Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Feb 20, 2024

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Storytelling Activity #64

by The Moth Staff

Lesson #64: FINDING YOUR GROOVE: “LIL’ MAMA” - Audrey Ellen Pleasant


Happy 2024! We are happy to share with you the first Storytelling School Blog of the year!

This month’s story is told by Audrey Ellen Pleasant who shared with us all the way back in 2010. Inspired by the new year we are highlighting a story about doing new things, getting out of our comfort zones, and movin’ and groovin’. 

This month’s Storytelling School story is:

“Lil’ Mama” by Audrey Ellen Pleasant 

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

Talk to each other about Audrey’s story. 

  • Each blog post highlights a different crafting strategy to help you make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on LETTING THE AUDIENCE IN. Aubrey does an amazing job of letting her story land and responding to the feedback she’s getting from the crowd. That playfulness allows for some spontaneity and a more engaging experience for the listeners AND the teller. 

  • What parts of the story feel ‘unscripted’ or improvised on the spot? 

  • Aubrey repeats certain phrases in this telling- what effect does that have on you as a listener?

  • Think about the last time you were truly invested in how a story ended- whether it be a novel, a tv show, or a friend’s gossip over coffee. What was so intriguing to you? What was it that caught and held your interest?

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 Audrey’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!

Let’s Play “Tell Us About A Time”

  • Tell us about a time you graced a stage 

  • Tell us about a time you felt unsure on your feet 

  • Tell us about a time you were determined to impress 

  • Tell us about a time you took a lesson 

  • Tell us about a time you tried something new

  • Tell us about a time you practiced something  

  • Tell us about a time you got a nickname

  • Tell us about a time you did something that scared you

  • Tell us about a time you learned something new

  • Tell us about a time you shook a tail feather 


  • Freeze dance! In this activity everyone moves to the music that plays. When the music stops each player must freeze immediately and hold that position until the music begins again. If a player does not freeze immediately they are out, keep going until one player remains. Alternatively, if they do not freeze immediately they demonstrate their favorite dance move and are back in the game.

  • Imagine you get to curate the best dancing playlist ever, think about songs that make you want to dance, shake, tap, or nod to. Make yourself a playlist of these songs. What songs are on it and do you have a first memory of moving to that song?

Share this post with a friend!

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

Storyteller bio

Audrey Ellen Pleasant is a native New Yorker who has spent the better part of her life entertaining others. She is the mother of three, grandmother of seven, and the author of several poems and a book. She's a graduate of the Moth Community Program.

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances, and innovative resources.

We are always looking for more young people and educators to join our storytelling workshops!  To learn more, apply for a workshop, or refer someone you know, please go to themoth.org/education

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from Unlikely Collaborators.

Additional program support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Alice Gottesman, The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation and Con Edison.