Login

Finding the Moment in the Story

I know I want to tell a story when I find “the moment.” Each teller would describe this moment differently, but for me, I would have to say it is the part of the story when I see every detail. My senses become alive. My energy tenses. I build to that moment in the story and even pause just before I begin to describe what is happening to savor every detail as that moment unfolds.

 
Why Spider Lives in Ceilings is a simple African tale. In summary, Leopard sees spider and is about to eat him when spider hides on a leaf. As spider goes home, he realizes the house is strangely quiet. This is “the moment.”
 
Spider guessed leopard would be hiding in that banana leaf house waiting to pounce on him when he returned home, so he thought of a plan to trick leopard.
 
“Ho, banana leaf house, I am home!” Spider shouted. Then he thought out loud, “Why that is odd. The house always answers me politely when I return home asking me how I am. I wonder if my house is sick.”
 
Shyly, a high-pitched voice from inside the house answers, “Hello, spider! I am not sick. You may come home. How are you?”  (My favorite moment is creating this voice and this tension.)
 
Spider knew his house could not talk and knew leopard was hiding waiting to eat him. Spider slipped into his house and hid in the ceiling. That is why spiders hide in ceilings. If you see a spider in the ceiling, I’d be cautious for a leopard may be hiding around the corner!
 
The moment of this story is best characterized as the audience knowing full well what will happen next, but eager to hear what the teller (spider) will do at that moment. Ah, the joy of finding the moment in a story!
 
Arkhurst, Joyce Cooper. The Adventures of Spider. New York: Scholastic, 1964.