Young, foolish, fearless, and out-of-love storytellers of Conway came downtown to share their tales of past mistakes.
The audience sat in the salon of The Locals, a coffee shop and community center filled with local merchandise, baked goods, and warm people. The gathering was in response to a local event entitled "Simply Said: I’ve Made a Huge Mistake." This is a chance for people to practice public speaking, meet new people, and to offer a story of their lives.
The event housed storytellers from all walks of life, from students and professors to the owner of literary magazine, Scintilla Press, Tim Lepczyk. Lepczyk is the creator of the local event. A world traveler and avid storyteller, Lepczyk is no stranger to huge mistakes and storytelling. He recalls events like this found in the local bars and coffee shops of the many towns he has lived.
"When I moved here there was nothing like this, and I missed it. So, here we are," said Lepczyk.
Stories took on an organic theme Wednesday evening. Lepczyk opened the floor with a retelling of his mistake of falling in love with a New Zealander. Following a trail that started in Japan and found it’s way to New Zealand, Lepczyk’s tale was filled with bumps, anxiety, and love that only the New Zealand government could deny. After staging an engagement, and promptly being denied, Lepczyk’s long trail of mistakes came to a screeching halt.
Another story, presented by Dr. Ruthann Thomas, transported listeners to Vietnam. Following her dissertation defense, Thomas "needed a break from grad school." She wove an elaborate tale, explaining the hustle and bustle of the South Vietnam cities.
"Motorbikes would move around you like a river. They would just flow around you. It was dangerous, but made me feel alive," said Thomas. Her story leads audience members deeper into her memory of this land. For a moment, many had forgotten the theme of "huge mistakes," but Thomas had created a story that could only have a strange climax.
Finding herself stranded at a beach resort after her motorbike had disappeared, she sought the help of other guests. She finds a kind gentleman offering services and a chance for lunch. As she started to go with the mysterious beach resort member, her motorbike driver returned after getting gas.
"His face changed when he talked to the man. All day he was bright and talkative, but after he was cold and distant." Once Thomas arrived at their lunch destination she asked for clarification. She explained that due to the ever-present tension between North and South Vietnam following the war, the mysterious man had insulted her motorbike driver due to his origin of South Vietnam.
"I’m not sure what would have happened if I had went with that man, but I’m glad I didn’t," said Thomas.
The evening ended with chat among the audience and presenters. It was a great time for people to get to know each other and learn a bit more about our lives.
The Locals are proud to present events like this to bring the community together in a fun and open environment. Lepczyk hopes to have another storytelling event soon, before his new child is born.
"We’re having a baby, so things are about to get crazy," said Lepczyk.
For more information on the event and other happenings hosted by Lepczyk visit dangerouswords.org.