Speak Up Storytelling #61: Joe Basile

On episode #61 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our follow-up segment, we discuss our magical night of storytelling earlier in the week. We also update listeners on Charlie's health and remind listeners about our upcoming trip to Seattle. 

STORYTELLING SHOWS 2019

August 10: Great Hartford Story Slam at Hartford Flavor Company
August 17: Solo storytelling show at Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA
September 7: “Tests” at Real Art Ways
November 2: Great Hartford Story Slam, location TBD
November 23: Twenty-one Truths About Love book release, CT Historical Society, Hartford, CT
December 14: “Crafty” at CT Historical Society, Hartford, CT

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

October 4-6: Storytelling workshop, Art of Living Retreat, Boone, NC
October 25-27: Storytelling workshop (beginners), Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
November 9: Storytelling workshop (Beginner), CT Historical Society
November 16: Storytelling workshop (Advanced), CT Historical Society
December 6-8: Storytelling workshop (advanced), Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
January 25: Storytelling workshop (Beginner), CT Historical Society
February 22: Storytelling workshop (Advanced), CT Historical Society

In our Homework for Life segment, I talk about a small moment on the edge of a pond during a sunset. . 

Next we listen to a story by Jospeh Basile (with interpretation by Julie Sharp).   

Amongst the many things we discuss include:

  1. Nonfiction content in storytelling

  2. Launching scenes in the right spot (and the elimination of process language)

  3. Combining anecdotes into a more cohesive narrative

  4. Holding back information to preserve surprise

We then answer a listener questions about diversity in storytelling and when you know a story is done. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

Purchase Twenty-one Truths About Love 

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Matthew Dicks's blog:
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicksblog

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's blog:
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-grin-and-bare-it

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

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Friday night magic

Some nights in your life are simply magical.

Friday night was one of those nights for me. After spending a week working with storytellers from China, British Columbia, San Diego, Chicago, Westchester, and a few locals, I had the honor of introducing them to an audience of friends, family, and fellow storytellers so that they could tell one of the stories that they had crafted and practiced during the course of the week.

For some, this was their first time standing before an audience, telling a story.

For others, this was another important step on their storytelling journey.

I watched some of my storytellers take enormous leaps. Courageous, personal leaps forward. For others, I watched them tell stories with such tenderness and vulnerability that I had tears in my eyes. Some had me roaring with laughter. Still others told stories that made me want to leap out of my seat and pump my fist in the air. Maybe shout an expletive to two.

Truly.

And yes, one of the storytellers - a man from China - proposed to his girlfriend - also a storyteller in my class - by crafting a brilliant story that ultimately led to the proposal. He had asked me for permission to propose during the show earlier in the week, so although I was aware that it was coming, it was a surprise to everyone else.

A wonderful, emotional, celebratory surprise.

Unforgettable.

Just before the story began, I leaned over to my teaching assistant, Jeni Bonaldo, and showed her a note that read, “You’re going to like this.”

She did.

But it was also - and just as important - a night of stories, and each one of them was brilliant. Truly. Every single one of those storytellers performed with magnificence, expertise, and grace. It was as good of a show as Elysha Dicks and I has ever produced, and I was so damn proud of each and every one of them.

If you want to get close to people quickly, spend a week with them telling stories. As our time came to an end and we prepared to go our separate ways, I was sad. I suspect most of my storytellers were, too. In just a few short days, I had learned so much and grown so close to them that it was difficult to say goodbye.

I suspect that I will be hearing from some if not all for a long time to come. I hope so. Each of them means the world to me.

These are the moments in my life when I step back and think about how the decision - made with great trepidation at the time - to tell a story at a Moth StorySLAM in New York City back in 2011 changed my life forever.

It’s a reminder about how our decision to launch Speak Up on a snow day in February of 2013 - also made with some trepidation - has brought us so many magical moments like the one we experienced on Friday night.

It’s a reminder about how writing a book about storytelling and later launching a podcast on the same subject led a couple from halfway around the world to Hartford, CT and a proposal that no one in that room will ever forget.

