Storytelling is the oldest form of teaching and everyone has a story to share. As an avid listener to storytelling radio stations like Moth Radio and This American Life, Jenny Rice, a professor in UK’s WRD program, understands the power in telling stories.After years of watching Lexington grow and waiting for someone to bring the idea to the community, she decided it was time to help initiate a storytelling movement. “Lexington is small enough for people to be familiar with others and a part of the community, but it’s big enough for different types of people to come and offer their story,” Rice explained. The Horse’s Mouth Storytelling Nights is a monthly event that will bring the community together to hear ordinary people tell true stories. Some stories may be emotional, funny, or weird, but they will always be true. Rice finds the most touching stories to be the ones that are honest, but not often shared. While listening to a recent episode of This American Life, she heard a story about a misfit teenager who was obsessed with science fiction books and one writer in particular. One day the boy set out with all the money he had and drove across the country to meet this writer. The boy showed up at this man’s house, stayed for a few days, and then returned home. Though it wasn’t a climatic story, Rice found it empowering to listen to someone retell a part of their childhood that was kept secret. “Exposing who we are and talking about our history validates something about ourselves,” says Rice. “Our experiences make us who we are and and people will listen to you if you open up to them.” Rice recognizes the power of connection at work. “It’s comforting to hear a story and know you’re not the only one who feels or thinks that way.” The theme for the initial storytelling night is “The First Time.” Rice plans to share her story about the first time she took her parents’ car out for a joyride with her brother. “As I was writing the story, I realized not only was it the first time I drove, but also the first time my brother caught me in a lie. And when a 5-year old catches you in a lie, you never forget it.” Each monthly gathering will have a different theme and feature six different participants. This brings the chance for anyone who wants to share a story to do so, even those who don’t identify as writers. "I always wonder what interesting stories each person I talk to has.” Rice continues, “Your story may not seem glamorous to you, but it could change someone else’s life. We know things and form ideas of the world through the stories we hear.”
The first Horse’s Mouth Storytelling Night will be at The Parachute Factory, September 25. Doors open at 7pm with stories starting at 7:30pm.
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