Storied Self

The last Storied Self event on April 16 was held on the Zoom teleconferencing platform and livestreamed on Facebook to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic and physical distancing recommendations. The upcoming event on June 11 will again be on Zoom. [screenshot]

Moab’s homegrown storytelling event, The Storied Self, won’t be returning to the Moab Arts and Recreation Center stage for the foreseeable future, but heartfelt stories from local residents still demand to be told. The event has moved online, where listeners and storytellers can join on the Zoom teleconferencing platform or participate in a Facebook livestream.

“It’s definitely different than being in person,” said Celia Alario, before pointing out that stories connect people emotionally even if they can’t be together physically.

At each Storied Self event, audience members can choose to present a five-minute true personal story on a theme.

At 7 p.m. on June 11, community members are invited to share a story on the theme of “Graduation Day,” in honor of the past week’s high school graduation ceremonies. Details of how to join the call will be added to The Storied Self: Moab Story Slams Facebook page. The evening will be hosted by Alario and Christy Williams Dunton.

“We’ve invited a bunch of students from Grand County High School to share their stories, especially the graduating seniors,” said Makeda Barkley, associate director of the Moab Arts and Recreation Center and Storied Self supporter.

“I mean, after the senior year they have had we know those kids have some interesting stories,” she said.

The theme isn’t only to be interpreted literally, however: everyone is welcome to talk about starting a new chapter in life.

Moab’s events have drawn quite a few regular storytellers, but new faces have appeared at each event to be inspired, hone their skills and connect with their community. The online events are no different.

“I think we’re seeing some new people attending online, who maybe weren’t comfortable before,” said Alario.

Barkley also acknowledges the challenges of moving online, but concludes that “it’s actually pretty successful.”

“People come in and out of joining the stream and it’s kind of weird. The technical part of it is difficult but I’m impressed with how well it works,” she said. Last month’s event has been viewed on Facebook almost 700 times.

The collective behind the Storied Self events, including Ginger Cyan Allen and Seamus Cronin, have long thought about ways to include those who might be uncomfortable, such as announcing the host and story theme announced beforehand so that people interested in participating can prepare a piece in advance.

Shari Zollinger will host the Storied Self for August with the theme of “Wanderlust.” A full schedule of dates can be found on the Storied Self’s Facebook page. Will it be online or in-person?

“We’re really talking about what is right and ethical and safe to make those decisions,” said Barkley, “so we’ll see what happens.”