See you tomorrow!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re having a great month so far and that the snow hasn’t taken you anywhere you didn’t want to go. I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of you tomorrow night at Roy Street.

In the meantime, I found a great TED talk I want to share with you. It’s by one of my favorite Moth storytellers who explains how he comes up with so many stories. It’s good advice and something I’m going to try myself.

See you soon 🙂



FGS: Better Late Than Never: Stories of Finally Getting Around To it

February’s theme is “Better Late Than Never,” a phrase which always brings up conflicted feelings in me. Part of me loves the idea of forgiveness that it offers. But another part of me hates the idea that I or anyone can squeak something in at the end that we should have done years ago.

Is it ok that I didn’t start eating healthy until I was in my 40s? Yes, because I cannot imagine having the energy, patience and discipline to do it when I was younger. Would it be ok if the only time I told my son I loved him was on my deathbed? No way, man. That’s where he’d get to say “too little, too late, Pops.”

So I’m conflicted. I want to forgive myself and others for not doing what needed to be done sooner and I also want to be able to say, “Too bad, sucker. You had your chance and you blew it.” Is there a catchy phrase that says, I forgive you but I still wish you’d done it sooner? “Better late than never but I’m still kind of pissed and you should probably take me out for dinner” doesn’t really sing does it? It sounds even goofier when you’re saying it to yourself.

I’m curious what stories you guys have about “Better Late Than Never.” Do you believe it? Can you say it to others but not yourself? Bring a story where you finally got around to doing something. Did it turn out like you expected? Do you regret not getting to it earlier or are you glad waited until you were ready?

Bring that story to our next show on February 22, 7pm at Roy Street Coffee and Tea.

Remember your stories need to have a beginning, middle and an end, and for FGS you to keep it clean. They also need to be under 8 minutes. You know how it kills me to tell people we’ve run out of time when they’ve worked on their story all month. Most importantly, practice your story out loud as much as possible. Here are the rules & guidelines to help you get started.

Write me if you have any questions.

See you on the 22nd!


Thank you

Geez, I don’t even know what to say anymore. Last Thursday’s show was beautiful, painful, sweet, inspiring and about a dozen other adjectives. It was one of those shows that I didn’t realize I needed to see until I was seeing it. And it wasn’t just because of the storytellers. Everyone in the audience was right there with the tellers when they needed it. I know I gush a lot in these thank you emails but it’s very powerful for me to see so many strangers taking care of and supporting each other.

Not only did we have some fantastic first-timers that night we also had a bunch of folks we haven’t heard from in a long time. Paul Barach came back from a three year stretch out of town where among other things he frolicked with wild animals, started his second book, and hiked the Pacific Coast Trail. As powerful as all those experiences were, we found out at the show that he’s still grieving two people he lost during his last year in Seattle and were the reason he went on the road. It was good for me to hear that story because it makes me feel better about all the people I’ve lost that I still think about and wonder if I’ll ever be over. I know there’s no stopwatch on grief but sometimes it takes a story like Paul’s to remind me of that.

Keith, a friend of mine from Olympia who I’ve been trying for months to get back onstage, finally made it to the show and told a great story about the book he read when he was 25 that inspired him to save the world by not showering or washing his clothes. Ah, if only it was that easy my friend. My son would have saved the world years ago if that’s all it took.

Nate, one of our first-timers, told a story of accidentally shutting down an elementary school because he kept wandering around the parking lot looking for his car. The coup de grace was reading the actual notice the school sent out afterward letting parents know that the young man with poor memory and zero sense of direction had been investigated by police and found to be completely harmless. The two big takeaways I have from Nate’s story are 1. It’s good to know that law enforcement responds quickly to school calls. And 2. I’m not parking within 5 miles of any school because I’m the weird guy at the mall you see waving his arms and talking to himself because I can never remember where I parked. If anyone ever sees me screaming outside a Target or a Macy’s one day please don’t call security. I’m just a confused old man who keeps forgetting to replace the battery in his key fob.

Bruce, in only his second story with us, told the beautiful story of his first home run and why it turned out to be his last home run. It was one of those stories that snuck right inside me so I was happy when he gave me permission to post it on our website and Facebook page. Look for it soon.

Of all the stories told that night the one that stopped me cold was from a young woman who moved here from Boston and recently gave up her baby for adoption. It was one of the few times I’ve walked up to the mic after a story and not known what to say. All I could think was to ask people to talk to her after the show and see if there was anything we could do. I know she didn’t share her story as a way of asking for help but I didn’t want her to leave that night without knowing that there are people in this city that do care and do reach out when they can.

Before I let you go I want to share some upcoming shows with you.

I’ll be telling my Secret Trips to Portland story at the last AGTV show ever on February 8 at the Jewelbox Theater. You can get tickets here:

At least two FGS regulars will be performing at the Moth GrandSlam on February 22 and it would be great if some of you could go and root them on. I know it’s the same night as the next FGS but I can’t not tell you guys about something that makes me this happy.

