Thank you all for coming out and supporting our first online open mic show last week. We heard some great stories and got to welcome a bunch of first-time tellers to the stage. As always, we learned some important things that night.

We learned that only the power of love can get you to doorbell ditch a foreign embassy and end up running from an armed government anti-terrorist team through the streets of Prague. We also learned that if you don’t have enough blood going to your hippocampus it can look like you have a learning disability. I wish my fourth-grade teacher in Lathrop Elementary in Fairbanks, AK had tested me for blood flow to my hippocampus. I might have been let out for recess a little more often.

We also learned about the influence our parents have on us. As a parent myself, I’m always finding that it’s the things I don’t remember doing that my son remembers best. No matter where you grew up in the world, there are things our parents say and do that we don’t know the full relevance of until we’re long into adulthood. Two of our first-timers told stories that began in childhood but only took on special meaning more recently. While I listened to their stories I found myself wishing my parents were still alive so I could talk to them about that.

We also learned what happens when you lose a parent. Katie’s story of her dad’s unexpected death stopped us all. It was her first story and I was touched that she chose to share it with us. Even with the shaky internet connection I had, I could see how hard it was for her to tell that story. After she was done, her boyfriend leaned in from across the couch and give her a hug. I was glad she had someone there with her. He also gave her a Scone of Courage which was just about the sweetest thing ever. If you’ve been to our live shows you know that I buy a scone before the show (our show is held at the Olive Way Starbucks) and give it to the first first-timer to tell a story that night. I couldn’t give one away that night so I’m glad Katie got her own.

Ed, one of our tellers who tuned in from California, told a heart-warming story of being a drug mule in Africa in his 20s. If I remember, correctly, he never completed his first and only mission because he almost drowned in a river before he got anywhere. I kept laughing during Ed’s story because he looks like my State Farm agent. Now I’m wondering if my insurance agent has a secret life I need to worry about. Ed is a member of the California Association of Storytelling and likes to stop by and tell stories with us when he’s in Seattle. If you’d like to watch their online shows you can check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/152681024925954/

Thanks for joining us from 1,000 miles away Ed 🙂

Indu told a beautiful story about how the closet was always her safe place when she was growing up. Recently, she made the choice to invite someone into her safe space. Instead of trying to get her to come out, he agreed to join her inside. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is meet someone where they’re at, in the place they feel safe. It might be inconvenient to do that sometimes but love and friendship aren’t built on convenience.

The story that surprised me the most was from first-timer, Silvana, who joined us from Bellingham. She and her husband are foster parents who have turned their home into a safe place for many kids over the years. I know I wasn’t the only one who got choked up during her story. I think everyone listening that night wishes they could have spent a few nights at Silvana’s house when they were growing up. I know I do.

Thanks again for all the support and patience you showed me and the tellers last Thursday. There were a few tech problems on my end that I’ll be trying to fix before the next show. The first thing I’m doing is getting a higher level account that will give us 300 spots instead of the 100 we have now. I’ll also probably ask people to register for each show so no one has to email me personally to get the password and link. You won’t have to open a Zoom account to attend a show, you’ll just have to register for individual shows so Zoom can send you the sign-in info instead of me.

I announced next month’s theme at the end of Thursday’s show but I learned later that everything I said was garbled so no one heard it. In the end, it turned out to be a good thing because this morning I decided I needed to hear stories about something else. So next month’s theme is “Silver Linings – Stories of finding good in the bad.”

It’s a theme we did three years ago and I think we could all use a few stories about silver linings right now. I’ll get the official invite out as soon as possible. The show will be on July 16 at 7pm PST.

I had to bump a lot of tellers last week because so many people signed up to tell stories. I’ll be getting some of those tellers in on future shows where they can tell the stories they prepared for last week. So if you hear some stories that don’t match the theme, that’s why.

Hope to see you all next month 🙂

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com