I hope to see you at the show this Thursday. Our theme this month is Cravings – Stories of Desire.
I want to share a couple of links with you from two FGS tellers who are out in the world telling great stories.
The first is a show Mary Anne Moorman is doing with the band The Go Janes. It’s stories and music. What more could you want? The Go Janes are a fantastic band who also happen to back up Mary Anne at this show as she tells stories between their songs. It’s a magical combination. I saw this show when they were in Olympia a couple weeks ago and am excited to share them with you. The show is May 20 in Carnation. I heard a rumor that they’ll also be doing a show in West Seattle, so keep that in mind if you can’t make this one.
The second link I’m sharing will take you to a wonderful story by Paul Barach. He recorded it for the Out There podcast. He does an amazing job of showing what you can do with storytelling if you have the courage to dig deep. Paul’s stories always challenge me to tell the stories I’m afraid to tell. This is one of those stories.
My 82-year-old neighbor rolled up to me tonight in his electric wheelchair. He saw me sweeping out the carport and stopped by to say hi. It’s always a treat to talk to him because he’s full of stories no one else in my life could have. Last summer he saw me scything the tall grass in the backyard and told me about how he used to scythe fields as a kid in Austria. Tonight, he told me about being in Pakistan in the 60s and witnessing the Pashtuns on horseback play buzkashi in a great stadium filled with thousands of people. It was such a joy to see him describing that moment in his life from 50 years ago. When he was done explaining buzkashi to me, I asked what brought him to America. He seemed to have such an exciting life in Europe and I couldn’t imagine what would make him leave.
“Paul,” he said in the thick German accent that always makes me lean in to make sure I’m understanding him. “When my first wife left me I cried four weeks straight. Four weeks!” He was inconsolable. Nothing could pull him out of his grief. It was only by moving to America and immersing himself in another world that he was able to move on. A few minutes later he laughed and said, “I don’t know why I am telling you my life story tonight.”
I knew why. He was telling me because I needed to hear it. Lately, I’ve been thinking about an old love in my life who I didn’t think I could live without. It was many years ago that we broke up but every now and then I think back to that time and try to have compassion for the young man who confused love with desire. There’s a big difference between loving someone and needing someone. If you’ve ever spent time drinking cheap coffee in church basements you know that there’s also a big difference between loving something and needing that something. One thing I know for sure is that the path to forgiving yourself for confusing those two is to hear others talk about how they’ve done the same thing.
It meant so much to me tonight to hear another man share his own story of going through that. When he was done sharing his story, he looked up and saw his wife down the street waving at him to come home. Tonight was their 33rd wedding anniversary. He smiled at me, waved to his wife, and rolled back down the street toward a life that I one day hope to have.
Our next show is May 19th at 7 pm at the Olive Way Starbucks. The theme is “Cravings – Stories of desire.” Come tell a story about a time when you craved something. How did it start? How did it feel being in it? Did you get what you wanted? If you did, was it worth it? Was it a job? A person? A physical item? A feeling? Was it everything you thought it would be? We’d love to hear what you learned from that time and if it changed you in some way.
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 theirs. 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.
Thanks to everyone who came out to our first post-pandemic in-person show! We had a great turn out and heard some fantastic stories.
I’m not able to do my usual wrap-up this month because my asthma has kept me in a pollen-induced coma for the last few days. Today is the first day I can breathe right and that means you can see me tell a story tonight at the Fremont Abbey at the Locally Fameless show!
They have a great show lined up for you and, as always, they invite three people from the audience to tell stories too. I hope you can come out and see me wheeze through my story. Special bonus if I have to bring out my inhaler at the 4-minute mark 🙂
Emily Pitts, who was the final teller at the FGS last last week, will be hosting.
I’ll get each teller’s audio from last week’s FGS show to them in a few days when I have energy to do the editing. Next month’s theme is “Cravings – Stories of Desire.” It’s on May 19. I’ll get the official invite out as soon as I can.
I hope you’re looking forward to our show this Thursday! It’s going to be the first in-person show we’ve had in approximately 200 years 🙂
The good folks at the Starbucks on Olive Way are happy to have us back and I’m doing what I can to make sure I remember how to run the PA system.
Think about bringing a chair if you can since Starbucks is still getting their regular chair/table inventory out of storage. Of course, they still have a bunch of chairs there but I’m bringing a couple myself just in case they run a little short. The show starts at 7 pm but get there early to either find a seat or get a good place to put your chair.
Our theme this month is Bumbles, Stumbles, and Fumbles – Stories of making mistakes.
Matthew Dicks, a multiple-time Moth Slam winner, has a great free newsletter he puts out with storytelling advice. Here’s is last week’s advice on how to grab the audience’s attention:
Say the suspenseful thing first.
In a story I’m working on for next week, I plan to begin with a line like, “The scissors hidden in my lap are sharp. Sharper than I expected. Now I wait for the teacher to turn his back so I can use them.”
The most suspenseful object in the scene – and perhaps the story – is the pair of scissors, so I lead with them to create wonder, suspense, and even worry.
Why are you hiding scissors in your lap? What do you plan on doing once the teacher turns his back? Why are they so sharp?
The scissors play a very minor role in the story, but I lead with them to grab the audience’s attention. I force my audience to wonder what will happen next. String enough “I wonder what will happen next” moments together and you’ve got yourself a story.
Let me know if you have any questions about the show coming up or FGS in general. Email me directly at email@example.com. If you reply to this email Meetup will lose it so you’ll have to start a new email and send it to me at that address.
One of the weirdest things I discovered during Covid was how much I missed making mistakes and all the adventures they led to. For the last two years, I haven’t shown up at a work meeting not knowing I had a giant rip in the back of my pants (August 2019). I haven’t offered to spot someone in the gym and then realized I wasn’t strong enough to save the guy when he couldn’t get the bar off his chest (June 2016). I haven’t accepted a gig to do an hour-long comedy tour for a busload of tourists and then find out none of them spoke English (1994). And I definitely didn’t get chased out of town by a shipload of sailors after a show in Astoria, Oregon (1998).
Now that I’m finally getting out of the house I’m really looking forward to getting back to crafting a life of thoughtless errors and awkward moments. It’s really what I love most about life. Who are these weirdos who think before they speak and look before they leap? They are not my people. On April 21, we’re looking for 8-10 blurters and non-looking leapers to tell a story on this month’s theme, “Bumbles, Stumbles, and Fumbles – Stories of making mistakes.”
Come tell a story about a mistake you’ve made in life and how you worked your way out of it. Did it teach you something about yourself? Did you keep making that same mistake or did that one moment change your life forever? Here’s your chance to show how mistakes can be great teachers and great stories.
Don’t forget this is your chance to tell a story live on stage! We’re back at our old venue, the Olive Way Starbucks. They might not have quite enough chairs for us because they put a lot of their stuff in storage during Covid. So if you’re able, please consider bringing a chair for yourself.
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.