Ten×9 Nashville, a satellite of Belfast’s popular Ten×9 storytelling event, is a monthly community storytelling night in Nashville, TN, where nine people have up to ten minutes each to tell a real story from their lives. Crafted by the brilliant minds of Paul Doran and Pádraig Ó Tuama, Ten×9 (ten by nine) is not a creative fiction seminar; it is not a poetry reading or a musical concert. It is not a common sharing of favorite short literary stories or book excerpts. All these are important and beautiful practices, but they aren’t Ten×9.
This event is about us, our stories, our lived moments. Each month has a theme, particular enough to structure a night of storytelling but broad enough that anyone should be able to find a life story that relates. Pádraig introduced me to this magnificent Irish proverb: “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” Ten×9 is an attempt for us to live in each other’s shelter – through drinks, presence, and narrative. We are strange people telling our strange stories to strangers. Standing on stage with a microphone, storytellers invite listeners to enter into moments of their lives and feel – to penetrate into the undiscovered continents of each other. Any given night will likely leave you in tears, often from both side-splitting laughter and heart-wrenching tales of pain.
Tenx9 is not designed to provide a night of professional storytelling. It will always be a place for the nervous and unsure, a place for new storytellers to “give it a go.” We welcome a range of humans onto the stage – some polished tellers, others most certainly not – but all embodying the messiness of human stories.
Ten×9 is about real people sharing real stories. Only nine people can share each night, so most participants are simply willing listeners. Audience members will never be asked to tell a story impromptu. There is no requirement to share a story if you wish to attend. Just come listen. It is a special thing – and FREE!
peace to y’all, Michael McRay