It’s a reminder to me about the importance of pushing forward. Seeking the next horizon. Imagining a new adventure. Finding the next thing that will bring magic to our lives again.

May I be so bold as to suggest that you do the same?

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Speak Up Storytelling: Eric Feeney

On episode #60 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling with special guest Eric Feeney.

In our follow-up segment, we hear from a listener who has found a surprising benefit to Homework for Life and another with storytelling advice for me. We also inquire about the possible existence of listeners in the Louisville area.

In our Homework for Life segment, I talk about the importance of collecting moments that don't always seem storyworthy because we never know when we're in the midst of a story. Also, Homework for Life has enormous value beyond storytelling.

Next we listen to a story by Eric Feeney.

Amongst the many things we discuss include:

  • Word choices, in terms of stakes and the preservation of humor

  • Describing elements of a story that everyone isn't entirely familiar with.

  • Humor

  • Pushing into scenes to clear the clutter

  • The importance of a clean ending.

We then answer a listener question about getting reluctant students to speak and tell stories.

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.

LINKS

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

  • http://photorequestsfromsolitary.org

Feeney:

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Speak Up Storytelling: Chris Kriesen

On episode #59 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our follow-up segment, we inform listeners about my blog and consulting services, and we update them on dates for new shows and workshops.

In our Homework for Life segment, I talk about taking multiple moments from a single week and weaving them into a complete story, as well as the importance and value of telling stories even if they aren't the most profound and moving stories that you have to tell.

Next we listen to a story by Christopher P. Kriesen.

Amongst the many things we discuss include:

  • Launching stories with action, mystery, confusion, and wonder

  • The value and hazards of subtlety in storytelling

  • Physicality

  • Vocal techniques, including pacing, volume, and vocal modulation

  • Tips to increase the humor of a moment

  • Ensuring that a storyteller's moment of surprise is also an audience's moment of surprise

We then answer a listener question about ending stories in informal settings

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.

LINKS

  • Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling: https://amzn.to/2H3YNn3

  • Purchase Twenty-one Truths About Love: https://amzn.to/2xYQapE

  • Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

  • Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

  • Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks

  • Matthew Dicks's blog: http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicksblo

  • Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

  • Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

  • Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's blog: http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-grin-and-bare-it

RECOMMEDATIONS

  • Elysha: Big Hero 6

  • Matt: The Moth's Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/mothstories

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Speak Up Storytelling: Live from Miss Porter's School!

On episode #58 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha and I take our show on the road to Miss Porter's School in Farmington, CT.

Today's podcast was recorded in front of a group of students who will be spending the week with me, writing, telling stories and learning to podcast. 

In our follow-up segment, we will learn about the storytelling possibilities while competing in the sport of curling, and we will go under the podcasting hood to discuss some of the hopefully occasional imperfections in the editing of our podcast. 

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

STORYTELLING SHOWS 2019

Next I tell a story live to my students.  

Amongst the many things we discuss about that story include:

  1. The importance of listening when searching for new stories

  2. Creating scenes in the minds of the audience

  3. The importance of getting listeners to wonder what is going to happen next (and the ruthlessness that is sometimes applied when you're not wondering what will happen next)

  4. The "laugh laugh laugh cry" model of storytelling 

  5. Using surprise in order to turn a story

Finally, we answer student questions about telling other people's stories and why we never invent things that didn't actually happen when telling our stories.

LINKS

Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

Purchase Twenty-one Truths About Love 

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

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Speak Up Storytelling: Cari Ryding

On episode #54 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our follow up segment, we shout out the kindness of several readers of Storyworthy, talk about the concept of 1,000 true fans, read a listener email about a full year of Homework for Life, and offer some opinions on the final episodes of Game of Thrones.  

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

STORYTELLING SHOWS 2019

In our Homework for Life segment, Matt talks about how a storyworthy moment can be told in more than one way, so part of the challenge of storytelling is choosing which way to craft and tell a story, and thereby where that story should begin. 

