The Moth provides storytelling coaching and I imagine that Arianna Huffington has her own team of coaches to help her work on her stories. I think this story is a good example of having a message and then crafting a story to deliver it. She takes us on a tour of several events that were pivotal points for her.
Present Tense and Setting
Another great Moth story begins like a reporter in the middle of the story using present tense to deliver a description of the setting: “So it’s April 4, 2007 and I am on the campus…with my eldest daughter Christina.”
Universal Human Dilemma
When she says, “And the reason I’m so really, really, tired is…” I feel my own fatigue bubble to the surface to greet hers in a sort of “burden shared is a burden halved” sort of way. Did that happen for you?
Creating a personal connection
Arianna adds contect and uses humor to connect to other generations with a funny description of a Blackberry, but she’s also using the opportunity to present herself as normal and relatable. Humor is a great way to bring down barriers. She is an awe-inspiring woman and it feels good to share a joke with her. Anyone with an oversized image can bring people closer with a personal story or a bit of humor.
Show Don’t Tell
I realize the story isn’t about being a good mother, but I am struck by the amount of love and respect she must feel for her daughter to go without her Blackberry for eight days straight while her business was still so young. Yes, she was on it at night, but I am still impressed with her response to her daughter’s “demand.” It reveals who she really is when no one is looking: a good mom.
By the time she says “can’t remember not being exhausted and you don’t remember that “no” is a complete sentence” I can feel the sensation my body delivers when it urges me to keep pushing on, not the idea of it, but that physiological sense that I cannot stop now. She takes us to five scenes before the most powerful sentence in her story. “I wake up in pool of blood.”
Sequence of Three Perspectives
“I wake up in a pool of blood,”is the first of three different points of view for the same scene: her own, her sister’s then her daughter’s view of the same situation. THis is like three different camera angles in a movie. It delivers a much more meaningful appreciation of the different ways we interpret one singular event.
The idea of a tour is a great theme to hold this story together. First touring colleges and later touring doctors focuses on the fact that ultimately we have to make our own personal decisions despite the complexity and ambiguity that we face. We cannot say yes to everything. The best we can do is take a tour of as many options as we can see and just pick one.