Great stuff coming up!

Hi All!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at our next show, a week from Thursday. Let me know if you’d like to tell a story. We have a couple of special guest tellers at this show so I hope a bunch of you can make it.

https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories/events/278462707/

I also hope some of you can join me on June 24th at one of Seattle’s first in-person story shows. It has tellers you’ve heard on NPR and FGS so you know it’s going to be a great night of stories. I already have my tickets if you’re wondering how excited I am about finally leaving the house 🙂

And if you feel like staying home, there’s another cool show coming up on June 12. It’s a show full of liars. If you’ve never seen a show with stories that are complete lies you need to catch this. Liars shows are always fun and are a great way to learn a different technique for telling stories. A big bonus for this show is that Marte, one of our new regulars, will be telling a story. 

https://www.clallamstorypeople.org/special-events/liars-contest/

That’s all for now. We still have spots open for our show on June 17th so let me know if you want to share a story.

See you soon,

Paul

freshgroundstories@gmail.com

FGS: Swimming to Shore – Stories of saving yourself

I don’t know how old I was when I realized I was the only one who was going to save me. It might have been 17 or 35 or 46, somewhere around there. It probably involved death or heartbreak because those are the only two things I can’t talk my way out of. I do know that when Life-As-I-Know-It-Is-Over I tend to lay on the ropes for a while like an old boxer waiting for the other guy to get tired and punch himself out. Only when it becomes clear that he’s never going to get tired do I stand up straight and start punching back. 

Whenever the bottom falls out of my life, my initial reaction is always, “This can’t possibly be happening. Somebody’s going to come over and tell me this is a joke.” Of course, no one ever does because it’s always real and it’s never a joke. Lovers leave. People die. Bad things happen and the kids still need to be fed. 

Come tell a story about a time when you had to save yourself. It could be about a time when you were in a plane crash or an emotional crash. Were you trapped on a mountain or trapped in a bad relationship? Maybe you had to talk your way out of a mugging. Or maybe you really were lost at sea and had to swim to shore. Whatever it is, we’d love to hear the story.

If you want to tell a story, remember to practice 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 also have to be clean in both language and content. 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 are two I highly recommend:

Stay Awesome Storytelling Virtual Workshop

Seattle, WA
147 Members

Hi! Come join me Bill Bernat to workshop a 5-7 minute story. It’s the perfect way to prep a story for Fresh Ground Stories or another storytelling show. This is usually a smal…

Check out this Meetup Group →

FGS – Storytelling Workshop

Seattle, WA
695 Storytellers

This workshop helps you become a better storyteller and to prepare to tell stories at events like Fresh Ground Stories or The Moth.The workshop is free.A diverse group of pe…

Next Meetup

June ONLINE Storytelling Workshop

Sunday, Jun 6, 2021, 1:00 PM
12 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Both are run by experienced tellers who have performed many times at FGS. I’m also happy to help with stories. Send me an email at freshgroundstories@gmail.com and we set up a call.

If you want to tell a story at the show, email me as soon as possible so I can get you on the list.

I send out a Zoom registration link to everyone in the Meetup group the Monday before each show. You must register for the show in order to attend. 

After you register, Meetup will send you a link to the actual show. Each link is unique to the person who registered so you won’t be able to share it with anyone. 

Feel free to RSVP on Meetup if you want their automatic reminders, but I’ll be sending the registration link to everyone in the group regardless of your RSVP.

We only have 100 spots in each show so the first 98 people to register for the show will be the only ones who can attend. 

Hope to see a bunch of you on June 17th!

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

Thank you

Thank you everyone who came out to the show last Thursday. It was great to have so many people show up to support our tellers. I was especially happy to see some first-timers telling that night. 

This wrap-up will be shorter than usual as I’m under the influence of a wicked mixture of pollen and various over-the-counter allergy meds. It’s almost June so I’m scheduled to spend the next few weeks on my back with a wet rag over my eyes and blowing my nose hard enough to start the neighbor dogs barking.

Luckily, the good folks at MerckoPfizerSquibbJohnson have given me a wide range of narcobenzoflamitoids to choose from. If it ends in -tec, -vert, -tin, or -dryl I probably have it in me right now. I don’t know what the active ingredients are in any of these but I’m probably flammable. 

I do want to share a couple things before I go back under the rag.

First, Silvana sent me a photo of Randy the man-eating rooster in his johnny jump-up. Thank you, Silvana! I posted it on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/freshgroundstories

Second, Colleen shared a story that night about taking control of her life and how she started giving herself the love and attention that until then she’d been giving to others. The next day a friend of mine wrote to tell me that it was exactly the story she needed to hear right now in her life. 

