Thanks to everyone who came out Thursday and helped make it such a great night. We had so many first-timers! I love that. I hope some of you got to talk to them after the show. One of my favorite things about FGS is seeing people connecting with each other afterward.

As always, we learned a lot about each other. We found out that Kat is a speed demon and that training wheels don’t keep you from having a highlight reel crash when you’re five. You want to know how hard she crashed just past the driveway? Hard enough for the grownups to freak out and almost call the plastic surgeon who lived down the street. I love Kat but if she ever asks me to hop on the handle bars of her ten-speed I’m not doing it.

We also learned that you can be around someone for a long time and still not really know them. First-timer Michael told a story about asking an African-American woman to prom and what that would mean for a certain member of his family. He did it anyway and it turned out he was wrong about grandma. Isn’t it great when your family supports you when you thought they wouldn’t? My family has done that time and time again and I’m always grateful when they forgive me for ever doubting them.

We also learned that I have no idea how sexy a banana costume can be. First-timer Renee told us about the time the only job she could find during the recession was in the food court at the mall making smoothies in a sexy banana costume. I said afterward that I couldn’t imagine what a sexy banana costume would look like. Well, of course Cathy in row three did a quick Google search and showed me a photo after the show of Josephine Baker wearing the SEXIEST BANANA COSTUMER EVER. I hope Renee’s costume wasn’t quite as sexy as Josephine’s because the mall cops would have had to call in backup.

One of our regulars, Connie, told a story about how she hates to be called a lady and now I think I have to apologize for calling her that about a thousand times. Another regular, Chris made me wish I had met her parents, and Robert showed us what it was like to grow up as an only child in a family with seven kids.

If I wrote about how each story made me feel I’d be in this coffee shop all day so I’ll just end by saying it was a wonderful night and I’m proud of everyone who shared a story.

One person I want to thank personally is our guest teller John. I saw him tell a story in Tacoma a couple months ago and asked if he would be willing to drive up to Roy Street and share it with you guys. He’s a lawyer who defends some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The story he shared was about what it means when someone inside the system listens with compassion. Thank you John for telling that story and for being the kind of person we all hope is there for us one day.

Lots of love for our regulars who told last night: Robert, David, Chris, Kat, Connie, Carl, Lauren and Ginger.

And even more love for our first-timers: Renee, Chris, Stephanie, Christopher, Lesley, Michael, Scott.

I’m sorry if I forgot anyone. Those little slips of paper get away from me sometimes.

Oh, one last shout out to Kaelen, my 8-year-old friend, who was at the show and drew pictures of each story. Some people don’t like that I tell everyone to keep their stories clean because it’s a public cafe and we are there because of the kindness of the staff. I have no control over who stops on our one night so it’s important that we all tell the clean versions of our stories at Roy St (There are lots of places where you can tell your story with more freedom and I’m always happy to put you in touch with other great shows in the area. I tell stories in those places myself.) Even though we had some adult themes that night each teller told their story in a way that anyone could listen and be moved by it. I can’t guarantee that every story will be appropriate for every kid but I’m always happy to see parents and kids doing things together.

I will always understand if you want to take your son or daughter out for a walk in the middle of a story if you think it’s too much for them. I’ve had some awkward talks with my own son after shows but they were always good and something we would have had to talk about anyway at some point. I trust everyone with a kid will come to a show first and see if it’s right for them. If it is I would love to see some young people in the audience. Two months ago we had a 14-year-old and her dad each tell a story and it was very touching.

Our next show is February 23. The theme is “Figuring it Out – Stories of discovering something about yourself.” I’ll send out the invite as soon as I can. I just checked the recorder and it looks like everything got taped. Send me an email if you’d like the audio of the story you told. Most people don’t want their stuff on the internet so I only give the audio to people who told a story and it’s only of the story they told.

I hope to see a bunch of you on the 23rd!

Take care,

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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