While I was working in my booth at the Telluride Film Festival, people would come up to me and say, “What is this movie about?” A few times—they forgot their glasses, or I was in the right mood—I would pull out the booklet and my best reading voice and launch into the description.
“Will you come and read me a bedtime story?” One asked.
“Don’t stop!” said another, his eyes kinda moony.
One night in the hospitality tent behind me was a Moth storytelling evening. Salman Rushdie was hosting. Storytellers were all manner of famous people, Teller, a couple of movie directors, Joyce Maynard, whose novel Labor Day, was the basis of a movie that premiered the day before.
The event was was free and open to all.
And I had to work. Tried to get my shift covered. No joy. And so there I was, alone in a little booth, while these fabulous stories, by world famous people, were happening ten yards behind me.
And I could even hear them. Sort of. I caught muffled voices and leaned in and dialed up the concentration, but that just made me even more frustrated.
When the clock allowed I sashayed into the tent for the second half. The stories were as good as I expected. Filmmaker Jason Reitman, of Juno, talked about what it was like growing up with a famous director father, “I am the only Jewish guy in the history of the world whose parents told him NOT to become a doctor.”
And now, for the times you can’t make it into the tent, or the times you would rather read than listen, here is The Moth, the first in-print collection. “Fifty true stories.” Just reading the table of contents makes me smile, since many of the stories are so familiar. There are both famous writers—Malcolm Gladwell and Sebastian Junger—and folks you’ve never heard of, nestled up together on the table of contents. How Cynthia Riggs found love in her ‘80s.
And also here is Joyce Maynard’s story, “The One Good Man,” the very story that I missed her tell in Telluride.
Worth the wait.
And the price of the book.