Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: May 10, 2021

Storytelling School with The Moth: Storytelling Activity #37

by The Moth Staff

Lesson #37: MOOD "Against the Wind"- CJ Hunt

It’s that time again for Storytelling School with The Moth! Stories are here for you in rain or shine, so whether you’re lounging on the couch or in the grass we hope you’ll enjoy today’s story! It’s been over a year since our first blog and we appreciate your continued engagement and support as we explore and discuss stories. For this month’s blog, we’re taking a look at a story about reflecting on a difficult time in life and the resilience that keeps you going.

This month’s Storytelling School story is:

“Against the Wind” by CJ Hunt

  • Watch the story:

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

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

Talk to each other about CJ’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 MOOD. The true impact of a story is what it makes us feel. CJ takes us on quite an emotional journey in this story- using humor, music and imagery to share his experience.  

  • How does CJ use music in this story to set the atmosphere?

  • What is the effect of CJ’s use of humor in this story? 

  • CJ uses the B-side of a cassette tape as a metaphor for thinking back on an era of his life with a new perspective. How does storytelling allow us to reflect on our lives with greater empathy for those who shared our experiences, like CJ with his father? 

Let’s Play “Have You Ever”

Raise your hand if … 

  • You’ve ever sung along with the car stereo

  • You’ve ever had cereal for dinner

  • You’ve ever scoured your neighborhood for comic or toy stores

  • You’ve ever had a collection 

  • You’ve ever had a piggy-back ride

  • You’ve ever looked back on a time that was both sad and beautiful 

  • You’ve ever admired someone for how they handled grief

  • You’ve ever been through a time that needed a soundtrack 

  • You’ve ever wondered what kind of person you’ll become

  • You’ve ever realized what kind of person you already are

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!



  • Is there a song(s) that represent a certain time in your life? What memories or feelings does that song(s) bring up for you? Share that song(s) with someone and see what music has been the soundtrack of their lives. Maybe you can even create a playlist together to share with more people!

  • When CJ got older, he realized that things didn’t happen exactly the way he remembered them. For all of our shared memories, there are details that we didn’t notice - but someone else did. Here’s an activity to help you discover those memories.

    • Get a partner and draw a joint memory map! This can look however you want - like a timeline, a physical map or even something more abstract.

    • Mark down some of your favorite memories together and take some notes on what you remember.

    • Discuss the details together. Do you remember something they don’t? Are your favorite parts the same? How do you remember feeling? Do their feelings surprise you?

Share this post with a friend!

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

Storyteller bio

CJ Hunt is a writer and comedian. He's a field producer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He is also directing The Neutral Ground, a forthcoming documentary about monuments and why it’s taking so long to break up with the confederacy. Say hi at gocjhunt.com

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