Beth Lisick surprised me by asking if I would tell a story at the renowned Porchlight Series. I attempted to exhibit key no-storytelling qualities right then and there, but, well, that failed. Spirits were high. Lots of background noise. She mentioned the theme as she moved off: I Quit! and I said o! for sure, not a problem!
As I left the house I thought: what a problem. I’ve never quit anything in my life. And that, I was so happy to start the New Year with, was also a problem. Quitting might have been, at several points in my life, a most excellent choice. Alas, etc.
There was no story in not quitting. In fact, I should have immediately called Beth to quit the I Quit! and gone on record as being meta. But no, I am not a quitter. And so days later I was pacing in the packed, throwback Verdi Club with a story I had never told to anyone in my life, much less a hall filled with experienced story listeners, who, with their kindness, would shine a light on my total inexperience, which, I think, the series touts as authenticity. And it seemed very likely that everything about this story was about to vacate my mind at any second. I actually didn’t want to tell it. I didn’t want to reveal. Even the story I told Beth when she stopped by to hear my story was not quite this story, so uncertain was I of how to tell it at all. Yet Beth gave excellent advice:
Start with the episode of fake french in kindergarten.