Great stuff coming up!

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick reminder that our show is coming up on the 21st. The theme is “Left Turn – Stories of life going sideways.”

I also have some exciting news about FGS that I’ll tell everyone at the show next week. Until then, here are some cool storytelling opportunities heading our way.

Matthew Dicks, multiple-time Moth winner and the best storytelling coach I know, is coming to Seattle this August to hold a workshop and perform his solo show. I can’t recommend his show and workshop enough. He’s the author of the book I’ve been giving away at the end of our shows. I don’t know how many people the Taproot Theater holds but you should get your tickets sooner than later. I’ll admit that I didn’t send out this email until I’d gotten my own ticket 🙂

August 17: Storytelling workshop, Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA (9:30-4:30 PM)

August 17: Solo storytelling show, Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA (7:30-9:00 PM)

If you can’t wait until the 21st to tell at FGS, you can go to the shows below that are happening tomorrow. The first is in Seattle and the second is in Tacoma. I’ve performed at both these shows and it’s always been fun.

If you’d rather read your story or even sing your story, you can go to this wonderful show down the street at the Starbucks on Madison. It’s happening exactly one week after FGS.

Below is the free workshop one of our regular tellers runs once a month. It’s a great place to get gentle feedback on stories you’re working on.

And finally, another one of our regular tellers is holding an improv storytelling workshop on March 9. I’ve loved all the stories Lance has told at FGS and I’m happy to recommend his workshop.

That’s all for now. I hope to see you all on the 21st at Roy Street!




FGS: Left Turn – Stories of life going sideways

February’s theme is “Left Turn – Stories of life going sideways.”

I’m embarrassed to admit how much of my life has been spent thinking, “How did I not know that?” Now that I’ve reached the age where I get tendonitis scrolling down to the year I was born in those drop-down menus, I keep thinking I should have most things in life figured out. Even the surprises shouldn’t be that surprising. That’s what I tell myself. But every year something happens and the rug I thought I’d nailed to the floor slides out from under me.

A few weeks ago I found out something about my parents that knocked me sideways. Because I have no memories of my parents ever being kind to each other, I asked my old babysitter, who knew me as a toddler, if she thought my parents had ever been in love. She wrote back and said that my father had been head over heels for mom in the beginning but the feeling wasn’t mutual. She said she learned the meaning of the term “shotgun wedding” on her way to their wedding.

It seems silly now but this was so shocking and revelatory for me that I don’t think I spoke for the rest of the day. My mother’s frustration with me, my father,  and her life suddenly all made sense. For as long as I can remember, our family had never been a good fit. I thought it was because I had missed the good years but it turned out that there were no good years.

If there’s anything good in this it’s that the sense of unfairness I’ve felt all my life has suddenly disappeared. I spent so many years wondering why I had to grow up in a house filled with anger and spite. My mother always attacking, and my dad always leaving and coming back, trying to find some way to survive in that place. No other parents I knew acted this way toward each other.

Now I finally understand why every day was so difficult for them. They stayed together as long as they could for all the wrong reasons: me, their religion, their culture, shame. All I feel now is overwhelming sadness for both of them. Both of my parents were beloved in their circle of friends. But they were wrong for each other and they were trapped in ways I never understood until now.

What I’m wrestling with is how do I hold two opposite beliefs within me without cracking up? My parents should never have made a kid together, and I’m glad they made a kid together. Was their misery worth the life I have now? It seems ridiculous to even ask this question since there’s nothing I can do about it, yet it’s something I ask myself a hundred times a day.

Thanks for letting me share this with you. I know this isn’t a complete story. It’s just the beginning. But it’s something that rocked my little world recently and I was thinking tonight that maybe there’s someone else out there going through the same thing. If there is, maybe we can talk. Maybe she can tell me how she balanced the scales. Maybe she can show me who to thank for this life I’ve been given.

Hopefully, some of you will bring your own story about life knocking you sideways. Was it a surprise or was it something you chose?  How did you work through it? Did you end up being grateful? Did it change the way you see the world or did it reinforce what you already knew?

Remember to keep your story clean and under 8 minutes. Here are the rules and guidelines for telling at FGS. I update them a few times a year so even if you’ve read them before it’s always good to take a look now and then to see if there are any changes.

If you want to workshop your story before the show, this is a great place to do it:

I hope to see you all on February 21st, at 7pn at Roy Street Coffee and Tea 🙂

Take care,


Thank you :)

Thanks to everyone who came out last Thursday and helped us have such a great night. I was exhausted after getting back from a trip to NYC a few days earlier but hearing those stories and seeing the reaction they got gave me everything I needed that night.

I’m always surprised at what I learn about people I thought I knew at FGS. Chris started off the night with a great story about ambushing her big brother by jumping out of the shadows and latching onto his neck with her teeth like a giant tick. Is this the sweet, kind Chris that I’ve known all these years? Did she really have it in her, at the age of five, to chomp down on her brother’s neck in a fit of righteous fury? Yes. Yes, she did. Who knows, maybe she still does. All I know is that if she ever asks me for the comics section in the newspaper I’m going to give it to her right away.

