I came across The Moth while browsing the stand alone displays of one bookshop or another and something about the cover commanded me to stop in my tracks. Perhaps it was the promise of an introduction by Neil Gaiman or maybe my own inner moth was drawn to the golden glow of the lightbulb suspended front and centre on the cover. Whatever it was that cast its spell on me, moreso than all the other books on display I had to know more.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a storyteller. Someone who can turn a tale and transport the listener (or viewer in the case of my work) to another time and place for a moment or longer. The cover’s promise of 50 extraordinary true stories had me hooked and I was keen to know more.
The Moth was born in the United States, out of a longing to return to the days when storytellers were kings and TVs and the Internet weren’t nearly as revered as they are today. It’s a live storytelling event where you can pitch your story to perform in front of an audience. If the Directors like it they will help you to tell it better and you’ll hold court and enthral a paying audience. The only criteria is you must tell a true story. If your story involves a failure be truthful and include it.
The book is a whittled down collection of 50 true stories which have been told at various Moth performances across America. Stories are short and easily digestible with your coffee and morning commute. If I had to nit-pick I would say some stories are much too short, halting abruptly just at the point where things are getting good. And some stories… well I just hated some of them but that’s the beauty of the book – you don’t have to like all of them. The truth so often ignores any conventions of entertainment and simply is and so I read each one and just didn’t linger at the ones that didn’t speak to me.
Over the course of about a fortnight I greedily devoured the pages, morning and night, as I went to and from work. As a result I hold The Moth‘s curators wholly responsible for my loitering on train station platforms, for missing numerous bus stops and my general tardiness on more than one occasion to the office. It was worth every second.
My favourite stories are earmarked for repeat reads and I’m so looking forward to these! I admit I’ve fantasised a little about what it might be like to be friends with such incredible storytellers. And then I realised that I already am – we all are. Everyone has incredible, true stories flowing through their veins and, thankfully, The Moth leads the best ones to the light.
If you’d like to borrow my copy you’re welcome to – just don’t unmark my favourite bits! And if you’d like to hear the stories as told in their original form head over to The Moth‘s own website. Here’s a link to one of my absolute favourites by Cynthia Riggs – proof that true love works to its own timeframe.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book, or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to catch a live Moth performance? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below or use the hashtag #talesofbookclub on Twitter or Instagram and let’s have a yarn over a cuppa.
Til next time,