Danielle K.L. Gregoire, one of my favorite tellers in Seattle, is teaching a class on how to produce live shows. So if you’re interested in creating your own storytelling show check out the link below:

Erin Popelka, the woman who told the hysterical story I call “Grasshoppers in Health Class” is hosting a great show that I can’t even begin to describe. It has a little bit of everything in it. If you enjoyed Erin’s story you’ll enjoy her bingo party 🙂

Lastly, Kacie Rahm has done something that’s been sorely needed around here. She started a page listing all the upcoming storytellings shows in the area. If you’re curious what other shows look like or want another place to tell your own stories please check out her Seattle Storytelling Facebook page.

That’s all for now. Thanks again to everyone who shared a story and all the people who supported them. I’m sorry I couldn’t get everyone up there that night. I know there were 3-4 names still in Mr. Coffee because we ran out of time. One of the reasons I’d love to see more live shows start up in Seattle is so anyone who doesn’t get on at FGS can share their story a few days later at another show.

Our next show is on February 22. The theme is “Better Late Than Never.” I’ll get the official invite out as soon as I can. I hope to see you there.

Take care,


FGS: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

January’s theme is “It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.”

I’ve always liked this phrase because it feels like another way of telling myself that I did my best. Instead of saying, “What was I thinking?” or “How could I have been so stupid?” or my usual goto line when I’m laying in bed staring at the ceiling, “What kind of an idiot would do such a thing?” I get to say, “Hey, you did your best with what you had in front of you.”

Luckily, a lot of things that I thought were huge mistakes right after they happened turned out to be okay later on. Maybe the reason I keep coming back to this phrase is because I need to remember to stop freaking out so much and trust that things are almost never as bad as they seem. Maybe all of my missteps and mess ups actually were good ideas and they just need more time. I’ve heard it’s possible that, with enough patience and the right amount of body English, we can change the trajectory of a mistake into something positive. That’s what the self-help books on my nightstand say and those late-night Amazon book purchases always seem like a good idea at the time.

No matter how your good-idea-at-the-time adventure turned out we’d love to hear the story. Bring a true 8-minute-or-less story based on that theme to our next show on January 25, 7pm at Roy Street Coffee and Tea.

Remember your stories need to have a beginning, middle and an end, and for FGS you to keep it clean. Most importantly, practice your story out loud as much as possible. Here are the rules & guidelines to help you get started.

Write me if you have any questions.

See you on January 25th!


Thank you

Thank you to everyone who came out to the show last Thursday. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the holidays without actually dealing with the holidays. December is always a weird month for me (and maybe for a lot of people) but listening to people share stories felt like a surprisingly wonderful gift exchange. Maybe that should be a new holiday tradition, trading stories instead of trinkets. A guy can dream, right?

We had two wonderful first timers onstage this month. Dana told the story of overcoming her fear of public speaking by accepting that, in her words, “you have to suck before you succeed.” I have a feeling that first speech Dana gave years ago in front of a room full of dogs wasn’t nearly as bad as she described it. But if it was, she’s come a long way because everyone in the audience that night at Roy Street could tell that her fear of public speaking is something she’s long since conquered. You did great Dana 🙂

Jonathan, our other first-timer, told us about the time he was falsely accused of getting mud on a little girl’s dress in kindergarten and how that lead him to a career in criminal justice. I don’t want to say Jonathan holds grudges, but it’s been 46 years since “The Incident With The Coat” and Jonathan’s old kindergarten teacher better hope she doesn’t come up against him in court one day.

Rich, one of our regulars, told the story of his travels behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany and John told his own travel story of his climb up an active volcano in South America. I have to say I do get a little jealous every time I hear about people’s international adventures. I’ve had a passport for over 30 years and it doesn’t have a single stamp on it. I do think that certain places I’ve been should have their own you’re-in-America-but-not-really passport stamp but what do I know.

Zoe told a great story about how shocking it can be to find out how the people you went to school with turned out years later. And Stephanie told a sweet, sweet story of her little girl finding the courage to do the thing that scared her the most. Catherine won the never-do-what-I-did award when she told us about the time she Superglued her eye shut. About two minutes into her story I think everyone was silently putting Superglue Eye Shut right at the top of our list of things never to do.

David’s story of being the attending physician when his boss and mentor had a heart attack was especially interesting to me because I could see him discovering the real meaning of the story as he told it. Sometimes you think you know what a story’s about but then you tell it live and suddenly you realize it’s about something else. I’m so lucky I get to be right up close to the stage when I see a teller going through that. I can’t wait to see how David rewrites that story with the new meaning in mind.

The story that broke my heart that night was Sonny’s. Sonny always tells these quiet little stories that make you lean forward in your chair because you want to catch every word. Last month he told a poignant story about a heart he carved into an old oak tree 60 years ago that’s still rising into the sky inch by inch every year. Last Thursday he told us about one of his friends who passed away recently and wondered if he would have to grace to face his own mortality as courageously as his friend did. It was a story that even though it ended on stage for us we knew it wasn’t ending for Sonny. It was a sad and quiet moment and one that I know many of us are still feeling. I hope you’re well, Sonny.

Special thanks to everyone who told a story that night: Niranjan, Zoe, Sonny, Ginger, Jonathan, Dana, Marty, Stephanie, Rich, John M and David, and Catherine. More special thanks to the two tellers I had to bump because we ran out of time: Rebecca and Dan. Thank you for understanding. I promise to get you onstage as soon as possible.

Next month’s show will be January 25. The theme is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” I’ll get the invite out in a day or two.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

See you in 2018!