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Katharine Strange Wins Moth Story Slam

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I’ve been a fan of The Moth podcast for a long time. Real stories told by real people—some of them are funny, some of them are moving, all of them are incredibly interesting. When my friend, Aadu, won a StorySlam last year and went to the Seattle GrandSlam, it was a great excuse to check out the live event. It was so fun, and I made it a goal to get up onstage at a StorySlam in 2019.

The StorySlam is a nervewracking experience for a storyteller. I filled out a one-page release and stuck it into a tote bag. There are only room for 10 stories, so I didn’t even know if I would get called. The stakes were high: I’d gotten a babysitter and one of my writer’s group colleagues had come all the way from Kirkland!

Halfway through, jittery-kneed, I was convinced that A) I wasn’t going to be called and that B) even if I was called, I wasn’t going to win. The competition was FIERCE. I’d expected the theme, “Love Hurts” to spawn stories of heartbreak and dead dogs, but instead, nearly everyone was hilarious. Which was my plan of attack.

I got called ninth. I went up onstage and started to talk, and I improvised a bit on what I’d written, and I soon went over time. I ended up cutting a bit at the end, and the whole piece was rather imperfect, but still, the experience felt magical. I love live theater for the way that it connects the audience and the performer, and onstage, just me and a microphone, talking to 300+people, it felt unreal.

It was even more unreal when my mental-math-ninja husband leaned over and whispered to me, “it looks like you won.” I was shocked. I’m still shocked. But it’s thrilling and I’m looking forward to what comes next for this piece and for The Moth. My story is eligible to air on NPR and I will be invited to a Moth Grandslam sometime in the next year. (I’ll keep you posted as soon as I know the dates in case you want to get tickets!)

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