FGS: Hard Knocks – Stories of lessons you didn’t want to learn

Hard-won wisdom. That’s redundant, right? Is it wisdom if you didn’t have to get knocked around a bit to learn it? For me, whatever wisdom I’ve learned has come with a nice helping of pain, shock, or embarrassment. It seems to be the only way I learn. Luckily, it’s very effective. If wisdom came with a slice of pie, it wouldn’t stick. When it’s delivered with a nail through the heart or a wrecking ball to the ego, I tend to remember it quite well.

December’s theme is, “Hard Knocks – Stories of lessons you didn’t want to learn.” Come tell a story on December 15 about a time when you learned a hard lesson. How did it happen? How did it change you? Did it involve pain, shock, embarrassment? All three?

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. 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: 

I’ll send out the Zoom info through Meetup on December 12. I’ll also post it at https://freshgroundstories.com

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. 

See you on December 15th at 7 pm on Zoom!

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com

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Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show last Thursday! November and December are tough months to do shows because so many people are either getting ready for the holidays or coming down with the flu. Luckily, we had enough tellers for a show and ever had a couple of first-timers 🙂

First-timer Sharon started us off with a story about becoming friends with her ex-husband’s ex-wife. The story required some detailed, family-tree explaining but it’s always interesting to see how old relationships can morph into something entirely unexpected. Every now and then they end up planting seeds for new relationships that don’t bloom until years later. Also, special bonus for our first Hooters reference!

Deborah was next with a story about anxiety, secrets, and gratitude for her body always being there for her. How many of us ever look at our bodies and give thanks? How many of us even realize how much our bodies have carried all these years? Her story ended on such a beautiful line I want to share it with you, “Out of the darkness, through the shadow, and into the light.” I hope everyone reading this can one day have a story that ends like that. Thank you, Deborah.

Theresa, another first-time FGS teller, told us about a sailboat ride that changed her life. Sometimes saying yes leads to a marriage proposal while pumping gas at a Texaco, a 25-year marriage, and two wonderful kids. Most of the time I only remember the times saying yes didn’t work out. And those memories keep me from saying yes to new people and possibilities. Saying no feels safer but I worry that it’s led me to a smaller life. I must learn to say yes! Tonight, for instance, I said yes to an entire bucket of fried chicken. I’m also thinking of hanging out at the local Texaco to see if I can spot true love about to happen.

Special kudos to Theresa for telling her story while wearing a parka and huddled in what looked like a research station in Antarctica. Even though it turned out to be a spare room in her house, I’m giving her credit for holding up under freezing conditions.

Maryanne was next with a story about five-year-old Maryanne growing up in Windy Gap Holler in Appalachia and watching her brother go turkey hunting. I love any story where a wild animal is given a human name. In this story, the turkey her brother was after was a mythical, unhuntable turkey named Hector. What happened to Hector, and how Maryanne almost ended up on the dinner table herself, will remain a mystery until she decides to tell this story again. All I’ll say is that we should all be glad we don’t have to match wits with Hector this year.

Since we were short a few tellers I decided to tell a story of my own that I’m having trouble coming up with an ending for. I got some great feedback from everyone at the show and will be working on a new ending over the next couple of months. I was especially glad that my son was there to hear me tell it because he happily authenticated everything that happened in that story even though he was 12 at the time. Thanks for having my back, kiddo!

The theme for our next show is, “Hard Knocks – Stories of lessons you didn’t want to learn.” I hope I’m not the only one who had to learn a few hard lessons over the years. The show will be on December 15th. I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can.

In the meantime, I hope you can check out Gretchen, one of our wonderful tellers, in a play she’s in at the Taproot theater. It’s called, “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley.” Here’s the link for more info: https://taproottheatre.org/

She also appeared on stage at Story Collider recently and told the following story that begins at 17:25 of the audio (I couldn’t find a video)

https://www.storycollider.org/stories/2022/10/19/pain-stories-about-unpleasant-physical-sensations?rq=gretchen

Congratulations on all the stage success Gretchen!

Big thanks to Kent Whipple for helping produce Story Collider in Seattle. If you’re looking for true, personal stories about science, Story Collider is the place to go 🙂

https://www.storycollider.org/

See you all on the 15th!

Paul

Zoom link for Thursday’s show

Here’s the Zoom info for Thursday’s show.

We still have room for more tellers!

Write me at freshgroundstories@gmail.com if you’d like to tell.

Topic: FGS: Who Loves Ya, Baby? – Stories of someone who was there for you

Time: Nov 17, 2022 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88568870312?pwd=ODVtbE5MWHA0dzdpYWNqQUN6NVpxQT09

Meeting ID: 885 6887 0312

Passcode: 523084

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FGS: Who Loves Ya Baby? – Stories of someone who was there for you

None of us gets through this life on our own. Somebody somewhere helped us out. In fact, it was probably more than one person. Whether it was a surgeon who literally saved your life or a friend who let you stay on their couch when you lost your job, you have a few people on your gratitude list. Come tell a story on November 17 about when one of those people was there for you.

