FGS: Best Intentions – Stories of good plans going bad

I love best intentions. As soon as I hear that phrase I know I’m going to hear a story of someone’s day going sideways. I’m sure Aristophanes said something brilliant about noble deeds turning into fiascos, flops, and misadventures. 

Now is the time to bring a story about plans going sideways, expectations getting turned on their head, and you going from hero to doofus or maybe even villain. Come out on the 18th and remind everyone that they aren’t the only ones this happens to.

Remember to practice your story out loud on as many people as possible and time yourself when you’re doing it. All stories have to be under 8 minutes. Stories can be as short as you want but not over 8 minutes. If your story goes long, someone else who practiced for weeks might not get a chance to tell theirs. Stories also have to be clean in both language and content. Send me an email (freshgroundstories at Gmail dot com) if you have any questions about that.

The rest of the rules and guidelines are below: 

Workshops are a great way to get feedback on a story you’re working on. Here is one I highly recommend. It’s run by two people who have told many times at FGS and other shows in the area:  https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/ 

I’m also happy to help anyone on a story. Send me an email and we can set up a phone call. 

Here are four short articles by one of my favorite storytellers with all kinds of good advice on the kind of stories we’re looking for at FGS:

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/?p=cc29027b8cd8

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/how-to-structure-a-funny-story-d1730535f81b

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/this-is-a-boring-shark-attack-8-rules-for-fascinating-storytelling-3b9d2bab6dca

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/this-ice-cream-will-heal-your-heartbreak-how-to-find-your-storys-north-star-b818f50250ab

This is the best book I’ve ever read on personal storytelling: 

Here is a short piece by the author of the book on what questions to ask yourself when you start working on a story (it’s about halfway down the blog post): https://mailchi.mp/104f63f44a5a/you-should-be-able-to-answer-this-question-before-ever-telling-your-story?e=a4dd06ea14 

I hope to see you on August 18th at 7 pm at Zoom!

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who came out to welcome us back to Zoom. When our first venue closed a few years ago it took me three months to find a place for us to tell again. This time, we had Zoom to go back to and we didn’t miss a single show. I was obviously a bit rusty on my Zoom hosting as I  inadvertently disabled the chat feature. I’ll figure out what I did before the next show so folks can leave nice messages for the tellers again. Chat room love is my favorite part of Zoom.

In spite of my rustiness, we still had a great show. We started out with Tracey showing us a chart that described the odds of someone getting married based on their age. I immediately noticed that my age wasn’t even on the chart. Thirty seconds into her story and Tracey had already told me that I’m going to die alone in an empty house and my body will be discovered by a delivery person. Luckily, things worked out for Tracey. Not so much for me. I guess I’ll have to make friends with the UPS guy now. 

Dawn, our first first-timer of the night, came next and told a great story about a haunted Harry Potter room she stayed in at a literary-themed hotel in Oregon. Was it really haunted? Who knows. But Moaning Mertyle certainly had her way with her that day. There’s no other way to interpret being pelted with shampoo and conditioner bottles than to assume that Hogwarts is messing with you. Expelliarmus!

Beverly was next with a kosher chicken horror story that I will be thinking about for a long time. Who knew chicken soup could start off so violently? Thank you, Beverly, for staying up late on the east coast and sharing that story with us. Three people turned vegan by the end of the night.

Raney, another first-timer, told a sweet story of a friend who was there for her in high school and ran with her every step of the way when she had to run her first mile in gym class. Everyone needs a friend like that to help them push through the times when we just want to quit. 

Zoe was next with a story of all the lessons she learned from acting in NYC in the 60s. Zoe told her story with perfect pacing and energy and illustrated the second lesson in her story. Pretend you have nothing to lose. Imagine waking up every day and going through your life as though you had nothing to lose. Think what you could accomplish! Zoe also introduced us to a casting agent named Vinny Googliotti. Has there ever been a more perfect name than Vinny Googliotti? No, there has not.

