The open mic storytelling, The Yarn


In two and a half hours, joy, sadness, disgust and surprise all inscribe on students’ faces. “The Yarn” is an open mic storytelling show where students tell their life stories in four to six minutes on campus.

In “The Yarn,” 16 students shared their stories from their most awkward dating experience, to when a student’s father decided to come out as gay, to the time when a student decided to leave China and serve a mission in the U.S.

All these students are taking Writing for Communication Career class by Stephen Henderson, who also held this event on Nov 15 in the Little Theatre.

Stephen Henderson said every semester he would have students write a memoir, a special account from students’ personal life experience, but he had never thought of showcasing them to a wider audience until this semester.

“This is the cool way for other people to see what good writers we have in our department and to enjoy each others’ story,” Henderson said.

Henderson said he stole the idea from the famous podcast show “The Moth” to create an environment where students can get out of the classroom setting and create an experience that is memorable to students.

Yutong Wu, a junior studying communication, told a story of her dad coming to her room the night before she left China to the United States to serve as a missionary.

Wu said her dad told her that although he had never been to America and did not know anything about missionary work, he wanted her to know that he was always there for her.

Wu said hearing those words coming from her dad, who rarely talks about emotion, supported her throughout her mission.

Wu said the reason she chose this story is because of the homesickness she felt with her recent pregnancy.

“Even though sometimes I feel sick and alone in life, I always know there is someone there for me,” Wu said.

Garret Elton, a junior studying communication, shared the story of the first time he met his girlfriend.

Elton said it is always fun to tell the story of how they met.

“(The Yarn) is great because people share personal stories,” Elton said. “Some of them are insightful, some of them are funny, some of them are deeper or more emotional. I think this gives students a venue to express themselves.”

Henderson said in the future, he will cooperate with other professors who also teach Writing for Communication Careers to contribute more stories to “The Yarn.”

“I’m glad that idea came to me,” Henderson said. “Mostly, I finished the night just realizing how awesome these students are.”

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