregon Book Awards Ceremony 2018
April 30, 2018
Join Literary Arts’ annual celebration of the state’s most accomplished writers in…