Author: has written 8 posts for this blog.

Eve is one of the 2012 Summer team of guest bloggers. Her projects look like: @evesturges, www.themagpielist.com, www.cleanplates.com, happyhourstoryexperiment.tumblr.com, & papercutsandhummingbirds.wordpress.com. She lives with her daughter and boyfriend in Los Angeles and loves the color orange.
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24 Responses

  1. Liz Barnes
    Liz Barnes August 24, 2012 at 7:17 am |

    I am so in love with this idea of like stand up but storytelling! It is such a brilliant idea. I have dealt with a lot of things in my life and can only imagine that this is very helpful to not only the storyteller but those listening. I have found that getting together a group of my husband’s and my own close friends and just talking and playing a silly board game can really help us to get into the stories of our lives. As you can imagine, WV is not a hub of something like what you are talking about but I would very much be into starting something kinda like it. It is odd about how people go off in conservative states about community but seldom ever step up to do anything like this or help their fellow man with tales to help and educate. WV is a beautiful state but now you have got me thinking about doing something like this on my college campus. Thanks for the idea now any helpful tips?

  2. konkonsn
    konkonsn August 24, 2012 at 7:34 am |

    So….I have a degree in Creative Writing (yes, yes…I’ve heard the jokes before. And I AM currently jobless…:P). And as such, I took a couple of creative non-fiction classes. So, at first, I wrote a lot of lighter stories because I thought, ‘Fuck. Nobody will understand the weird shit I go through. And they’ll think I’m crazy.’ Which I am. But still.

    So after being told, “We feel like we’re not getting the real you,” about a dozen times, and me going home cross and thinking, ‘Fuck you all. I didn’t sign up for this class to be my therapy session, and you have no right to access my personal life,” (Which they didn’t), I finally got fed up and started writing about how crazy I am.

    And they didn’t get it.

    But I felt a lot better about some stuff.

    So, yeah. It’s kind of a typical story of how writing stories about my life makes me feel better. But I don’t like to keep a journal because journals are messy and don’t really help me clarify what I’m thinking about. So while I know that my audience probably won’t connect with me, I still need that audience to prompt me to think about my stuff in a specific, story format that organizes my thoughts to help me understand them.

    (Also, people probably would get it if it was the right audience. I just haven’t really found a group of crazy people to connect with yet).

  3. Gretchen
    Gretchen August 24, 2012 at 7:48 am |

    This looks like a great project Eve, I hope you post more videos of the performances on YouTube. I guess it’s not surprising that the performers are predominantly women, with the vast majority of entertainment storytelling media (flims, tv, comedy etc) being so male centred, it just goes to show how many great, funny, touching stories women have to tell when given the opportunity to do so on a safe platform. I hope the concept spreads!

  4. Lauren
    Lauren August 24, 2012 at 7:59 am |

    Just jumping in to say there is a really good story-telling podcast called “Risk.”

  5. DonnaL
    DonnaL August 24, 2012 at 8:24 am |

    I don’t think I could ever actually do anything like this myself, even though I sometimes surprise myself with how many such stories I really have (all of which are either entirely true or ought to be) — after all, being candid about my life anonymously, to strangers on the Internet, is a far cry from doing so in person to strangers right in front of me! — but I think it’s a wonderful idea.

  6. Jadey
    Jadey August 24, 2012 at 9:12 am |

    Re: transcripts

    I have no idea what, if any, the official Feministe policy is, but as someone who can’t always access videos for a variety of reasons, a full transcript is always appreciated, but even just a short summary with the essential concrete details is useful for people who can’t view the original. Enough so that someone could reasonably participate in the rest of the discussion without wondering what the hell everyone else is talking about.

  7. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 24, 2012 at 11:33 am |

    Re: transcripts

    I have no idea what, if any, the official Feministe policy is, but as someone who can’t always access videos for a variety of reasons, a full transcript is always appreciated, but even just a short summary with the essential concrete details is useful for people who can’t view the original. Enough so that someone could reasonably participate in the rest of the discussion without wondering what the hell everyone else is talking about.

    Now that you’ve brought this up, you made me think it would be such a good thing for youtube to offer up this option natively, and probably relatively easy with some sort of speech to text algorithm.

