See you tomorrow!

Hi Everyone,

I hope to see a bunch of you at tomorrow night’s show.

In the meantime, here are a couple of amazing stories from FGS tellers. The first story is from Erin in her first appearance at FGS. You can tell how much I love this story from my cackling in the background 🙂


If you’d like to talk to Erin about more of her adventures in Japan you can catch her here on Halloween:

The second story is from Sam Blackman who told one of the most touching stories we’ve ever heard at FGS.

You can see why her won the Moth’s Grand Slam this summer.

If you’d like to hear more of Sam’s stories you can catch him at his solo show at the Pocket Theater in November.


FGS: Never in a Million Years – Stories of the unthinkable

This month’s theme is “Never in a Million Years: Stories of the unthinkable.” Tell us about a time when you did something you never thought you’d do. Or lived through something you never thought you’d have to live through. Or maybe you always thought you’d react in a certain way but when real life came knocking your response surprised you.

How did you end up in that situation? What did you learn from it? Did it break you down or build you up? That’s the kind of story we’re looking for.

I don’t have time this week to write up a story of my own on this theme but I wanted to get the official invite out as soon as possible so you’d have lots of time to dive into your past and work up a story.

Remember to keep it clean and practice out loud as much as possible. Here are the rules & guidelines to help you get started.

I hope to see you on October 26 at 7pm at Roy Street Coffee and Tea.


Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported all our tellers last Thursday. We had lots of first and second-time tellers and it’s always a treat for me to see those folks find the courage to get up there and share a story.

We started off with a Little League story by Dan and the sad realization that he was never going to play for the Cincinnati Reds. I always love hearing Dan’s stories but my favorite part of his story this month was the effortless way he handled a sudden outburst from the coffee bar a few feet away.

Dan: You know, there’s something about baseball glove leather. It’s one of the all-time best smells –
Dan: -and cheese plates. Those are good too.

I almost fell off my chair laughing. I was so impressed with the timing of Dan and the Roy Street staff that later I asked all the tellers to say “cheese plate” whenever they wanted to use language that’s not allowed during the show. I might even start using it in everydayday life. In fact, on my way home from the show that night some cheese plate almost ran me off the road on I-5. Yesterday, I wanted to say to a guy in Target who was yelling into his phone, “Dude, don’t be a cheese plate. Take it outside.” If you ever see me selling t-shirts that say, “Don’t be a cheese plate” you’ll know where it came from.

One of the most surprising stories of the night was by first-timer Erin who told us about a night in Tokyo when she was at one of the lowest points of her life. Her career was stalled, she felt like a failure, and she couldn’t see a way out. Then, walking by a wedding venue, she spotted a giant flower mask in the trash. Is dressing up as a giant flower a wedding tradition in Japan? I hope so. Anyway, when Erin pulled that flower mask out of the trash and put it on everything changed. She spent the rest of the night walking through Tokyo dressed as a beautiful 4-foot wide daisy with her head in the center. Suddenly, the world not only looked different, it started treating her differently. Turns out when you walk around town dressed as a giant daisy people will start smiling at you. And then you’ll start smiling at them. And suddenly, life doesn’t seem so bad. I’ll do my best to post a photo of Erin in her flower costume so you’ll see what I mean. And this week, when I’m feeling down, I’m going to imagine I’m a giant sunflower.

I wish I could go into all the stories we heard that night but I don’t want to keep you guys stuck to your computer screen more than I have to. I wish you had been there to hear Obie tell the how much trouble a young boy can get into with his first pocket knife. I wish you could have heard Rich tell the story of how he helped bring America and the USSR closer together with his vodka-fueled impression of Ronald Reagan. And I know you would have loved hearing Sonny tell us about riding the rails as a 15-year-old in 1945. After two years of hopping freights around the country he was picked up by the police in New Mexico as a runaway and tossed in jail for three weeks. Hungry and tired, he sat in jail wondering how he was going to get home. Then one night he heard the most beautiful sound coming from the cells around him. It was all the immigrant farm workers who were waiting to be sent back to Mexico harmonizing with each other. That was 70 years ago and he still thinks about those young men in jail, waiting to be sent across the boarder, singing quietly to themselves. Thank you Sonny for passing that wonderful memory on to us.

If you didn’t make it to last week’s show I hope you can make it to next month’s which will be October 26. The theme is “Never in a million years.” I’ll get the official invite out as soon as possible.

