If you look closely you can see that there's an email subject line called "Battlesweaters"

If you look closely you can see that there’s an email subject line called “Battlesweaters”

So about a year ago, 9to5 (dot cc) darling Al Lafrance (he attained the rank of “darling” by being a repeated guest on Go Plug Yourself and also writing a column here for a little while) asked me if I would ever be down to do a story at one of Montreal’s great storytelling shows: Yarn.

I told him I was definitely interested and was honestly kind of flattered that he asked me. To me (and yes, I know this is just my impression and Yarn goes out of its way to have stories from all over the place) these things are usually reserved for fancy pants performers and comedians. I mean, it’s not too much of stretch, I’ve got over 120 episodes of two different podcasts under my belt so I’m no stranger to talking and I stand up in front a few hundred people to announce roller derby for Montreal Roller Derby so I’m not stage shy. Add to that that I used to do Improv competitively back in CEGEP and I think I got this.

I mean, I hope I got this. The show is tonight. Feel free to come find out if I crash and burn terribly at 8 pm at Cagibi for Yarn, birds edition.

However, I couldn’t say yes at the time because a year ago I was in the thick of planning my wedding, and right after that we swung into looking for a new home.

Then a couple of weeks ago, he asked me again. I said yes, without any real idea of what kind of story that I would actually tell.

So I had to write something. Or, at least, formulate something that would translate into a story that I could tell. I’m not sure what anyone else’s process is for writing a story but I decided to write the entire thing out and re-work it and re-read it a few times a day until I more or less had the gist of it. And tonight I’ll just go up and let my improvisational side take over and steer the story in more or less the way I wrote it. I don’t think I work very well if I’m trying to force myself to commit something to memory.

I doubt that it’s a perfect process.

The next, and probably most important step was for me to figure out just what I was going to write. I racked my brain for some of my favorite stories. You know the stories that you can just sort of press “Play” on at the bar and have everyone at the table in the palm of your hand while you spin your tale? Most of them take place in your teens or early 20s and they mostly involve ill advised decisions while innebriated. Or at least, mine do.

I decided to tell the story of one of the biggest and most elaborate lies that I ever told. A lie so painstakingly crafted that some 17 years later I’m relatively sure there are some people who still don’t know the full truth of it.

That’s not the story that I’m going to tell tonight.

While writing out that story, I began to use another story as an example of the kind of lies that became second nature to me growing up in a strict family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I realized that this particular story was not in my usual repertoire of bar stories. I checked with Sarah yesterday morning and I think she doesn’t even know this story. It was a little bit like re-discovering a story from my own life that I had totally forgotten about.

So that’s the story I’ll be telling tonight at Yarn.

It might be a little misguided since I don’t think I’ve told anybody this story ever before in my life. I don’t have the usual builds and jokes and twists that have worked their way into my old favorites. Maybe my “first time” should have been something I was more familiar with.

So anyways, yes, I did write this week. You can see the results of that tonight at Cagibi.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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