Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who came out Thursday and helped make it such a great night. We had so many first-timers! I love that. I hope some of you got to talk to them after the show. One of my favorite things about FGS is seeing people connecting with each other afterward.

As always, we learned a lot about each other. We found out that Kat is a speed demon and that training wheels don’t keep you from having a highlight reel crash when you’re five. You want to know how hard she crashed just past the driveway? Hard enough for the grownups to freak out and almost call the plastic surgeon who lived down the street. I love Kat but if she ever asks me to hop on the handle bars of her ten-speed I’m not doing it.

We also learned that you can be around someone for a long time and still not really know them. First-timer Michael told a story about asking an African-American woman to prom and what that would mean for a certain member of his family. He did it anyway and it turned out he was wrong about grandma. Isn’t it great when your family supports you when you thought they wouldn’t? My family has done that time and time again and I’m always grateful when they forgive me for ever doubting them.

We also learned that I have no idea how sexy a banana costume can be. First-timer Renee told us about the time the only job she could find during the recession was in the food court at the mall making smoothies in a sexy banana costume. I said afterward that I couldn’t imagine what a sexy banana costume would look like. Well, of course Cathy in row three did a quick Google search and showed me a photo after the show of Josephine Baker wearing the SEXIEST BANANA COSTUMER EVER. I hope Renee’s costume wasn’t quite as sexy as Josephine’s because the mall cops would have had to call in backup.

One of our regulars, Connie, told a story about how she hates to be called a lady and now I think I have to apologize for calling her that about a thousand times. Another regular, Chris made me wish I had met her parents, and Robert showed us what it was like to grow up as an only child in a family with seven kids.

If I wrote about how each story made me feel I’d be in this coffee shop all day so I’ll just end by saying it was a wonderful night and I’m proud of everyone who shared a story.

One person I want to thank personally is our guest teller John. I saw him tell a story in Tacoma a couple months ago and asked if he would be willing to drive up to Roy Street and share it with you guys. He’s a lawyer who defends some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The story he shared was about what it means when someone inside the system listens with compassion. Thank you John for telling that story and for being the kind of person we all hope is there for us one day.

Lots of love for our regulars who told last night: Robert, David, Chris, Kat, Connie, Carl, Lauren and Ginger.

And even more love for our first-timers: Renee, Chris, Stephanie, Christopher, Lesley, Michael, Scott.

I’m sorry if I forgot anyone. Those little slips of paper get away from me sometimes.

Oh, one last shout out to Kaelen, my 8-year-old friend, who was at the show and drew pictures of each story. Some people don’t like that I tell everyone to keep their stories clean because it’s a public cafe and we are there because of the kindness of the staff. I have no control over who stops on our one night so it’s important that we all tell the clean versions of our stories at Roy St (There are lots of places where you can tell your story with more freedom and I’m always happy to put you in touch with other great shows in the area. I tell stories in those places myself.) Even though we had some adult themes that night each teller told their story in a way that anyone could listen and be moved by it. I can’t guarantee that every story will be appropriate for every kid but I’m always happy to see parents and kids doing things together.

I will always understand if you want to take your son or daughter out for a walk in the middle of a story if you think it’s too much for them. I’ve had some awkward talks with my own son after shows but they were always good and something we would have had to talk about anyway at some point. I trust everyone with a kid will come to a show first and see if it’s right for them. If it is I would love to see some young people in the audience. Two months ago we had a 14-year-old and her dad each tell a story and it was very touching.

Our next show is February 23. The theme is “Figuring it Out – Stories of discovering something about yourself.” I’ll send out the invite as soon as I can. I just checked the recorder and it looks like everything got taped. Send me an email if you’d like the audio of the story you told. Most people don’t want their stuff on the internet so I only give the audio to people who told a story and it’s only of the story they told.

I hope to see a bunch of you on the 23rd!

Take care,


KUOW is looking for stories

One of the producers at KUOW just asked if I would let my FGS people know that they’re looking for personal stories for a new podcast called How’s Your Day? The tagline for the show is “A Story You Don’t Know From a Day We All Remember.”

Both KUOW and KNKX have been really kind to me and supportive of our show so you can feel good about sharing a story with them. Shane Mehling is the person to contact if you have a story for them. You can write him at

Here is Shane’s text describing the podcast:

“What we are looking for is a personal story that happened on the day of a major news event. Ideally the story is not connected to the event – they just happened to coincide. We would prefer the event to be within the last 40 years and something significant (The Berlin Wall coming down, Princess Di’s death, the day of the 2008 election). For the story, it just has to happen on that exact day and it has to be that person’s story – not a story about someone else.

I think that is about it, but here are the stories that we have already done:

MLK assassination
Nelson Mandela’s Release from Prison
Oklahoma City Bombing
BP Oil Spill
The Death of Terry Schiavo
Mt. St. Helen’s Eruption
Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster”

They’re looking specifically for stories that happened they day the Berlin Wall came down, Princess Di’s death, and the 2008 election. They’ll probably take stories from other days too but those were the three they mentioned as examples.

I hope at least a couple of you have something to share. It would be great to be driving to work one day and hear you on the radio.

Take care. See you next Thursday.


