It’s three days after our last show and I’m still wobbly from all the love everyone brought to our new home. Ever since I found out in January that Roy St was closing I’ve been worried what a change in venue would do to FGS. According to my sleep journal, I’ve lost 2,475 hours of sleep worrying about this. I’m happy to report that I’ve had the best two nights’ sleep of 2019 and it’s all because of everyone who showed up at Olive Way Thursday. Thank you!

Without a doubt, the best thing about our new venue is the staff. From Ben The Manager, to Craig The Shift Manager, to Tara The Barista, every single Starbucks employee made me feel welcome and appreciated. Even the district manager came over to thank me for bringing FGS to Olive Way. I was speechless when Ben presented me and Maryanne (Auntmama’s Stortytable also moved to Olive Way) a beautiful orchid to officially welcome us to his store. I’ve done shows in 20+ states and I’ve never seen staff as excited and grateful as this. I’m pretty sure you guys felt it too since one of you yelled out during the show, “Their tip jar isn’t big enough!” Yes, please, please, please keep tipping the great people who work there. They were a big part of that magical night.

Of course, none of this could have happened without all the tellers that walked up to the mic that night. I could tell every one of them practiced their story not only because they were well-told but because no one went over time. That may have been a first for us! Thank you all for the time you put into crafting your stories. During the show, I said that the most important person in the room was the audience. It’s true. Without them, we’re just talking to ourselves.

There’s no way I can describe all the stories from that night but I would like to mention a few. One of the biggest laughs we got was from first-timer Sara who told us how she discovered she didn’t have a sense of smell. She must have grown up in a family full of laughter because when her dad and brother first heard she couldn’t smell they immediately went out and brought home some Taco Bell burritos to test that claim. I’d love to send Sara her story but she left before I could talk to her. If anyone knows Sara from Chicago please tell her to get in touch with me. I’d love to get permission to put her story on our website and Facebook page.

Connie told a sweet story about how she bonded with her cousin Evan who has special needs. It turns out that patience, love, and M&Ms can bring almost anyone together 🙂

Bruce told my new favorite Bruce story about the time he staged a protest outside his Catholic grade school because of the amount of homework they were giving out. I’m always touched when we hear a story from something that happened 60 years ago. As funny as that story was, what I remember most was being happy that Bruce finally had a place to share it.

Our final teller, Taryn, told a beautiful story about how her grandmother showed her the importance of jumping into life. I was so moved by her story that as I walked onstage afterward I decided next month’s theme was going to be, “Jumpin In.” I’ll do my best to get her permission to post that story. I think it’s something we all need to hear.

Before I tell you about the special thing that happened at the end of our show I want to let you know that there’s another great show coming up at Olive Way next Thursday.

Maryanne Moorman, also known as Auntmama, is now holding her show on the last Thursday of each month at Olive Way. It’s a great place for stories, essays, poems, music, and other stuff that doesn’t fit into the FGS format. I hope a bunch of you can join me there this Thursday. Maryanne and I would love for Olive Way to be the place to go for storytelling in Seattle.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10218016803228281&set=a.1255672908571&type=3&theater

https://www.maryannemoorman.com/upcoming-live-events

In order to commemorate the first show in our new home, I asked one of my favorite tellers to close the show with his TED talk on the importance of strangers in our lives. It’s the only time I’ve ever allowed a speech at FGS but the topic perfectly fit what we do there so I decided to allow it this one time.

One thing of the most surprising things I’ve learned from running this show is how happy it makes me feel to see our regular audience members walk through the door. Even if someone has never told a story, it makes me happy to see a familiar face walk in. Knowing certain people are going to join me in listening to stories makes me feel like I belong. Until I talked to Nathan about his upcoming TED talk, I thought I was the only one who felt this way. When he told me what he was working on I knew I wanted him to share it at our first show. Judging by the cheers and applause he got I think I made the right choice. Thank you, Nathan, for sharing that wonderful talk with us.

If you’d like to see him give it live, May 4, at the upcoming TED show at the UW click on the link below:

https://www.tedxuofw.com/#/

That’s all for now. Next month’s show is May 16th, The theme is “Jumping In.” I’ll get the official invite out as soon as I can.

See you then!

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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