“Have I told you about that time…?”

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - EMMA REILLY ereilly@thes­pec.com 905-526-2452 | @Em­maatTheSpec

One of the great plea­sures of life is lis­ten­ing to a well-told tale — let alone sev­eral in the course of a sin­gle evening.

Per­haps that’s why au­di­ences con­tinue to flock to Hamil­ton’s pop­u­lar sto­ry­telling event, the Six-minute Mem­oir, re­turn­ing Satur­day, May 6 for its fifth year.

The brain­child of lo­cal jour­nal­ist and edi­tor Anne Bokma, the event challenges par­tic­i­pants to tell a com­pelling tale within the strict time limit.

This year’s par­tic­i­pants, which include Hamil­ton city coun­cil­lor Matthew Green, author Marnie Woodrow, jour­nal­ist Denise Davy and Mo­hawk Col­lege cre­ative writ­ing in­struc­tor Jeff Grif­fiths, will tackle the theme “Home­ward Bound.”

Bokma said she started the event as a way to fos­ter a sense of com­mu­nity, share sto­ries, and raise money for char­ity. When Bokma first launched the event at The Stair­case The­atre, the tiny venue couldn’t ac­com­mo­date the crowd. Last year, the evening drew 300 peo­ple to the First Uni­tar­ian Church on Dun­durn Street.

Bokma also hosts a smaller bi­monthly event that takes place at The Stair­case The­atre. The next event, sched­uled for June 1, will fo­cus on the theme “Nev­er­the­less, she per­sisted.”

“We crave con­nec­tion — we like to see our­selves re­flected in other peo­ples’ sto­ries. It’s hard to find au­then­tic

con­nec­tion in com­mu­nity, and I think sto­ry­telling is a way to of­fer us that,” she said.

Bokma points out that urge to share sto­ries is as an­cient as prim­i­tive draw­ings on cave walls and as mod­ern as pod­cast­ing. (The Moth, an Amer­i­can pod­cast and ra­dio show, has more than 1.5 mil­lion lis­ten­ers each week).

“It’s an old-fash­ioned idea that has a mod­ern ap­peal,” she said. “It’s very hu­man to want to share our pro­found ex­pe­ri­ences in some way. I think that even when sto­ries are so re­mote from our ex­pe­ri­ence, on some kind of hu­man level, we can re­late to the emo­tion be­hind it.”

COUR­TESY ANNE BOKMA

Anne Bokma founded the lo­cal Six-Minute Mem­oir event, which is now in its fifth year.

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