The Moth – Home and Away Stories

The Moth and the PEN World Voices are having monthly literary events in NYC and I managed to see one. For brevity’s sake I’ll summarize: The theme was stories about homecoming and travel and five writers (with the help of a lovely/talented violinist, Megan Weeder) each spun a supposedly true yarn for about a dozen minutes on the topic. The event inexplicably began almost an hour late with Pico Iyer who gave an interesting account of traveling in Yemen until he ruined it with the trite 9/11 theme of “Arabs are people too.” Next was Edgar Oliver whose over the top accent and movements reminded me of Bela Lugosi, if Bela was Southern, gay, and insane, and despite my original dislike of what I perceived as a ridiculous style, I loved him and his tale of returning home to Georgia for his mother’s funeral and meeting up with a cast of even more over the top locals who he had thought to impress.

Host Jonathan Ames was just as great as the last time I saw him some seven years ago. He recounted a depression brought on by the end of a visit by his illegitimate son that has all the proper bohemian elements of booze, drugs, and transsexuals. Laila Lalami had nothing to say and seemed to wing her “follow your dreams like me” nonsense. Granted the authors spoke without notes and, one assumes, their usual media is ink and paper, but get it together people or get off the stage.

Finally was Neil Gaiman, who most people seemed there to see. I was disappointed with his “I was sixteen and waiting for my parents to pick me up” story. Britney Spears did the same thing with her “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” song and we all know she’s sucks. The not a girl and definitely not a woman sitting near me would disagree as she made sure to laugh loud enough for Neil to hear her across the theater. It was a pleasant evening that I don’t suggest rushing to do.