Great shows coming up

Hi Guys,

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of you at our next show on the 26th. Here’s the invite if you missed it:

Fresh Ground Stories: Permission Slips – Stories of going for it

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017, 7:00 PM

Roy Street Coffee & Tea
700 Broadway East – Seattle, WA

103 Story Fans Attending

Hi Everyone,I have a lot of writing projects swirling around me right now so I don’t have time to write my usual invitation story. But I want to get the next show scheduled so you can get it on your calendar.Next month’s theme is “Permission Slips – Stories of going for it”Four years ago a friend of mine told me my favorite word was no. I said, …

Check out this Meetup →

In the meantime, I want to tell you about some great storytelling shows coming up in the next few weeks. They’re all run by people who have performed at our show and I’m happy to spread the word about them.

The first is from our new regular and former Moth producer, Danielle K.L. Gregoire. I love the concept of this show. Here is what it’s all about in Danielle’s words:

“Messages of Support is a storytelling show that focuses on true stories, where the audience is given a booklet of paper, a pencil and the opportunity to write a positive note to the storyteller should they feel moved, so at the end of the show anyone who has taken the stage can go home with an envelope full of messages of support to read whenever they need to be reminded of that moment when they took the stage and shared a part of their story with a group of people. The intent is to center storytellers in underserved communities, youth, and people who might otherwise be afraid to get on the stage.”

Super sweet, right? Head over to The Annex Theater next Wednesday if you’d like to see that sweetness in action.

Messages of Support
A Seattle Storytelling Project In development
First show
January 18th, 2017
Annex Theater
Cost: $10 but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds

Contact Danielle at for more information.

Big Tim, who started telling stories with us back in 2012, has started his own storytelling open mic in Tacoma. I told a story there last month and I had a great time. In fact, a bunch of FGS regulars came down that night and we all had fun. I’ll be there again this month as an audience member but hopefully bringing some tellers with me from Olympia.

Jan 25 at B Sharp coffee shop in Tacoma

Our good friends at A Guide to Visitors are looking for a couple more stories for their next show, “Without Training Wheels” Tuesday, February 21st. Email them at if you have a story about going out of comfort zone to try something new and exciting. If you don’t want to tell a story and just want to listen you can get tickets for the show here:

Lastly, on Feb 26 you can see five of our regulars onstage in a theater telling stories they worked on at FGS. Between the stories there are musical acts. The last show sold out so the producer is doing an encore presentation on the 26th. I’ll be hosting and trying to keep it all together 🙂

Feb 26 at The Jewelbox Theater

Bonus link!

Most of you know that Bill Bernat runs a free storytelling workshop once a month or so for anyone who has a story they want to work on. I’ve been there a couple of times myself and it’s always been a positive experience.

He now has a website where he’s interviewing local storytellers and producers about what they look for in a story. I don’t like posting stuff about myself in these emails but in the interests of full disclosure I should probably say that I’m one of the people Bill interviewed. Bill is big part of Seattle storytelling and a multiple winner of The Moth StorySlam. He’s a good person to keep on your radar and you can do that by checking out his new project at

Ok, that’s all I got. Sorry for the lengthy email and all the plugs but there are some great stories and shows out there and I want to make sure you have a chance to catch them if you’re interested.

See you on the 26th!


Storytelling opportunities

Hi Everyone,

Olympia got at least 4 inches of snow yesterday so I’m glad I didn’t have to drive home late from Seattle and end up in that. I hope everyone up north made it through without a trip to the auto body shop.

A bunch of folks wrote me to say that the link to Chris’s story wasn’t working. Here’s the corrected link:

If you need to get a storytelling fix before the next FGS show in January you can check out the links below.

I’ll be telling a story that I’ve kept from my family for the last 14 years at A Guide to Visitors next Tuesday:

One of our regular’s is teaching a 3-hour storytelling class on Dec 15

The Seattle Storytellers Guild is having their annual holiday storytelling open-mic on Dec 16 (it’s free)

And if you’ve never been to a live Moth show you have a chance to tick that one off your bucket list on January 5. Tickets go fast so keep that in mind.

Moth StorySLAM January 5 at the Freemont Abbey

I’m not affiliated with any of these shows so if you have any questions click on the links and email the producers.

Thanks again for supporting FGS and all the people who get up and share their stories. I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of you on Jan 26.


FGS weather cancellation

Hi Guys,

It looks like the weather is going to make getting to the show and getting home afterward pretty dangerous. I don’t want anyone sliding down James St and slamming into a bus on their way home so I’m cancelling tonight’s show. It’s better to stay safe at home than risk  our necks trying to get to a storytelling show. (I also have a sneaking suspicion that it would take me much longer than the usual 1.5 – 2 hours to get up there from Olympia)

If every weather service in the country is wrong and we don’t get freezing temperatures with 2-4 inches of snow this evening I’ll take the blame for being overly cautious.

We’ll go ahead and keep the same theme for the next show on January 26 so anyone who’s been practicing will still have a chance to tell their story.

In the meantime, I got permission from two of our storytellers to put their most recent stories online. Here is Chris’s hysterical story of her plan to find love:

And this is a sweet story of how Nathan’s life was saved by a mysterious homeless woman in the U-district:

I hope everyone has a great holiday and doesn’t spend any of it at Harborview. I’ll let you know about any other story shows over the holidays that don’t get cancelled for ice storms, blizzards, wind warnings or small craft advisories 🙂