Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Nov 09, 2021

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Storytelling Activity #43

by The Moth Staff

It’s Storytelling School with The Moth! We are grateful for this community of storytellers and listeners and especially thankful to all of you who have been engaging with our blog. For this month’s blog, we’re taking a look at a story about accepting everything that makes us beautiful.

This month’s Storytelling School story is:

“Beauty and Barcelona” by Nyla Gilstrap

  • Watch the video. 

  • You can read the transcript of Nyla’s story here.

After you’ve watched and read the story, you can do the following activities: 

Talk to each other about Nyla’s story. 

For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on MOMENTUM. This story really moves. Most Moth stories in the Education program (and at Moth SLAMs) are just five minutes long.  In that short time, Nyla gives us a very comprehensive view of an impactful time in her life. Telling a concise, compelling story with momentum takes skill and careful crafting work. 

  • How does Nyla build the tension throughout the story and keep us on the edge of our seats?

  • Consider the critical choices Nyla made about what details to include. How does that thoughtful editing contribute to the pace of this story? 

  • How does well built momentum help us really understand the *STAKES of a story? 

*See previous posts on STAKES 

Let’s Play “Have You Ever”

Raise your hand if … 

  • You’ve ever been to summer camp

  • You’ve ever been late to join the group

  • You’ve ever had a huge crush

  • You’ve ever tried to be flirty

  • You’ve ever felt ugly

  • You’ve ever made instant best friends

  • You’ve ever taken a scenic hike in a new place

  • You’ve ever had ground rules to keep your friends safe

  • You’ve ever worried about a friend’s safety

  • You’ve ever cried happy tears

  • You’ve ever let go of other peoples’ standards of beauty

  • You’ve ever believed you were beautiful 

Did you raise your hand? If you raised your hand even once, that’s a story you could tell! Find someone to tell it to and try out a draft!



  • Every single person is uniquely beautiful in their own way. Can you make a list of everything that is beautiful about you? Once you think your list is done, add one more because there are infinite things that make you shine!

    • And if you’re really feeling it, post a photo of yourself OR something you’ve created/been involved with that you’re proud of to share your beauty with others!

Share this post with a friend!

And check back the second Tuesday of every month for another story.

Storyteller bio

NYLA GILSTRAP originally crafted her story in a Moth Education residency through the All City Program in Spring 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with friends in Central Park and playing lacrosse. She just recently got a puppy named Louie that has been a real source of joy during quarantine, and she has been using the spare time to watch classic movies and read books. In the future, Nyla hopes to write for the New Yorker, but is currently enjoying working on her school newspaper.

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources. To learn more, visit themoth.org/education