Hi All,

I hope everyone is doing ok. I know we hear that a lot these days but it still feels important to say. There are links to some online story shows at the end of this email but I want to say something first before you get to those.

For the past month, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to help all of us stay connected. Fresh Ground Stories has been around for 10 years now and my biggest fear is that many of you will drift away before we can start doing live shows again. We’ve built such an amazing community of tellers (and listeners) that it would be a shame for it to fade away. I know when this is over I’m going to need this show more than ever. It’s a powerful thing to sit ten feet from a stranger telling a personal story they’ve probably never shared with anyone. I can’t wait to get back to that.

But since that’s not possible right now, I’m trying to come up with ways to keep us connected while we’re apart. This month, I’m passing along something that was inspired by a podcast I listened to this week. The host read a long list of all the things people sent in that they loved. They weren’t obvious things like their kids or chocolate. They were the little things that made people smile during the day. A few days ago I made my own list, uploaded it to Google Docs, sent it out to a handful of friends, and asked them to add to it. Not only did I love what my friends added, I loved that it helped me get to know them better. Even though all the entries were anonymous, I somehow felt closer to everyone I sent that link to.

So I decided I would share this idea with all of you. I thought about putting my list online so everyone could add to it but I was worried that someone would add something snarky or sarcastic and that would sadden me. It only takes one comment like that for me to close the screen and not return and I don’t want that to happen to this. So what I’m going to do is paste below the asterisks the text of the document I sent to my friends to show you what I’m talking about and let you do with it what you will. You can copy and paste it into your own Google Doc and share it with friends or you can just take the idea and start your own list from scratch. I hope you get as much joy out of it as I do as I check the document for new entries once or twice a day.

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In times like this, it’s important to remind ourselves that there are still many things to love in this world. Recently, I’ve realized that most of what keeps me going are the little moments of unexpected joy that I never tell anyone about. 

So here is a list of things we love, especially the quirky unique-just-to-us things. The first few are mine (I took out the ones my friends entered because I didn’t have their permission to share publically)  Now I’d like to share this with everyone so you all can add some of the surprising moments that you love in your everyday life. This is a chance to leave something sweet on each other’s doorstep. Even if you don’t have anything to add, it’s nice to see what’s helping the people around you keep going.

Enter as many as you want and come back as often as you like.
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I love it when a cat I’ve never seen before walks up and jumps into my lap

I love it when I water a plant I’m worried might be dead and within a few minutes it pops up looking perfectly healthy

I love it when I pull into my driveway but don’t want to get out of the car because I don’t want to stop listening to what’s on the radio

I love finding something I wrote 20 years ago and discovering it’s still good

I love sitting by my living room window at night and watching trees swaying in the wind. It makes me feel like I’m in a black-and-white photo.

I love when I click on a story and it tells me I have more free articles left than I thought.

I love when a coworker leaves a treat on my desk and it’s exactly what I want.

I love when I parallel park on the first try. It’s the only time I ever truly want to high five someone.

I love the way air feels in a greenhouse. 

I love watching the last person in the Iron Man Triathlon struggle across the finish line long after everyone else has finished and gone home. It reminds me that I’m not the only person who struggles with things others find easy.

I love when I walk up to a couple of friends and they say, “We were  just talking about you.”

I love when I see a stranger do something courageous. It gives me hope for this screwed-up world.
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And now, on to the list of online story shows that are popping up 🙂

I don’t have any more info than what I’m posting here so if you have any questions, contact the people listed on the Facebook or Meetup pages.

Bill Bernat is hosting two online shows of COVID-19 stories this week and next. He’s looking for volunteers as well as people to tell stories. See the Facebook page for more details. If you need more info, email him at bill@hellobill.org.

COVID Stories Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/SeattleCOVIDStorytelling

The first show is April 4 at 7 pm. The second is April 11.

https://www.facebook.com/events/652428835541991/?event_time_id=652428838875324

A link to the show stream will be added to that Facebook page before showtime

The Iridescent Robot Storytelling Club has an online storytelling show every Thursday at 5 pm. It’s hosted by Danielle, a former FGS teller who now lives in Canada. She produced many wonderful story shows when she lived in Seattle and I’m sure her weekly Zoom shows will be great too.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/500915187244804/

North Seattle Storytelling meetup is experimenting with their first online show on April 9. Click on this link for more info.

https://www.meetup.com/North-Seattle-Storytelling-Meetup/events/269732867/

Lastly, as a little reward for reading this far, here is a link to last Saturday’s Sound Effect podcast. (it airs every Saturday at 10 am on KNKX 88.5). It features two tellers from FGS. I was having a rough morning the day this aired. Listening to Susan and Maryanne’s voices coming out of the radio was just what I needed.

https://www.knkx.org/post/alone-together-sound-effect-episode-171-0

Ok, that’s all I have for now. Sorry about the thousand-word email. Then again, maybe it was time for you to take a break from Tiger King.

Take care. Tell someone you love them. Wash your paws.

Paul