I feel like Snow White, on the first day of settling into the home of the seven dwarves. Why is my computer telling me that dwarves is misspelled? Dwarfs? Nope. It’s wrong. It’s saying dwarfs is correct. Is that true? Now the word sounds weird. DWORVES.
Surprising no one, this is reflective of a good mood. The sky is blue, the birds are chirping.
It might be due to the audio book I’m listening to right now - Chris Gethard’s Lose Well, which I’m relating to so much it’s uncanny.
Maybe it’s because I went to The Moth last Friday. I love storytelling. The more I do it, and the more I listen to the stories of others, the more enamored I become of the art. Part of Friday night’s joy might have been a direct result of Thursday night. See, I had a less than thrilling experience performing stand-up comedy, and I was in need of redemption.
Stand-up comedy is difficult. It’s challenging. It involves so much effort in crafting the jokes, finessing the voices and physical quirks. You have to learn how to interact with the audience, how to use the microphone as a prop, when to pause, when to redirect. Watching people do it successfully is nuts, because they make it look so effortless.
I do know that storytelling is a skill, too. I’m fortunate I’m good at it. I also know I’m capable of getting (a lot) better. I think one of the reasons I enjoy storytelling as much as I do is because I don’t have to show up to be funny. The same thing goes for improvisation - funny normally evolves, yeah, but it’s not required. If the story that falls out of me is vulnerable, or sad, or serious (or some derivative of all of those), it’s OK and it doesn’t catch anyone off-guard.
Don’t get me wrong - I love to make people laugh. I just don’t like sitting with the pressure that I NEED to make people laugh. That is the most tricky part of stand-up for me. Walking into a room full of people who expect to hear funny things makes for a very heavy, fraught atmosphere. It gives me anxiety. You know, the butterflies in the tummy. Thing is, they’re not fun butterflies, they’re butterflies with stern gazes, telling me with their buggy eyes that I better not screw this up, and the pressure is on. I have people to impress.
And that’s weird, right? It’s so easy to get on stage to do some things, but like pulling teeth for others. I haven’t decided whether I’ll keep trying stand-up - I probably will. I know, I know - it’s good to attempt things that make you uncomfortable from time to time. BUT IT’S NOT MY FAVORITE.
I love to be onstage. I love standing in front of crowds of people. I know that makes me a bit of a unicorn. And, for what it’s worth, I love unicorns. :)
Well, this blog took a pleasantly unexpected turn. Perhaps this is the hint I needed that it’s time to outline my book for Nanowrimo that I am DETERMINED to finish this year. Cross your fingers.
Confession: I wrote “corset your fingers” first. Not weird.
ANYWAY! Go see storytelling shows, and theater, and stand-up comedy. Read more. Write more. Support your friends and local artists. Do the thing. Get smarter.
For instance, come to Ignite Denver on 11/1 at the Oriental Theater. Maybe. Consider it.