Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Jun 06, 2023

Storytelling School with The Moth: Storytelling Activity #59

by Marlo Brown

Lesson #59: In Her Own Words: The Moth Storytelling workshop experience 

This month’s Storytelling School post was written by guest author and Education Program Intern, Marlo Brown! Marlo first joined The Moth through our All Country program in the Spring of 2022. After graduating from high school this month, Marlo is headed to New Haven University to study Communication Arts in the fall.

Speak Your Truth and Tell it How You Want

Doing the Moth program was different than what I expected it to be. I went in knowing The Moth as some podcast group my aunt was obsessed with—they told true stories with morals and lessons—but it wasn't anything I kept up with. She told me they had a teen Zoom group and that she wanted me to sign up. I went in wanting to impress her, maybe get better at writing, and hoping  I could somehow conjure up a life lesson that didn't seem super fake.

I left with more than just a touchup on my writing skills; but with new friends, deep inspiration, and a new perspective on storytelling.

The experience of being with people my age, all sharing the same base-level interest in storytelling; some who were more into reading, some were more into public speaking, some were into writing- was super transformative for me. Especially as someone from an area with more practical and outdoorsy folk than not, it's always comforting and introspective to meet with people who have the same passions as you; and I didn't just walk away with my own squad of peer-reviewers, but genuine friends.

To add extra icing on this cake, I really did get a good touchup on my writing skills. The tools The Moth Education Program uses to talk about the story structure that The Moth follows is perfect for sharing your personal story. So much of writing is about personal experiences and sharing “your” story—working on an outline, getting criticism or positive feedback, and tinkering on a story with other people builds your experience that can carry over to any type of written work.

Beyond the experience and confidence gained from working with the Moth, I think the best part of the Moth as a whole is just hearing the diversity of everyone’s stories and that The Moth is more about giving a platform for people to share their stories.

At first I got in my head about not having some insanely profound life experience to share. When you listen to the other storytellers you see the wide range of stories people tell; there’s serious ones with life lessons, or ones with amazing descriptions, and then there's these fun relatable ones with great comedic tones! Hearing the different types of Moth stories lets you realize that the storytelling experience isn’t about some grand thing that happened, but about sharing a lesson from your life, a moment of change— and typically those aren't found in big crazy hooplas, but in the smaller moments. 

If you (or someone you know) is unfamiliar with The Moth storytelling workshops for high schoolers, then you shouldn't let yourself get in your way about figuring out what story you want to tell, how you're telling it, and how to make sure you don't sound stupid. At the end of the day, there are no limits to what you can do with The Moth or what you’ll learn. You can't let yourself be worried about the nitty-gritty because there's no “right” or “wrong” way to share a story. Speak your truth and tell it how you want. That is the goal. 

So if you're unfamiliar with The Moth, I hope you do what I did and throw yourself into the environment, and into your own story, and see what happens. At the very least, you’ll end up impressing your aunt! 

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 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the Kate Spade New York Foundation, and Alice Gottesman, and The Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation.

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.

If you know any rising 10th-12th graders eager to enhance their storytelling skills, The Moth is offering a Summer Intensive Story Lab to help them develop their personal narratives. Throughout August, students will engage in games, brainstorming sessions, and story crafting to bring their stories to life.

Apply before Sunday, July 23rd, at 11:59 pm

Guest Blog Storytelling School Author Pic Resized

Marlo Brown