‘Sleepwalking’ and storytelling

Living in a city as hip, bustling and central as Chicago has serious perks. This weekend I had the privilege of seeing one of the first screenings of Sleepwalk With Me, a movie made by Mike Birbiglia. In addition (and this is an awesome addition), co-writer/producer and This American Life host Ira Glass introduced the film and did a Q&A session after.

Unsurprisingly, I loved the movie (I’ve been a fan of Birbiglia’s comedy since I first heard it a few years ago). But more than that, the experience reminded me of my previous obsession with This American Life. Back in my car-driving California days, I’d sometimes plan my drives from Long Beach to south Orange County, where my parents live, for when the show would be on.

In the last few years, writing has become so ingrained in my work that when I sometimes forget why I started doing it. I write because I love stories. Because telling a scary story can take the sting out of it and replace it with humor; because telling a sweet story can amplify its goodness; because when we share our lives, somehow everything gets a little bit easier to handle.

If you have some time to spare, listen to this episode of This American Life, called “Invisible Made Visible.” It features Tig Notaro, David Sedaris and the late David Rakoff. During the Q&A, Glass mentioned it as one of the all-time best This American Life episodes. Here’s a video clip of Rakoff’s phenomenal piece:


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