Shreya, our third first-timer, told a wonderful story about learning to geocache when she came to Seattle and what it feels like when someone catches you looking for something you can’t explain. Turns out that in the end, sometimes strangers are the treasures we’re searching for. Shreya just discovered us last month and I’m so happy she’s already telling stories. This only happens because we have the most supportive audiences I’ve ever seen. Thank you all for making it such a great place for people like Shreya to tell their first stories 🙂

Gretchen, who has been all over Seattle stages telling stories lately, was up next with a story of slowly losing her dad to Alzheimer’s. I hope we all take the time to say what we need to say to the people we love. If you’re lucky like Gretchen, you might get a moment with your dad where you see through the disease to the person inside. You never know when the last time is the last time. 

Matias, another first-timer, was next with a story of almost losing his mind during Covid isolation. I think I could have told Matias’ story myself with how much his state of mind mirrored my own during the beginning of the pandemic. Is there a helpline for existential crises? An ER for dark thoughts? There should be. I’m glad you survived, Matias. I would love for you to come back and tell more stories with us.

Deborah was next with a beautiful story about gratitude for finding storytelling and everything she’s gained from sharing her stories over the years. She said telling stories changes how she sees the world. I couldn’t agree more. Not only that, but it’s a great way to share your life with the world. Deborah, by the way, helps run 7Stories a great new storytelling show in Burien. Check it out when you have a chance. The more places we have to tell stories the better we get at telling stories. http://burienculturehub.org/7stories

Stephanie was our final teller. She told the story of hosting her son’s 19th birthday party, a year after he took his own life. It was a story of gratitude for all the people who showed up to share that day with her. There’s a moment in her story where she and her friends wrote messages to her son and attached them to balloons that they released into the sky. I’m still thinking about all those messages floating up into the sky. It was a beautiful moment in a heartbreaking story. Sometimes that’s what stories give us. A moment of beauty, a minute of respite from the pain we’re living with. Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your story and reminding us of that.

Our next show is August 18th. The theme is “Best Intentions.” It’ll probably be on Zoom again unless something magical happens and I find a new place for us in the next couple of weeks. I have lots of places to check out and lots of people to call and we’ll be back together in person as soon as I can make it happen. FGS will always be free for everyone so I’m looking for places that won’t charge us. In the meantime, we’ll keep it on Zoom and get to hear stories from around the country 🙂

Take care.

I’ll get the invite out for the next show as soon as I can.

See you on the 18th!

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com

New venue for this Thursday’s show

Hi Everyone,

If you haven’t heard already, Starbucks is closing five stores in Seattle and one of them Is the Olive Way store where we do our show. I talked to Halley the manager there and she said they can’t guarantee they’ll be open this Thursday. So I’m taking the show back to Zoom until I find a new venue. 

I’ll be looking high and low for a new place to hold our shows in person. I’ll try to keep it centrally located so none of us have to drive too far to get to it. Until then, well be back on Zoom so we don’t miss any shows. The good part is that we’ll be able to hear stories again from all the people from around the world who we met when we were on Zoom before. We heard stories from Germany, India, Australia, and all over the US. 

I’m including this Thursday’s Zoom info at the bottom of this post.

In the meantime, I’m telling a story tonight at Unexpected Productions with one of our new FGS tellers, Zac. It’ll be the last time you see me in person for a while. Come on down if you want to see storytelling and improv. It will also be the first time Zac tells a story live on stage. He’s told with us twice on Zoom but this will be the first time he stares into the eyes of strangers while he shares a story. Come see him tell the story about the worst camping trip ever. Trust me. It’s the worst. You have never had this happen on a camping trip. You don’t want to miss this.

