Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the show last week. Yes, all 150+ of you. It was our biggest turnout ever. If you were there you’ll know we learned some important things that night:

1. Never go to Costco with Renata. She nearly derailed the entire Mideast peace process over by the VitaMix demo.

2. If you ever overdose on St. John’s Wart you should go to the emergency room and consult the janitor.

3. Gay square dancing is way more complicated than straight square dancing.

4. The phrase “Caramel Latte” is a great euphemism for almost anything.

Before I say any more I want to thank all the tellers who got onstage: Bill, Renata, Connie, Laura, Marcella, Erin, Ginger, Tracey, Taran, Kauni, Stacy, Vanda, Chris S, Tom, Chris M, Elliot, Norm and David. I’m grateful to all of you.

I’m also grateful for the people in the audience who were able to stay past 8:30 and support the folks who practiced their story all month and weren’t able to get up before our usual ending time.

I did let the show go longer than usual, almost an hour longer. I’m going to keep it to our regular 90 minutes in the future so no one has to decide whether to stay for one more story or go home and pay the babysitter. An hour and a half feels like the perfect length so we’ll stick to that as much as we can. I know it was crowded and I’m not sure what to do about that but the energy was great and it was a perfect start to the new year.

I do have an audio recording of everyone’s story. If you want a copy of yours email me and I’ll get it out to you. I only give out recordings to the person who told the story because most stories are pretty personal and the tellers don’t want the on the internet. Sometimes I’ll post a story on our Facebook page if I have permission.

If you have a story you’d like to tell that’s longer than eight minutes or simply isn’t a good fit for FGS there are two other great places to tell stories:

Contact them to see how to get on their shows. They are good people. Lots of folks from FGS end up telling at both those shows. The Seattle Storytellers Guild page has lots of other links and resources for either listening to live stories or telling them:

Ok, that’s all for now. Give me a few days to get the official invite out for our next show on February 26. The theme is The Best Bad Thing – Stories of Bad Things That Turned Out Good.

Let me know if you have any questions. See you on the 26th :)


Fresh Ground Stories: Starting Over – Stories of Second Chances

There are few things that make me feel better about life than getting a second chance. I always assume that I have one chance at anything and if I mess it up it I’m done for good. But every now and then I’m reminded that the world is full of second chances and that sometimes my number comes up and I get another shot.

The first time I remember someone giving me a second chance was back in ‘94 or ‘95. I had said something rude or sarcastic to my friend Sarah and I knew I had to go back and apologize. I waited a day and then another day and then another day after that. I desperately wanted to apologize because she was a good friend and I knew I owed it to her but I kept putting it off because I was convinced she was going to end the friendship the next time she saw me. As bad as I felt for saying whatever it was I said I felt even worse about being told to my face that I wasn’t worth the trouble anymore.

Finally, I slunk back to her house and apologized. She said, “That’s ok. I figured you were just having a bad day.” What?! How could this be?? She had me dead to rights and let me off scot free.

Sarah, I am sure, does not remember this. And even though I had certainly been given second chances before in life this was the first time I remember feeling that I probably didn’t deserve one and got it anyway.

And that is the theme for our next show: Starting Over – Stories of Second Chances. Tell us a story about getting a second chance or simply starting over and what it’s meant to you ever since.

Remember to practice out loud on friends or pets and keep it under 8 minutes.

The rules for stories are below but you know the kind we’re looking for: true stories that happened to you that still mean something to you days, months or years later.

Rules & Guidelines:

I hope to see you at our next show on Thursday, January 22, 7:00pm at the Roy St Cafe.


You Got This

From Cyan James:

You know that moment when you realize things maybe aren’t really OK? That you, or someone you really care about, is struggling? And you don’t know what to do. But somehow you keep going.

Let’s not pretend it easy. But let’s talk about how amazing that is—we somehow find the little moments to keep us going, and maybe it’s not completely OK, but it’s more OK, and we go on…

Please join us for an evening of stories about those moments. We’ll have a featured group of seasoned storytellers go first, and then will be the open mic when it could be your turn on stage.

We’re looking for your true stories five minutes or under, practiced ahead of time or told in the moment. If this isn’t your night to tell a story, join the rest of us in listening and in helping scrub away some of that toxic stigma that surrounds talking about the tougher times. We can’t wait to see you there.

7pm, Friday, October 24
Roy St. Coffee And Tea | 700 Broadway E., Seattle, WA

For more information, contact Cyan James at

Once in the middle of a Michigan winter I thought I couldn’t be any colder. Or more depressed. The heat had turned off, I’d lost a job I cared about, I couldn’t find a therapist, my best friend had moved out, and I didn’t know what was coming next. I put on the whole works: boots, double layers of stockings, my biggest coat, mittens, scarf, hat. For an hour I walked around the ice-glazed streets and watched the little plays unfolded in the bright windows of all the other houses.

I watched an old man slowly get up from his kitchen table. Steam rolled upwards from the spout of his kettle, and I imagined the kettle was gently shrieking. He poured himself a mug of tea—apple spice, I imagined. He cupped his hands around his mug and leaned his face over it. He drank slowly, staring off at the wall, and we were both alone, but he didn’t seem lonely. Watching him, I didn’t feel so alone either. I was still going to be depressed for a long time. It wasn’t a moment that changed everything. But it was a moment of relief and beauty I needed.

What moments have gotten you through during those wrenching times? Maybe you’ve wrestled with cold, heavy depression, too. Maybe you hear things no one else does, or you can’t see those ways you matter, or you just can’t turn off all the whirling, exhausting thoughts. But you kept going. You’re still going. Tell us how you did it. Or join us and listen to how other people did. You never know how much a stranger can help!

For this special storytelling showcase and open mic on mental health, we’re looking for ways you felt really challenged. What did you do? What helped you out? What do you wish others had known about you during that time?
We’re looking for true, personal stories that still mean something to you days, months or years later. I hope to see you at our next show on Friday, October 24, 7:00pm at the Roy St Cafe.

I’m representing an organization called Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS). We’re partnering with Paul Currington’s Fresh Ground Stories to hold this special event showcasing mental strength.

Rules & Guidelines:

Cyan, Paul, Eva, and the rest of us at ELISS and Fresh Ground Stories

Image by Daren Newman

Fresh Ground Stories – Being Humbled

Fresh Ground Stories: Being Humbled


So far this year I think I’ve been humbled about 173 times. That may seem like a lot but it’s less than my personal record setting pace last year where I ended up being humbled approximately every 15 minutes for 365 days straight. This includes sleeping. If there was a bump in Pfizer stock last year it was probably from my personal intake of Zoloft.


The good thing about all this is that I made it. A big part of making it was deciding I had to tell the story. I knew the last step was to try to make something beautiful out of the worst time in my life.


And that is what I’m asking you to do. Dig down into your secret stash of comeuppances and tell us about a time you were humbled. Tell us how you got through it and what you learned from it. I know this is a hard one but it’s going to be worth it. Every story you tell at this show will make it easier for someone in the audience to deal with their own humbling experiences. There’s nothing like shared embarrassments to make us all feel better, right?


Let’s hear it for the learning things the hard way! Humblefest 2014!


The rules for stories are below but you know the kind we’re looking for: true stories that happened to you that still mean something to you days, months or years later.


I hope to see you at our next show on Thursday, July 24, 7:00pm at the Roy St Cafe.


Rules & Guidelines:


Feel free to email me if you have any questions.




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