Thanks to everyone who came out to welcome us back to Zoom. When our first venue closed a few years ago it took me three months to find a place for us to tell again. This time, we had Zoom to go back to and we didn’t miss a single show. I was obviously a bit rusty on my Zoom hosting as I  inadvertently disabled the chat feature. I’ll figure out what I did before the next show so folks can leave nice messages for the tellers again. Chat room love is my favorite part of Zoom.

In spite of my rustiness, we still had a great show. We started out with Tracey showing us a chart that described the odds of someone getting married based on their age. I immediately noticed that my age wasn’t even on the chart. Thirty seconds into her story and Tracey had already told me that I’m going to die alone in an empty house and my body will be discovered by a delivery person. Luckily, things worked out for Tracey. Not so much for me. I guess I’ll have to make friends with the UPS guy now. 

Dawn, our first first-timer of the night, came next and told a great story about a haunted Harry Potter room she stayed in at a literary-themed hotel in Oregon. Was it really haunted? Who knows. But Moaning Mertyle certainly had her way with her that day. There’s no other way to interpret being pelted with shampoo and conditioner bottles than to assume that Hogwarts is messing with you. Expelliarmus!

Beverly was next with a kosher chicken horror story that I will be thinking about for a long time. Who knew chicken soup could start off so violently? Thank you, Beverly, for staying up late on the east coast and sharing that story with us. Three people turned vegan by the end of the night.

Raney, another first-timer, told a sweet story of a friend who was there for her in high school and ran with her every step of the way when she had to run her first mile in gym class. Everyone needs a friend like that to help them push through the times when we just want to quit. 

Zoe was next with a story of all the lessons she learned from acting in NYC in the 60s. Zoe told her story with perfect pacing and energy and illustrated the second lesson in her story. Pretend you have nothing to lose. Imagine waking up every day and going through your life as though you had nothing to lose. Think what you could accomplish! Zoe also introduced us to a casting agent named Vinny Googliotti. Has there ever been a more perfect name than Vinny Googliotti? No, there has not.

Shreya, our third first-timer, told a wonderful story about learning to geocache when she came to Seattle and what it feels like when someone catches you looking for something you can’t explain. Turns out that in the end, sometimes strangers are the treasures we’re searching for. Shreya just discovered us last month and I’m so happy she’s already telling stories. This only happens because we have the most supportive audiences I’ve ever seen. Thank you all for making it such a great place for people like Shreya to tell their first stories 🙂

Gretchen, who has been all over Seattle stages telling stories lately, was up next with a story of slowly losing her dad to Alzheimer’s. I hope we all take the time to say what we need to say to the people we love. If you’re lucky like Gretchen, you might get a moment with your dad where you see through the disease to the person inside. You never know when the last time is the last time. 

Matias, another first-timer, was next with a story of almost losing his mind during Covid isolation. I think I could have told Matias’ story myself with how much his state of mind mirrored my own during the beginning of the pandemic. Is there a helpline for existential crises? An ER for dark thoughts? There should be. I’m glad you survived, Matias. I would love for you to come back and tell more stories with us.

Deborah was next with a beautiful story about gratitude for finding storytelling and everything she’s gained from sharing her stories over the years. She said telling stories changes how she sees the world. I couldn’t agree more. Not only that, but it’s a great way to share your life with the world. Deborah, by the way, helps run 7Stories a great new storytelling show in Burien. Check it out when you have a chance. The more places we have to tell stories the better we get at telling stories. http://burienculturehub.org/7stories

Stephanie was our final teller. She told the story of hosting her son’s 19th birthday party, a year after he took his own life. It was a story of gratitude for all the people who showed up to share that day with her. There’s a moment in her story where she and her friends wrote messages to her son and attached them to balloons that they released into the sky. I’m still thinking about all those messages floating up into the sky. It was a beautiful moment in a heartbreaking story. Sometimes that’s what stories give us. A moment of beauty, a minute of respite from the pain we’re living with. Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your story and reminding us of that.

Our next show is August 18th. The theme is “Best Intentions.” It’ll probably be on Zoom again unless something magical happens and I find a new place for us in the next couple of weeks. I have lots of places to check out and lots of people to call and we’ll be back together in person as soon as I can make it happen. FGS will always be free for everyone so I’m looking for places that won’t charge us. In the meantime, we’ll keep it on Zoom and get to hear stories from around the country 🙂

Take care.

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

See you on the 18th!

Paul

Freshgroundstories at gmail dot com