|Diana Weisner, host and organizer.|
"Ronan and all at the Precinct, said Diana Weisner, the brilliant mind behind this theme, location and fab night of stories, "Thank you so much for all of your support for the story slam last night. It was a huge success and it was definitely a big part because of the venue. The Precinct was a great choice!" "Check out the new story videos - Completely hilarious and incredibly stories of people's experiences riding on the T, worth watching, without a doubt." says videographer and poster Doria Hughes. http://www.youtube.com/use
r/massmouth2video is our channel
Winner: Mike Cohen, 1st and Robin Maxfield, 2nd. When asked about his stories David Sedaris once said: "It's 'real-ish,' " Mr. Sedaris explains. "I guess I've always thought that if 97 percent of the story is true, then that's an acceptable formula. Put it on a scale. Is it 97 percent pure?" Turns out that the winning story at the "T" party, from Mike Cohen, was 97% fiction and 3% lived experience. We found this out from the Metro reporter as everyone was leaving. Mike corroborated. What I said to the Metro reporter was - "Mike's was a story, not a deposition. No one is going to be accused of perjury. We have no way of knowing or checking the facts. " BUT we do have a situation and will need to decide what to do, going forward. We do have guidelines. Our format does not prevent anyone from telling some other kind of story. And we are not making a stand about the relative value of truth and fiction in storytelling.
A fascinating life in the words of a poor teller can be dead boring and crap story. My dear departed father for example ran away to join the cavalry ( 1921) , was beaten by thugs in San Francisco during the Longshoreman Union battle (1934) was a ship's mate on a troop transport in the D Day invasion, sailed all over the world, circumnavigated the globe 3 times before getting married and yet, could not tell a good story to save his life. An unremarkable incident in the words of a storyteller ( woman eating a bagel story last night ? ) can be very entertaining - even riveting tho' not much of a story.
"If everyone could make up stories, it would be a different competition all together." said one massmouth organizer. Exactly. And that competition can be organized...but it is not what we are doing, at our slams. Kinda freaky but exactly 1 year ago I wrote this in my blog: http://norahdooley.blogspot.
"Why do people like reality TV, memoirs and personal narrative? My thought? Because they are real. And people yearn for real connection through story. Why do people feel ripped off by fiction or fictionalization in this area? Because it is lying. And when we discover that the connection we developed with the teller while listening is based on a false pretext, we feel violated in some way. Yet, experiences sometimes need some added imagination as connecting elements to become stories, don't they? Hellz yah!
We listen to "living" stories with awe and wonder because the person telling it also lived it. Or so we think. When what we hear and see in the performance does not add up we are confused. When the equation does not balance, we ponder and wonder. We will adjust our understanding of human possibility based on what we hear. So if what we are told is a lie, we feel cheated. Even angry.
Look at the the flap caused a few years ago by James Frey's book, A Million Little Pieces,: Jocelyn Noveck Associated Press wrote: "Does the author of a memoir have an unspoken contract with readers to be true to the facts? Even if those facts are intensely personal? Many have been asking that question since James Frey was accused this week of embellishing important parts of his best-selling (and Oprah-endorsed) memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," a searing account of his battle with substance abuse." Others, Mark Hvidsten, took this stance "His [Frey's] greater truth can't be measured by facts."
So our issue is not about the value of fiction but about our contest/slams. We can't know for sure about the veracity of each and every story. We do care about our integrity and the public's perception of what we do. When we write a press release we intend it to be "nonfiction" or false advertizing ? What does our audience expect ? How do we want massmouth story slams to be known and how do we want our game/ contest to be played? And what we will do when when the game goes awry? These are not idle questions.
Look here for more...when we have pondered and cogitated more.