Thank you all for a great show last Thursday. On Saturday we only had one teller signed up but by showtime we had nine! As always, we learned a lot from the stories we heard.

Thank you Silvana for teaching us what can happen when you find out that people really do care about you. There are our biological families and there are what Father Gregory Boyle calls our logical families. Silvana found her logical family as an 18-year-old and it changed her life.

Thank you Deborah for teaching us what can happen when we get our of our own head for a minute. Deborah broke her diet and her moratorium on baking for Uncle Louie who was slowly dying in an assisted living facility. When Louie opened that tin and the aroma of those cookies wafted out into the room, he went right back in time to all those holidays he spent with their big Italian family back east. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to remind them of all the love they’ve had in their life even if it only lasts for a cookie.

Thank you Colleen for showing us how important it is to find one place in this world where you can relax. For Colleen, this happened to be falling out of a the sky strapped to another woman with a parachute. Some of us buy stress balls and some of us jump out of planes at 13,500 feet. That’s right. One person’s soft, warm bubble bath can be another person’s screaming night terror. Of course, what Colleen really taught us was that sometimes you have to do something others won’t in order to get what you need.

Thank you Gretchen for showing us how important it is to know why we make the choices we do. Sometimes the reason we think we’re doing something isn’t the real reason we’re doing it. And if we don’t truly understand why we’re doing something is it really a choice? I love the change in Gretchen’s voice at the end of her story. It was as though her heart took over the telling and the room shrunk down to just me and her. That’s what stories can do for us. They can make us feel they’re here just for us.

Thank you Tonya for showing us that with enough love and support you can change your life and end up in a better place than you ever imagined. Tonya and her husband changed their minds about having a child and it led the to a deeper love than they thought possible. What we want when we’re young is usually different from what we want when we’re older. It makes sense to change your mind about things when you yourself have changed.

Thank you Chris for showing us that compelling stories can be told about the smallest of things. Chris’s entire story was about putting together a 2,542 piece sumo wrestling jigsaw puzzle. How did she make us care about a jigsaw puzzle? She let us in on her inner dialogue. We learned how she felt about spilling tea on it and watching all the color on three pieces disappear. We learned how she found out that she could get replacement pieces but only if she lived in Japan. Most of all we learned how she felt about all her plans and dreams for 2020 being reduced to completing a puzzle. Chris is a master of telling big stories about small things. We can all learn a lot from her.

Thank you Carmen, a first-timer, for showing us that sometimes it’s good to say yes to strangers and experiences you’d normally say no to. One summer in Seattle she jumped on a rickety boat with a bunch of strangers and didn’t end up on the front page of the Seattle Times. She had a magical afternoon that gave her hope that the new life she was starting was going to be a good one. Carmen’s story made me wonder how often I only think of times that turned out bad. How much happier would I be if I focused more on the times when I took a chance and things turned out good?

Thank you Kristen, another first-timer, who told a story of failing a weapons test in the navy and how it led to not becoming the governor of Alabama. Kristen, I too will never become the governor or Alabama so you are in good company. More importantly, she showed us how important it is that what you want in life is really what you want in life. Her last line was so perfect I want to share it with you here. “I would no longer spend my life failing at other people’s dreams.” I’m glad Kristen found that out sooner than I did.

Our final teller of the night was Dave. Thank you Dave for showing us how stories of frustrating times can bring joy years later. I’ve heard Dave tell lots of stories but I’ve never seen him smile and laugh as much as when he told this one. It was about the time his six-year-old daughter talked him into letting her get a couple Guinea pigs which of course ended up running loose in the house. If we had been there years ago when he was getting out the power tools to dismantle a cupboard to get at those Guinea pigs, we probably wouldn’t have seen him laughing. But as he told the story about all the things he had to do to capture these Guinea pigs we could see the joy spreading throughout his body. What was once a pain in the butt was now a reason to laugh and reminisce. This is the power of stories. Thank you Dave for reminding us that once you put life in a story it can become whatever you need it to be.

Special thanks to all the people who showed up and supported the storytellers. Your laughter, applause,and chat room love mean a lot to me and everyone who walks up to the mic. It’s because of you that we’re able to share these stories.

Our next show is December 16th. The theme is “Not getting what you want.” I hope 8-10 of you have not gotten what you want at least once in life and would love to tell us about it 🙂

In the meantime, there are a couple of things I want to let you know about.

Dave’s monthly workshop is coming up on Dec 5. RSVP if you have a story you’re working on and would like some feedback.

https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/events/281976359/

Also, Tonya let us know that the next Ignite Seattle is coming up on February 17th. Ignite is a great place to learn to give short, compelling talks using slides. They provide lots of coaching and their shows are always excellent. At least a couple of FGS’ers have given Ignite talks and they both had great experiences. Check them out!

https://igniteseattle.com/

I’ll get the invite for the December show out as soon as I can.

Email me directly at freshgroundstories@gmail.com if you have any questions or want help on a story.
(I just learned last week that replying to my emails through the Meetup system doesn’t work and I never receive it.)

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com