See you this Thursday!

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick reminder that our next show is coming up this Thursday. I hope to see a bunch of you there. This month’s theme is Not What I Thought it Was: Stories of being under the illusion

Not only do I have a special guest who will be closing out the show, but I’ll also be giving away a great new book on storytelling because I accidentally bought five of them on Amazon. How does this happen?! It’s a mystery. But my digital misadventures are your bonus prizes. I’ll be giving away one a month for the next three months. All you have to do to qualify to win is tell a story. Whatever name I pull out of Mr. Coffee at the end of the night will get the book 🙂

Special shout out to one of our regulars, Dave Kreimer, for telling the author about me and Fresh Ground Stories. Thank you, Dave! Matthew Dicks, the author, mentioned FGS on his podcast and I couldn’t have been happier or more surprised to hear my name while I was listening to episode five. I was so happy that I emailed him and told him if he was ever in Seattle that I would get him onstage at our show to tell a story. Cross your fingers.

If you want to hear great advice on how to tell stories on stage, you won’t find a better podcast than Speak Up Storytelling. The link to the podcast is below.

In more good news, one of my favorite tellers, Bill Bernat, is producing and performing in a new show called Nearly Sober Comedy. This Saturday I’ll be telling a short version of one of my early stories at the show this Saturday at the Pocket Theater at 8pm. Tickets are $10 and you can get them here:

There’s also an opportunity for some of you to tell a story at the show. I would love to share the stage with anyone from FGS who has a story to tell about recovery. I pasted the text from their website that explains the show and what to do if you want to tell a story there.

That’s all for now. I’m looking forward to a great show Thursday. It’s a topic that means a lot to me and I hope it’s been bring up stories for people to tell.

See you soon!


Nearly Sober Comedy

Show Description -Have you ever had a problem with drugs and alcohol? Connect with laughter and community in an an hour long comedy show featuring comedians and storytellers in recovery. Join us whether you’re thinking about recovery or have been sober a long time. You’ll remember that recovery is not only possible it’s funny.

***Want to tell a story at Nearly Sober Comedy Show?***
NSC combines performances of experienced comedians and storytellers with an opportunity for sober community members to tell stories of their own (not to exceed 5 minutes). We’ll have four storytelling spots peppered throughout the show – for a chance to tell your story, please place your name in the bucket.

*What’s the difference between a story and a share?*
If you’ve been to a meeting, you know what a ‘share’ is. It’s an opportunity to talk for a few minutes about your experience, strength, and hope, or on the subject of the meeting.

You might not have had a chance to tell a story to a group before! Although a story might deal with a similar subject as a share, it has a few extra components:

-Setup, suspense, and resolution
-Polish or practice

*What if I don’t want to perform?*
We’ll only call on people who have indicated they want to tell a story – there’s no need to perform if you don’t want to!


FGS: Not What I Thought it Was – Stories of being under the illusion

Hi Everyone,

June’s theme is “Not What I Thought it Was – Stories of being under the illusion.”

I don’t know if I hold the record for most times being fooled in one lifetime but I’m pretty sure I’ve at least made it to the medal round. Work, love, kids, food, the more sure I am about what I’m getting the more likely it is that I’m getting something else.

Earlier this year I went in for my annual checkup and all my doctor talked about was how often I checked my moles. At first I thought he was talking about my lawn. But no, he was poking around on the top of my head like monkey looking for bugs. I thought all he was going to do was take my blood pressure, look up my nose, and send me on my way. Suddenly, we’re talking about hats? Now I need to take a physics class to figure out the proper angle to hold three mirrors so I can see the top of my head.

Even worse was is this meditation stuff I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year. Apparently, I have to keep doing it forever. I had this vague idea I could meditate for a couple months and then I’d be enlightened. After that I could move on to other pressing life issues like figuring out where that smell in the fridge is coming from. But according to the 99-cent app I purchased, there’s no end to this meditation stuff. If I want to keep getting the benefits I have to keep doing it. This was definitely not addressed in the iTunes description and I’m feeling a little taken advantage of.

Lately, I’ve been trying to write a story about my asthma. What I’m discovering is that my emotions play a bigger role in keeping me out of the ER than my inhaler does. I’ve been under the illusion that my ability to breathe is completely disconnected from my ability to stay calm. That isn’t listed in the fine print on my Albuterol but I think it ought to be. “Caution: Effectiveness of this product may be linked to your current emotional state.”

This revelation is actually a big deal for me. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now. It’s changing how I think about my breathing and how much my health is affected by who and what I let into my life. You wouldn’t think you could get a story about being short of breath but I think I might be slowly working one up.

Luckily, this month’s theme is all about coming out from under the illusion of something. Think back to a time where you had a strong belief that you no longer have. What do you see differently now than you did in the past? Did you change your mind about a person? A job? A belief system? How did you get from there to here?

Bring a story about how your eyes were once closed but now they’re open and tell it at our next show on June 28 at Roy Street Coffee and Tea.

Remember, if you bring a story, keep it clean, practice out loud, and use a timer to make sure you keep it under 8 minutes. Here are the rules & guidelines to help you get started. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

See you on the 28th!


