Analog Waco: The Art of Listening
We live in an age of bombast: the message is less important than the volume. Words are too often used as weapons to hit each other on the head, and whoever yells the loudest – either in person or online – is the “winner.”
A welcome counterpoint to this phenomenon is Analog Waco, described by founder Adam Moore as “an experiment in confessional storytelling.”
Each Analog event invites audience members to mentally take a step back while diverse speakers discuss moments of personal clarity, revealed during key times in their lives.
Analog Waco: Not Alone
For the first time, Fabled Bookshop & Cafe hosts Analog Waco at 7:30 pm on Thursday, October 21. Each event has its own theme, and this time it’s “Not Alone.”
“With this one at Fabled, I wanted something that had a relationship to books. I came across this quote that’s attributed to C.S. Lewis – I’m not sure he actually said it, but it’s attributed to him – that ‘We read to know we are not alone,’” Moore explains. “I thought that might be a good approach to take for this one.”
Even with that quote as a starting point, what happens next is a high-wire act as each speaker negotiates their story with the audience.
For Moore, the end goal is the same: “I think there’s a lot of power in listening to someone whose experience is different than your own.”
The Road to Analog Waco
Moore traces Analog Waco’s beginnings back ten years to when he was part of the Void Collective, an “experimental faith collective” that worked with multiple art forms, including poetry, music, and storytelling.
“A lot of it was performance art, related to issues of faith and doubt,” says Moore. “We experimented in that group with some public storytelling events. And I thought they were so compelling, and they blew me away how meaningful they were and how people really resonated with them.”
In the years after that, Moore always had the idea of public storytelling kicking around in his mind, which crystallized one day over a cup of coffee.
“One day I was sitting at Pinewood, taking a cup of coffee and reading, and I was looking out into the courtyard, and I was like, ‘That’s the place to do it,’” he says. “And so I had a few other people who helped me get it started, and it really took off.”
Moore takes great pains when describing Analog Waco, however, to also emphasize what it isn’t: “There are a lot of cool storytelling events out there, but a lot of them, at least in my mind, are performance-oriented. So it’s like a ‘Who is the best storyteller who can really capture the audience’s attention?’ kind of thing.”
Instead, Moore wants to create moments of shared understanding. In that sense, Analog Waco has less in common with performance-based storytelling like The Moth and is more like StoryCorps, which consists of one-on-one interviews, often between family members from different generations.
And in line with its name – Analog – the events are not recorded. As Moore explains, “I want it to be something where you actually look into each other’s faces and have this experience live and in person and it’s not recorded. If you miss it, you miss it. If you’re there, you experienced this one-time thing that isn’t going to happen again.”
Lost in Waco
Lost in Waco is another Moore project: a magazine that highlights creative arts in Waco that are off the beaten path. And similar to Analog Waco’s focus on live events instead of creating digital artifacts, Lost in Waco is only available in print editions at Balcones Distilling, Milo All Day, and other locations around town.
“I’m interested in things that aren’t digital. Of course, all of us benefit greatly from the digital world. And I use it all the time, and I’m grateful for it. But it is kind of overwhelming, and there’s so much information I think a lot of it gets missed,” Moore says. “And I think having a physical magazine you can hold in your hands and spend time with creates a different experience than reading something on a screen.”
Lost in Waco’s first issue came out three days before the March 2020 nationwide lockdown, which created its own logistical issues, but the third issue’s release is slated for this November. And while Moore credits local arts organizations for promoting Waco’s creative endeavors, he’s equally interested in DIYers doing it on their own.
“I love the idea that if people want to see something happen in Waco – something they think is missing or lacking – just make it happen and do it yourself,” says Moore. “And even if it’s in your house and you’re promoting it on Instagram, I am all for that. I want to see more and more of that.”
Fabled Bookshop & Cafe hosts Analog Waco on Thursday, October 21, with doors opening at 7:30 pm.
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