Tag Archives: Oral Storytelling

Baby Thumbelina – Storytelling at Two Truths & A Lie

Above is a video Daniel David Shapiro recently released of me telling a story at his live L.A. show and podcast, Two Truths and a Lie. Dan’s show presents irresistible challenges for storytellers, as we all strive to keep the audience guessing:

  1. If Dan asks me to lie, for me the challenge is to build a story with details so deeply human that the audience feels the ring of a deeper truth within it, even though it’s made up. It’s also a fun balancing act to see how high I can stack the hyperbole, spinning a tale so outrageous they’re sure nobody would dare make it up, all without overplaying my hand.
  2. If Dan asks me to tell the truth, I strive to give the audience details that make them doubt it really happened, or at least make them hope it didn’t…even though it did. I love to take an audience with me as I ponder just how astonishing are the challenges of being human.

My above story, Baby Thumbelina, comes from an episode called Innocence. It’s a tale of childhood bullying and sweet revenge, and it’s all too true, my friends. Please check it out. If it reminds you of a story of your own, I hope you’ll let me know…

Who Was the Liar?

If you’ve checked my blog since the New Year, then you’ll recall I recently posted my latest performance on the L.A. storytelling show and podcast, Two Truths and a Lie. If so, you might still be wondering who the liar was. Let me end the suspense by directing you back to host Dan Shapiro’s website for the big reveal.

Dan’s show has a fun premise: three people share personal stories on a theme—this time the theme was Innocence—then the audience guesses which storyteller is lying. For a refresher on the story I told, here’s a link to Two Truths and a Lie: Episode 83.

Old Mr. Ma – Cara at The Moth GrandSlam in L.A.


At The Moth GrandSlam on July 24 at L.A.’s historic Regent Theatre, I was honored to share the stage with some of the best storytellers around as we told stories on the night’s theme: Identity Crisis. Please check out this 6-minute video of me performing Old Mr. Ma, the story of my grandma, me, and my search for her father’s Chinese roots.

About The GrandSlam: These events always feature 10 storytellers who have won local StorySlams. Each tells a five-minute story to a live audience in a friendly competition for one of The Moth’s greatest honors: GrandSlam Champ. On our night, 500-plus people listened to us share the most vulnerable, unusual, ridiculous moments we’ve spent seeking answers to the question: who am I? It was a thrilling night of people connecting through the power of story.

About The Moth: “The Moth’s mission is to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.” Put simply, The Moth is: true stories, told live, without notes. If you haven’t yet, I recommend listening to The Moth Radio Hour or The Moth Podcast. Beware: it’s addicting.

 

Just Me and My Cross – Cara Wins The Moth StorySlam in L.A.


After more than a year striving to find my voice in the world of oral storytelling, I won The Moth StorySlam in L.A. on January 23, 2018. The night’s topic was Achilles’ Heel. It was humbling to win with a story about my weaknesses. I now qualify to compete in a Moth Grand Slam with nine other StorySlam winners. There are no prizes, just the joy of celebrating the human experience with fellow storytellers and an enthusiastic audience. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you’re unfamiliar with live storytelling, I recommend checking out The Moth Radio Hour or The Moth Podcast. You’re in for an unforgettable experience in the power of story.

Who was the Liar?

Remember how, to kick off the New Year, I posted my latest performance on the Los Angeles storytelling show and podcast, Two Truths and a Lie? Then you’ll recall I was one of three people who shared personal stories about Survival, and host Dan Shapiro asked the audience to guess which one of us was lying. Ready to find out the answer? Then check out this four-and-a-half minute Reveal episode, in which the liar of the night confesses. Enjoy!

And hey, if you want a refresher on the story I told that night, here’s a video of my performance:

Grampa Versus The Thomas Fire

Looking for a little New Year excitement? Please check out my latest oral story in the Two Truths & a Lie podcast. For this episode, the topic is: Survival. This time I perform a story about fleeing the largest wildfire in California history. The Thomas Wildfire invaded our small town of Ventura the night of December 4, 2017.

Two Truths and a Lie is a live storytelling show in which three performers share personal stories. The catch? One of us is lying. Can you guess who it is? Host Dan Shapiro will reveal the liar in the next episode, so please check out my next blog post for a link to the big Reveal, which will include a confession from the liar of the night. Happy New Year!

My Killer Eggs – Live at The Moth StorySlam in L.A.

I told this true personal story at The Moth StorySlam in Los Angeles on June 6, 2017. The theme was “Mystery.” I came in third place, for which I won: nothing…except pride in getting better at this art form every day. I love oral storytelling. What an exciting way to connect with community, share what we all have in commoon, and increase our understanding of one another! If you’re unfamiliar with live storytelling, I recommend you check out The Moth and listen to either The Moth Radio Hour, which also plays on many NPR affiliates, or the online podcast. The stories are funny, moving, surprising…and addicting.