  8. LC
    LC August 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

    I may have to check out Risk. I do storytelling here in Montreal, where it is a mixed bag of a scene. There’s some good French stuff, and the English scene is a little too mired in fairy tales rather than personal stuff for my tastes.

    Still, I think it’s a fantastic medium and I’m really glad it’s working for you.

    As far as using it to turn personal stories into your own myths and such, I do that a lot. In fact, even when I did stand up, it was basically storytelling in that vein.

  9. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

    I don’t think I could ever actually do anything like this myself, even though I sometimes surprise myself with how many such stories I really have (all of which are either entirely true or ought to be) — after all, being candid about my life anonymously, to strangers on the Internet, is a far cry from doing so in person to strangers right in front of me! — but I think it’s a wonderful idea.

    It takes just as much bravery as it does talent–that’s for sure.

  10. Jadey
    Jadey August 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

    Now that you’ve brought this up, you made me think it would be such a good thing for youtube to offer up this option natively, and probably relatively easy with some sort of speech to text algorithm.

    They offer automatic captioning, though it can be unreliable, but it’s not useful to people who rely on screenreaders because of visual impairments or processing disorders (as opposed to the hearing impaired) or who cannot access the videos for technological reasons.

  11. Lauren
    Lauren August 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    I may have to check out Risk. I do storytelling here in Montreal, where it is a mixed bag of a scene. There’s some good French stuff, and the English scene is a little too mired in fairy tales rather than personal stuff for my tastes.

    It’s politically imperfect. Some of the stories just aren’t my thing. But it is run by actor Kevin Allison who was on The State on MTV in the 90s, and the stories and writers they collect are pretty sensitive to oppressed people. There are some wildly uncomfortably stories about social situations, for example, where the author totally put her foot in her mouth re: race, class, general social issues. But the general arc is an ignorance < enlightenment theme which is pretty great. One of their first shows about weird sex? Avoid that one.

  12. With Love
    With Love August 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

    more personal stories with a more physical, freewheeling, anything-can-happen performance style

    That sounds terrific! It takes courage to get up there and talk in front of a group, especially in a personal way, especially in that kind of potentially indifferent/hostile setting.

    Finding a supportive, communal place for female creativity can be extremely difficult, and to be a key part of one feels like a dream come true.

    Awesome. Congratulations!

    He told a silly story about a recent trip to the petting zoo where he patted a woman’s head because her hair was so frizzy he mistook it for an animal. The man laughed his way through the end of this story, delighted all over again by this hilarious thing that had happened to him.

    I’ll keep this brief: I understand that you’re aiming for a humorous anecdote here, but this comes across very badly (to me, at least).

  13. With Love
    With Love August 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm |

    Watched the video. Great performance!

  14. Brigid
    Brigid August 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm |

    The storytelling scene as you describe it sounds amazing! My belief in the capacity of storytelling to help us create and re-create memory and identity, to purge our demons, and to forge community is central to my sense of purpose as a writer. I don’t have much native talent with oral storytelling — even in casual situations, I feel like my stories fall flat — but I would love to work on those skills. And I’d be honored to be able to participate in some kind of storytelling event someday.

    I recently started going to a weekly poetry open mic at a local bar. I dabbled in poetry as an adolescent, but I’ve never been into any poetry scene, so this is new for me. I haven’t read any of my own work (and since I don’t write a lot of poetry, I’m not likely to), but being there and hearing other people share their shames and triumphs and griefs and joys is really cathartic for me. I’m going through a pretty rough time right now, and this open mic is serving an important function in my life by allowing me to get regular emotional release.

  15. Alexandra
    Alexandra August 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

    I took part in, and help lead for a number of years, a college Storytellers Guild. It focused not on the telling of personal stories, but on the oral tradition in fairy-tales and literature as a whole, but one of my favorite annual meetings was Tall Tales and Liars, when people would come in with a totally outrageous story based on actual life experiences.

    My years with the group also made me much more invested in the idea of telling stories not from the page but from living memory (rather than rote memorization) – adapting your storytelling style to the reactions of your audience. I love to tell fairy-tales freeform, with additions and subtractions to the tale from different versions I’ve been familiarized with more or less at whim – it’s a very joyful kind of creativity for me.

