Can the local market accommodate more more than one “storytelling series” ? We didn’t even know there was more than one local “storytelling series”! So, when we heard about Memoir Spool‘s April 1st evening themed “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” we had to know more. To that end, we hit one of the event’s organizers, Cathy Goerz, with a couple of questions.

Can you give us a little history of Memoir Spool? How did it come about?
Memoir Spool was started in February 2006 by Ray Allen. Ray has been a storyteller all his life and wanted to create an intimate setting for other storytellers to express themselves.

How is Memoir Spool different from other storytelling evenings out there, like Porchlight?
Memoir Spool focuses on the stories; rather than other events that seem to place more emphasis on the credentials of the storyteller, which often times don’t seem to necessarily translate into good stories.

What do you think is behind this phenomenon of public — would you call it confession?
Storytelling connects people with each other through a common shared experience. It’s what’s missing in mass entertainment, and why there seems to be a resurgence in the storytelling community.

Why do we want to tell our stories? Why do we want to listen?
Telling stories makes sense of our jumbled lives. We can have an experience, but when we retell it as a story we become the hero of our own lives, and we understand our goals better. There is also immense value from sharing our experiences with others.

Do you have any events planned after Wednesday’s, and, if so, what are the themes?

The next event is scheduled for for May (date TBD). We are trying a new theme idea for the May event. We will give interested storytellers the opportunity to conduct a number of social experiments and write a story based on the experience. On Wednesday, April 1 after the show is over we will announce this theme and provide up to three social experiments for people to choose from. The theme for May will also be announced on our website and through media outreach to get the word out. We think asking people to deliberately set up the social conditions for a story to arise in will add a fresh new interactive element to the art of storytelling.

Why is Memoir Spool what I want to do Wednesday night?
Because it is the best storytelling event around and the stories are going to be great!

What: Memoir Spool: An Evening of Storytelling themed “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
Where: Climate Theater, 285 9th near Folsom
When: Wednesday, April 1, 8 PM
Why: You read the interview! And tickets are only 3-5 bucks, sliding scale, that sure doesn’t hurt.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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