One of the things that I’m quickly coming to appreciate is a well-told story. In the hands or the right person, the most mundane instances can be transformed into something worth listening to. I spent Monday night at an event dedicated to story telling, Story Story Night.
Story Story Night is a two-year-old Boise event that puts together people who have stories to tell with those of us who are happier to listen. That may sound a little somber, but the average Story Story Night has more in common with a campfire conversation with your most entertaining and gregarious friends than a lecture with the driest professor.
The exciting thing about the monthly event is that you never know what you’re going to get. I’ve been to about eight Story Story Nights, and I’ve heard stories about everything from a fisherman grappling with an angry octopus, to a young kayak instructor who led his group into an approaching hurricane, to a Boise girl who found another home in Spain, to a Scotsman who found a home in Boise, to a woman taken into temporary state custody as a pre-teen, to a man who missed dinner in the Eiffel tower on his 21st birthday. Story Story Night can be hilarious, heartbreaking, thought provoking, and occasionally uncomfortable.
Story Story Night is based around a theme that changes every month. This month’s was “Outsider: Stories of Strangers in Strange Lands,” but some of my favorite past themes include “Fail: Stories of Mistakes and Misfires” and “Water: Stories of Going With/Against the Flow.” The first half of the event is dedicated to three featured, pre-screened storytellers who have the floor for ten minutes each. This is where the polished stories tend to be told, the ones with a message. But after intermission, Story Story Night goes into its story slam component. At that point, if you’ve got a story to tell to the always-full audience, then you put your name into a hat, and hope to be one of the five selected storytellers. If you’re one of the lucky chosen few, you have five minutes to tell your true story, with no notes, and as the rules state, it should have a beginning, middle, and end.
If you want to sample some stories, Story Story Night also broadcasts the storytellers and has a podcast online. I’d recommend listening in from “Fail.”