Here is the Zoom info for our show on Thursday:

Topic: FGS: Two themes this month. Stories of “Gratitude” or “Lessons Learned”

Time: Jul 21, 2022 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83874834295?pwd=b3lZbHAvUk9GU0JiaUtSQ094R2FHQT09

Meeting ID: 838 7483 4295

Passcode: 509468

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,83874834295#,,,,*509468# US (Tacoma)

+16699006833,,83874834295#,,,,*509468# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

        +1 669 444 9171 US

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 646 931 3860 US

        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

Meeting ID: 838 7483 4295

Passcode: 509468

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcFgezXDf

Email me if you’d like to tell a story that night. We have some great tellers lined up but we still have room for a few more 🙂

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com

FGS workshop coming up this Sunday

Hi Everyone,

Our free monthly workshop is coming up this Sunday, July 10. It’s a great way to get feedback on a story you’re working on.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all two weeks from now on July 21 for our next show. We have two themes to choose from on that night “Lessons Learned” or “Gratitude”. Here’s the invite to learn more:

Let me know if you have any questions or want help on a story.

See you on the 21st!

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com

FGS – Two themes in July – “Gratitude” or “Lessons Learned”

This month we have two themes. Choose whichever one you’d like to tell a story on. The first theme is “gratitude.” The alternate theme is “lessons learned.” The hard part about the gratitude theme will be to wrap a story around it. We all have people we could thank in our lives but for the show, you’ll need a story about a time when they did the thing you’re thanking them for.

If I wanted to thank my friend Stephanie for getting me an interview for the job I still have 16 years later, I’d tell the story of how I was working in a small office supply store at the time where the owner was so mean he once threw someone’s paycheck on the floor just so they’d have to stoop down and pick it up. 

If I wanted to thank Mike Moto, one of the first comedians to take me on the road with him as an opener, I’d tell the story about the time he got the audience’s respect by challenging the biggest, loudest guy in the room to a pushup contest onstage. I’d probably end the story with the time I went onstage and purposely took three times longer to tell a story just to show the audience I wasn’t afraid of their silence. 

A few years ago at FGS, I talked about how grateful I was for two of my old friends from Alaska who came down to Los Angeles in 1987 to save me from that town and myself. I started the story with going to LA to search for the ghost of my mother and ended the story with an old man giving me a bag of plums. I might still be living in my car in Orange county trying to figure out what to do with my life if Chuck and Paul hadn’t come down to rescue me. 

This is your chance to thank someone for something they did that you still think about today. Remember that a story has to contain action. Some things have to physically happen to make it a story. Talk about what you were thinking or feeling when those things happened. That will build tension and give the audience a reason to care about the story. 

Remember to practice your story out loud on as many people as possible and time yourself when you’re doing it. All stories have to be under 8 minutes. Stories can be as short as you want but not over 8 minutes. If your story goes long, someone else who practiced for weeks might not get a chance to tell theirs. Stories also have to be clean in both language and content. Send me an email or give me a call if you have any questions about that.

The rest of the rules and guidelines are below: 

Workshops are a great way to get feedback on a story you’re working on. Here is one I highly recommend. It’s run by two people who have told many times at FGS and other shows in the area:  https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/ 

I’m also happy to help anyone on a story. Send me an email through Meetup or directly at freshgroundstories at gmail dot com and we can set up a phone call. 

Here are four short articles by one of my favorite storytellers with all kinds of good advice on the kind of stories we’re looking for at FGS:

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/?p=cc29027b8cd8

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/how-to-structure-a-funny-story-d1730535f81b

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/this-is-a-boring-shark-attack-8-rules-for-fascinating-storytelling-3b9d2bab6dca

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/this-ice-cream-will-heal-your-heartbreak-how-to-find-your-storys-north-star-b818f50250ab

This is the best book I’ve ever read on personal storytelling: 

Here is a short piece by the author of the book on what questions to ask yourself when you start working on a story (it’s about halfway down the blog post): https://mailchi.mp/104f63f44a5a/you-should-be-able-to-answer-this-question-before-ever-telling-your-story?e=a4dd06ea14 

I hope to see you on July 21 at 7 pm at the Olive Way Starbucks! 

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com