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Lansing writer appears on The Moth Mainstage at Wharton Center

Andrea King Collier of Lansing will appear on The Moth Mainstage at MSU's Wharton Center Tuesday
Lindley Rust
The Moth
Andrea King Collier of Lansing will appear on The Moth Mainstage at MSU's Wharton Center Tuesday

The Moth storytelling organization is bringing one of their Mainstage programs Tuesday night to the Wharton Center at Michigan State University.

One of the storytellers will be a Lansing woman.

The Moth is a non-profit organization that promotes what it calls “true, personal storytelling.” They conduct open mic events called story slams, grand slams featuring story slam winners, and mainstage events like the one coming to East Lansing. You can hear past Moth stories on public radio’s The Moth Radio Hour and on podcast episodes that get millions of downloads every year.

Mainstage events include performers in what you might consider to be the major leagues of Moth storytelling.

One of the storytellers at MSU Tuesday will be Andrea King Collier, a writer and photographer based in Lansing. After giving a TEDx talk at MSU, she pursued another bucket list idea by attending a Moth workshop at Yale University and doing a live show in New Haven, Connecticut. Her development with the organization led to several appearances at Moth events. Her story about meeting her baby grandson, called Meeting Milesaired on The Moth Radio Hour.

Working with The Moth at the mainstage level includes advice on crafting your story from producers and other storytellers. As a writer, Andrea King Collier is used to being edited.

“They help you plot it out in terms of what comes first, what comes second, or what pieces of it you could probably take out,” Collier explained. “We’re working through it, and I’m really counting on them to help me shape what I want to say into what I want to say. So, I feel really lucky.”

The theme of Tuesday’s Moth program is Holding On and Letting Go.

Meeting Miles has now been retired by The Moth, so Collier’s story this week will be brand new. She went through several ideas before deciding to discuss her experiences over the last couple of years, including turning 65.

“All of us experienced a whole bunch of loss and anxiety and what next? and 'Oh my God don’t let me catch Covid,’" Collier said. “But on the flip side, we’re also experiencing George Floyd literally die in our living rooms, and everything else that happened that, as soon as you watch the news and say ‘OK, it’ll be OK,’ then something else crazy happens.”

Collier has told stories at Moth programs about a half-dozen times. She tells me that she was excited about going out with The Moth again, but she’s a bit nervous about debuting a story in front of a hometown crowd.

“The idea that you would be in front of friends, family, colleagues, people that you have worked with? I did it with the Ted Talk, but I’ve not done it with a Moth story,” Collier concluded. “I was nervous, and the first time I tell it? Oh yeah, I’m on the edge with this one!”

The Moth Mainstage event with Andrea King Collier and other storytellers starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening at the Wharton Center.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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