FGS: Tipping Point – Stories of enough is enough

When does patience become a liability? I know there’s a point in me where it starts to feel less like kindness and more like cowardice. There have been so many times where I’ve said to myself “I’ve had enough!” and then spent the next six months or ten years doing absolutely nothing.

Come tell a story about a time when you reached a tipping point. Did it come too late or right on time? Did you leave a job? A relationship? A religion? A way of life? What was the thing that finally made you act? Come tell a story about a time when you reached a tipping point and did something about it.

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 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. 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:  https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/

I’m also happy to help people with their stories. Send me an email and we can set up a phone call.

If you like to work alone, this is the best book I’ve ever seen on personal storytelling:

I hope to see you all at 7 pm on August 19 at the Olive Way Starbucks 🙂


Thank you + some great opportunities!

What a show we had last Thursday! Thank you all for coming out to our first in-person show since we last exchanged respiratory droplets. We filled every seat in the house and all the extra chairs people brought with them. With so many people sitting in lawn chairs it felt like a concert in the park but with nicer bathrooms. 

If you weren’t able to catch it in person or watch it over Zoom, we got to see a bunch of tellers from FGS past tell stories we hadn’t heard in years. That was my goal with this show. Instead of our usual open mic format, I tracked down some folks we hadn’t seen in a while and asked them to tell stories from the 2014-2016 era. Some tellers told stories I’d heard at others shows but that we hadn’t heard at FGS before. Next year I’ll ask some folks who performed on our Zoom shows to come back and tell those stories live again at another curated show. 

I’m going to see if I can get permission from last week’s tellers to post their stories on the FGS blog and FB page. I couldn’t possibly do justice to any of these stories by just writing about them. I want you to hear them told live with all the laughter and cheers that went with them. If the file isn’t too big, I’ll post the entire show online so you can hear the in-between bits where I get to show some love to each of the tellers.

Special thanks to Jen Stone, who ran the Zoom portion of the show for us. There is no way we could have included all the new folks we met during Zoom times without Jen stepping up and offering to help. I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do a Zoomcast. It’ll probably have a lot to do with how often I can get my son to do it. But I will try to keep the wonderful people we met over the last 18 months involved somehow. They won’t be able to tell but at least they’ll be able to watch.

I’ll be sending out the invite to our August show later today. It’s on August 19 and the theme is “Tipping Point.”

In the meantime, please check out the three links below. There are two shows and a workshop coming up that I want all of you to know about. I’ll be in the audience at the Pandamnit show tonight if you want to come by and say hi. Not only do they have some great tellers booked, audience members might get a chance to tell a story of their own if their name is chosen.

PANDAMNIT! Comedic Stories about Lockdown Life (IN-PERSON) (tonight)

Last Thursday, I introduced Melissa Reeves as the host and producer of Melanin Stories Matter https://melaninstoriesmatter.com/. She’s in the finals this Saturday at the NSN Grand Slam. Watch her online and vote for her story!

National Storytelling Network’s annual GRAND SLAM (this Saturday)

Kent Whipple told a beautiful story at last Thursday’s show and we are lucky to have him holding a six-week workshop starting this Sunday. Everyone who takes his class comes out a better teller. Check out this workshop because it only comes around a few times a year.

Creating Stage-Worthy Personal Stories In Person Workshop (starts this Sunday)

Ok, that’s it for me. Look for the August invite to hit your inbox sometime today.

Take care,


Good news from Starbucks!

Hi All,

Good news from Starbucks! Ben the manager wrote me today to say that we can have as many people as we want at our show this Thursday. The only catch is that they currently only have enough seating for about 65 people. They will let us bring our own chairs, though, so if you want to guarantee that you won’t have to stand, bring your own seating. Special bonus for anyone who brings a loveseat or Lay-Z-Boy 🙂

I’m bringing a couple chairs myself for anyone riding the bus or train who can’t bring their favorite wingback that night. 

My one request is that if you can afford it, please buy something that night at the cafe and leave a good tip. They close at 7:00 but are staying open an extra two hours for us so we can have our show. I know money is tight, and FGS will always be free to attend, so only do this if you can afford it. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to thank Ben for all the work and goodwill he’s shown us, Thursday is the night to thank him. He just accepted a well-deserved promotion and will be handing over management of the store to Halley. So come on down and say goodbye to Ben and hello to Halley. I’m going to do my best to get Ben to hang out with us at future shows as an audience member (and maybe teller!) so hopefully this won’t be the last time we see him.

I am going to try to livestream the show this time. It’ll be just like our regular Zoom shows except I won’t be hosting it and there won’t be a waiting room. And we’ll be muting everyone for the duration of the show. So I guess it won’t actually be like our regular Zoom shows at all.

