Before Covid hit, I was thinking that I’d already been through all the really hard times I was going to have in life. Both of my parents passed away decades ago, I have a job that’s reasonably secure, my son made it to adulthood and is starting on a career he loves. I was kinda thinking that I would just gracefully slide into a life of telling stories and puttering around the yard. I don’t know exactly what puttering is but it sounds relaxing and I was looking forward to it.

Then Covid sent us all into a two-year spiral of fear and anxiety. I’m always up for a fight but how do you fight general malaise? So now I get to add 2020-2022 to the list of Really Hard Things I’ve Had To Do. For our next show on March 17, I’d love to hear stories about something hard you had to get through. Tell us about a time when you walked through the fire and came out the other side almost surprised that you made it. Think of one big thing you survived and tell us what happened and how it changed you. It doesn’t have to be the absolute hardest thing ever but it should be hard enough to be storyworthy.

If all goes well, we’ll have a special guest teller that night who I’ve been asking to tell one story in particular that fits this theme perfectly. It’s about one night in his life that he’ll never forget. After you hear it, you won’t forget it either. I have a little over three weeks to beg, bribe, and coax him to tell this story. Wish me luck.

Remember to practice your story out loud on as many people as possible and time yourself when you’re doing it. All stories have to be under 8 minutes. Stories can be as short as you want but not over 8 minutes. If your story goes long, someone else who practiced for weeks might not get a chance to tell. Stories also have to be clean in both language and content. Send me an email or give me a call if you have any questions about that.

The rest of the rules and guidelines are below:

Workshops are a great way to get feedback on a story you’re working on. Here is one I highly recommend:  https://www.meetup.com/Fresh-Ground-Stories-Storytelling-Workshop/

Here are four short articles by one of my favorite storytellers with all kinds of good advice on the kind of stories we’re looking for at FGS:
https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/?p=cc29027b8cd8
https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/how-to-structure-a-funny-story-d1730535f81b
https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/this-is-a-boring-shark-attack-8-rules-for-fascinating-storytelling-3b9d2bab6dca
https://jeff-simmermon.medium.com/this-ice-cream-will-heal-your-heartbreak-how-to-find-your-storys-north-star-b818f50250ab

I’m also happy to help people with their stories. Send me an email and we can set up a phone call.

This is the best book I’ve ever read on personal storytelling:

Here is a short piece by the author of the book on what questions to ask yourself when you start working on a story (it’s about halfway down the blog post): https://mailchi.mp/104f63f44a5a/you-should-be-able-to-answer-this-question-before-ever-telling-your-story?e=a4dd06ea14

We’ll be on Zoom again one last time. Now is a great time for our out-of-town tellers to share more stories with us. Hopefully, for our April show we’ll be back at our regular Starbucks on Olive Way. Cross your fingers!

I’ll send out the Zoom link to everyone on the Monday before the show which is March 14th.

I hope to see a bunch of you on the 17th!

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com