Silver Linings – Stories of finding the good in the bad

July’s theme is “Silver Linings – Stories of finding the good in the bad.” It’ll be on July 16, at 7 pm PST.

I had another theme in mind for this show but I think we all need to hear some positive stories right now. I know I do.

Come tell a story about a time in your life when something bad turned out to be good. Did losing your job lead to a better one? Did getting dumped make you available to find someone better? Maybe someone died and you were finally free to become yourself. One day I’ll tell the story of how that last one happened to me. 

Here are the rules for telling at FGS : https://freshgroundstories.com/2013/01/22/storytelling-rules-and-guidelines/

Here are the main rules:

  1. Stories have to be true and happened to you
  2. You can’t use notes. We want you to tell the story, not recite it.
  3. Keep it clean in language and in content (no sex, poop, body functions, etc.)
  4. No social commentary. FGS is where we take the energy we usually use to judge others and instead use that energy to find out something about ourselves.
  5. Stories have to be under 8 minutes. Practice out loud on friends and time yourself.

I’ll send out a registration link to everyone in the Meetup group on the day before the show. We only have 100 spots (98 actually since me and my assistant each take one spot) so the first 98 people to register for the show will be the only ones who can attend. If you want to tell a story, email me ASAP so I can send you the registration link before I send it to everyone else. 

I tried to get a Zoom account that gave us more than 100 spots but it was much more expensive than I thought it would be. So we’re stuck with 100. Fortunately, we haven’t had more than that sign in to our online shows so we should be ok. Thanks for all the patience and understanding you’ve shown me since we took our shows online. The tech stuff is always hard to deal with even when everything is working fine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent 30 seconds complimenting someone on their story only to find I had myself muted the whole time. So frustrating!

I’m really looking forward to this show. We already have a special guest teller lined up as well as a number of people I had to bump from the last show. Thank you all for supporting everyone connected with FGS. We need each other more than ever now and I’m grateful for the hour or two you grace us with every month.

See you on the 16th

Love,
Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

 

Thank you :)

Thank you all for coming out and supporting our first online open mic show last week. We heard some great stories and got to welcome a bunch of first-time tellers to the stage. As always, we learned some important things that night.

We learned that only the power of love can get you to doorbell ditch a foreign embassy and end up running from an armed government anti-terrorist team through the streets of Prague. We also learned that if you don’t have enough blood going to your hippocampus it can look like you have a learning disability. I wish my fourth-grade teacher in Lathrop Elementary in Fairbanks, AK had tested me for blood flow to my hippocampus. I might have been let out for recess a little more often.

We also learned about the influence our parents have on us. As a parent myself, I’m always finding that it’s the things I don’t remember doing that my son remembers best. No matter where you grew up in the world, there are things our parents say and do that we don’t know the full relevance of until we’re long into adulthood. Two of our first-timers told stories that began in childhood but only took on special meaning more recently. While I listened to their stories I found myself wishing my parents were still alive so I could talk to them about that.

We also learned what happens when you lose a parent. Katie’s story of her dad’s unexpected death stopped us all. It was her first story and I was touched that she chose to share it with us. Even with the shaky internet connection I had, I could see how hard it was for her to tell that story. After she was done, her boyfriend leaned in from across the couch and give her a hug. I was glad she had someone there with her. He also gave her a Scone of Courage which was just about the sweetest thing ever. If you’ve been to our live shows you know that I buy a scone before the show (our show is held at the Olive Way Starbucks) and give it to the first first-timer to tell a story that night. I couldn’t give one away that night so I’m glad Katie got her own.

Ed, one of our tellers who tuned in from California, told a heart-warming story of being a drug mule in Africa in his 20s. If I remember, correctly, he never completed his first and only mission because he almost drowned in a river before he got anywhere. I kept laughing during Ed’s story because he looks like my State Farm agent. Now I’m wondering if my insurance agent has a secret life I need to worry about. Ed is a member of the California Association of Storytelling and likes to stop by and tell stories with us when he’s in Seattle. If you’d like to watch their online shows you can check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/152681024925954/

Thanks for joining us from 1,000 miles away Ed 🙂

Indu told a beautiful story about how the closet was always her safe place when she was growing up. Recently, she made the choice to invite someone into her safe space. Instead of trying to get her to come out, he agreed to join her inside. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is meet someone where they’re at, in the place they feel safe. It might be inconvenient to do that sometimes but love and friendship aren’t built on convenience.