Next we listen to a story by Cari Ryding. 

Amongst the many things we discuss include:

  1. Hanging a story on a great opening line 

  2. The importance of choosing useful context and backstory

  3. Avoiding throwaway details 

  4. Making the important moments in your life also important when an audience hears them for the first time

  5. Time manipulation

  6. Names

  7. Alternative endings

  8. Avoiding phrases that assert the veracity of your story

We then answer listener questions about properly introducing stories to friends, policies involving bringing professional storytellers to Speak Up, and expanding your stories into a variety of mediums.

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

Purchase Twenty-one Truths About Love 

1,000 True Fans: https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha: 

Matt:

Bonus recommendations:

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Speak Up Storytelling: Aaron Wolfe

On episode #52 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we shout out several dedicated listeners and discuss the benefits of dot journaling. 

 In our Homework for Life segment, Matt talks about how a small moment in the present can often be connected to a similar moment from the past, thus producing an excellent story. 

Next we listen to a story by Aaron Wolfe. 

Amongst the many things we discuss include:

  1. The power of contrast in storytelling

  2. Using humor seamlessly and purposefully in a story

  3. Timing

  4. Small endings

  5. The use of accents in a story

  6. An interesting way tp present previous events in a story

We then answer listener questions about titling stories, living with a storyteller, and strategies for making room for stories when you're not standing on a stage.

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha: 

Matt:

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Resolution update: May 2019

Each month I review the progress of my yearly goals and report on that progress as a means of holding myself accountable.

Here are the results for May.
__________________________________

PERSONAL HEALTH

1. Don’t die.

Still standing.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

I didn’t lose any pounds in May. I didn’t gain any pounds in May.

I’ve lost 8 pounds in total.

3. Eat at least three servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day, six days a week.

Done! Along with bananas, grapes, apples, and pears, I also ate carrots, onions, potatoes, and an assortment of vegetables in various soups.

4. Do at least 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 3 one-minute planks for five days a week.

Done.

5. Do burpees three days a week.

I did 3-4 burpees per day, 3 times each week in May.

Also burpees are still stupid and ridiculous. Not getting any better. This was a terrible idea.

WRITING CAREER

6. Complete my seventh novel before the end of 2019.

Still waiting for a go-ahead from my editor regarding my next book. This is the problem with being two books ahead. No one is in a rush for your 2022 novel.

I’ve started writing anyway.

7. Write/complete at least five new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist. 

I have a fantastic new children’s book idea. I’ve started writing it.

8. Write a memoir.

Work continues. I’m worried it’s not very good.

9. Write a new screenplay.

No progress.

10. Write a musical.

No progress.

11. Submit at least five Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times for consideration.

I submitted a piece to the NY Times Modern Love column in April.

One down. Four to go.

12. Submit one or more short stories to at least three publishing outlets.

No progress.

13. Select three behaviors that I am opposed to and adopt them for one week, then write about my experiences on the blog.

No progress. Also, I need three behaviors to attempt.

Thoughts?

14. Increase my storytelling newsletter subscriber base to 3,000.

34 new subscribers in May for a total of 649 new subscribers in 2019. My list now stands at 2,759 subscribers.

If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, you can do so here:

15. Write at least six letters to my father.

None written in May. None written this year.

16. Write 100 letters in 2019.

Three letters written in May. Nine overall. I’ve fallen a bit behind.

17. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.

A kind, generous, and amazing human being has begun work on this project.

I am thrilled.

STORYTELLING

18. Produce a total of 10 Speak Up storytelling events.

One show produced in May. We recorded Speak Up Storytelling before a live audience.

A total of 7 shows produced so far in 2019.

19. Begin selling Speak Up merchandise at our events and/or online.

Done! We began selling tee shirts and totes at our live podcast recording.

Next step is to make it available online.

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20. Pitch myself to at least 5 upcoming TEDx events with the hopes of being accepted by one.

