Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Apr 28, 2020

Storytelling School with The Moth: Bi-Weekly Storytelling Activity #9

by The Moth Staff

Lesson #9: Critical Choices: "The Moon and Stars Talks"- Tara Clancy

We made it to Tuesday! To celebrate, here’s a new Storytelling School with The Moth! The Moth’s Education program is publishing these storytelling activities to help parents and educators with some at-home curriculum. Join us again on Friday, and as always, thanks for your support!

The story is:

“The Moon and Stars Talks” by Tara Clancy

You can read the transcript of Tara’s story here.

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

1. Talk to each other about Tara’s story. 

For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. This week, we highlight: CRITICAL CHOICES. Anyone can ramble on for 45 minutes while the listeners (if they’re still there) try to make out the plot. It takes discipline and careful editing to tell a concise, compelling story in just a handful of minutes. At The Moth, our SLAM stories are just 5 minutes! And our Mainstage stories (like Tara’s) are under 15 minutes.  That editing process requires precise language and, as we discussed last week, choosing a THEME to help you decide what to keep and what to cut.  

  • The Mainstage theme when Tara told this story was Fish Out of Water. How do you think this theme may have helped Tara as an editing tool

  • Tara uses rich, but succinct descriptions that pack a big punch with just a few words. What does she tell us about the characters in her story that helps us imagine them so clearly?

  • For Tara to tell this story that covers several years and a lot of ground, she had to make choices about how to handle the passage of time.  What techniques does Tara use to guide the listener easily through the timespan of the story? 

2. 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 Tara’s exact experience, it still may have reminded you of a story from your own life. Get inspired by these prompt questions to tell your own story!

  • Tell us about an important teacher or mentor in your life and what they taught you

  • Tell us about a time you stepped into the unknown

  • Tell us about a time you were back and forth between worlds/ homes/ boroughs

  • Tell us about a time you had a secret you were afraid to tell your friends

  • Tell us about a time you talked with someone about big ideas for hours

  • Tell us about a time someone asked you the kind of question no one had ever asked you before

  • Tell us about a time you realized there was more to yourself than you knew

  • Tell us about a time you had the confidence to make a choice 

3. Activity

  • Plan your ultimate road trip! It could be short, like from Queens to the Hamptons, or long, like across the country. Where will you stop along the way? Who will you take with? What kind of car will you take? Hopefully one day you can put these plans to good use!
    • This site has many helpful digital trip planning tools you could use!

4. Share this post with a friend!

Click here for activity #10.

Tara Clancy is a writer, comic and actor. She is a frequent host of The Moth Mainstage shows and has told stories on The Moth Radio Hour, NPR’s Snap Judgment and Risk! Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Nation, The Paris Review Daily and The New York Times Magazine. She appeared on HBO’s Girls and High Maintenance, and has been a panelist on NPR’S Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me! 

Her memoir, The Clancys of Queens, was a 2016 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. More info at www.taraclancy.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

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from The Kresge Foundation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the Kate Spade New York Foundation, and  Alice Gottesman. 

Additional program support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the New York State Council on the Arts, ConEdison, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.