Thank you all for coming out last Thursday and making it such a great show. We had some tellers really dig deep this month. Four stories were from things that happened 50 years ago. When I hear stories like that I always feel like I just stepped into an old curiosity shop and the owner is taking me into the back room to show me something he’s never shown anyone else before. Every time I host FGS I feel like I’ve been given a handful of little gifts to take home. Thursday night, some of those gifts were dustier than others because they’d been hidden away for so long.
Connie told us about finding an old report card from first grade that made her rethink some of the things she’s believed about herself her entire life. How is it that a first-grade teacher could have a better take on your needs and personality than your parents do? When Connie read the notes her teacher wrote on that report card I thought, “Well, of course. That’s exactly who Connie is.” But that’s not what everyone else had been telling her. I’m glad Connie found that report card. From what I understand, I think she’s going to make a trip to Goodwill soon and get rid of a bunch of self-help books. It turns out she’s actually pretty ok.
John C told a story about witnessing a horrific accident at Boy Scout camp that included a zip line, an Ewok tree village, some bone breaking, and cursing at a priest. Sure, that might sound like a perfect camp-out but it turned out to be a pivotal moment in John’s life. Sometimes terror and helplessness can teach you things you can’t learn any other way.
Chris told a story about her first one-night-stand and why it was also her last one-night-stand. Listening to her story made me feel a lot better about my own failures at navigating those momentary intimate relationships. I’m usually ok with having a porous heart that keeps me from being a real swinger on the dating scene. Sometimes, though, I wish my heart was a little tougher. Sometimes I wish it didn’t take so much energy to keep my feelings separate from the person I’m with. Oh, well. Wait. Did I just say I wish I was a real swinger? Who am I, Dean Martin??
Jake, one of our regulars, told us what it’s like teaching a class of 1,200 students at UW and how one particular student ending up standing out. If you think 1,200 students seems a little much for any class you aren’t alone. There was a collective gasp in the audience when Jake let us in on what it’s like to take biology 101 at a major university.
There were three stories we heard that night that I’m still thinking about. David K told us about the moment his dad went a step too far with him. It was a story I know many of us have but it’s rare to see someone have the courage to relive that moment in public. There were moments when David was no longer standing in Roy Street Coffee. He was back there in his hometown, running from his father, wondering if he would ever go home again. It took a lot for Dave to share that story. It makes me feel good to know he had a place to share it.
In addition to being a wonderful storyteller, David also runs a story workshop which I highly recommend. You can join his group here: https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/
Taryn, our guest teller, told a fantastic story about trying to fix a meal with a counter full of random, nearly-expired food. It was only two months after her son was born and she was tired, hungry, and frustrated. Her husband has a thing about wasting food so she was trying desperately to figure out how to combine tofu, water chestnuts, and tandoori sauce into something edible. It was a funny, touching story that I’m hoping she’ll let me post online. It was her first time at FGS and only the second story she’s ever told live in front of an audience. She did a great job. I hope she comes back.
Lance, one of our new regulars, told a story that I almost don’t want to relate here. It was one of the most painful stories I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t a frightening or dangerous story. It was a story of broken trust and the awful things families can do to each other. It’s a story that Lance couldn’t tell until the people responsible had passed away. I don’t know Lance very well but I wish he didn’t have that story in him. I wish he hadn’t had to carry it around inside him for the last 50 years. The only thing I’m glad about is that everyone in the audience that night was there for him. Lance gave me permission to post it online. You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/paul-currington-45306251/fgs-no-regrets-lance-11-15-2018
I know you’re all either making plans for Thanksgiving vacation or quietly freaking out over the idea of 20 people coming to stay at your house this weekend, so I’ll wrap this up with a big thanks to all our tellers: John C, David K, John W, Chris S, Moreah, David S, Bruce, Carl, Jake, Connie, Lance, and Taryn.
Below are links to some great shows coming up and a podcast I was just on.
Two of our tellers were just featured on the KNKX podcast, Sound Effect. I love it when I hear you guys on the radio! http://www.knkx.org/post/how-do-you-treat-cancer-patient-who-has-not-even-been-born-yet http://www.knkx.org/post/sharing-your-diagnosis-everyone-only-find-out-its-wrong
One of our members just started a new open mic at a sweet little bookstore in north Seattle. I’ll be there for the first show. I hope a bunch of you can join me. https://www.meetup.com/North-Seattle-Storytelling-Meetup/
A Necessary Sadness. This is a very special show. I love the idea and also the woman who produces it. I was honored she once asked me to tell a story there. https://www.facebook.com/events/333798684092813/
Music and stories with The Go Janes and FGS regular Mary Anne Moorman. Music and Mary Anne – Two things I love! Go see this show 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/events/376679213068970/
Are you ever in Tacoma? Three of our tellers last Thursday came up from this open mic. I often work on my own stories here. It’s once a month at a cool little coffee shop. https://www.meetup.com/Something-To-Tell/
Lastly, I was asked to be on a new podcast last month and I had a great time hanging out with the host, Kevin Lin. We talked about how I found storytelling, and also a little bit about my personal history. Some of it you may have heard me hint at a few of those things between stories at FGS. Some stuff I’ve never said anywhere in public. You can catch our conversation here: http://folkstories.org/9
Kevin has told two stories at FGS. When he’s not telling his own stories he interviews people. He just left his job in the tech industry to start his own business. I hope part of that business is podcasting. You can read more of his writing at kevinslin.com.
Our next show is December 20. The theme is “Aha! – Stories of revelations, epiphanies.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can.
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. I’m grateful for all of you.