    At the same time, I have had experiences telling painful stories from my own life in front of far less friendly audiences; I concluded a lecture to my psychology class on the end of state psychiatric hospitals in the US with stories from my own experiences on psych units, and it was absolutely TERRIFYING. It also payed off in a wonderful way — but there was no guarantee that I’d get a good reception, and the professor had repeatedly outed himself as a bigot in the course of the class.

  16. DonnaL
    DonnaL August 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    I’ll keep this brief: I understand that you’re aiming for a humorous anecdote here, but this comes across very badly (to me, at least).

    I winced at it, too. I really, really hope that Eve clarifies and explains that it isn’t what it sounds like.

    Or maybe she should just avoid discussing hair from now on?!

  17. With Love
    With Love August 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm |

    Transcript part one:

    All right, so this is a story about signals. It’s a little bit about what Tara was talking about when we just don’t see things. There’s three people in this room that have heard a little, a version of this story before and I hope it’s going to go better this time. They can let me know afterwards.

    All right, so, I have a really hard time seeing things until they’re a disaster. There are always signals and they come along the way and then, and I ignore them and I ignore them and then they’re there and my life is a mess. And it’s like I run out of gas all the time, as if my, you know, the thing isn’t showing. I overdraft my bank account frequently as if there isn’t enough technology and text messaging, e-mails, and Chase ATMs to let me know that’s about to happen. And in college like I did a lot of drugs and partied and ignored everybody’s concerns until I was pregnant. Oops! And then I had to stop. And I did.

    And I moved to New York and then I made the choice to bring my baby and move back home to California and move into my parents’ house and move into their basement with my baby and start a new life. And I got a job and I started earning and I thought a lot about writing. The next thing to do was to meet up with all of my friends that I hadn’t seen since this sort of like distraction had happened. And I was ready, for like, I was ready to show them who I was now, that I was the girl they used to know. “That was weird, what happened, don’t worry, I’m back, everybody, I’m everything you thought I was going to be, I’m fine.”

    And so living in California and so this one night, I, my parents are going to watch the baby and I get in that, remember that van that [something about a backpack?] I talked about earlier, so that was a part of the time that I drove to San Francisco and I threw on like a really cute outfit that was very like casual in a sort of like “Oh, no, I just threw these on, this is just how I look, just really cute, and I didn’t even try, just like these jeans, cowboy boots and tank top combo, just did it.”

    And so I get there and dinner is amazing. It’s all my dearest girlfriends, and we’re there, and it was so fun, and the food is delicious, and we’re just feasting, and we’re acting like adults because we finally are, we’ve arrived, and graduated college, and careers have begun and it’s really exciting for a lot of them and I get to do what I wanted to do, I get to present myself. Everything is like, and they asked, “Are you okay?” Like I had been through a lot, and it was like, not only am I okay, I’m fantastic. I’ve got plans, I’ve got a job, I have these ideas that I’m going to be something. Doing really well. It was everything that I wanted it to be that night.

    So the dinner wraps up and we’re all leaving and I don’t feel very good. Do I do something about it then at the restaurant? No. Do I head to the restroom? No. Do I say anything to anybody? No. I just go, I think, I’ll be home soon enough, it’s fine. [???] And so I get in the car and I’m heading through San Francisco to a neighborhood called the marina. Does anybody in here know about San Francisco?

  18. With Love
    With Love August 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

    Transcript part two:

    Audience: Yes.

    Does anybody here know about the marina?

    Audience: Yes.

    Does anybody here? Okay. The marina is fancy. It’s kind of preppy. It’s, the marina is where like people that really love their life and sororities and fraternities in college, like that’s where they go. They’re very upwardly mobile, they have a lot of money, they work very boring jobs, they are very beautiful. There’s a lot of like really expensive boutiques and really cute restaurants. So I’m driving through the marina to get to my destination. Am I feeling good? No. Is it getting worse? Yes. Do I stop at any of the fast food restaurants I see on the way? No. Gas stations? Forget about it. I’m going to get home soon enough. That’s what I’m thinking. And I’m just ignoring, like I’m so high on this like amazing night. And I was doing so well and everything was fantastic, I’ve done all the right things.