The story that surprised me the most was from first-timer, Silvana, who joined us from Bellingham. She and her husband are foster parents who have turned their home into a safe place for many kids over the years. I know I wasn’t the only one who got choked up during her story. I think everyone listening that night wishes they could have spent a few nights at Silvana’s house when they were growing up. I know I do.

Thanks again for all the support and patience you showed me and the tellers last Thursday. There were a few tech problems on my end that I’ll be trying to fix before the next show. The first thing I’m doing is getting a higher level account that will give us 300 spots instead of the 100 we have now. I’ll also probably ask people to register for each show so no one has to email me personally to get the password and link. You won’t have to open a Zoom account to attend a show, you’ll just have to register for individual shows so Zoom can send you the sign-in info instead of me.

I announced next month’s theme at the end of Thursday’s show but I learned later that everything I said was garbled so no one heard it. In the end, it turned out to be a good thing because this morning I decided I needed to hear stories about something else. So next month’s theme is “Silver Linings – Stories of finding good in the bad.”

It’s a theme we did three years ago and I think we could all use a few stories about silver linings right now. I’ll get the official invite out as soon as possible. The show will be on July 16 at 7pm PST.

I had to bump a lot of tellers last week because so many people signed up to tell stories. I’ll be getting some of those tellers in on future shows where they can tell the stories they prepared for last week. So if you hear some stories that don’t match the theme, that’s why.

Hope to see you all next month 🙂

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

See you next week!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re looking forward to our first online open mic next Thursday, June 18. The theme is Drowning – Stories of being overwhelmed. I originally scheduled this show for March and had no idea how relevant it would be when we finally got around to doing it in June.

Email me at freshgroundstories@gmail.com if you want to reserve your spot for the show. Let me know in your email if you want to tell a story. I’ll be pulling names out of Mr. Coffee like we do at our regular shows.

If you’d like some feedback on a story you’re working on, the Stay Awesome storytelling workshop next Monday is a great place to get it:
https://www.meetup.com/Stay-Awesome-Storytelling-Virtual-Workshop/

I’m also happy to help anyone with a story they’re working on. Email me and we can set up a phone call.

Rules for telling at FGS
https://freshgroundstories.com/2013/01/22/storytelling-rules-and-guidelines/

Here is my new favorite Moth story if you need some inspiration 🙂
https://youtu.be/C3ooZ0y9Z1I

NPR’s KNKX 88.5 has been really good to us over the past two weeks. They asked Maryanne to tell the story she told at our show last month.
https://www.knkx.org/post/episode-17-not-my-first-pandemic

Last Saturday they aired the live show we co-produced with them in June 2019
https://www.knkx.org/post/small-miracles-sound-effect-episode-182-0

If you can’t wait until the 18th and would like to tell a story tomorrow, you can join our friends at North Seattle Storytelling
https://www.meetup.com/North-Seattle-Storytelling-Meetup/events/271154015/

That’s all for now. Write me if you have any questions. 

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

Thank you!!!

Thanks to everyone who came out last Thursday and made our first online show such a great success. We had 82 people and a horse show up! I was blown away by the number of people who RSVP’d (98 total). More big thanks to the tellers who put up with all my questions and worries the week before the show: Megan, Chris, Melissa, Maryanne, and Susan. Extra special gratitude to Kris, my friend and assistant, who took care of the technical side of the show that night. She had to run home from a full day’s work to get online in time to manage the waiting and chat rooms.

If you weren’t able to make it, you missed some amazing stories. Megan showed us what it’s like to be married to someone who always wants to win (since she’s the one who wants to win we might have to get her husband to tell a story one day). Chris told a beautiful story about trying to save snails and slugs and what it means to label something a pest. I love small stories that have a big message. You can’t get much smaller than a snail but the idea of labeling certain things (and people) as pests is something we should all think about.

Melissa’s story about walking through Costco in the first days of the shutdown was another small journey that ended up in a bigger place. She went from worrying about everyone knowing she dyed her hair to who cares if everyone knows she dyes her hair. That sounds like a small step but when it happens to you it’s actually quite a leap. It’s a leap from thinking only about yourself to thinking about everyone else and what you can do to help them. I can’t think of a better way to share that message than through a story.

