Nothing Better

I am sitting in an elegantly appointed club car on an antique train, rocking gently around the Puget Sound at the foot of the Cascade mountains. The sun is setting over the water. It has been 3 years since I’ve been able to afford to leave Chicago to travel, and am presently in the midst of an economy-is-the-mother-of-luxury vacation, in which I am determinedly visiting as many of my west-coast relatives as I can while I can afford to be out here near them. This means I get to see eyes and touch hands with my loves in Washington, Northern and Southern Oregon, the California Bay Area and Los Angeles, and Tucson, Arizona. And the many stops mean that I am taking the train, which in turn means that I get to experience the peace and exhilaration of taking the time it takes to move from one place to another, and to see the distance in between.

The train is amazing. After growing up in a family whose primary religion was storytelling, the train was the first place I fell in love with hearing strangers’ stories, at age 16. It struck me then, and continues to prove true, that given the closed context of nowhere-else-to-go-and-nothing-better-to-do, strangers tend to open up and tell each other the truth on truth on trains. And given that kind of honestly, it’s remarkable how much we all have in common.
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I have never fully understood what magic is responsible for the serendipity that people end up feeling about train conversations. Strangers hug and wave goodbye to each other after train talks like the other person is a gift and a strange miracle, having been the relevant answer and perfect remedy to whatever they needed met. Maybe there is something graceful that rewards our openness and trust with such synchronicity. Or maybe we are all always this relevant to one another’s lives, and just happen to find it out, when we open up and extend a little trust. I think it’s probably some of both.

The love of this kind of thing is a primary reason I’m involved with Here’s the Story. And in the 4 shows we’ve had so far, I’ve been overjoyed to find that the same kind of magic seems to happen in these rooms where we gathering people together to listen and share… like there’s nowhere else to go, and nothing better to do. People say what others need to hear, and we encourage sharing this with the tellers when it happens because it’s a great reward to hear from the audience that a story connected. Without dictating the themes of our evenings deeper themes emerge spontaneously.

Our mix of featured and walk-up tellers is kind of awesome too, I feel. In that it brings together craft and the element of surprise. If you have a story that’s pulling on you to tell it, bring it to our September show on the 14th! I promise you someone needs to hear it.

Our features, as always, are people that we find inspiring and wonderful in some way. Artists, teachers, activists, community leaders, professional storytellers… gathered from many different circles so that you get to hear from people you might not normally cross paths with. All of them are people that inspire us, and who we want to share with you.

Each month we like to introduce our features to you ahead of time here, so that you can be excited with us. So here they are. We have an amazing line-up in September, including Professors, Playwrights, and Permaculturists! Our featured tellers on September 14th will be:

Arlene Malinowski
Joe Janes
Aaron Carter
Stephanie Douglass
and Jennifer Burns!

I know. Fantastic. We are lucky, and we are grateful. Mighty mighty, both.

Stay tuned for photos and bios of these good people!

Looking forward to seeing you all on the 14th!


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