Thanks everyone for making last Thursday’s show a memorable one. Not only did we hear some great stories, we also got to meet 18 high school kids and their teachers who came all the way from Bellingham to see live storytelling for the first time. One of those teachers wrote me this afternoon to say how impressed he was with the craftsmanship of the stories he heard that night. So there you have it. Unbiased feedback confirming how great you all are 🙂

Before I tell you more about the show I want to let you know that there is some important info at the bottom of this message. If you don’t want to read the wrap-up, just scroll to the bottom and check out the links to upcoming shows and opportunities.

Most of you have probably figured out that my favorite part of FGS is getting to know each performer through the story they tell. There’s a connection I find with storytellers that I’ve never found with actors, comics, singers, or any other performing artists. I love those art forms but storytelling is the thing that makes me feel like I’m not alone in the world.

So when David K told a story about being overwhelmed by his two granddaughters, it made me feel better about all the memories I have of getting overwhelmed when my son would have a bunch of his friends over to play. When Bruce told a story about how relieved he was to finally find a group to belong to, it made me feel a lot better about all the times I tried desperately to fit in and failed.

John’s story about how important it was to find a certain album on eBay that contained the only song he and his good friend Stewart ever wrote together took a turn at the end that surprised me. You see, Stewart died a few years ago. What John wanted most was to hear his friend’s voice one more time. I don’t know John very well but I can picture him at home on his couch, putting that record on the turntable and feeling just for a moment that he was right there in the room with his old friend

Chad told a perfect Chad story about being 11 years old and discovering Tony Robins, the motivational speaker. I’m pretty sure he was the only kid in his neighborhood walking around muttering “If you can believe, you can achieve!” Chad’s story makes me think that we would have been great friends if we had been 11-years old at the same time.

One story that makes me want to find out more about who comes to FGS is the story David S told. I can’t repeat the story in a few sentences so I’ll just tell you that it was about how childhood trauma often affects your health as an adult. I learned about this at a TED conference I went to in 2016. I attended a workshop where the teacher asked us to calculate our ACE scores. ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences. The test is 10 simple questions you can answer in a couple of minutes. Your 1-10 score indicates how much trauma you lived through or witnessed before the age of 18.

I know I’ll never be able to find out, but I’d love to know the average ACE score of the people who come to Fresh Ground Stories. Everyone in the audience is always so kind and respectful of storytellers who talk about the truths they’ve learned from a hard life. I get the sense that most people at FGS know how difficult it is to dive into your past as a way to understand the present. Maybe that explains why this show is one of few places I feel accepted and understood. Whenever I write a new story, the place I most want to tell it is at Roy Street.

That night we also heard from some of the teenagers who came down from Bellingham. What came through most in their stories was how hard it is to be a kid. I told their teachers that I would be happy to go up to Bellingham one day and do some kind of show with them. If I had seen a show like FGS, where grownups are this honest and vulnerable, I think my life would have turned out a lot differently. Hopefully, those teachers can figure out a way to get a show together so I (and maybe a few of you) can drive up there and tell some stories with those kids.

If you’re curious what your ACE score is, you can take the test here:

I’d love to tell you more about the show but I need to wrap this up so I can start writing the invitation to the next show which will be on Nov 15. The theme is “No Regrets – Stories of unexpected gratitude.” If that one doesn’t jog your memory then you can think of it as, “Things you should regret but don’t.” When I say it that way people seem to get this mischievous look and start laughing quietly to themselves. Have you ever been grateful for something you didn’t expect to be grateful for? That’s the kind of story we’re looking for.

Before I let you go I want to tell about some great shows and opportunities coming up in the next couple of weeks.

One of our regulars, Renata Lubinsky, just wrote a book called, “Around Seattle in 80 Dates.” I’m going to be interviewing her about some of those crazy nights on Sunday, Nov 4 at the University Book Store. I haven’t gone on 80 dates in my entire life but Renata managed to do it in a  year or something. If you want to know what she learned and what happened on that 80th date come hang out with us at the UW bookstore 🙂

Bill Bernat, together with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), has put together a very powerful show with nine amazing women who are sharing stories of how mental health issues have affected themselves or their loved ones. Bill and 3 tellers from FGS spent a big part of this year helping these women shape their stories for the stage. The stories they’re telling are some of the most triumphant and courageous I’ve ever heard. I’m taking my son to the show because I want him to see how strong people can be when they have to. I hope some of you can make it. You can catch the show on either Nov 10 or 11. It’s a fundraiser for NAMI so the money is going to a good cause. If you can’t afford the listed ticket prices there are scholarships available. Please don’t feel bad about contacting Tom at and telling him what you can afford.

Below are two new shows that just contacted me. Both of them offer stage time to anyone wanting to tell a story. The second one has a featured teller as well as an open mic. I can’t get to either of these shows this month, but if anyone does I’d love to hear what your experience was. They both seem like good shows run by good people. So many of you have great stories and I only have so much time at FGS to get people on stage who deserve to be heard. Any time I hear of an opportunity for you to tell your story around town I do my best to get the word out. Bearing Witness a Story Salon Hosted by Chad Goller-Sojourner
Featuring Kacie Rahm of The Moth in Seattle
@ Atticus inside Mama’s Cantina, 2nd & Bell
Thursday, October 25th 21 + FREE
Sign- Up 8:30 Show 9:00
Theme “Open Topic”
Come out and tell a five-minute story, or just enjoy the show!

That’s all I have for now. I’ll be out of town next week for work so if you write me and I don’t get back to you right away that’s the reason.

Take care. See you on the 15th!
(don’t forget that we’re doing the show on 3rd Thursdays now instead of 4th Thursdays)