An Interview, and what happens when my boyfriend and I compete

19 days until Bluebeard’s Machine is released, and my interview is up over at Meljean Brook’s blog. My two Silk, Steel and Steam compatriots will also be featured over the course of the day. Check it out!

In other news, my awesomesauce boyfriend and I attended story slam this week. Story slam involves writing a 5 minute story, getting up in front of a microphone and reading it to an audience to be judged. It also involves a prize that’s usually between $150 and $200 collected via hat from the audience.

Last year I went up to read a small story of mine. My hands shook. My voice shook. I got a poor score and slunk back to my table to drink copious amounts of shame-beer.

This week we were asked by the organizer to judge since we weren’t sitting with any contestants. My boyfriend mused aloud that he had a good anecdote to tell.

“Please come up and tell it,” said the organizer. “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase?!”

His name was drawn last, and after an agonizing wait he got up and told his story.

And walked away with $400 in cash when he won.

Naturally, I beamed with pride.  Don’t get me wrong – I am so, so very proud of him. But storytelling is MY thing. I’m the writer. He’s just some guy whose family seemed to actively compete for Darwin Awards.

But are storytelling and writing the same thing? After some thought, I realized that they’re not. They both involve narrative but the medium is as different as cooking is from baking. Hells bells, spoken and written grammar aren’t even the same thing. My boyfriend is a gifted speaker and has strutted his stuff on the stage as an actor. He’s also dashingly debonair and has muttonchops like Wolverine. I haven’t got any of these talents (or facial hair), but I can write rings around most of the general non-literary populace.

And so what if in that single night he earned about the same as what I have in my entire writing career? I have a book coming out, a second anthology contribution on the horizon and a two-thirds finished novella on my hard drive. What’s more, my boyfriend deserved every penny of his $400 prize. My competitive, prideful little ego can shove it where the sun don’t shine. He did something I can’t – speak in front of an audience – and I’m humbled by it.

Plus it’s a great story.

Not everyone has sunk a van while parasailing on the frozen North Saskatchewan River as a 10 year old and lived to tell the tale.


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