Thanks to everyone who came out to the show last week. I love that we had so many first-timers at this one and that they all did great. I hope each one of them comes back and tells more.

I think this was the first show where we had people who’d been telling stories for 40 years and people who were walking onstage for the first time in their life. It was a great mix. 

The theme of the night was Standing Up For Yourself and we heard stories of people standing up to bosses, Boy Scouts, a choppy sea, and timeshare salesmen. We also heard about selfish stockbrokers, drunken bush pilots, trees that won’t cooperate, and what it’s like to come out of two kinds of closets. Every month, amazing new tellers show up at FGS and remind me why we do this.

This is usually the email where I do a big wrap-up of the show for people who weren’t able to attend, but tonight I want to tell you about something wonderful that happened last week. (I also have some great new opportunities for everyone at the end of this email.)

Some of you know that I live in Olympia and work for a small state agency that does a lot of community service work. We recently developed a program to help at-risk youth avoid homelessness just as they leave programs like foster care, the juvenile legal system, psychiatric care, etc.

I had no idea we were even working on this program until a coworker told me about an event they were putting on at the capitol that day. Some of the young people in the program were going to share their personal stories with lawmakers and advocates about what it’s like to go through the system.

Of course, I had to rush up there on my lunch hour to catch it. Not only did I want to hear these kids’ stories, I also wanted to let the program managers know that I’d be happy to help out at any future events if they ever needed a story coach. 

Just as I walked in, one of the women running the event walked up and said, “Are you Paul from Fresh Ground Stories?” 

I said, “Yeah, that’s me. I’ve seen you at some of the shows, right?”

She said, “Yes, I’ve been to a number of them. In fact, Fresh Ground Stories was the inspiration for this whole event.”

I’m not usually struck speechless but I was that day. The kindness and support you have given our tellers over the years inspired someone in the government to use storytelling to help change policy. I say at the beginning of every show, opinions divide us and stories bring us together. That day up at the capitol I saw that happening right in front of me. I just want everyone to know that when you come to FGS you’re doing more than just listening to great stories. You’re also giving people the confidence to go out and do some good in the world.

Here’s a link to the story in The Olympian if you’d like to know more:

This Thursday, our sister show, Aunt Mama’s Storytable, is holding their monthly storytelling and music show in the same place we have FGS. If you love music and stories you’ll love this show. It only takes a quick click to sign up for their monthly announcements 🙂

Some of the most touching stories we hear at FGS come from people living with mental health challenges. Some of those tellers have gone to share their stories at NAMI’s annual Brainpower Chronicles. I was lucky enough to be chosen to tell my own story at their first event in 2018. It was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had on stage. If you’d like to be part of this year’s show please consider applying.

Anyone who is living with a mental illness or a family member/caregiver of someone with a mental health condition is welcome to apply.

Recently, KUOW asked me to let everyone know that they’re looking for animal stories to feature on their podcast The Wild

Here’s what they’re looking for in their own words:
“We are looking for stories of true-life experiences in the wild for our upcoming Stories from The Wild event. Share your story and information below for consideration. KUOW’s The Wild team will review all submissions. If your story is chosen, we will contact you to discuss further details and next steps. Portions of the event will be used in future episodes of The Wild podcast.”

Submission link:

If you have a story you’d like to tell at FGS but would like help shaping it, our free monthly workshop is coming up this Sunday. Click the link below for more info.

If you’re looking for more places to tell your story here are two places where I’ve told stories that would love to hear yours:

Here is a more complete list of all the storytelling opportunities in Seattle:

That’s all for now. Thanks again to everyone who shared a story last week. Send me an email if you told a story and would like a copy of your audio.

Our next show is March 19. The theme is “Drowning – Stories of being overwhelmed.” Look for the invite later this week.

Take care,