Our stories are gifts. Not because they contain advice, but because they let others know they’re not alone. The world doesn’t need more opinions but it does need more people sharing what we’ve lived through. Thank you, Colleen, for your gift that night. A woman you’ve never met really needed it.

Ok, one more thank you to my son, Taran. Thank you for making your old man proud. You told a great story. I’m still thinking about it a week later.

Big thanks to all the tellers that night: Behnaz, Carmen, Colleen, Liz, Melody, Randi, Emily, Connie, Silvana, Taran, and Dave.

Don’t forget to take our one-question survey on how comfortable you’d be coming to see an FGS show in person. If I get enough people who want to come I’ll bring the show back to our favorite coffee shop on July 15.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MMN59SG

Our next Zoom show is June 17. The theme is, “Swimming to Share – Stories of saving yourself.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can see straight. Email me if you have any questions, freshgroundstories at gmail dot com (I gotta spell it this way ‘cos Meetup will hide it if I don’t).

Check out the two great workshops we partner with. They’re super helpful if you need help on a story.

FGS – Storytelling Workshop

Seattle, WA
694 Storytellers

This workshop helps you become a better storyteller and to prepare to tell stories at events like Fresh Ground Stories or The Moth.The workshop is free.A diverse group of pe…

Next Meetup

June ONLINE Storytelling Workshop

Sunday, Jun 6, 2021, 1:00 PM
10 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Stay Awesome Storytelling Virtual Workshop

Seattle, WA
148 Members

Hi! Come join me Bill Bernat to workshop a 5-7 minute story. It’s the perfect way to prep a story for Fresh Ground Stories or another storytelling show. This is usually a smal…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Have a great week 🙂

Paul

FGS: Better Than I Thought I was – Stories of being wrong about yourself

Our next show is May 20th. Come tell a story about a time when you surprised yourself and realized that you were a little better than you thought you were.

I’m always amazed at people who have confidence in themselves. Where did they get it? Was it under the tree one year? Does it come with Amazon Prime? Sometimes I’m listening to someone tell me about some great thing they accomplished and I keep waiting for the part where they talk about the days and weeks of self-doubt, misgivings, second-guessing, and worry. But they never get there! they just decided to do something and then they did it. 

Clearly, these aren’t the stories we’re looking for. This month we’re looking for stories where you didn’t think you were good enough or smart enough or strong enough and then suddenly you were. Remember to make it about a specific event or events and not just a general feeling of waking up one day and feeling good about yourself. What did you actually do that caused you to realize you were better than you thought you were? 

If you want to tell a story, remember to practice 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 also have to be pretty clean in both language and content. 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 are two I highly recommend:

Stay Awesome Storytelling Virtual Workshop

Seattle, WA
145 Members

Hi! Come join me Bill Bernat to workshop a 5-7 minute story. It’s the perfect way to prep a story for Fresh Ground Stories or another storytelling show. This is usually a smal…

Next Meetup

Workshop Your Story with Great Tellers and a Coach

Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 5:30 PM
2 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

FGS – Storytelling Workshop

Seattle, WA
687 Storytellers

This workshop helps you become a better storyteller and to prepare to tell stories at events like Fresh Ground Stories or The Moth.The workshop is free.A diverse group of pe…

Next Meetup

May ONLINE Storytelling Workshop

Sunday, May 2, 2021, 1:00 PM
9 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Both are run by experienced tellers who have performed many times at FGS. I’m also happy to help with stories. Send me an email at freshgroundstories@gmail.com and we set up a call.

If you want to tell a story at the show, email me as soon as possible so I can get you on the list.

I send out a Zoom registration link to everyone in the Meetup group the Monday before each show. You must register for the show in order to attend. 

After you register, Meetup will send you a link to the actual show. Each link is unique to the person who registered so you won’t be able to share it with anyone. 

Feel free to RSVP on Meetup if you want their automatic reminders, but I’ll be sending the registration link to everyone in the group regardless of your RSVP.

We only have 100 spots in each show so the first 98 people to register for the show will be the only ones who can attend. 

Hope to see a bunch of you on the 20th!

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

Thank you :)

Thanks to everyone who came out last Thursday and enjoyed a great night of storytelling. It was just what I needed last week. I hope you heard something you needed to hear too.


Rebecca started the evening with the story of her leaving home after graduation with nothing but a backpack and a sleeping bag. There’s a beautiful scene in the story where her mother watches her daughter walk down the road toward highway 20, knowing she was headed to Oregon, as far west as she could go. We could all imagine what she was thinking knowing that she had planted the seeds of Rebecca’s adventures by whispering, “There’s a lot of world outside of Jesup, Iowa,” over and over as she was growing up. Thank you, Rebecca, for that hypnotic story of a young girl leaving home.


