Share your story or come and listen

Storied Self enters second year, hoping to become a staple

Scott Pauker shares a story in one of the first events of the series in February 2019. The theme at the event was “Love Hurts.” Photo courtesy of Storied Self

Volunteers behind Moab’s hit storytelling series of 2019, Storied Self, are hoping to maintain last year’s momentum with six more events like it this year, the first of which the Moab Arts and Recreation Center will host on Feb. 13. The theme: Love Rocks!

Organizers of the event are inviting locals not only to share their stories throughout the year, but also for those interested in making the event happen to get involved behind the scenes.

“It takes a village, and luckily one emerged around this event,” said one organizer Celia Alario.

Alario credits former organizer Alissa Rubin with starting the tradition last year through a grant from the Moab Arts Commission. As Rubin prepared to move to Salt Lake City at the end of 2019, she made sure the tradition would carry on and put together a team to continue the events in 2020.

“Moab needs a steady story slam,” Alario said of the event. “This red rock desert is a landscape that inspires us and draws to it characters of all stripes, so creating the space for folks to share tales seems key. At the MARC, it will continue with a kind and welcoming vibe, and a living room setting.”

The events take place in the stage room of the MARC, organized with an audience facing the storyteller, snacks in the back of the room courtesy of Moonflower Market and KZMU staff on hand to record stories for the people who want it. Only last week, KZMU rebroadcasted some of the stories from the final Storied Self event of 2019 along with interviews of Storied Self organizers last week in a radio special.

“What I enjoy about the storytelling thing is that we have common themes to relate to and come back to as a whole,” said Storied Self organizer Seamus Cronin during the KZMU interview. “You hear a perspective of change or going against the grain or this or that, and there’s going to be 10 different perspectives on the same subject.”

Indeed, organizers said that anyone is invited to come tell stories but noted for parents of young children and anybody coming to the events that real people telling real stories could sometimes mean sensitive subjects can coming up during the course of a storytelling evening. However, anyone who attends is welcome to share their story.

“If someone is moved by the stories and feels brave enough to tell their own, they are free to do so,” said organizer Ginger Cyan Allen. “If not, we welcome all to attend and listen.”

As for how the events run, participants interested to tell a story have only a few limitations: No notes may be used on stage, stories should be no longer than 7 minutes, the story must be the storyteller’s own, and the stories must be true — although, as Cronin notes, “stories are always a bit embellished.”

At the events, a hat is placed at the front of the stage and occasionally passed around the room, and attendees can put their name and the name of their story in the hat. The small slips of paper also have a checkbox for those interested to have KZMU record their story.

All events this year are scheduled to take place at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center on 100 North.

“No prior experience is needed, and no need to memorize anything,” said Alario. “If you know your opening line, your closing line and where you plan to go in between, you can make it happen!”

Events take place on a Thursday every other month with stories starting at 7:00 p.m. and doors opening 30 minutes prior. Snacks will be available at the events, which all take place in the stage room of the Moab Arts and Recreation Center. Here are the dates and themes for each event:

  • Feb. 13 – Love Rocks!
  • April 16 – Beauty
  • June 11 – Graduation Day: Tales of when you knew you’d gotten your credentials, that school was out!
  • Aug. 13 – Wanderlust
  • Oct. 8 – Nesting: Stories of Settling Down
  • Nov. 12 – Flow