Done! I’ve pitched myself to five TEDx conferences and was nominated for a sixth.

All have now passed on my pitches. No one wants me.

I guess I’ll just keep pitching.

21. Attend at least 15 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.

I attended two Moth StorySLAMs in May, bringing my total to nine events so far.

22. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.

My name was not drawn from the hat at the New York City StorySLAM that I attended in May.

I finished in second place in a Moth StorySLAM in Boston. Once again by one-tenth of a point.

That is four second place finishes by a tenth of a point in a row .

Two wins so far in 2019.

23. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.

I finished in second place by a tenth of a point in a Moth GrandSLAM in January.

I finished in fourth place in my Moth GrandSLAM in March, but I think I might’ve told my best story ever.

I’ll be competing in another Moth GrandSLAM in NYC in July.

24. Produce at least 40 episodes of our new podcast Speak Up Storytelling. 

Four new shows released in May. A total of 20 so far. We haven’t missed a week in 2019.

Listen to our latest here or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

25. Perform stand up at least four times in 2019. 

I’ve hit a bit of a snag in terms of this goal. The open mic night where I’d been performing was shut down thanks to stupid people behaving in stupid ways. I have an opportunity to perform in a local comedy showcase, which I will do, but I was in need of another open mic.

Thanks to you, dear readers, I have found a stage. I will take that stage when summer vacation begins.

26. Develop and teach a Storytelling Master Class, in which participants have an opportunity to tell at least two stories over the course of the day  or tell a story and then retell it based on feedback.

Done! Scheduled for June 1. Today!

27. Pitch at least three stories to This American Life.

No progress.

28. Pitch myself to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast at least three times.

I wrote to Marc early in January, asking for him to consider me as a guest.

No response yet.

I’ve also officially requested that my publicist assist me in this endeavor.

If you know Marc Maron, or know someone who knows Marc or know someone who knows Marc’s producer or booker, please let me know. I know that Marc and I would have an amazing conversation, and it’s currently my biggest dream to get on his show.

NEW PROJECTS

29. Host a fundraiser for RIP Medical Debt, which would allow us to relieve the medical debt of struggling Americans for pennies on the dollar.

No progress.

30. Complete my Eagle Scout project.

No progress.

31. Print, hang, and/or display at least 25 prints, photos, or portraits in our home.

No progress.

32. Renovate our first floor bathroom.

Final design decisions have been made. Work will commence in July/August.

33. Organize our second floor bathroom.

No progress. Summertime project.

MISCELLANEOUS

34. Cook at least 12 good meals (averaging one per month) in 2019.

I made no meals in May.

Four down. Eight to go.

35. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.

No progress.

36. Ride my bike with my kids at least 25 times in 2019.

I rode my bike with Charlie one time in May for a total of five rides so far.

37. I will not comment, positively or negatively, about physical appearance of any person save my wife and children, in 2019 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall. 

Done! I did not comment on physical appearance with the exception of my wife and children in May and two other exceptions:

Crazy Hair Day: I considered this school spirit day akin to Halloween. When your student comes to school with an enormous afro woven with blinking Christmas lights, it’s okay to comment positively.

Macbeth: My students performed their annual Shakespearean play last week, and I put each of them in costume. During the costuming process, I commented positively on how they looked in order to ensure that they felt good about their costume.

38. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2019.

Two surprises were set into motion in May, but neither has come to fruition yet.

Four surprises accomplished so far.

39. Replace the 12 ancient, energy-inefficient windows in our home with new windows that will keep the cold out and actually open in the warmer months.

No progress.

40. Clean the basement. 

Incremental progress. Every week I throw away or organize a few items.

I’m planning to order a dumpster this summer.

41. Set a new personal best in golf.

I played four rounds of golf in May. I played poorly but showed flashes of promise. I actually drove the ball well for an entire round (which is to say I hit the ball straight but not terribly long).

I’ve decided to take lessons this summer on a regular basis.

