Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog)
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The detour into misery that makes a character or narrative compelling

June 27, 2009

Tags: narrative nonfiction, storytelling

"It takes a rare kind of courage to live like a character in a story, and not many real-life human beings have the nerve to try it—perhaps because the elements that make a narrative compelling also make life miserable," writes Adam M. Bright in a story for Good Magazine about Lea Thau and the Moth, a live storytelling organization based in New York City.

"Most people are too attached to the things that make them happy (honor, love, and friendship) to appreciate the subtle appeal of those things that might make them into more interesting protagonists (disgrace, heartbreak, and loneliness)," writes Bright in the story Burned by Desire (3-22-08). "Luckily, though, even prudent people will occasionally commit spectacular acts of mischief in pursuit of happiness. And when they do, the Moth is waiting—with an audience and a microphone. Since 1997, the storytelling organization has helped more than 4,000 people tell their tales of crimes, misdemeanors, and epic lapses in judgment. Few of the stories are downers—most, in fact, have uplifting messages—but it’s hard to pull off a heartwarming finish without making at least a brief detour into misery."

"The best stories are born from the moments when we got our wings burned or clipped a little," said Lea Thau, executive director of the nonprofit organization. Go to the Moth's website to learn about their reasonably priced upcoming performances.