Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Jul 08, 2020

Storytelling School with The Moth: Weekly Storytelling Activity #21

by Moth EDU

Lesson #21: SETTING: "When People Ask Me Where I'm From"- Beth Gebresilasie

Here’s another Storytelling School with The Moth! We are in the midst of a difficult time that can feel hard to process, both for ourselves and for our young people. For this week’s blog, we’re taking a look at a story about finding, losing, and getting support from friends.

This week’s Storytelling School story is:

“When People Ask Me Where I'm From” by Beth Gebresilasie

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

1. Talk to each other about Beth’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 SETTING. Beth takes us on quite a journey through this story, and each step of the way she provides incredibly textured details and manages to really capture the feeling of living in Eritrea, Sudan, Virginia, and NYC with just a few words to describe each location. The environment of a story can be just as essential as the characters- we get to know the storyteller through how they see their world.

  • What sensory details do you remember about each place Beth describes in this story?

  • How does being able to picture and really understand the SETTING of a story help clarify the STAKES for the storyteller?

  • Amidst all the ‘impermanence’ of this story, what remains permanent? What does Beth take with her no matter where she lives?

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 Beth’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 a time you told someone ‘it’s a long story’
  • Tell us about a time you had to leave your friends, family or community
  • Tell us about a time you were excited for a new experience
  • Tell us about a time you made a friend easily
  • Tell us about a time you had a friend who could always make you laugh
  • Tell us about a time you invented something new
  • Tell us about a time loneliness felt like a given
  • Tell us about a time you opened up and made a connection

3. Activity

  • Do you have a friend or group of friends you haven’t seen in a while? Take a moment and reach out! You could make a hello video, send your favorite gif, or even write them a letter.
    • To make a letter extra personal, try decorating the envelope! Here’s a Pinterest board to help spark inspiration.

4. Share this post with a friend!

And check back Tuesday for another story.

Be sure to check out All Together Now, Fridays with The Moth, wherever you listen to your podcasts, new every Friday!

Beth Gebresilasie grew up moving around, living in four countries, and hoping to live in more. Currently, she’s a student at SUNY New Paltz. She is undeclared and still figuring things out. However, that’s part of the fun for her: the exploration and adventure of trial and error.

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.