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Tracey (Miller) Segarra ’84, a fan of the storytelling show The Moth Radio Hour, finally got up the nerve to get on stage and tell one of her own stories at a Moth StorySLAM competition in New York City last year — and won.
Next stop was the GrandSLAM competition where she tied for the win. Since then, she has won two more StorySLAMs. “For someone who never won any awards besides some steak knives at a temple bazaar when I was a kid, I’m now kind of a minor celebrity on the New York storytelling circuit, which at 53 years old is pretty cool,” she says.
“When I started listening to the Moth, my first reaction was, ‘This is amazing — I can’t believe that an art form like this exists.’ Normal people telling extraordinary true stories from their lives. My second thought was, ‘I need to do this.’ It marries my two passions — performing (which I sadly gave up after high school for fear of rejection) and writing personal essays. Getting up on a stage with just a microphone is cathartic and empowering. And I’m kind of slowly writing my autobiography in 5- and 10-minute slices of my life.
“Once I’d gotten up the courage to actually go to a slam, ‘blame’ was the first theme that fit the story I wanted to tell — about a tragic loss I suffered. Honestly, I was petrified. But it was a story I’d written about and thought about a lot over the years, so I felt ready to tell it. And once I started, it felt right and the story flowed.
“I’m over 50 now (which is incredibly liberating), so many of my stories revolve around one of the most powerful, mesmerizing forces in my life — sex. The fear of it, the desire for it, the confusion of sex with love, the longing to shed my inhibitions. It’s always loomed large in my life, so I expect I still have many more stories to tell about it. In fact, one story I never thought I’d tell was featured on the Risk! YouTube channel and podcast.
“And, oh yeah, I definitely have some Binghamton stories to tell. I performed at a GrandSLAM in August. My story focused on meeting Liz Stack Rosenblum at school, and she was there to hear me tell it. Stay tuned for stories about overnight DJ shifts at WHRW and an off-campus party where the floor collapsed. (In the picture, that's Liz in front, Devra Cohen-Tigor with the duck lips and Tracey on the right.)
“There is a vibrant storytelling scene in New York City, and I perform at least once or twice a month. I also launched my own storytelling show, ‘Now You’re Talking,’ on Long Island (find it on Facebook). I have become part of this wonderful storytelling community and feel like I’ve finally found ‘my tribe.’”
To hear Tracey Segarra's stories, search for her name on YouTube.