42. Play poker at least six times in 2019.

A game was scheduled and canceled in May. That’s two cancelled games so far.

A new game is scheduled for June.

43. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 25 years.

Bengi and I spent a Sunday morning walking the track in his town back in March.

One down. Six to go. We have plans in June.

44. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog on the first day of every month.

Done.

Speak Up Storytelling: Live Episode (Part 2)

On episode #51 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling and celebrate our one year anniversary with the second half of our live episode!

In our followup segment, we celebrate the recent success of listeners. 
 
Next we listen to stories by Rachel Leventhal-Weiner and Beverly Brakeman. 

Amongst the many things we discuss include:

  1. Opening scenes that activate imagination

  2. Making a story more about yourself

  3. The power of brevity

  4. Approaching emotional topics from varying angles

  5. The advantages of keeping your story "in the moment"

In our Homework for Life segment, Matt talks about stealing a Homework for Life moment from Elysha, and he talks about how it might be turned into a story.  

We then answer listener questions about critiquing stories while remaining positive, naming characters in storytelling, trigger warnings, and more. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha: 

Matt:

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Speak Up Storytelling: Live Episode (Part One)

On episode #50 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling and celebrate our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY IN OUR FIRST LIVE EPISODE!

In our followup segment, we hear from our friends in Australia, who are attending the show virtually! We also hear from a listener who suggests a way of using Facebook to expand your Homework for Life and from another who makes an interesting comparison between listening to music and listening to stories. 

http://speakupstorytelling.libsyn.com/live-episode-part-1-0

ALSO, UPCOMING SHOWS:

June 8: “Nature Calls: Stories of the Outdoors” at Infinity Hall
August 10: Great Hartford Story Slam at Hartford Flavor Company
August 17: Solo storytelling show, Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA

Next we listen to stories by Amanda Coletti and Jack Bourque. 

Amongst the many things we discuss include:

  1. Opening scenes that activate imagination

  2. Avoiding clumping 

  3. Strategies for humor in storytelling 

  4. The advantages of keeping your story "in the moment"

  5. Making your story about something bigger than the story itself

  6. The power of vulnerability

In our Homework for Life segment, Matt tells a brand new story crafted from a recent Homework for Life moment shared on the podcast. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

Speak Up Storytelling: Matthew Dicks

On episode #47 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we pass on some advice about computer screens from a listener and an unexpected benefit of Homework for Life from another. Then we solicit some suggestions and advice on publicizing my next novel, Twenty-one Truths About Love 

Then Elysha departs and we listen to my story about trying to rent a car to Boca Raton with an expired driver's license.

After listening, I discuss:

  1. A variety of strategies for shortening and elongating stories

  2. Effective places to begin stories

  3. Dealing with facts too good to be true

  4. Reasons to break my own rules

  5. Identifying and enhancing surprise  

LINKS

Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

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Speak Up Storytelling: Corey Jeffreys

On episode #46 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we offer a further correction on a previous episode and read a couple emails from listeners about a new baby boy and a recent 100 day Homework for Life champion. 

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about how multiple moments from Homework for Life can be combined into a great story, and how gravity and weight can be added to an anecdote to make something that might seem light and amusing far more meaningful.

Next we listen to Corey Jeffrey's story about a trip to Mexico, a hole in a door, and the Backstreet Boys. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The way a moment from the past and the present are fused together to create a deeply meaningful story

  2. Portals to the past and present

  3. Avoid stakes that fail to pay off

  4. Slowing down the action at the appropriate time in a story

  5. The importance of scenes (and physical locations) in storytelling

  6. Efficiency of language 

  7. The clever and unexpected use of an expletive 

Next, we answer questions about vulnerability and living with Matt.

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Purchase Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

Who Really Said "You Should Kill Your Darlings?"

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

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Speak Up Storytelling: Jeffrey Freiser

On episode #45 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we offer some corrections on previous episodes and read an email from a recent 100 day Homework for Life champion. 