Affifi was next with another story of leaving home, but this time home was Lebanon and her journey took her first to England, then to NYC, and finally to Seattle. We’ve all had to look for work but very few of us have had to find work with the threat of deportation hanging over our head. We should all add that to our gratitude list. Thank you, Affifi, for that story of dreams and determination.


Dave shared with us the story of picking up their daughter Katya 20 years ago from an orphanage just outside Vladivostok. Everyone was pulled in as he described the relief he and his wife felt as they finally made it through the Russian adoption process and then the surprising love they felt from the people who had been taking care of little Katya. At the end, we learned a word all of us should know in every language, spasibo, which means thank you.
Beverly followed with the story about how her home is her garden. It always makes me laugh when a story sparks a big conversation right afterward. Seconds after Beverly finished her story, we suddenly learned who the gardeners were in our group. Everyone chimed in on a quick discussion of clock gardens, deer, and moonflowers. Thank you Beverly for bringing us all into the place you call home.


Mary, a first-timer, told a story that was over 50 years in the making. It was about leaving one home early in life and having to find and leave many homes over the years. Mary reminded me of how many homes some of us have had throughout our lives and how some of those homes are safer than others. Thanks for bringing me back to all the places I used to think were home but turned out to be something else.


Behnaz is one of two people I talked to last month who inspired the theme for this month. Both of them were immigrants who shared stories of what it was like to come to another country and start a new life. I used to do a joke in my act where I said, “I’m not originally from America, I grew up in Alaska.” To me, it was very true. When people leave Alaska, they call it “going outside.” It took me a long time to get used to freeways, waves of people coming at me on the sidewalk, and cities that seemed to go on forever. I can’t imagine what it must be like to come from another country where you have to deal with even vaster differences in language and culture. When I was a kid, my mom told me stories of growing up in The Bronx in the 30s and 40s and all the different accents and languages she heard. There was nothing like that in Alaska. But thanks to all the amazing people I’ve met in FGS from all over the world I’m finally starting to understand a little better where my mom came from.


Behnaz, I’m not even going to try to describe your story. I’ll just say that I’m going to remember the line, “Welcome home” for a long time. Thank you.


Katy, another first-timer, told our second story of the night that included hitchhiking. There’s something about hitting the road when everything has gone sideways that makes so much sense at the time. It makes me wonder if this is an American thing or if it happens in other countries. Does hitchhiking have the same cultural appeal overseas as it does here? Stories like Katy’s make me wonder if I missed out on something by not hitchhiking at least a few times in my life.


Bridget told next and it was another story that made me lean back in my chair clapping and laughing. Sometimes we get stories from moments where we were caught with our pants down but rarely do we get stories from getting caught with our actual pants down. Bridget is one of those tellers whose life seems to generate stories just from getting out of bed and going about her day. If you ever see that Bridget is on a show somewhere make sure you go to that show. You won’t regret it.


Connie called us from Idaho to tell a story full of love and loss. It was animal love and loss but it hurts the same. I know Connie isn’t the only one of us who relied on our pets to help us get through last year. Unfortunately, Connie lost two important animal friends in the last few months, her dog and her horse. There’s a scene in her story where she’s digging a grave in the frozen earth by boiling water, pouring it on the ground, and digging until she can’t anymore. Then she repeats the process until the grave is dug. It took days. I can’t think of a more powerful act of love than the image of Connie doing that for her friend of so many years.


Chris S was our second to last teller and it was great to see her back onstage. She told us about how the pandemic has quieted her life in a way that’s allowed her to hear and process all the different voices from the past that have shaped how she sees and acts in the world. Now that we’re starting to leave our homes and embrace the world again, she wonders if she’ll still be able to make out the one voice that she discovered was her own. I can’t begin to do justice to how Chris told this story. It was a beautiful performance where the rhythm of her voice matched the words in a way that made us all lean a little closer to our screens.


Our last teller was Paul B. He told a story that got right inside me. There were so many things that pulled me in. A mother who was never pleased. A grandfather who cared more about his career than his family. Paul’s own sense of wanting to make his parents proud but at the same time wanting to stay true to himself. It was all there. Just as remarkable was that he never let the story get away from him. It could have veered off in so many directions but he kept it under control and never let it pull him off the path. It was a great story by a great teller. Thank you, my friend.

I hope a bunch of you will join us on May 20, for our next show, “Better Than I Thought I Was – Stories of being wrong about yourself.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can.