Recently, a couple of my coworkers started going to First Person Arts: Story Slams. For those unfamiliar, First Person Arts is a Philly based organization that hosts a bi-monthly story slam focused around a given theme in which people gather to share their real life experiences. Only ten names are drawn from a hat at random, and those chosen get five minutes to tell their story and are judged by audience members. The winner receives $100 and goes on to compete at the Grand Slam. The contest is open to anyone wanting and willing to tell a story, but again only 10 names are drawn.
I have gone to a handful of these story slams over the years, mostly as a voyeur, consuming, observing, taking notes, and trying to mentally envision myself up on stage. Twice — I went as far as to find themes that stirred a story up inside of me, prepared scripts, enlisted friends as supporters and dropped my name in the participation hat — and twice my name wasn’t drawn. A very anti-climatic affair, wildly disappointing as the nervous energy is never released. After which, I took a hiatus from story slams until last March when I was invited to one themed “Secrets.”
On the way to the slam I told my date I had a shitty ass secret to share and then continued to tell him about the time I took a dump in the ocean and discovered that human turds float. He laughed heartily and encouraged me to share the story that night on stage. Of course I resisted: I wasn’t prepared, I had written nothing down, and felt most certainly that I would fail on stage. But he charmingly persisted and double dog dared me to drop my name in the hat. I yielded, as I’m a sucker for a dare, and testified in front of a crowd of about 30 plus people my shitty ass secret. I didn’t win. I didn’t even come close. I also didn’t lose face and got a couple laughs from the crowd.
This past Monday I asked my coworker, who had recently invited me to a story slam I couldn’t make, how the night went. After some small talk back and forth I shared with her the above story to which she excitedly replied, “Me too! I had a very similar thing happened to me.” My coworker proceeded to share her shitty ass secret with me. At which point I knew the two of us had officially bonded. The next morning the above post it note was conspicuously tucked under my mouse for me to discover, it just popped up out of nowhere.
A Warrior Princess