Next month’s theme is “Oddballs – Stories of being on the outside.” The show is April 18, 7pm, at our new location in the Olive Way Starbucks.

We did a similar theme back in 2015 called Fish Out of Water. I think enough time has gone by that we can do it again as I’m sure we’ve all been in some wonderfully uncomfortable situations since then. That’s the great and scary thing about life. There are always new ways to find out how you don’t fit in. In 2015, I wrote about what it was like growing up as the son of a Baha’i missionary in Alaska. I don’t know that I’ve felt quite as much like an outsider as that recently but I’ve definitely discovered some people and places where I didn’t fit in.

A few years ago a girlfriend left me because I was “too east coast.” I was sad, but at the same time had to laugh since I’ve never lived anywhere near the east coast. I was born and raised in Alaska and have never lived east of Washington. I guess if your mother grew up in Brooklyn, there will always be a tiny little New Yorker inside you trying to get out.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking I probably have a story in me somewhere about being the only kid in my neighborhood who didn’t get high. I definitely missed out on some underground bonding during those years. Another part of me wants to write a story about how uncomfortable it is to be the only person I know who never had an extended family growing up. It’s always strange to me to hear friends talk about aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and grandparents. All those relatives are theoretical for me. They’re out there somewhere but only in faded address books and anonymous DNA samples. The history of my family has only reached me through sporadic Google searches and the occasional cousin finding me through Facebook. I could be in a room with every living relative left on earth and not be able to identify a single one of them.

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a Ray Bradbury story. Often, when I leave my apartment I feel like I’m stepping out of a rocket ship that just landed on a forgotten planet. I might make friends with some blue tentacled space monkeys, but to them, I’ll always be the guy from earth who crashed in their crater and made the best of it.

But that’s the kind of story we’re looking for. Bring a story about a time when you didn’t fit in. It could be the first time you realized you were different from everyone around you or it could from later in life when you found yourself suddenly alone in a sea of other humans who didn’t understand you. What made you realize you were different? How did you deal with it? How do you feel about it now?

Remember to practice your story on friends, and time yourself to make sure it’s under 8 minutes. Keep it clean and make sure it has a beginning, middle, and end. Here are the rules and guidelines in case you haven’t read them in a while.

https://freshgroundstories.com/2013/01/22/storytelling-rules-and-guidelines/

I change them occasionally so it’s good to review them now and then.

The link below leads you to a great monthly workshop if you want to get some feedback on your story. It’s low-key, casual, and free. What more could you ask for?

https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/

See you all on the 18th at the Olive Way Starbucks!
1600 E Olive Way Seattle, WA 98102

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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