A fan of The Moth radio hour, she contacted the national team, but was told Dayton wasn’t quite big enough to bring the show there. So, she started her own storytelling program in 2012.
As Story Slamm was just passing its one year anniversary in Dayton, Hulce shared with Sharon Short, “We’ve become very distant in our culture. We have mass communication and social media, and so we can hear and read each other’s stories, but rarely do we get in the same room, look into the storyteller’s eyes, observe their movements, while hearing a story. For the storyteller, it’s about giving a piece of yourself to the listener. For both storyteller and listener, it’s a deeper connection than reading or hearing the story from a distance.”
In 2013, Gladgirl stepped back from coordinating Story Slamms when other endeavors took priority. Story Slamms lost a bit of momentum, but the idea was always one that sparked a concept of community and fun for Dayton Metro Library Special Collections Manager and local actor Jamie McQuinn. Regarding bringing Story Slamms back to Dayton, McQuinn says, “I missed it. It was always a great time and I hated that it went away. I contacted Shelly and we thought this would be a great way to bring it back and connect people to the Library.”
Story Slamm is a great night that comes with some rules. McQuinn sums it up, “Tell a short story. First person. It happened to you. It should be “true”… It can be funny, or sad, or surprising. Tell your story in ten minutes or less. No notes or props. Don’t have a story to share? Come and listen. It is always entertaining.” (If you want some inspiration – check out some stories here.)
The crowds come for various reasons. Some people enjoy an expanded, first-person storytelling experience that expands beyond 140 characters. Others are practiced storytellers around the dinner table, and want to bring their favorite family tales to the public. Some just enjoy sitting back and being entertained. Patrick Hillier is a frequent attendee and fan of Story Slamm. He shares that he loves the event for the blending of the casual environment with the “intimate nature of sharing and learning about each other through tales from our lives. You get a chance to tell a short but interesting story from your past or sit back or just listen and maybe learn something.”
The final Story Slamm of 2014 will be at the Huber Heights Branch of the Dayton Metro Library on Tuesday, November 18 at 7 p.m. Six-eight presenters will each tell a 10-minute story based around a “Thankfulness” theme. McQuinn hosts. To fit everyone in, storytellers are asked to register by contacting Jennifer Spillman at 937-496-8611 or [email protected]. If you’d rather just sit back and listen, advance registration is preferred by not required. Judges or a small audience will vote on the best story based on uniqueness and delivery; best story of the evening wins a prize!