Moab’s homegrown storytelling event, The Storied Self, returns to the Moab Arts and Recreation Center stage on Feb. 13 to prompt more heartfelt stories from local residents—this time on the trials and tribulations of love.
At each Storied Self event, audience members can choose to present a five-minute true personal story on a theme.
“So often when we hear somebody else tell a story,” said Celia Alario, host of the Love Rocks! Event and one of this year’s Storied Self organizers alongside Celia Alario and Seamus Cronin, “we hear ourselves in it or we learn something about someone that we care about.”
“Right now, in Moab and in the country, we need more experiences of being able to come together and appreciate what we have in common and find compassion for one another,” she said.
“This is a really fun, playful way to stretch those muscles,” Alario said.
Ginger Cyan Allen agreed, pointing out that anyone is invited to come up on stage and tell their story.
“The stories do revolve around a central theme,” Allen said, “but there is a wide variety in that way that people are going to interpret it.”
“This is one of the beautiful things about the Storied Self: you don't really know what to expect,” she said.
To Cronin, that’s one of the most valuable things about the storytelling events.
“The absolute best thing is seeing people get inspired and do it for the first time,” Cronin said. “That's that's the moment that that gets me.”
A year ago, that person was Cronin himself. He attended one of last year’s Storied Self events and was moved to tell a story based on a piece he’d written for The Dust Magazine, a local arts and culture publication.
“I was so nervous because it was my first time publicly speaking in over 10 years,” Cronin said. “I didn't really think that I was going to go up and talk, but I did it. And now a year later I am being asked to facilitate.”
Cronin said the support and inspiration that he got from connecting with other storytellers have made a large impact on his life in Moab.
“It’s a big change in my life, going from just a participant to supporting one of the events that I choose to attend in town during the year,” he said.
The collective organizing this year’s events has thought about how to include those who might be uncomfortable taking the stage as well.
“We heard from people who felt a little shy,” said Alario, “who wanted a bit more time to prepare or didn’t want to get up under the stage lights for five to seven minutes but still had something to share.”
This year, each event will have a different host and theme announced beforehand, so that people interested in participating can prepare a piece in advance.
For April, Ginger Cyan Allen will host “Beauty.” For June, Christy Williams will host “Graduation Day,” followed by Shari Zollinger hosting “Wanderlust” in August. A full schedule of dates can be found on the Storied Self’s Facebook page.
“Another thing that's new this year,” said Alario, “is that we're going to bring in an opportunity for people to share a story without getting up on stage or speaking.”
At each event, Alario said, organizers will have slips of paper with a prompt based on the evening’s theme. Attendees can fill out the paper with a brief anecdote, which the hosts will share on stage between the storyteller presentations. It’s just one more way that the group can ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
The group is collaborating with KZMU Radio to record stories for broadcast on Moab’s community radio station.
“I’m really excited about that,” said Alario, pointing out that participants could opt-out of the recording if they weren’t comfortable.
The Storied Self has cultivated quite a few regular storytellers, but new faces appear at each event to be inspired, hone their skills and connect with their community.
“ We really hope that people from all walks of life will make this an event that feels like home to them,” said Alario.
“That's one of the things that makes Moab so special,” she said. “Whether it's story slams or Taiko drumming or yoga or international cuisine, you can come into this relatively small community and have a really high-quality cultural experience.”
The Love Rocks! event is supported by Moonflower Food Co-op and Sundial Medicinals, who will supply snacks and a special blend of “Share the Love” tea.