Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Oct 11, 2021

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Storytelling Activity #42

by The Moth Staff

It’s wonderful to see you back here at Storytelling School with The Moth! The weather is turning chilly, so grab a pumpkin-scented candle and your favorite cup of tea to settle in for another wonderful story. For this month’s blog, we’re taking a look at a story about coping with grief in an unlikely and cathartic way.

This week’s Storytelling School story is:

“Angel’s World” by Neema Avashia

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

Talk to each other about Neema’s story. 

 In The Moth’s Education Program, we often say that stories happen in the space between expectation and reality. For this post, we’ll focus on the UNEXPECTED. In this story, Neema navigates shared grief and beautifully honors her student, Angel. The loss itself and her response to it leads us into unexpected territory. In The Moth’s Education Program, we often say that stories happen in the space between expectation and reality. When things don’t go exactly as we thought they would, there is likely a compelling reason. A skilled storyteller will highlight that contrast with detailed examples, as Neema does in this story. 

  • What specific details does Neema mention about Angel that contribute to her feelings about his passing? 

  • What details does Neema tell us about herself that make her actions in this story particularly unexpected? 

  • Neema talks about feeling connected to her students in their grief. Has sharing a story ever helped you create connections? 

Write or tell your own story.

At The Moth, we believe in celebrating the diversity and commonality of human experience. Often, listening to someone’s story will remind us of a story from our own lives. While you almost definitely have not had Neema’s exact experience, it still may have reminded you of a story from your life. Get inspired by these prompt questions to tell your own story!

  • Tell us about a time you had a visit from someone from the past

  • Tell us about a time you had to figure out how to grieve 

  • Tell us about a time you didn’t have the answer

  • Tell us about a time you guided others through something you weren’t sure how to go through yourself

  • Tell us about a time you acted out of character

  • Tell us about a time you tried to affect change

  • Tell us about a time you resorted to a new tactic

  • Tell us about a time the usual hierarchies flattened

  • Tell us about a time you felt connected just when you needed to

Activities

  • Have you ever lost someone or even something important to you? Like how Neema and her students use graffiti, what is a way to honor your loved one that is unique to them? A song, a drawing, a baked good, a walk in a park, a gathering of family and friends, or anything else that feels right to you. Give it a try!

  • Personal testimony can be an extremely powerful tool for advocacy. Neema’s story is deeply personal, but also highlights an epidemic of gun violence affecting young people in her community. What is an issue that you care about? Is there a story from your own life or from your community that you might share to affect change? 

Share this post with a friend!

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

Storyteller bio

Neema Avashia is a Civics teacher at John W. McCormack Middle School in Boston, MA. She participated in The Moth Teacher Institute in 2018, where she told this story.

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