The chat room will still be open if you want to say sweet things about the tellers. I’ll be sending any love you leave there to each of the tellers later on. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee how good the audio will be. I’ll probably just have my phone aimed at the stage and near the speaker. I won’t have an assistant for this show so that’s the best I can do. I’m crossing my fingers that this will be enough.

Here’s the link to join the Zoom feed if you can’t make it in person. Since I’ll be busy setting up the PA and chairs for the room, I won’t be able to help anyone get in if they’re having tech problems or didn’t get the link. Keep this email handy if you don’t want to have to search for the Zoom link below.


I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in person again! Expect lots of hugs. Unless you don’t want one. Air hugs are still an acceptable alternative. 

Let me know if you have any questions. Please consider bringing your own chair so folks who can’t bring one can use one of the Starbucks chairs. 

See you this Thursday! Show starts at 7:00 so get there early to get a seat or set up your own seat.



See you Thursday!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re all looking forward to our first in-person show since forever. Some of the tellers you’ll see that night are folks we haven’t seen in years. I went deep into my address book to track them down and bring them back. Some of the tellers of course you’ve seen on our Zoom shows so this will be a great way to see them in person.

I’m doing my best to remember how to work the PA system and also figure out the best way to live stream the show. I might just have my son tie a phone to his head and sit close to the stage.  We still have no word yet on if Starbucks will let us have more than 50 people in the room. If we can’t, then I’ll send everyone a link next week that will take you to a signup sheet. I hate to do that so I’m crossing my fingers that we can have a full house that night 🙂

In the meantime, here are links to some great stuff that’s coming up.

The monthly workshop hosted by the wise and wonderful Dave K is coming up tomorrow. Take advantage of these! They are really helpful in getting a story together and learning about storytelling in general. 


Are you excited about getting out in the world again and seeing live shows even if your seats and tables have to be six feet apart? Good! Because there’s a wonderful new monthly storytelling show starting up that I want to tell you about. Bill Bernat and Emily Pitts (both FGS tellers) hosted their first show last month called “Pandamnit! Comedic stories about lockdown life” and it was fantastic. Seriously. I loved every minute of it. Every story made me laugh and it was just what I needed. 

If you go to their next show on July 22, not only will you get the four tellers they booked for that night, you might even get a chance to tell a story yourself. Members from the audience can throw their name in the hat for three chances to tell a story. They’re even giving away prizes. Isn’t that nice? When was the last time you got a prize?

If you want to ease your way back into whatever we’re calling normal, you should go to Pamdamnit! 

Comedic Stories About Lockdown Life
July 22

Facebook link: https://fb.me/e/2tXWthr65 

Eventbrite link.

Also, if you’re looking for a place to tell a story when you can’t make it to FGS, you should check out North Seattle Storytelling. They’re still on Zoom but I know they’re looking to go back to in-person soon. They’re always looking for new tellers so click on this link to join the Meetup group and get their show announcements.


Lastly, here is one of my all-time favorite storytellers, Stephen Tobolowsky. I’ve been listening to him for years and it’s always a joy when I unexpectedly catch him on the radio. Here’s a sweet story called The Afflictions of Love.

We’re going back onstage!

July will be our first show back at the Olive Way Starbucks!

To celebrate our return to a semi-almost-maybe-sorta-halfway-normal world I asked some of our regulars to come share their new favorite story on July 15th. No theme or open mic this month. Just a few folks from FGS past and present that I asked to come out and do a special show with me. It’s going to be extra special because I’ve completely forgotten how to run the PA system. 

Right now, the Olive Way Starbucks closes at 7pm. But because they love us so much they’re going to let us do our show there anyway. They’ll close the doors at 7:00 when we start the show and keep it open until we’re done. Isn’t that sweet? As of today, they’ll let us have 30-50 people in there.

I’m also going to try to figure out how to live-stream the show so more people can attend. There’s a chance Starbucks will let us have more than 50 people if the state reopens fully on June 30. I’ll let you know as soon as possible if we can pack the place or if we still need to keep the audience under 50.

We’ll go back to our usual themed open-mics in August. 

Thanks for your patience while I try to figure out how to get FGS back onstage. I love all the new people we’ve met from around the world while we were Zooming but I’m also excited to get back to telling stories in person. There’s nothing like a live show to really experience personal storytelling. If any of our tellers from outside Washington have a chance to come to Seattle, make sure you’re here on the third Thursday so you can see the show live 🙂

Stay tuned for more info on how many people we can have at the next show

That’s all for now. Try to stay cool. Remember, Starbucks has air conditioning! 


Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com