Through the M*A*S*H rabbit hole – Why stories matter

Through the M*A*S*H rabbit hole – Why stories matter


I never sought to be a writer. I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. A pilot, a forensic anthropologist like Bones, or an investigator like Thomas Magnum and Jane Rizzoli. It wasn’t until Larry Gelbart and Alan Alda began leading me down M*A*S*H’s rabbit holes that a light flickered on. Maybe the way to be everything I ever wanted to be….was through storytelling. This led me to pursuing writing, and, now, to be an intern at Tigermoth.

Stories mean a great deal to us all

In M*A*S*H, Hawkeye was the guy I looked to for a good laugh. I always wanted to give Radar a bearhug to because of his innocent demeanor. I turned to B.J. Honeycutt for a voice of reason, and though I often wanted to slap Charles Emerson Winchester III, I also developed respect for him as he humbled himself in the face of war. At the end of the series, B.J.’s message written in stones on the 4077th compound (“Goodbye”) hit me like a round-kick to the gut. I bawled like a baby as the ending credits rolled for the series finale. These stories meant so much to me, and in my mind, my friends were leaving me behind.

Meeting my favorite storyteller, live and in the flesh

I teared up again on April 6th, 2017, when Alan Alda walked — much grayer, slower and more controlled — to the front of the Guilford College classroom, where he was about to answer questions from students, faculty and staff as part of the Bryan Speaker Series. Through an amazing turn of events, I had not only become a Guilford staff member within the past year, but had also read my email at the right time and learned about this private Q&A session on campus just two hours beforehand. I arrived an hour early and was the first person in the room. I took a front row seat, and was fidgeting with ecstatic anxiety. My lifelong hero and one of the biggest influencers on my writing life finally stepped into the room. I was about to meet my long lost friend in person.

When he spoke, it was like nothing had ever changed. We were back in the Swamp, and he had the same twinkle in his blue eyes. He was relational, and addressed each of us in the room as if we were the only one with him. He delved deeper into his TV history and expressed his passion for the classes he holds at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stonybrook University. He reached out into the audience and pulled us up front to demonstrate the improv lessons he had learned from and now taught. I was one of the fortunate guinea pigs! But more on that in the next blog post.

It was these simple details — Alan’s decision to reach out into the audience for an interactive effect, his captivating character, and his history steeped in telling and acting out stories — that brought me back to why I have to be a writer. It is a must, not a choice. As I move forward in my writing, both in personal projects and here with Tigermoth, my passion is to connect audiences to the heart of stories. I love that Tigermoth achieves this by partnering with businesses and organizations, like the Bryan Series, whose missions lend perfectly to meaningful messages and evocative storytelling. I am grateful and excited to learn from this team that understands and values how to powerfully execute storytelling in marketing to captivate their audiences’ attention and move them to action.

Read Part 2 of this series on our blog.

Ashley Cox Headshot

Ashley Cox is a SoCal-born and North Carolina-bred swimmer, writer, and Star Wars fan. Ashley works in graduate admissions for Elon University and coaches the women’s varsity swim team at Guilford College. Her long-term dreams are to write a hit one-hour TV drama and learn to fly!