My first friend Joel

My first friend Joel

“In writing you work towards a result that you won’t see for years, and can’t be sure you’ll ever see. It takes stamina and self-mastery and faith. It demands those things of you, then gives them back with a little extra, a surprise to keep you coming. It toughens you and clears your head.”

Tobias Wolff, In Pharaoh’s Army

After a long hiatus, I returned to the storytelling series Confabulation to share a tale about my very first friend. I wasn’t planning on performing but when one of the show’s producers, an old friend of mine, reached out a few days before and asked if I’d be interested in telling a story – in person – at the venue where the series began on the theme déjà vu, I took it as a sign. I’d lost steam creatively and was trying to find that spark again. Performing had always given me so much joy and the opportunity to get back to it after two long years of pandemic isolation was too good to resist.

I’m so glad I said yes. It was rejuvenating to be back in front of an audience and such a balm to see old friends again. When the host introduced me, she improvised a bit outside of my prepared bio to mention that she’d first met me 12 years ago in a storytelling workshop I was teaching and that is where she first became aware of Confabulation. I had completely forgotten that detail. It was so nice to be reminded that I am part of such a rich and interesting creative community in Montreal and that I had an impact on the trajectory of someone else’s creative life.

The story I chose to tell is one I’ve wanted to write for many years but only did at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 on the occasion of an online storytelling show. This would be the perfect opportunity to revisit that story and make it better. I worked on rewriting it over a day or two and rehearsed it until I felt it was polished enough for a live audience.

Here is the story. I’m so proud of it and so pleased with how the performance turned out.