Ty, one of our first-timers, told a beautiful story of how he managed to turn his life around. There’s a part in his story that I really loved. He said, “I’m not a carrot guy. I’m a stick guy. I respond better to pain.” Naturally, the universe provided and he got the pain he needed to change. Thanks for being so honest, Ty. It’s good to hear a story where the big epiphany wasn’t enough to get someone to turn their life around. Sometimes we need to hear how someone got slammed down a few more times before he decided to walk another path.

Afifi, another first-timer, talked about the journey from her birth country in Lebanon, to the UK and finally to America. I’ve been asking Afifi to come to FGS for a long time and I’m glad she finally made it. Not only does she have a wealth of stories in her but she could also tell them in Persian if we ever ask her to. I love hearing stories from people who learned English as an adult. It reminds me of how much closer we would all be if we learned a language our neighbors speak at home. When I was 17, a Vietnamese family took me in when I didn’t have a place to live. I regret not trying to learn at least a little of that language. Hearing my friend Hai and his mom speak in those beautiful melodies made me want to find a way to use my English in a way that was more musical and rhythmic. There is always a point in every story I tell where I try to make a word or phrase feel like a song. I know the first time I heard anyone speak that way was over dinner at Hai’s house.

I’m already late getting this wrap-up out which means I’m also late getting the new invitation out. So I’ll end this here and thank all the tellers who shared a story: Chris, Ty, Lance, David S, Afifi, Jessica, Sarah, Carl, Brad, David T, and Bill.

Our next show is Thursday, Feb 21. The theme is “Left Turn – Stories of life going sideways.” Look for the invitation in your email in the next day or two.

Take care everyone. See you in a few weeks 🙂


See you this Thursday!

Hi Everyone,

I’m looking forward to seeing you all this Thursday. The theme is Fed Up – Stories from the end of your rope.

Earlier today, KUOW asked me to let everyone know that they’re looking for people to share their experiences of the late, great viaduct. I’ve never been asked to tell a story about a cement structure but I think it’ll be a cool event. I live in Olympia so my only experiences with the viaduct are all the times I accidentally found myself on it.

But since the rest of you live in Seattle, I’m sure at least a few of you have some deeply-rooted and possibly unresolved emotions about The Thing That Is No More. KUOW would love to hear what you’ve been keeping buried all these years 🙂

I cut and pasted the URL and their email to me at the bottom of this message. If you have any questions about the event contact them through their website.

See you Thursday at Roy Street!


In early January, the Seattle viaduct will close for the last time. In February, the wrecking ball will turn this beloved (or hated) structure to dust. Perhaps you drove on it every day to get back and forth from work. Perhaps you ran on it during the Rock n’ Roll Marathon, or used it every time you went to a Mariners game.

Whatever your relationship with the viaduct, KUOW and Cafe Nordo are inviting you to bid farewell to this elevated structure in style. Do you have a story, song, haiku, or poem about the viaduct? Would you like to raise a glass to the impending doom of this highway (and the inevitable traffic apocalypse)? Join us for an open mic-style event where we bid goodbye to the viaduct with music, poetry, limericks, etc.

Doors open at 6:30 PM. Show begins at 7:00 PM

To share your story, sign up here. Speakers are chosen randomly. Signing up is not a guarantee that you will be selected.

Fed Up – Stories from the end of your rope

January’s theme is “Fed Up – Stories from the end of your rope.” I don’t know if anyone else has had a rough year but 2018 was a tough one for me. Death, heartache, existential crises, physical injuries, ghosts from my past rising from the grave. All of that was nicely packed into the thing we call, appropriately, The Year of the Dog.

You know what I think would make a great start to 2019? A show where a bunch of us tell stories about how we got to the end of our rope and managed to crawl back up. I know at least a few of us managed to do that because we’re still here. We’re still rolling out of bed, getting out of the house, and showing up at Roy Street once a month.

I was going to use this invite to tell you a story about the time my dad saved my life by giving me a used recliner. Right now, though, I can’t figure out a way to make it funny. And I want to make it funny. Or at least more lighthearted than it feels. I have to figure out a way to explain my responsibility in the story without sounding bitter. That’s a big part of personal storytelling for me. If I’m still blaming other people for something that happened it means I’m not really over it. It means I haven’t let go of my anger yet and found the good thing that came out of the pain.

This is one of the reasons FGS is so special to me. We have a little show here where we get to see people who have lived through some crazy, painful stuff and come out the other side with a new perspective and maybe even a bit of gratitude.

So I’m going to keep the story I’m thinking about to myself for a while. When I finally tell it I want it to be something my dad would be proud of.

I hope a few of you do have a story that you’d like to tell about how you got to the end of your rope and somehow climbed back up. We’ve all gotten fed up, wrung out, and beat down. How are you still here? What was the moment when you looked up from the ground and decided to work your way to your feet and keep going? I bet a lot of people in the room that night need to hear that story.

Remember to keep your story clean and under 8 minutes. Here are the rules and guidelines for telling at FGS. I update them a few times a year so even if you’ve read them before it’s always good to take a look now and then to see if there are any changes.

If you want to workshop your story before the show, this is a great place to do it:

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday.

See you on the 17th