In February of this year I had a new opportunity as a writer that really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Oral Fixations: An Obsession with True Life Tales is a live storytelling show. Each version of the show has a theme, and the producer carefully curates stories from 8 people who have a story to tell on the chosen theme.
As a former theater artist (I was a professional costume designer from 2002-2014), this show was on my radar via Facebook and colleagues from my theater life who had participated. I had a big desire to be a part of it, but every time I sat down to write a story on the theme, I just drew a blank. So, when I saw the theme of ‘Monkey Business’ this January, I knew exactly what I could write about.With the application deadline approaching, I sat down at my computer and poured out the story. My story was accepted, and I was officially part of the ‘Monkey Business’ cast.
And then the storytelling really started. The story in my head about how I’m an impostor, I don’t look good enough to be on stage, my story isn’t strong enough to share, blah blah blah. I talked through the process a lot with my husband and a close friend and just kept pushing through to get to the performance day. Together with the producer/director, who helped me cull my story for the most present, honest, and poignant version, I did it. I feel my experience was overall positive, but I was taken aback at how much self-talk I had to work through, and I wasn’t expecting the experience to have such an emotional impact.
The creative process (at least in my case) is full of unexpected experiences, and I learn a ton about myself each time I embark on creating something new. This has been on my mind lately as I embark on a project that I’ve let go for way too long, and so I guess I just find myself reflective about what it takes to actually create things in the world. Maybe I’m making it sound bad, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know that when we have a creative idea, it’s because that idea is needed in the world. If we received the idea, it’s because we’re the one to bring it forward. I think when we’re expressing our voice in the world in such a way, it can illuminate parts of ourselves that we haven’t looked at in awhile.
What is the creative process like for you? Do you find that you have to work through negative self-talk? How do you handle challenges that come up?
Check out the performance of my story below the slideshow. Since the theme of this show was ‘Monkey Business,’ I shared the story of the time I got to go on a campout with Dr. Jane Goodall as part of the earliest versions of her Roots and Shoots program. I was 15 years old and as you’ll hear, it left an indelible mark. And yes, it’s 100% true. Every word. I hope you enjoy it. My story starts at about the 20 minute mark.