    And then it’s not okay anymore. And I have to pull over really fast all of a sudden. And I’m thinking my friend’s house is really close by. I passed friends’ houses! Did I use a lifeline and call them and be like, “Hey, there’s a thing happening, can I?” No! You know how many people I know in San Francisco? A lot. And suddenly it is like so beyond okay and I have to parallel park my 1984 Volkswagen van with no power steering, and I try to get in between a brand-new Mercedes Benz and a BMW behind me and I am doing this like frantic look and I’m thinking I can get to Bailey’s which is down the street a little bit. Bailey is my best friend if I didn’t mention that.

    Volkswagen van. Open the door. Hop out. And it’s too late. It is so too late in the marina in San Francisco. And I have to slam the door and now I am unbuttoning my pants from H&M and they are so cute and I have to get in between my Volkswagen van again and that Mercedes Benz that I mentioned a moment ago and I have to pull down my pants because I have that much wherewithal and hold onto bumpers.

  19. With Love
    With Love August 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

    Transcript part three:

    Have I told you about how uncomfortable I am talking about bodily functions? Because I am someone that grew up in an incredibly conservative household. We do not talk about these things. And not only was this happening to me but now I’m talking about it. So I hope that everybody here appreciates it and buys me a drink. In five minutes.

    I am holding onto these bumpers and having unbelievable, explosive, painful, anybody eating here tonight? Loud diarrhea. And it is so, do I need to say it was so horrible? Do you get that? Like is that clear enough to you? And at one point I get control and I am like, I stop. And I like get back to the van and no, I’m not in control, I have to go back and do it again. And like I’m not looking, I’m not looking. But there are people walking around and I’m in the marina. People are going to dinner, they’re finishing dinner and they’re on the way to the clubs, they’re disucssing like hedge funds and like the economy and frozen yogurt. And like girls are like, you can hear, and I’m not looking, they’re close enough for me to like high-five from my position. And they’re walking and they’re like, “Oh my god, frozen yogurt?” And they’re like, like, you can hear it, you can hear it happening, like you can hear them walk by. And then as soon as they get by they’re like, “Did you see what I just saw?” [Mimics flustered conversation.] Like “oh my god” and they laugh. You know and I’m like not looking makes it less real.

    And here is the thing. So that’s horrific, right? And what does that have to do with any of the other stuff that I have a problem with in life. It’s because like I didn’t, I felt embarrassed to tell my friends that I didn’t know what I was doing with my life and I think I fucked up everything and I ruined it all by having a baby at age 22. I was too embarrassed to tell them that. And this thing was ten million times more embarrassing. And all I had to do was like acknowledge the inconvenience of what it would have been to pull over. All I had to do to get so much more help and to get my life back on track sooner was acknowledge that I didn’t know what I was doing.

    And I’m sitting, sitting, squatting, squatting there, in between these cars having this like unbelievably unexpected revelation about my life. Like it can’t get worse than this, right? Like everything has to get better. I have got to start just letting myself have the tiny inconveniences of acknowledging when I’m not okay so that I can get better, get help, so that my entire life is not microcosmed into shit in the street. Like in a really weird way that was like when everything changed. When I moved to LA, when I became a writer. And here I am today!

  20. DonnaL
    DonnaL August 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    Thanks for the clarification, Eve.

  21. Lauren
    Lauren August 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

    What, in your opinion, is politically perfect, especially in the entertainment realm?

    Well, ha. That was basically just a disclaimer knowing that if someone listened to it after it was recommended on Feministe and came back offended, I didn’t want to be responsible. I’m willing to forgive a lot when it comes to story-telling, especially stories that reveal more about humanity.

    One of my favorite Risk! shows was the one where the guy said some stupid racist, sexist shit in front of his college class, and because he was immature about apologizing and afraid of admitting he was wrong, he dug his heels in and continued to make an ass of himself. I know some would interpret that story as being promotional of his stupid views instead of revealing how he was at his core a dumb kid learning a really difficult, humiliating lesson about his own hubris and how his words have consequences.

  22. BlogTalk: Memoir, Journal Writing, and Story — Writing Through Life

    […] to others. Today, I came across a blog post and video by a young woman named Eve, titled How Storytelling Saved My Memories. Eve uses the art of live storytelling to reveal the kinds of events you and I might write about in […]

  23. WHEOhio
    WHEOhio September 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm |

    I’m super late, but I had to comment and tell you that I loved this! I can relate so much. Thank you for sharing!

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