I told a story about meeting my husband and establishing roots in the Adirondacks for a local story slam competition. I was high from my second-place win a couple of months earlier and worked hard on the narrative about our history together. A lot of it was about how I didn’t want to live in the mountains and his sincere desire to do so…and then, how we’ve made it work, how much we’ve put into our house and property to make it an idyllic home to share with each other and those we love.
I didn’t even place. The winner, hands-down, was an English teacher from Northwood School in Lake Placid. NC’s story about having her “cancer baby” or a teratoma (look it up!!!) at 23 and talking her way into a job she wasn’t qualified for in Tanzania (she couldn’t speak a word of Swahili) wiped everyone else off the board. NC went on to win the regional story slam competition with another captivating and devastating tale of her life in Africa in December that year.
When I found this moving essay by Therese Beale in Talking Writing, I found someone speaking the same language I’d use about the inner life of my marriage: