Thanks to everyone who came out last Thursday and made our first online show such a great success. We had 82 people and a horse show up! I was blown away by the number of people who RSVP’d (98 total). More big thanks to the tellers who put up with all my questions and worries the week before the show: Megan, Chris, Melissa, Maryanne, and Susan. Extra special gratitude to Kris, my friend and assistant, who took care of the technical side of the show that night. She had to run home from a full day’s work to get online in time to manage the waiting and chat rooms.

If you weren’t able to make it, you missed some amazing stories. Megan showed us what it’s like to be married to someone who always wants to win (since she’s the one who wants to win we might have to get her husband to tell a story one day). Chris told a beautiful story about trying to save snails and slugs and what it means to label something a pest. I love small stories that have a big message. You can’t get much smaller than a snail but the idea of labeling certain things (and people) as pests is something we should all think about.

Melissa’s story about walking through Costco in the first days of the shutdown was another small journey that ended up in a bigger place. She went from worrying about everyone knowing she dyed her hair to who cares if everyone knows she dyes her hair. That sounds like a small step but when it happens to you it’s actually quite a leap. It’s a leap from thinking only about yourself to thinking about everyone else and what you can do to help them. I can’t think of a better way to share that message than through a story.

Maryanne’s story was one of her epic masterpieces. I can’t begin to describe it but I can tell you it began in 1918 with her grandmother’s best friend and family servant Loulee helping soldiers who came back from the war with a mysterious cough. it ended with Maryanne cooking collards in her kitchen last week. It was a story about how far we’ve come and how far we haven’t come. it was about friendship, race, sickness, and the things we tell ourselves to keep from acknowledging the things we want to keep hidden.

Susan was our closing teller and I couldn’t have asked for a better story to leave us all with. It was about how she’s had to embrace virtual therapy sessions with her clients. In a way, I was living her story as she told it. Like Susan, I was also leery of being able to connect with people through online video. By the end of her story, Susan realized how much deeper her connections were getting by being able to see people in their homes. By the end of our show, I realized that this medium is more powerful than I thought it was. And while it can’t take the place of seeing people tell stories in person, it can give us what we need until we can all meet up again.

Our next show will be June 18. We’ll finally get to the theme that I scheduled back in March. Drowning – Stories of being overwhelmed or in over your head.“ It’s going to be our regular open mic format with a few changes to make it run smoother online. The show description is online here:

Click on the RSVP button so Meetup can send you reminders but that button alone won’t get you the Zoom link and password. If you want to actually attend the Zoom show, send me an email between June 14-18. If you want to tell a story, let me know in that email and I’ll put your name in Mr. Coffee.

The reason I’m asking you to email me a few days before the show is that it’s easy to change plans if you RSVP a month ahead of time. We only have 100 spaces for each show and I want to make sure everyone who RSVP’s actually attends. We had 98 RSVPs for the last show and 82 logged in. Kris and I can’t monitor emails once the show begins so please let me know as soon as possible if you emailed me an RSVP but can’t attend the show. That way I can give your spot to someone else.

The only other change I’d like to make is to strongly suggest that first-time tellers attend one of the free workshops available below. They’re only an hour or an hour-and-a-half but are a great way to get feedback on your story. Two of the stories we heard on Thursday came directly from Bill’s workshop.

Stay Awesome storytelling workshop with Bill Bernat 

FGS Monthly workshop (with two long-time FGS tellers)

I’ve been to both workshops and can personally vouch for how helpful they are. All you need to bring is a story you’re working on. 

I hope to see a bunch of you next month on 18th. Usually I give everyone who tells a story at GS a copy of their story if they want it. I won’t be doing any recording of our Zoom shows because my computer system doesn’t support that function. I’m sure our first open mic will have a few kinks we need to work out so thanks in advance for your patience.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Please join the Meetup group if you want to make sure you get my monthly invites and wrap-ups

See you in June!