Our holiday special! A story I crafted for a small town Christmas special makes it to The Moth Radio Hour and I’m reminded of how we never know how our creative ideas will grow.
Plus, check out rock star choral director Jody Simpson.
Tricia [00:00:18] Hey there. It’s Tricia Rose Burt. And welcome to our third mini episode of No Time to Be Timid. We’ll be publishing mini episodes every other week until we launch season three in March 2024. And if you listen closely, you might hear the sound of a fire burning in my wood stove here in the studio, which is appropriate because it’s cold and it’s the holiday season, which got me thinking about one of my favorite creative experiences.
About a decade ago, my friend Jody Simpson asked me to tell a story at our town’s Christmas Special that she was directing and producing. Jody is an award winning choir director and a creative powerhouse. She’s worked with world-renowned conductors, composers, and performers. And when she moved to our little town of Hancock, New Hampshire, population about 1800, she immediately founded an adult chorus and a children’s chorus. She’s just amazing.
So, of course, I say yes to Jody, and I craft a five-minute story that had been swimming around in my soul for a while, trying to get out, about Christmas in my family growing up. And because my parents went through a spectacular divorce, the story isn’t exactly filled with Christmas magic. It’s redemptive and hopeful at the end, but there are some real dark moments in there, too.
At rehearsal, I say to Jody, You know, I’m a little worried that the story isn’t all sugar plums and ho, ho, ho. I don’t want to psychologically jar the kids that come to the show. And Jody says, Tricia, this is no place for pablum. Children need to know that Bambi’s mother dies. She is my kind of director.
So I tell the story to the audience gathered in our small town church about this Christmas ornament my father made for me growing up and how, despite my family blowing up, the Christmas ornament survived. Still does, and how Christmas can be hard for a lot of people, but even in that darkness, there’s still some light. And the story resonates. All kinds of people come up to me relieved that someone said out loud that Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year, but that healing can still be possible amid all the brokenness.
Originally, I didn’t think I’d tell that story beyond our town and that little event, but I was struck with how important it felt to me to tell that story. So I go to a Moth StorySlam in Boston and put my name in the hat. I tell the story again. I don’t win the StorySlam, but some Moth directors hear it and ask me if I can expand the story and tell it on the Moth MainStage, which I do. I tell it at The Music Hall in Portsmouth and The Wilbur Theater in Boston. Then The Moth airs it on their first Christmas special.
Which just goes to show we never know how a creative idea will grow and where it will take us. It just matters that we do it, that we say yes to opportunities even if they seem small. That we honor the work and make what we’re being called to make. If you want to hear my entire story, go to themoth.org, type in my name Tricia Rose Burt and look for the story called The Tricia Ball. And remember, this is no time to be timid. Happy holidays, everybody!
If you want to jumpstart your creative courage, go back and listen to Seasons One and Two of the podcast. Learn more about No Time to Be Timid at my website triciaroseburt.com. And make sure to follow me on social media @triciaroseburt. No Time to Be Timid is sponsored by Interabang Books, a Dallas-based independent bookstore, which was named one of the top five bookstores in the country. They have a fabulous curated online collection. Check them out at interabangbooks.com. That’s interabangbooks.com.
No Time to Be Timid is written and produced by me, Tricia Rose Burt. Our episodes are produced and scored by Adam Arnone of Echo Finch. And our theme music is Twists and Turns by the Paul Dunlea Group. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to the show, spread the word and review us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. No Time to Be Timid is a presentation of I Will Be Good Productions.