FGS: Changes – Stories of reinventing yourself

I always know when I need to change things up in my life because it feels like the flu coming on. I get a scritchy feeling in the back of my mind and my stomach starts tightening. Then I start forgetting to breathe and end up having to take a giant breath every few minutes. Sometimes I know what’s causing all this and sometimes I don’t. What I never know is what I need to do about it.

That’s the part I hate. I know I gotta do something but I can’t figure out what. I hope it’s not a big thing this time. I’m too old for a complete makeover. I’m not going to sell my house because I just chopped a bunch of firewood and I’m not moving all those logs again. I’m not quitting my job because people at work have finally accepted my self-appointed title of “Chief Sense-Maker.” And I’m not going off to an ashram because if I meditate for more than 20 minutes my legs fall asleep and I have to crawl around the house for another 20 minutes until I can feel them again. 

Luckily, I have a bunch of people in FGS who I can always count on to inspire me. Come tell a story at our next show on October 20 about a time you reinvented yourself. Or at least made a meaningful change in your life. What led up to it? Was it the right thing to do, or do you wish you had done it differently? Did you tell off your boss and walk out of work? Did you run away from home and hop a freight to a new life? Maybe you decided to have kids when you swore you’d never start a family. Whatever it was, we’d love to hear the story.

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: 

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 October 20th at 7 pm on Zoom!

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com

Zoom info for Thursday’s show

HI Everyone,

Our show is coming up this Thursday. We still have some spots open so let me know if you’d like to tell a story. This month’s theme is Strangers – Stories of chance encounters. (Don’t worry if it’s not technically a chance encounter. It could be any kind of encounter with someone you don’t know)

Here’s the invite if you want more info:

https://www.meetup.com/fresh-ground-stories/events/288069941/

Below is the Zoom info for the show.

See you soon!

Paul

Topic: FGS – Strangers – Stories of chance encounters

Time: Sep 15, 2022 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 823 1950 9021

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FGS: Strangers – Stories of chance encounters

This month’s theme was inspired by a TED talk one of our tellers gave in 2019 called, “Why we need strangers.” As a Seattle city bus driver, Nathan has made a career out of talking to strangers. Many of them people no one else talks to.

Like Nathan, I’ve had momentary connections with people who changed my life and who I’ll never see again. Often, it’s been strangers who have restored my faith in humanity. Sometimes an unexpected kindness or a quick nod of acknowledgment is all you need to feel like everything’s going to be ok.

So bring a story of a chance encounter with a stranger to our next show, Thursday, September 15. Tell us what happened and how it changed you. It doesn’t have to be a big story. It could be about the moment someone shared something with you that made you feel less alone. It could be about the time someone gave up their seat and showed you the compassion and patience you needed to get through your day. 

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. If your story goes long, someone else who practiced for weeks might not get a chance to tell theirs. 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: 

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. 

Here are four short articles by one of my favorite storytellers with all kinds of good advice on the kind of stories we’re looking for at FGS:

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/?p=cc29027b8cd8

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/how-to-structure-a-funny-story-d1730535f81b

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/this-is-a-boring-shark-attack-8-rules-for-fascinating-storytelling-3b9d2bab6dca

https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/this-ice-cream-will-heal-your-heartbreak-how-to-find-your-storys-north-star-b818f50250ab

This is the best book I’ve ever read on personal storytelling: 

Here is a short piece by the author of the book on what questions to ask yourself when you start working on a story (it’s about halfway down the blog post): https://mailchi.mp/104f63f44a5a/you-should-be-able-to-answer-this-question-before-ever-telling-your-story?e=a4dd06ea14 

Here is Nathan’s TEDx talk that inspired this month’s theme.

And here’s the book he wrote about all the strangers he’s met as a city bus driver.

I hope to see you on September 15th at 7 pm at Zoom!

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show last week. We had a great bunch of tellers that included some excellent first-timers. Before I go any further I want to let you know about Kent Whipple’s storytelling class student showcase. Kent always does a fantastic job with his students so I know this will be a good show. Get your tickets soon as the show is tomorrow (Friday).

Ok, back to FGS!

Silvana started us off with a beautiful story of moving on from a rough childhood and finding a safer, more loving world at college. “Rough” doesn’t really cover it. Silvana’s mom makes my mom look like Mary Poppins. The part of the story that stays with me is how much Silvana seems to have healed from those early years. One of the ways you can tell that someone has healed from an experience is that they’re able to find humor in it. This is part of what I’m talking about when I tell people to speak from their scars, not their wounds. Silvana didn’t focus on the trauma. She told us just enough to frame the story and then moved on. Thank you Silvana for not using your story to attack people in your past and instead sharing your story from a place of love and gratitude.

Ahmad, a first-timer, came next and told the story of how he decided in just a couple days to change his life and go for his Ph.D. I have no idea what it’s like to earn a Ph.D. The closest I’ve ever gotten is getting a D in physics, and once checking the ph level of a fish tank. I loved how Ahmad described his professor’s blue Pentel .7mm mechanical pencil as though it was a talisman of deep knowledge. He even went out and got himself his own blue Pentel .7mm pencil. I do this myself! I have the same typewriters used by Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, and the Unabomber. Impressive, yes? One of my Covid goals was to write my own 30,000-word manifesto of love and kindness on the same model typewriter Ted Kaczynski used. 

Deborah was next with a story of self-reflection that I wish I and other parents could have heard when we were struggling with our kids. I remember many times when I wanted to be thanked and congratulated for doing something that I should have done anyway just because it was the right thing to do. 

Misty, another first-timer, told us about a big date with her husband where they ended up at a nearly empty festival in a storm and a collapsing big top. Is there anything better than a night out that’s ruined by a natural disaster? I love it when that happens. I hope my next trip has a windstorm, lightning strikes, tornadoes, and locusts. Not sure how I’ll get that all down to five minutes for The Moth.

Gretchen was next with a story from when she was growing up and her favorite room was the kitchen. I wish my favorite room growing up was the kitchen. My favorite room was the laundry closet where I’d hide, reading a book. I didn’t learn much from reading The Hardy Boys. Gretchen learned to fall in love with cooking. One thing we all learned from Gretchen’s story was that cayenne pepper gets hotter when you cook it. She painted the perfect image of her parents trying to keep smiles on their faces while their insides were turning to lava.˙

Shayne, our last first-timer, told us about the surprising joy of getting to choose her own classes when she went to college. Hers was the second story of the night to talk about the freedom of leaving home and high school and getting to experience life on your own. Once again I was reminded that I am often the least educated person at an FGS show 🙂  Shayne’s ultimate goal is to one day be the Honorable Reverend Dr. Shayne. I’m sure she’ll get some great stories along the way.

Our final teller was Cara, one of our out-of-town regulars who we got to know from the last two years of Zoom shows. She told us why you should never hire your out-of-work-and-out-of-touch neighbor to fix your roof. Her neighbor should have listened to Deborah’s story about the importance of self-reflection. Our final lesson of the night was to look at yourself before you blame others.

Our next show is Thursday, September 15. The theme is “Strangers – Stories of chance encounters.” It’ll be on Zoom again since I’m still looking for a place to take our in-person shows. Look for the official invite to show up sometime this weekend.

Zoom info for Thursday’s show

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

See you soon!

Paul

Topic: FGS: Best Intentions – Stories of good plans going bad

Time: Aug 18, 2022 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 852 8163 3540

Passcode: 750745

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