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 🙂


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

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, “Of course it is. Do you know how many times I’ve screwed up my life by saying yes?” To me, yes is a four-letter word cleverly disguised as a three-letter word. “Say yes less!” is my motto. Or at least it was. Two years ago I decided to give myself permission to do anything that I normally would run from. (Well almost. I still don’t eat sardines.)

Three months ago I gave myself permission to be set up on my first blind date.

Result #1: I was notified by text the next day that there had been absolutely no spark between us.

Result #2: Realized that even at my advanced age I can still find new ways to embarrass myself on a date.

Result #3: My heart didn’t explode and get all over the cat. I woke up the next day feeling just as loved as I did the day before.

Earlier this year I gave myself permission to stand up to the director of my agency and demand to know the why he rearranged the the entire organization.

Result #1: He totally slammed me verbally and I got all red in the face. Right in front of everyone too.

Result #2: All the people I work with gave me props for having the guts to do it. I quietly started collecting boxes to put my stuff in for when I got fired.

Result #3: Six months later I still have a job. The director smiled at me the other day and asked how I was doing.

Last month I gave myself permission to be set up on my second blind date.

Result #1: Discovered if I treat each date like an open mic it doesn’t hurt so much when I bomb.

Result #2: Learning that being awkwardly and uncomfortably honest on a first date can be charming if you’re with the right person.

Result #3: I’m running out of out of secrets to share and she still wants to spend time with me. I feel like I made it from open mic to opening act.

That’s the kind of stuff I’ve been giving myself permission to do lately and I’m starting to think that I’m going to have to come up with a new motto. “Say Yes if the Given Circumstances Warrant a Reasonable Effort?” “Go For It As Long As the Worst Case Scenario Won’t Require an Operation?” “Say Yes to Be Your Best and Confess to Reading Herman Hesse?”

While I’m working on a new motto you can take the next few weeks and come up with a story about a time where you gave yourself permission to do something (or even not do something). What did you discover about yourself? Did it lead to taking more chances? Or did it teach you a lesson about thinking before you leap? Are you glad everything worked out the way it did or do you wish you’d done something else that day?

Remember to keep it clean, practice out loud, and make sure it’s under 8 minutes. Here are the updated Rules & Guidelines for telling a story at the show:

I hope to see you at the next FGS, Thursday, Dec 8, 7:00pm at the Roy St Cafe.


Thank you

Thank you everyone who came out last Thursday and supported all the folks who shared stories. Seeing a room full of strangers come together and be so generous with their laughter, patience and applause was just what I needed. And based on the feedback I got afterward it was just what a lot of other people needed too.

We had a great first-timer, Danielle, who reminded me of why I love Canadians so much. I won’t attempt to recreate her story here but I will say that if I’m ever pregnant I want to be pregnant in Canada.

Obie, who we haven’t seen in a while, showed us that there are kind people everywhere, even in the Namibian desert. Carl shared a story about what a quiet act of kindness in line at a grocery store can mean to someone on food stamps. Julie told us what it was like being abandoned on Mt Fuji by friends and then being accompanied to the top by a stranger. During her story she said there’s an unwritten rule that says you never hike faster than the slowest person in your party. I think that’s a good guideline for the rest of life too. What’s the point of getting to the top of anything if you’re alone when you arrive? One of the things I love about the stories I hear at FGS is how they resonate differently with everyone. I don’t know anything about mountain climbing but I know what it’s like to be left behind. Thank you for that story Julie.

Elliot, who has revealed so much of his life to us over the past few years, showed us how changing one word in the way you talk to yourself can change everything. He also showed us what happens when someone in your life stays by your side when everything is falling apart. Driving home after the show I thought about Elliot again and how much smaller my life would be without him. I only see him once a month at Roy Street because I live an hour away but I hope our long-distance friendship continues for many years.

Chad gave us our second hitchhiking story of the night when he told us what it’s like to thumb your way across the country as a 17-year-old without a penny in your pocket. He was our second to last teller but he had a wonderful last line. “It really was a safe, friendly world out there.” I know not all of us can say that about the world but it felt good to see Chad say it. I needed to hear that there are people in every state across the country who will make sure a 17-year-old kid has food to eat and a place to stay for a night. Not everyone gets treated that way but Chad reminded me that maybe one day we can all say it’s a safe and friendly world out there.

I’m going to try to convince our last teller to let me put his story online. Nathan closed the show with a story of a homeless woman running out in front of a semi to keep it from turning right and completely crushing the car next to it. Nathan and a friend were in that car and slowly being crushed between the semi and a utility pole. By the time Nathan crawled out of the wreckage the woman was gone. He went back to that corner many times trying to find her but never did. The most powerful acts of kindness are often the ones that come from unexpected places. Speaking for myself, those are the ones that made me change the way I saw the world. I hope Nathan knows that he wasn’t the only one in the room that night who would like to thank that woman.

Thanks to all the tellers who shared a story that night: Chad, Tracey, Julie, Obie, Rob, David, Carl, Mike, Lauren, Susan, Zoe, Elliot, Danielle, and Nathan. (I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone)

Our next show is Thursday, December 8. The theme is “Permission.” We’re looking for stories about a time when you gave yourself permission to do something. Or not do something. I’ll get the official invite out as soon as I can. I hardly ever give myself permission to do anything so it might take me a while to come up with something. Maybe I’ll ask my son. He loves to remind me of all the spotty decisions I’ve made over the years 🙂

In the meantime, take care of yourselves. And take care of each other. It’s never too late to do something kind and be part of someone else’s story.

It looks like the recording turn out fine so if you told a story Thursday send me an email and I’ll get you the audio.

See you on the 8th.