Tag Archives: Personal Stories

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…

Baby Thumbelina

I always get a kick out of Daniel David Shapiro’s live show and podcast, Two Truths and a Lie, and I was thrilled when he invited me to tell a tale of Innocence for his most recent episode. My story, Baby Thumbelina, is also a tale of childhood bullies and revenge, and what more heartwarming way to start the New Year? 😉 I’m the first storyteller in the show, but I hope you’ll listen to all three of us. How else can you play along and try to guess who’s lying?

Dan will reveal the liar in the next episode, so please check out my next blog post for a link to the big Reveal. Till then, I wish you a New Year full of innocent joys, with no bullies and never a need or temptation to wreak vengeance!

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.

 

Shelly and The 105 – Cara Shares a Story at Unheard L.A.


The dedicated producers at KPCC In Person recently invited me to perform in their live storytelling series, Unheard L.A.—The Stories of Where you Live. In case you haven’t seen it, please check out the video above. Unheard L.A. puts community voices center stage, true stories of struggle and survival, hope and fear, and the unexpected. This show took place March 11, in my hometown of Downey, at The Downey Theatre, where I used to perform as a teen and once cried in the bathroom after I kicked a fellow dancer during a Charleston routine in Showboat. Telling my story went much better. I felt buoyed by the warm audience, and it was one of the proudest nights of my life to be part of this celebration of L.A.’s eclectic community. If you want to skip to my story about how a freeway changed my life, you can go to 50:51, but I suggest watching the whole terrific show.

 

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.

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.