ALSO, UPCOMING SHOWS:

April 27: "Put Me in Coach: Stories of Athletic Endeavors” at CHS
May 18: Speak Up Storytelling: Live podcast recording at CHS
June 8: “Nature Calls: Stories of the Outdoors” at Infinity Hall
August 17: Solo storytelling show, Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about how a moment that might be embarrassing or small in the minds of some can become a fully realized story when you allow for introspection and the ask yourself this simple question: "Why do you do the things that you do?

Next we listen to Jeffrey Freiser's story about a first date and the ensuing adventure. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The unusual role that humor plays in this story

  2. The way that different brands of humor achieve different results

  3. Telling a story in scenes in order to activate imagination

  4. Opportunities for misdirection 

  5. Momentum  

Next, we answer questions about finding the endings of stories and the joyous but sometimes problematic response that people often have to our stories.

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

STORIES ABOUT LITTLE THINGS THAT SAY A LOT

Jeff Simmermon's "Subway Moment" 
Adam Wade's "Hoboken Roast Beef Story"
Alfonso Lacayo's "The Bad Haircut"

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

May 4: Storytelling workshop (beginner), CT Historical Society
July 29-August 2: Storytelling bootcamp, CT Historical Society
October 25-27: Storytelling workshop (beginner), Kripalu Center for Yoga and Heath
December 6-8: Storytelling workshop (advanced), Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

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Speak Up Storytelling: Sarasweet Rabidoux Kelsey

On episode #44 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we introduce the "new" new cover of my next novel, discuss a bizarre coincidence, respond to a heartwarming email from a listener, and ask listeners for feedback on a reward for Homework for Life champions. 

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about how a simple sentence or two - when the words touch your heart- can be enough to tell a great story. 

Next we listen to Sarasweet Rabidoux Kelsey's story about an unfortunate prom encounter. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. Subtlety in storytelling

  2. The power of nostalgia

  3. Great opening lines

  4. The connective tissue of great storytelling

  5. When it's okay to reference pop culture and when it's not

  6. Saying just enough to serve the story

Next, we answer questions about shortening the length of stories and competing in storytelling competitions against "big stories. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

Heloise and the Savoir Faire 

Matt Stone and Trey Parker on But and Therefore

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

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Speak Up Storytelling: Matthew Dicks

On episode #43 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we talk about a moment on a Moth GrandSLAM stage and a moment in a classroom that unearth two potential stories.

Then Elysha departs, and we listen to Matthew Dicks's story about an unusual late night walk with a friend. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The best place and most effective way of beginning a story

  2. The importance of beginning and ending a story well

  3. Choosing appropriate backstory and the most effective way of presenting it in a story

  4. Strategies for preserving surprise in a story

  5. Volume and pacing during a performance

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

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I lost The Moth GrandSLAM on Tuesday night. This is how I feel about losing.

On Tuesday night, I competed in a Moth GrandSLAM at the Cutler Majestic in Boston.

It was my 25th GrandSLAM championship since 2011, but no matter how many of these championships I compete in, the GrandSLAM never gets old for me.

It’s my favorite storytelling show by far.

I told what I thought might be the best story I’ve ever told at a Moth GrandSLAM or any story slam, but when the scores were tallied at the end of the show, I had finished in fourth place.

For a person who is exceedingly competitive and possibly obsessed with winning, I was surprisingly fine with my fourth place finish, for two reasons.

Two years ago, at a GrandSLAM championship in New York City, I drew the first spot in the show, which makes it almost impossible to win. As great a story as you may tell, recency bias will doom your chances every time. I’ve won from first position at two Moth StorySLAMs in my life, but the quality of stories in a Moth GrandSLAM make this highly unlikely if not impossible.

In fact, telling a story in the first half of a show makes it hard to win at a Moth GrandSLAM.

After drawing the #1 from the hat, I started pacing around the stage, angry and annoyed. Muttering under my breath. Snarling.

In short, I was acting like a jerk.

