by Raquel Wilson, Lit Cleveland Intern
On Thursday 2/22, Literary Cleveland and Story Club Cleveland held their third Writing Out Loud class show at Forest City Brewery. The performance marked the end of a month-long process in which eight class participants studied the art of storytelling and crafted their own stories from scratch. While many of us may be familiar with writing stories in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, or in poetic form, writing a personal story and performing it for an audience is, well, a different story altogether. As a current Lit Cleveland Intern and spoken word poet, I knew that stage presence is necessary, but after participating in this workshop I understand just how crucial it is. And while I've been a storyteller my whole life -- I've always captured the attention of my friends and family with my personal stories -- this class helped me to see storytelling as an art that can be studied and taught and performed for an audience.
Writing Out Loud encouraged us to study the techniques essential to good storytelling, including detail, revision, and performance tips. I'm no stranger to the microphone, but as I listened to the methods of telling a story in another fashion I realized just how valuable Lit Cleveland, Story Club Cleveland, libraries, and independent bookstores are to our community of writers. If it weren't for these organizations, spoken word artists and writers interested in performance wouldn't have nearly as many opportunities to express ourselves.
The experience of hearing these eight individuals tell their personal stories in a room full of strangers for the first time was amazing. The crowd was respectful and pleasant, and each storyteller held the attention of the audience by bravely speaking their truth. I encourage anyone interested in sharing their story to participate in future classes and performances with Lit Cleveland and Story Club.
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