Maryanne’s story was one of her epic masterpieces. I can’t begin to describe it but I can tell you it began in 1918 with her grandmother’s best friend and family servant Loulee helping soldiers who came back from the war with a mysterious cough. it ended with Maryanne cooking collards in her kitchen last week. It was a story about how far we’ve come and how far we haven’t come. it was about friendship, race, sickness, and the things we tell ourselves to keep from acknowledging the things we want to keep hidden.

Susan was our closing teller and I couldn’t have asked for a better story to leave us all with. It was about how she’s had to embrace virtual therapy sessions with her clients. In a way, I was living her story as she told it. Like Susan, I was also leery of being able to connect with people through online video. By the end of her story, Susan realized how much deeper her connections were getting by being able to see people in their homes. By the end of our show, I realized that this medium is more powerful than I thought it was. And while it can’t take the place of seeing people tell stories in person, it can give us what we need until we can all meet up again.

Our next show will be June 18. We’ll finally get to the theme that I scheduled back in March. Drowning – Stories of being overwhelmed or in over your head.“ It’s going to be our regular open mic format with a few changes to make it run smoother online. The show description is online here: https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories/events/269028756/

Click on the RSVP button so Meetup can send you reminders but that button alone won’t get you the Zoom link and password. If you want to actually attend the Zoom show, send me an email between June 14-18. If you want to tell a story, let me know in that email and I’ll put your name in Mr. Coffee.

The reason I’m asking you to email me a few days before the show is that it’s easy to change plans if you RSVP a month ahead of time. We only have 100 spaces for each show and I want to make sure everyone who RSVP’s actually attends. We had 98 RSVPs for the last show and 82 logged in. Kris and I can’t monitor emails once the show begins so please let me know as soon as possible if you emailed me an RSVP but can’t attend the show. That way I can give your spot to someone else.

The only other change I’d like to make is to strongly suggest that first-time tellers attend one of the free workshops available below. They’re only an hour or an hour-and-a-half but are a great way to get feedback on your story. Two of the stories we heard on Thursday came directly from Bill’s workshop.

Stay Awesome storytelling workshop with Bill Bernat
https://www.facebook.com/events/83854953662687 

FGS Monthly workshop (with two long-time FGS tellers)
https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/

I’ve been to both workshops and can personally vouch for how helpful they are. All you need to bring is a story you’re working on. 

I hope to see a bunch of you next month on 18th. Usually I give everyone who tells a story at GS a copy of their story if they want it. I won’t be doing any recording of our Zoom shows because my computer system doesn’t support that function. I’m sure our first open mic will have a few kinks we need to work out so thanks in advance for your patience.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Please join the Meetup group if you want to make sure you get my monthly invites and wrap-ups 

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

See you in June!

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

FGS is coming at you this Thursday :)

Power up your laptops, we’re doing our first online show this Thursday at 7pm!

This first event will have six amazing tellers who have told with us before. Next month we’ll start back with our regular open mic where we’ll finally get to the theme we originally scheduled back in March 🙂

I love each of the stories you’ll hear this night so I hope you’ll join us. If you’re lucky, you might even hear me curse as few times when I can’t figure out how to unmute someone. I fully expect to break my 10-year streak of clean performances at some point during this show. If you enjoy seeing someone flustered from switching between gallery view and speaker view this is the show for you.

Seriously, though, these stories are beautiful. You’re going to love them. 

Because there are some goofballs out there who enjoy interrupting Zoom shows, I’m taking precautions to make sure that doesn’t happen. Since my Zoom account only allows 100 people on each call, the first 100 people to RSVP to me via email at freshgroundstories@gmail.com will get in. 

Please include in your email your name or the name you’ll log into the call with. Thursday afternoon I’ll send everyone who emailed me the Zoom link and password. PLEASE DO NOT SHARE OR POST THE LINK OR PASSWORD ONLINE. I hate having to do this but enough Zoom facilitators have told me this is how the goofballs get in. 

My wonderful assistant Kris will be the velvet rope for the show. She’ll be the one who lets people into the show from the virtual waiting room. If she doesn’t recognize your name then you might not get in. So make sure the name you send me in your email is the one you use to log in.

I miss seeing all of you, even the ones who have come for years and never told a story. I’m going to keep doing this online show until we can all meet again for handshakes, hugs, and stories. I hope to see a bunch of you this Thursday in Zoomland 🙂

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com