What if I told you that there was a place, right here in Miami, where, once a week, you can get not only real entertainment with good food and drink, but also therapy, education, culture, maybe some history, and perhaps some complete stranger’s deepest, darkest secrets? A place where someone is going to offer you a part of themselves and ask for nothing in return? A safe, supportive, judgement-free space where anyone can come tell a true story about themselves?
Whether you like it or not, or even realize it or not, you tell a story about yourself inside your own head every day, all the time, and that story makes you what and who you are. And the best part is that you are the author of that story, ultimately, but only if you become the storyteller.
I spent eight and a half years in prison for drug trafficking, and before that I was a 13-year junkie and small-time dealer. This has offered me more than enough unnerving experiences than I want to process. Storytelling, in both the forms of writing and telling, has saved me from losing my shit completely. It’s no wonder the basic tenet of AA and NA is storytelling. Some people pay therapists to hear our stories. I get it. But if I did that for everything, I’d be broke. In solitary confinement, talking to the air costs nothing, but it works.
The poet Ben Orki said, “Storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection, there is no story to tell.” And I say that the story and the storyteller are one. Without our stories, we will forget who we are and why we’re here. Our stories serve as memory aids, instruction manuals, moral compasses.
It happens every Wednesday at The Anderson (though it actually happens at Santuario, (to the left when you come inside, where there’s fire wood-fired Roman-style pizza and a full bar; and, by the way, santuario means “sanctuary” in Italian…Just saying.) . It’s called True Story Miami. It’s a spin-off, or transmutation, if I may, of Uncle Scotchy’s Storytelling Extravaganza. The same two rules apply: (1) the story has to be true, and (2) it has to be about something that happened to you.
Every time I go, I learn something about three complete strangers, and I’m inspired. Because really listening is the other half of the magic of storytelling. Also, we never know what we are going to get, because none of the stories are ever pre-screened. And the event is free. So, you can bet your ass I’ll be there every Wednesday. Not only do I have a load of stories to unpack on you (I need my therapy), but I have a whole lot more listening to do, too (and I need my entertainment, our culture, your secrets).
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” That’s what Maya Angelou said about telling stories, and I agree. I hope you’ll come out this Wednesday, and the next, and maybe even tell a story one day. I know you have at least one, or maybe you have many?
Either way, I’ll be there soon, unpacking another, this one about voluntarily (I swear) getting my ass tattooed in prison.
See you there.