The recording worked fine so if you told a story and want to get a copy of it send me an email. I only give out the audio to the people who told and it’s only of the story they told. Most of the stories at FGS are very personal so I never give them out or post them without permission of the people they belong to.

Thanks to everyone who told that night: Obie, Dan, Erin, Vidya, Sarah, Rich, Catherine, Moreah, Greg, Rebecca, Sonny, and Carl. (forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone).

If you’d like to find out more of what it’s like to walk around Tokyo dressed as a flower you can catch Erin at the Haunted Bingo show she’s running on Halloween:

Also, if there’s a good storytelling open mic in Tacoma now and their next show is October 18. It’s an open theme so you can work on any story you want there this month as long as it’s true, happened to you, and is around 8 minutes long:

If you’d like to see me telling the story I told two months ago at FGS you can catch me at the FAR-West festival this Sunday:

That’s all for now. Thanks again for coming out and supporting all our tellers 🙂


FGS: Silver Linings – Finding the good

September’s theme is “Silver Linings: Finding the good.” Sometimes I think that life is a constant search for silver linings. I have to admit that until a few years ago I wasn’t really concerned with finding the good in the bad. I wouldn’t say I wallowed in the bad but I definitely liked to splash around in it.

Sometimes I did it because I needed something to write about. And to be honest, writing about the hard times is easier and more fun to read than writing about the good times. I’m not a chicken-soup-for-the-soul kind of guy unless the story is written from the chicken’s perspective.

Recently, though, I’ve realized how many regrets I have. I hesitate to say that because I don’t know a single person who will admit to having regrets. They could be in the hospital with their legs jammed into their neck and they would still say they don’t regret skateboarding off the roof of their garage. I, on the other hand, have a whole house full of regrets. Seriously. I write them down on little slips of paper and many of them find their way to hidden corners of my apartment. If you were with me right now you could probably jam your hand inside one of these couch cushions and find something I wrote in 2009. It might say, “It’s never funny to introduce your girlfriend as ‘your old lady.’”

Yes, I actually did that. I thought it was funny because she was obviously young and beautiful. Turns out she didn’t feel that way inside so she believed from then on that I thought she looked like an old lady. I still can’t believe I did something that dumb. Years later after we broke up I wondered how many things I had said trying to be funny that she took seriously but never told me. How much of our breakup was caused by my desperate need to be funny?

Now whenever I think of something funny I pause for a moment and wonder who I might hurt by saying it. I may not wring every laugh out of a situation but at least I’m not going through life using my wit like a wrecking ball. I still regret hurting that woman but at least now I can say there are a lot of people I won’t be hurting in the future because that lesson went deep. One of the best things that came out of that lesson was learning how to be a better host of this show. Five years ago I would have tried to get a laugh every time I stepped onstage between stories. Now I I can walk up there after a heartbreaking story and just say, “Thank you so much. That was beautiful.”

Earlier this summer I took a big risk and asked my son what I did wrong as a parent. It occurred to me that I really had no right to give anyone parenting advice without asking my own son if it worked on him. It took him two days to believe that I wasn’t fishing for compliments. He first told me all the positive things he remembered from growing up and then when he ran out of those I said, “Ok, now tell me what you wish I hadn’t done.”

So he told me. And it was just as hard to hear as you think it was. Luckily, it wasn’t anything you’d call CPS over. Most of the things he remembered weren’t things I had done but things I had said. He told me how much it hurt when I said, “I can’t believe you don’t know your times tables.” All these years he had that inside him and I never knew how much it hurt. I do remember saying it and I’d give anything now to take it back. I wish I had found a better way to express my frustration that night. I have no idea how I can find a silver lining in this. How in the world can I find something positive in making my son feel stupid?

Right now the best I can do is be patient with the people in my life who frustrate me. I can remind myself that when I get frustrated it’s more about me than it is about them. It doesn’t seem like enough but it’s the best I can come up with right now. I’ve spent most of my life assuming no one remembered what I said. Now I know, thanks to a kid who still loves me, that a lot of people remember what I say so I better be careful what I say.

And that’s the kind of story we’re looking for. Bring a true 8-minute-or-less story about finding a silver lining in something you might otherwise regret. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big thing or a little thing. It could be something you did or maybe didn’t do. What was something positive that came out of it and how did it change you from then on?

Remember to keep it clean and practice your story out loud as much as possible. Here are the rules & guidelines to help you get started.

I hope to see you on September 28 at 7pm at Roy Street Coffee and Tea.