Monkey Business: My experience being part of a live storytelling show

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.

oral fix_2

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.

oral fix_1

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.

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