Geez, I don’t even know what to say anymore. Last Thursday’s show was beautiful, painful, sweet, inspiring and about a dozen other adjectives. It was one of those shows that I didn’t realize I needed to see until I was seeing it. And it wasn’t just because of the storytellers. Everyone in the audience was right there with the tellers when they needed it. I know I gush a lot in these thank you emails but it’s very powerful for me to see so many strangers taking care of and supporting each other.

Not only did we have some fantastic first-timers that night we also had a bunch of folks we haven’t heard from in a long time. Paul Barach came back from a three year stretch out of town where among other things he frolicked with wild animals, started his second book, and hiked the Pacific Coast Trail. As powerful as all those experiences were, we found out at the show that he’s still grieving two people he lost during his last year in Seattle and were the reason he went on the road. It was good for me to hear that story because it makes me feel better about all the people I’ve lost that I still think about and wonder if I’ll ever be over. I know there’s no stopwatch on grief but sometimes it takes a story like Paul’s to remind me of that.

Keith, a friend of mine from Olympia who I’ve been trying for months to get back onstage, finally made it to the show and told a great story about the book he read when he was 25 that inspired him to save the world by not showering or washing his clothes. Ah, if only it was that easy my friend. My son would have saved the world years ago if that’s all it took.

Nate, one of our first-timers, told a story of accidentally shutting down an elementary school because he kept wandering around the parking lot looking for his car. The coup de grace was reading the actual notice the school sent out afterward letting parents know that the young man with poor memory and zero sense of direction had been investigated by police and found to be completely harmless. The two big takeaways I have from Nate’s story are 1. It’s good to know that law enforcement responds quickly to school calls. And 2. I’m not parking within 5 miles of any school because I’m the weird guy at the mall you see waving his arms and talking to himself because I can never remember where I parked. If anyone ever sees me screaming outside a Target or a Macy’s one day please don’t call security. I’m just a confused old man who keeps forgetting to replace the battery in his key fob.

Bruce, in only his second story with us, told the beautiful story of his first home run and why it turned out to be his last home run. It was one of those stories that snuck right inside me so I was happy when he gave me permission to post it on our website and Facebook page. Look for it soon.

Of all the stories told that night the one that stopped me cold was from a young woman who moved here from Boston and recently gave up her baby for adoption. It was one of the few times I’ve walked up to the mic after a story and not known what to say. All I could think was to ask people to talk to her after the show and see if there was anything we could do. I know she didn’t share her story as a way of asking for help but I didn’t want her to leave that night without knowing that there are people in this city that do care and do reach out when they can.

Before I let you go I want to share some upcoming shows with you.

I’ll be telling my Secret Trips to Portland story at the last AGTV show ever on February 8 at the Jewelbox Theater. You can get tickets here:

https://squareup.com/store/a-guide-to-visitors/

At least two FGS regulars will be performing at the Moth GrandSlam on February 22 and it would be great if some of you could go and root them on. I know it’s the same night as the next FGS but I can’t not tell you guys about something that makes me this happy.

https://www1.ticketmaster.com/event/0F0054329B951C02?brand=mooreseattle

Danielle K.L. Gregoire, one of my favorite tellers in Seattle, is teaching a class on how to produce live shows. So if you’re interested in creating your own storytelling show check out the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/209695596272444/

Erin Popelka, the woman who told the hysterical story I call “Grasshoppers in Health Class” is hosting a great show that I can’t even begin to describe. It has a little bit of everything in it. If you enjoyed Erin’s story you’ll enjoy her bingo party 🙂

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bingo-of-champions-tickets-41913088175

Lastly, Kacie Rahm has done something that’s been sorely needed around here. She started a page listing all the upcoming storytellings shows in the area. If you’re curious what other shows look like or want another place to tell your own stories please check out her Seattle Storytelling Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/198209904060632/

That’s all for now. Thanks again to everyone who shared a story and all the people who supported them. I’m sorry I couldn’t get everyone up there that night. I know there were 3-4 names still in Mr. Coffee because we ran out of time. One of the reasons I’d love to see more live shows start up in Seattle is so anyone who doesn’t get on at FGS can share their story a few days later at another show.

Our next show is on February 22. The theme is “Better Late Than Never.” I’ll get the official invite out as soon as I can. I hope to see you there.

Take care,

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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