Thankfully, Elysha was with me that night in New York. She pulled me aside and said, “This is your 20th GrandSLAM. You’ve won six of them. For most of these people, it’s their first GrandSLAM ever. Probably the biggest stage they’ve ever performed on. Maybe their only GrandSLAM ever. So how about you stop acting like a jerk and just be grateful to be here.”

She was right. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

Ever since that night, I’ve approach every one of these championship competitions with an open heart. Remarkably, I’ve stopped obsessing over winning.

I wish I could say the same for The Moth’s open-mic StorySLAMs. I’ve won 39 of them, so I shouldn’t obsess so much over winning them either, but winning a StorySLAM gains me entry into the GrandSLAM, which I love so much. So winning the StorySLAM remains important to me.

It gets me something I want.

But not the GrandSLAM. Instead of focusing on winning, I focus on having fun, telling a great story, and assisting my competitors whenever possible. If it’s their first or second time on a GrandSLAM stage, I always take a few minutes to advise them on the tricks and techniques that I’ve developed over the years to tell a story to a theater of 1,000 people. I try to ease their nerves, make them laugh, and allow them to relax enough to do their best.

Elysha was right. I should be grateful to be able to stand on that stage and tell a story, and I am.

Even better, the winner of Tuesday night’s Moth GrandSLAM was one of my storytelling students. She had spent a weekend with me at Kripalu in 2018, and the story she told on Tuesday night to beat me was a story that I had workshopped with her months ago.

In fact, I had three former storytelling students in the cast with me on Tuesday night. All three had gotten their start in storytelling in one of my workshops, and one them, Tom Ouimet, a brilliant storyteller has graced the Speak Up stage many, many times.

This also wasn’t the first time that a former student has beaten me in a StorySLAM and GrandSLAM. It’s happened several times, and I’m sure it’ll happen again. It’s also not the first time that I helped to craft and revise a story that was later used to defeat me.

As a teacher, this makes me very happy.

So I finished fourth on Tuesday night. I told a story about my lifetime struggle for faith and a moment of transcendence in a hot dog line at a minor league baseball stadium. I told the story from fourth position - not a great spot in the lineup - but I’ve won Moth GrandSLAMs from the second and fourth position in the past, so it’s certainly possible.

It really might be the best story I’ve ever told in a GrandSLAM.

But I didn’t win. That’s okay.

I saw some old friends. Made some new ones. Spoke to audience members who loved my story. I even signed six copies of my book Storyworthy during intermission, brought to the show by audience members who knew I was performing.

It was a great night. I was grateful to take the stage. I was thrilled to watch my students perform. I was honored to hear all of the amazing stories told that night.

Winning would’ve been nice, but it’s not the most important thing anymore. Not by a long shot.

Speak Up Storytelling: Ted Zablotsky

On episode #42 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we read a heartwarming email from a listener about Homework for Life and our new favorite review from a listener.

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about how storyworthy moments can often be identified by finding moments in our lives that cause us to ask big questions and express controversial ideas. 

Next we listen to Ted Zablotsky's Voices of Hope story about returning to his father's hometown decades after the Holocaust.  

Voices of Hope is an organization dedicated to preserving the stories of the Holocaust, and we partner with this organization to help the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors tell their stories. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. Telling stories about other people through the lens of your own story

  2. The effectiveness of telling your story in scenes

  3. The power of a subtle ending

  4. Remaining within the moment of a story at all times and not projecting forward

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

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Speak Up Storytelling: Tom Ouimet

On episode #41 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we congratulate friend of the podcast Robin Gelfenbien on her recent (and momentous) Moth StorySLAM victory. Robin is the producer and host of Yum's the Word, an award-winning NYC storytelling show and podcast:

http://www.yumsthewordshow.com

Next, we pass on AirTable, a Homework for Life suggestion from a listener:

https://airtable.com
https://vimeo.com/album/3513053/format:detail

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about the challenge of tell a hero story when the act of heroism is not all that impressive or interesting. 

