After six years of regularly hosting an every-other-month, themed storytelling event among friends called Story Shuffle, I’ll be sharing my favorite stories over the next six months in a weekly podcast format.
From more than 200 recorded stories told at one of 36 live events held in houses and apartments, I am launching this as a project to learn more about podcasting and to give this storytelling event of mine a final goodbye. I’m billing this podcast as a ‘first draft’ storytelling series, as people regularly told their stories for the first time. It was authentic and fun and earnest. It’s something I want to see more of online.
So subscribe on iTunes or on your podcatcher of choice (or on the Story Shuffle website). Let me know if you can’t find it somewhere you want it.
Below I shared a few notes of what I already learned, though I know I’ll have plenty more lessons after the project is over.
For as long as I remember, I was proud of being someone whose default response was YES. It was the right mind frame for my teens and 20s. But I turned 30 last year. And I now I want to get better at the other side of that spectrum: saying no.
So I made it one of my 2017 resolutions: to say NO more often. Though I hope to do lots with that perspective, it will come down to focusing my attention.
This is my pledge to myself that I will say no, that I will limit what I do and agree to so that I only focus on what I can do well. That means I will have to say no to things I care about.
One of the clearest ways I’m doing that is by dropping and limiting my existing extra curricular activities, while being far choosier about any I add. Understand: this does not mean I don’t have interest in these or other issues. This means I’m focusing on what I can provide unique value to and fits me now.
I’m aiming to take this more into my day job (so I don’t let my office get as cluttered and messy as it was in the header photo from early 2015) but for the first clearest way to show my progress, I wanted to share what I’ve already set in motion.
Since May 2010, I’ve organized a regular storytelling event among friends called Story Shuffle. Each of the last four years I’ve brought a few of my friends together to record a Story Shuffle during the Philadelphia Podcast Festival.
It happened again.
The event is organized by Nathan Kuruna, an audiophile and photographer — the above photo and these on Facebook (all podfest photos from him here) are from him via his Click Save Photography shop, so give him a look. Earlier this month, the fourth annual was held in part at Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse in Kensington.
Below listen to the stories I told on Saturday, Aug. 20 with my friends startup savant Archna Sahay, art curator Uri Pierre Noel and documentarian El Sawyer.
There are ghost books and haunted places in old Philadelphia, but I am not here to tell a fiction. I am here to offer a warning. Scary stories have everything to do with patterns, of what is unfinished: loss, sorrow, missed opportunity and vengeance. It’s not really a haunting. It’s a sinking. Of knowing you do not have control over what is coming, of what is coming for us.
I am not here with a ghost story, but with a warning. Someone in this room is going to die before the month is over, and it’s because of me. I believe the only way to save ourselves is to recognize the patterns, and I have found a pattern. But it could also be our undoing.
Let me explain.
Story Shuffle 10 happened this month and the theme of Parents offered a handful of interesting stories.
See them all here or listen to mine below.
Another Story Shuffle, this the 8th, the one year anniversary celebration and a theme of Anniversaries, was held in my Fishtown rowhome last week.
I told the story of Voyager II, an un-manned spacecraft sent out 34 years earlier in order to go farther than we ever have before. Like other ships send to deep space, it had to get far enough away so it could be seen, a subject I found fitting for both the space program and our own depiction of ourselves.
Give it a listen below or find all the stories here.
For Story Shuffle 7, held in a fine rowhome in the Newbold section of South Philadelphia inside a beautiful and eventually stormy night, I told the story of my first hitchhiking experience in South Dakota.
My lesson: trusting in strangers is a great risk that often comes with great reward.