Lair of the Golden Bear campers will be treated again this summer to a campfire talk during 4th Week with master storyteller Glynn Washington, titled “How To Rock a Funky Story.” Washington is the creator, executive producer, and host of Snap Judgement, a radio show and podcast that offers a raw, immersive, and musical take on storytelling. His unique, cinematic style of storytelling draws listeners and grips them until the end of every one of his shows. Washington’s connection to Berkeley runs deep; in addition to being a Lair camper, he was the director of Young Entrepreneurs at Haas from 2007 to 2010 —now known as Boost—a program at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
During his talk, Washington discusses the importance of seeing the world through others’ eyes, and how his belief in the value of perspective-taking guides and informs his work: “The idea behind Snap is that it’s hard to hate someone if you know their story, and I think now, more than ever, what’s missing from our national dialogue is a sense of empathy. Even if you don’t agree with what a person did, at least maybe you come away with an appreciation of why they did it.”
The hardest part of storytelling, Washington reveals, is opening up to listeners and being emotionally vulnerable with them: “The best stories that I‘ve ever told were oftentimes stories that I shied away from telling at first, stories that made me reveal something about myself that was less than heroic, less than noble, less than beautiful. I had to, in effect, stick my neck out, and no one wants to stick their neck out. I’ve been telling stories on the radio for 10 years and I still recoil at the idea of telling certain ones, even though I know better. I know that by leaning in, exposing myself, I’m going to in fact bring more people with me and they’re going to feel what I felt.”
Washington shared his talk via Zoom during the Lair’s Virtual Guest Speaker program in summer 2020.
“Storytelling, at its heart, is distilled life…It’s about doing something that moves people and being open to the fact that nobody makes the right calls all the time; everyone has regrets, and those are always the best stories.”
From the Archives
Radio host Glynn Washington in conversation with novelist Daniel Alarcón, host and cofounder of the Spanish-language podcast Radio Ambulante, about his show Snap Judgement and the art of radio storytelling.
Interviewed by Daniel Alarcón
Read more »