Next we listen to Tom Ouimet's story about a secret in his pants. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The exceptional layering and efficiency of the story

  2. The strategic use of pauses and silence to enhance humor 

  3. The importance of choice and consistency when it comes to the perspective adopted by the storyteller

  4. The escalation of stakes

  5. Making choices consistent with the tone and theme of a story

Next, we answer questions about critiquing stories and telling stories from a third person perspective. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

May 4: Storytelling workshop (beginner), CT Historical Society
May 18: Storytelling workshop (advanced), CT Historical Society
June 1: Storytelling workshop (master class), CT Historical Society
July 29-August 2: Storytelling bootcamp, CT Historical Society
August 17: Storytelling workshop, Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA
October 25-27: Storytelling workshop, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Heath
December 6-8: Storytelling workshop, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

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Speak Up Storytelling: John Smith-Horn

On episode #40 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling.

In our followup segment, we announce our first LIVE PODCAST RECORDING!

May 18: CT Historical Society. Tickets just $5. All proceeds go to the CT Historical Society.

Purchase here: https://chs.org/event/speak-up-podcast-live

ALSO, UPCOMING SHOWS:

March 16: “Exposed: Lies, Secrets, and Indiscretions Revealed” at Space Ballroom

March 30: "Courage" at Real Art Ways

We also discuss a listener's suggestion regarding pausing at the very end of a story (as well as some of our strategies to get yourself ready to tell your story) and another listener's suggestion of the Day One app for Homework for Life:

https://dayoneapp.com

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about the need for storytellers to keep their eyes opened for moments of transformation and realization in their own lives (however small they may seem) in order to find new stories to tell. 

Next we listen to John Smith-Horn's story about making cookies.

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The components of a perfect beginning to a story

  2. The power of effective vocal modulation

  3. Telling the story from the perspective (and maintaining that perspective) of your former self

  4. The way that small stories that say many things (and important, meaningful things)

  5. Revealing the secrets and suspense in a story by spooling out the moment and allowing the audience to bear witness to the unveiling

Next, we answer questions about finding themes in storytelling, maintaining audience interest in less formal storytelling settings, and the struggle to find stories on every single day of your life.

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

May 4: Storytelling workshop (beginner), CT Historical Society
May 18: Storytelling workshop (advanced), CT Historical Society
June 1: Storytelling workshop (master class), CT Historical Society
July 29-August 2: Storytelling bootcamp, CT Historical Society
August 17: Storytelling workshop, Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA
October 25-27: Storytelling workshop, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Heath
December 6-8: Storytelling workshop, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

  • Conversations with the disabled

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Speak Up Storytelling #29: Matthew Dicks

On episode #39 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew Dicks talks storytelling!

With report cards and parent-teacher conferences filling Elysha's week, she takes some time off from the podcast, shifting our format again. I'm going it alone this week. Rather than posting a re-run, we have some exciting new content for you.  

Hope you enjoy! 

In our follow up segment, Elysha and I talk about the cover release of my new novel Twenty-one Truths About Love, which you can see in the show notes. 

Then, instead of listening and critiquing a new story, I play three of my stories (chosen for a specific reason) with some commentary about the crafting of each. 

After listening, I discuss:

  1. The variety of chronological formats available to storytellers

  2. When to choose a specific chronological format for a story

  3. The strategies used to preserve and enhance surprise in a story

LINKS

http://speakupstorytelling.libsyn.com/matthew-dicks-trio

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

Speak Up at Space Ballroom on March 16:
Exposed: Lies, Secrets, and Indiscretions Revealed

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

May 4: Storytelling workshop (beginner), CT Historical Society
May 18: Storytelling workshop (advanced), CT Historical Society
June 1: Storytelling workshop (master class), CT Historical Society
July 29-August 2: Storytelling bootcamp, CT Historical Society
August 17: Storytelling workshop, Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA 
October 25-27: Storytelling workshop, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Heath
December 6-8: Storytelling workshop, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

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