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. 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: 

I’ll send out the Zoom info through Meetup on November 14. I’ll also post it here at https://freshgroundstories.com.

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. 

See you on November 17th at 7 pm on Zoom!

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com

Thanks for a great show!

Big thanks to everyone who came out to the show last Thursday. I had to call a few old teller friends to fill out the show and we ended up having the perfect number of stories 🙂

We started out with Gretchen who told a story that wasn’t about rhododendrons but now every time I see a rhodie I think of her. It turns out that people, like rhododendrons, need a hard pruning now and then to ensure growth. Maybe that will be a future theme for a show; stories of giving your life a hard pruning. (Anyone know if I used that semicolon right? It’s the first one I’ve used since the late 80s)

Cara was next with a story about Alaska that was 100%, incontrovertibly, unrelentingly, and incontestably true. I lived there for the first 27 years of my life and can affirm and attest to all the madness Cara talked about. Her story even took place in the neighborhood I used to live in. Cara couldn’t see me with my camera off but I was waving my arms around during her story yelling, “Yes! Yes! That’s exactly how it is!” What was she talking about specifically? I’d tell you but I want everyone who wasn’t there to regret they weren’t there. Is this a reverse teaser for a great story you missed? Yes. 

Lance was up next with a sweet story of when he was 10 years old and trying to show his cousin Linda how smart he was by wearing a pocket protector. This may be the first time in human history someone used a pocket protector to climb the social ladder. Lance might have been the first kid to try to make looking like a nerd cool. Does this make him the Ur-Nerd? The Chosen One spoken of in the prophecy? Probably. If he tells a story next month of pulling a slide rule from a stone we’ll know he’s The One.

Chris was up next with a story of trying to navigate Wales without speaking Welsh. Technically, people in Wales speak English but it’s like no English you’ve ever heard. It sounds like English spoken backward and underwater. Of course, this makes for great stories. I highly recommend visiting Wales if you’d like a story about missing buses and seeing the countryside from a folding chair in the back of a mail truck. If you’d like to know what Welsh sounds like, here’s a short clip of a weatherman pronouncing the name of this town: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrob-wllllantysiliogogogoch

https://www.cbc.ca/news/trending/weatherman-liam-dutton-pronounces-llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch-perfectly-1.3221414

Randi followed Lance with a beautiful story about sitting down in an AM radio station in Idaho when she was 15 years old, putting on headphones for the first time, and changing her life. How many of us knew what we wanted to do when we were 15? Randi is one of the rare ones who knew even earlier than that. She was eight years old when she realized she wanted to be on the radio. I wish all of you could have been in the room with us when we saw Randi go back in time to the moment when she put those headphones on. Just for a second, we saw 15-year-old Randi fall in love. 

Tracey then told a story that you’ll be able to hear soon on the Moth Radio Hour. It was about being hired at a radio station two minutes before the station manager quit and tossed her the keys. Is this not the perfect ending to a job interview? “You’re hired. Do whatever you want. Don’t forget to lock up.” If you’ve heard Tracey tell stories before you’ll know that this is just the kind of thing that happens to her. I used to wonder why all these strange storyworthy things happened to her. Then one day I realized it’s mostly just her showing up. She doesn’t sit on the couch waiting for life to happen. She goes out into the world with a bunch of “what-ifs” and sees what she can do with them. Such a life she’s led what’iffing!

Our last teller was MaryAnne. She told a wonderful story that she’d just lived through a week earlier. It was about her storytelling road trip to eastern Washington and the people she met at the car charging stations. Anyone who lives here knows that Eastern and Western Washington are different in many ways. Think of western Washington as California and eastern Washington as Kansas. Over the last few years, the gulf between the eastside and the westside has grown larger. But for some reason, everyone seems to get along at charging stations. Big electric monster trucks are parked next to little electric Kia’s and the drivers of both cars stand around chatting about range and kilowatts. Can you imagine? Are car chargers the Cheers of the 21st century? I hope so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXED2AVlbR0

Thanks again to all the tellers and everyone who came out to support them. Extra special thanks to all the folks who left kind remarks in the chat room. I send those off to each teller who requests their audio and I know they love them.

Our next show is November 17. The theme is “Who Loves Ya Baby? – Stories of people who were there for you.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can. It’ll be on Zoom again but I’m close to getting us a new venue in the new year. Cross your fingers!

Email me at freshgroundstories at Gmail dot com if you have any questions.

See you on the 17th!

Paul