Catch this storytelling class coming up

Hi Folks,
One of my favorite tellers is running a two-day storytelling class and I want everyone to know about it. Kent is a Moth StorySlam winner and one of the people I trust to know what he’s talking about when it comes to telling stories onstage. The text below is his so if you have any questions please contact him directly
Learn how to share “stage-worthy” stories that are genuine, generous, and vulnerable in a fun creative space. June 10th & 17th. $125.
We use writing tools from Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones, narrative improv games, the use of sense memory and terrific storytelling techniques to create stories and open creativity.

Thank you :)

Guys, you really surprised me last week. When it was 6:15 and there was only a dozen people in the entire coffee shop I figured I would have to either cancel the show or push a few chairs into a circle and call it a workshop. But suddenly, at 6:30, 50 people walked in! What happened? Did you all come on the same bus? By the time 7:00 rolled around  we had a full house.

If you’ve been following the show for a while, you know how much I love it when first-timers walk up to the mic. Last Thursday we had a number of them and I’m very happy they finally got up there. Gia has been coming to the show since 2010 and last week she finally decided to share a story. The story was about how watching her sister go through cancer treatment inspired her to become a radiation technician. Two weeks earlier, Gia and I talked briefly about how nervous she was about talking to a room full of strangers. As she walked onstage I was nervous for her. Afterward I asked her how she felt. She said she was excited to do it again! I hope she does. There was a moment toward the end of her story where she talked about how important it is to connect with people, especially if you have patients. Right after she said it the audience burst into applause. I think Gia’s future patients will be happy that she knows much healing is helped my feeling connected.

Maryanne told a very moving story about growing up with a classmate who was bullied in school. I’m guessing they went to school together in the 50s because it was heartbreaking to hear what teachers allowed and even encouraged back then. Maryanne is an amazing southern storyteller who has been performing for decades and her touch with this delicate story was perfect.

I’ve been hoping Maryanne would come by FGS since I met her a few years ago and I’m thrilled she finally made it. She hosts her own monthly story show which often happens on the same day and time as our show so I haven’t gotten to see hers yet. But that will change this week. I’m going to finally catch her show this Thursday at the Starbucks in Madison Park. She has all kinds of stories and guest tellers at her show so you never know what you’re going to get. I’m excited I finally get to see it and I hope some of you will join me. Click on the links below for more info:

Chris, one of our regulars, told a story that I think is one of her best. I remember the first time she ever told a story and I can’t believe she’s gotten this good in such a short period of time. Her story Thursday was about the time she and two friends visited the AIDS quilt Washington DC. I’ve known Chris for a few years now but this was a part of her life I never heard her talk about. She talked about how the quilt affected her friends and the promise she made to them that day. It was a beautiful story. Listening to it made me feel even closer to her. That feeling echoed what Gia said about connection earlier in the show and it made me feel like the whole night had come full circle.

Thanks to all the tellers who told that night and to everyone in the audience who gave them their patience and attention. FGS is where people learn how to tell stories and the audience is always so supportive in that. We get folks who have been telling stories all over the world for years and people who have never spoken in front of an audience before. It’s an inspiring mix for me and I hope it is for everyone else.

Our next show is June 28. The theme is “Not What I Thought it Was – Stories of being under the illusion.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can.

If you’re interested in seeing what kinds of other story shows are going on in Seattle check out the Seattle Storytelling group at the link below.

The woman who runs it does a great job of keeping track of all the storytelling events in or near Seattle.

Have a great June. Hope to see you all on the 28th 🙂


Two great shows coming up

Hi All,

I was out of town this weekend and haven’t had time to write my usual wrap-up and thank you email. I’ll get to that soon, but want to tell you about two great story shows coming up so you’ll have a chance to get tickets.

The wise and wonderful Danielle K.L. Gregoire will be doing one of her last shows in America this weekend and I hope a big pile of you can go catch it this Saturday, June 2.

She is one of my favorite people and a supporter of FGS (as well as former producer of The Moth and many other storytelling shows)

She’s doing something I’ve never seen done before, live improvised personal storytelling based on suggestions from the audience. I love this idea, and of all the tellers I know, Danielle is the only one who could pull it off. So go see her before she moves back to Canada!…/Soap_and_Other_Sto…/27489

The second show is the annual PowellsWood Storytelling Festival which I volunteer at every year. You know how hard it is to get me out of the house so it must be a pretty great show if I’m willing to drive up to Tacoma to see it.

Some of the greatest tellers in the county come out every year to perform in a beautiful garden setting. You could see these tellers at Benaroya Hall for a ton of money or see them up close and personal for $20. They also give workshops if you’re interested.

The all-day event is July 21 and the workshops are on the 20th. Click here for more info:

Remember, if you go to the show Saturday, not only will you get to see world-class storytelling, you’ll also get to see me and my son wandering through the garden emptying garbage cans. That is the job the good folks at PowellsWood give us every year and we are happy to have it.

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. I spent 12 miles of it paddling a kayak that might have been a bit too small for me. Do kayaks have sizes?? Am I an XL? I’m finally able to walk in a straight line now but it was touch and go for a while. Next year I might make an offer on the leaky, weathered rowboat I saw on the way to the marina. Right now, leg room seems more important than speed or seaworthiness.

Next FGS is June 28. The theme is “Not What I Thought it Was: Stories of being under the illusion.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can. See you then!