Thanks to everyone who took a break from the beautiful weather to hang out and listen to some beautiful stories last Thursday. There must have been something in the air that night because we ended right on time and everyone who came with a story got to tell.

David opened the show with a story he told at the Moth Grand Slam earlier in the week and once again I was reminded how important it is to have people in your life who push you to do the right thing. David’s career as  doctor took a big hit in the early years because he called out some doctors for doing unnecessary procedures on indigent patients. Integrity isn’t always the first word that comes to mind when I think of the medical industry but sometimes a guy like David shows up and shows me that there are still doctors out there who care. He may have paid for his integrity by not getting to work at the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins but his soul is intact so he’s probably better off in the long run.

One of our regulars, Chris, told a story of waking up under a blanket of snow and feeling, deeply and surprisingly, more alive than ever before. In the dispassionate fairness of nature she discovered she felt more connected and comforted than she did in her life back home. I found myself smiling as she told her story because a week earlier I had gotten lost hiking in Capitol Forest and was very put out with nature’s dispassionate unfairness of keeping me from finding the parking lot.

Our two first-timers stand out to me because they both told stories of helping others. Michael told a beautiful story of working as a reading tutor at a grade school even though he has no kids of his own. We all had a good laugh when he admitted how intimidating 8-year-old girls can be. Tammy told us about working with Syrian refugees and how much it changed her. What I keep going back to is how much Tammy and Michael made me think that maybe this world is in better hands than I thought it was. Apparently, when I pull myself away from Twitter and Facebook for a minute I can meet some pretty good people who give me hope for the future. Michael and Tammy don’t know this but long after I’ve forgotten the details of their stories I’m going to remember that I met two people that night who didn’t have to spend time helping others but did it anyway.

Another teller who made me smile was Moreah who told us how getting kicked out of the convent had led to a life of adventure that she almost missed out on. How have I gone all these years without realizing how much fun ex-nuns can be?? Next time someone invites me to a party I’m going to make sure there are some former nuns on the guest list before I say yes. I almost told Moreah afterward that I was planning on staying a few days at monastery in Oregon this summer but I didn’t want her to  slap me.

Before I get out of here, I want to thank another teller, TC, for a couple of things. The first is for sneaking Ryan’s name into Mr Coffee without telling her. Normally, I don’t condone this kind of scandalous behavior but we’ve both been hoping for years that Ryan will share a story with us and I was curious to see if we could nudge her into walking up to the microphone. We weren’t able to but the round of spontaneous applause that the audience gave her to show how safe she’ll be one day when she does get up there really touched me.

The second reason I want to thank TC is for the story he shared of traveling to the Shaolin temple because he loved watching David Carradine in Kung Fu when he was a kid. Guess what! I did too! I totally geeked out over his story of watching monks punching trees and doing two-finger pushups. After the show I got to talk to him about meditating and how much it’s meant to him. He didn’t know that I had just started meditating two weeks earlier and how happy I was to find someone who’d been doing it for years. Kismet! Synchronicity! Magical coincidences!

Everyone who got up that night helped make it a very special evening for me. I got to hear about Jonathan and the Happy-App-That-Never-Was. Ginger, who was thanked by strangers for being the best thing that ever happened to Port Angeles. Big Tim for sharing how much storytelling has helped him recover from PTSD. Dan for a story about the first love of his life which happened to be a ‘69 Volkswagen Beetle. I’m sure I’m forgetting some people but my notes are scattered around the apartment so I’m going to just have to send out a thanks to everyone who told a story that night.

Wait! One more thank you to Beverly for helping me with my allergies before the show. I was dying in the corner and she came to me with a cold, wet towel and a cup of ice water. You guys have no idea how close you came to the show being run by a blind, weeping emcee. Thank you B!

Most of you who have been coming to FGS for a while know that I don’t usually tell my own stories there. It’s more important to me that I give as many people as I can a chance to tell. I almost told a story Thursday but Ginger ended the night so perfectly I didn’t want to add anything afterward. But I would like to let you guys know that I was asked to tell a story at a show this Saturday called, “A Necessary Sadness.” It’s run by one of our regulars, and former Moth producer, Danielle K.L. Gregoire. Danielle does so much good work for storytelling in Seattle that I want to make sure everyone knows about her.

“A Necessary Sadness” is just one of the shows she runs and it’s different from anything else I’ve seen. It’s a show that’s hard to describe so click on the link below if you’d like more information. There will be storytelling, comedy, music, maybe some poems, who knows. Every performance is different. I loved the first version I saw last year and was happy to be invited to tell a story at this one. (If you went to the NAMI fundraiser last month you saw me tell the story I’ll be telling this Saturday).

https://www.facebook.com/events/1721528641480260
The show is June 29 and July 1. I’ll be in the July 1 show but both shows will be really cool.

Our next FGS show is July 27. The theme is “Before and After.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can. In the meantime, you can check out the two events below that I want everyone to know about.

Every year my son and I go to the Powellswood Storytelling Festival. It’s one of the best story festivals in the PNW. I can’t recommend it enough. You get to see nationally known storytellers for only $20. These people are really, really good. Plus, if you go you’ll see me and my kid emptying garbage cans because that’s how we get in for free 🙂

http://powellswoodfestival.com/
Festival: Saturday July 22, 9 am to 5 p
Workshops: Friday July 21, 9 am to 4:30

Two of our regulars who moved to Portland last year are holding a storytelling workshop on July 23. I love these guys. If you want to learn how to tell stories better go to Anne and Norm’s workshop and tell them I said hi. Do your best to get them to move back to Seattle for me, ok?

http://seattlestorytellers.org
A Storytelling Workshop with
Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke
July 23 (Sun) 1:00-4:00 pm

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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