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 🙂

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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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.  https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories/events/257525934/

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!

Paul

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-wake-for-the-seattle-viaduct-tickets-54379962933

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.

https://freshgroundstories.com/2013/01/22/storytelling-rules-and-guidelines/

If you want to workshop your story before the show, this is a great place to do it:
https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday.

See you on the 17th

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

Thank you!

Thank you all for such a sweet night of storytelling yesterday. I wasn’t sure anyone would show up because of the power outages and falling branches but a bunch of you walked in at the last minute and we had a full show. It warms my heart to know that FGS members will risk getting run over by flying garbage cans to get to Roy Street 🙂

We had a lot of funny and touching moments and I’m grateful the folks who practiced their stories had an audience to tell them to. Dave K told a beautiful story about a life spent living out of hotel rooms, He brought me back to all the years I spent on the road doing comedy. No one believes me when I say comedy was the loneliest job I ever had. But Dave knows. He wasn’t a comic but he knows the toll it takes on your family and your soul to be living out of a suitcase. If you ever open the mail one day and find that you’re a lifetime member of the Marriott Platinum Guest Club you might want to rethink your career path.

Susan told a great story about what it’s like to ride the bus in Seattle. It reminded me of how wonderful it is when someone tells a story about the little things in life. You don’t have to sail the seven seas or pull a nun from a burning building to have a great story. If you’re willing to slow down and notice all the things going on around you, you can get a great story just from missing the bus one day. Thank you, Susan, for showing us that stories are everywhere.

Robert’s story of going through all his savings to make sure three people he loved got medical care was a wonderful example of how sharing your story can be more powerful than sharing your opinion. MIke’s story of visiting Disneyland with his daughter during a rough time in his marriage probably made my son wish I had taken him to Wild Waves every time one of my relationships was floundering.

Ginger reminded us of how special grandparents can be and also how important it is to never drink tap water in Taiwan. Zoe told us about life lessons she learned from a summer internship in a NYC theater where she got to see some of the greatest actors in America audition for roles. Chris told us how she finally got a house of her own and then her parents moved in. I love how we’ve gotten to know Chris’s parents through the stories she’s told at FGS over the years. If you come to our shows for a while you slowly get to know our regular tellers through the stories they share. It’s a kind of relationship I’ve never experienced anywhere else. Sometimes I run into people from the audience around town and they always ask about some teller they remember from the show. They want to know how they’re doing and if I know them. If you’ve ever told a story at FGS and wonder if anyone remembers, I want you to know that people do.

Bill and Chad both told heartbreaking stories of how they managed to navigate difficult relationships with their mothers. Talking about parents can be hard because the audience will always wonder what the other side of the story is. Bill and Chad put a lot of thought into their stories and both of their stories felt fair and honest. Not only did it take a lot of vulnerability and courage to share those stories it also took a lot of restraint to tell them in a way that allowed us to feel some of what their moms must have been going through in those years.

Kevin let us in on his feelings about commitment and then at the end introduced us to his fiance. Congratulations Kevin! David T told a difficult story about the near-death of his son and how they both had to go through their own individual recoveries. Lance, one of our new regulars, told a sweet story of how his marriage of 40 years began with the question, “So, what’s your zip code?”

To close out the night, I asked our special guest storyteller, Maryanne Moorman, to tell a story I heard her tell a week earlier with the folk band The Go Janes. Maryanne is one of the best tellers I know. She has a warm southern accent and a way of describing each scene that makes me wish I’d been taking notes. I can’t do justice to her story here but I can say it involved a hot Miami Christmas, a young boy’s surprising wish, and her Appalachian family putting on tin hats and singing Feliz Navidad. Trust me, you are so sad you missed that story.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show last night and supported all the tellers. Whether you ever decide to get up and tell a story or not, I appreciate everyone who gets off their couch, drives to Roy Street and helps me create a place where we can share all the things we’ve lived through.

I’ll be at Maryanne’s open mic next Thursday if any of you would like to join me. I won’t be telling a story. I’m going because there’s a fellow who weaves storytelling and magic together and I can’t wait to see how he does it. Click the link below for more information:

https://www.maryannemoorman.com/upcoming-live-events

If any of you would like to tell a story but want to take a workshop or just get some feedback first, I highly recommend going to the workshop on the other side of this link:

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

It’s run by one of our regular tellers and is always the first place I think of when I’m working on a story of my own.

I also just discovered a new story open mic in North Seattle that I want everyone to know about. I told a story at their first show last week and had a great time. The show runs on the 2nd Thursday of each month so it’s a great place to practice a story you want to tell the following week at FGS.

https://www.meetup.com/North-Seattle-Storytelling-Meetup/events/257291067/

That’s all for now. I hope everyone has a great holiday. Our next show is Jan 17. The theme is “Fed Up – Stories from the end of your rope.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can.

The recording of Thursday’s show came out fine so let me know if you want a copy of the story you told. Some tellers already emailed me and I’ll be getting the audio out to them as soon as I can. I only give audio to the people who told stories and it’s only of the story they told. Most of the stories we hear at FGS are very personal so I never give the audio to anyone but the teller.

See you next month!

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

Anyone want to tell a story with me this week?

Hi Everyone,

If you’re looking for a good place to practice your story for FGS, The Moth, or any other show there’s a new storytelling open mic that just opened up at a cool little bookstore in Greenwood. Their first show is this Thursday.  I’ll be there telling a story I told this summer at FGS. I’d love to share the stage with a bunch of you!

https://www.meetup.com/North-Seattle-Storytelling-Meetup/events/skqvlqyxqbrb/

If you live closer to Tacoma, you can tell a story at one of my favorite shows at Alma Mater Coffee in The Honey Room. You know you’ve always wanted to tell a story in a place called The Honey Room, right? There’s no theme on this night so bring any story you want. (This is the place I found John and Taryn, two tellers who shared stories at last month’s FGS.)

https://www.meetup.com/Something-To-Tell/events/256152551/

Even if you can’t make it to the shows, it’s worth it to join the meetups so you get their invites each month.

I hope you’re all doing well. Don’t forget, the next FGS show is coming up on the 20th!

Paul