As many of you know, I’m writing a historical novel inspired by family stories my Mexican-Chinese grandma used to tell me: tales of secret immigrants and mixed races, family loyalties and betrayals. I’m also involved in the world of live personal storytelling, and The Storytellers Project recently invited me to share a true story about my search for my ancestral past. Here’s a video of that virtual show on the theme of Home. You’ll see my 9-minute story at 19:34. Warning: In the story, I mention sexual abuse, though not in a graphic way.
A story can mean different things at different times. In 2019, I first told this one, Cara Lopez Lee Gets A Reporting Job (a.k.a. The Boss of Last Resort) for Daniel David Shapiro’s podcast, Two Truths and a Lie. It’s the story of the most racist, sexist, intolerant tyrant I ever worked for, back in the 90’s. I share it now as a small underline to America’s cry for change in 2020. I previously shared the podcast, but below is the video of me telling the story to our live audience. It was one of the two true stories in the show.
I have not lived an African American experience, though I carry African DNA from my ancestors. And this story does not directly address the recent murder of George Floyd, or police brutality against people of color, though I am outraged by such injustices. Neither is this story about the Black Lives Matter movement, though BLM gave me impetus to share it now. Still, I want to take this opportunity to reiterate: Black Lives Matter. Maybe if we say it enough, and back it up with meaningful action, we’ll begin to create change.
Wish you could run away from Pandemic 2020? Try escaping into a book! I’ve been reading books by other authors—turns out most books are by other authors. But if you haven’t read mine yet, then please check out They Only Eat Their Husbands. It’s my memoir of how I ran away: from love, to Alaska, around the world. Remember how adventurers used to travel? In the before times, not long ago… Here are a host of links to all the places you can purchase They Only Eat Their Husbands. Thank you, beloved readers, for supporting books, the economy, and my family’s supply of food, soap, and disinfectant!
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.
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!
I’m having a blast in the world of oral storytelling, and you can hear me tell my latest story in the podcast Two Truths & a Lie. Or you can watch the video below. In this live storytelling show, three performers share personal stories. The catch? One of us is lying. For this episode, the topic is: Cheats. Can you guess who the liar is?
Pangyrus, a Boston-based literary journal, has published my flash nonfiction piece Tiny Destroyer of Worlds. It’s the story of a nine-year-old pyromaniac (that would be me) who discovers the thrilling power to destroy. I’m dedicating it posthumously to my friend and fellow writer, Christy Bailey, a firecracker in her own right, who inspired me to write this essay for her 2014 event, The Denver Heat. If you’re up for a reminder of what it was like to be young and reckless – and to realize you might never change – please stop by Pangyrus for a peek.