The Moth presents All These Wonders

The Moth teaches us not to judge by appearances. It teaches us to listen. It reminds us to empathize. And now, with these wonderful stories, it teaches us to read.
— Neil Gaiman, The Moth

This week, I was delighted to read All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown, a collection of Moth stories told in the past few years. 

If you don't already know, The Moth Podcast is a storytelling podcast, where anyone stands up, unscripted, and tells a five-minute tale around a certain theme of the night. This premise began in 1997 when George Dawes Green encouraged people to tell stories live and on stage. The Moth title refers to the moths that buzzed around Green's porch light in Georgia when his friends would gather to share their own stories in his youth. (Some people also know of The Moth because Lena Dunham referenced it in Girls.)

I have been an on-again, off-again listener, as podcasts are always harder for me to follow than books or TV. However, the premise of this collection immediately drew me in - one could say, as a moth is drawn to porch lights - because I wanted to read others stories about facing the unknown that could tempt me away from my own constant pursuit of trying to figure out what's what in my life, and to remember the magic, and sometimes sorrow, and always beauty, in realizing life absolutely never unfolds as we see it, but just as absolutely reveals itself to you in brilliant ways. While my life was, of course, not revealed in these other people's stories, it did reignite my confidence in life itself, and embracing whatever mystery, heartbreak, glee and discovery exists around the bend.

Alongside Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, readers will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a one-hit wonder, a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s secret army during World War II, and more.
— Back cover, All These Wonders

Because each speaker is given so little time to speak, the edited versions of these stories in their written form maintains that abruptness, but it is amazing how much we can articulate in so few words. All These Wonders covers everything from child soldiers and kidney donation, to becoming the hairdresser for David Bowie or experiencing your child's transition from woman to man, or from life to death. I became completely immersed in each person's expression - one moment of so many that shaped who each became - and found myself almost always in tears, not just because each story is wonderful, but because each story is authentic, feeling, true and mighty. In the end, we are always facing the unknown, but the stories we share are reminders of our survival, our resilience and our humanity as one.