Winning stories about Ira Glass

Ira Glass, Benaroya Hall
Rumor has it that’s Ira Glass down there. It sounded like him, but from far away it could have just as easily have been Joe Biden pretending to be Ira Glass.

Sunday night Diana and I went with some friends to see Ira Glass. If you’re not familiar with him, he’s the co-creator and host of This American Life, one of the best storytelling programs on radio. There is some good news coverage on the show, but it’s also a showcase for commoners like us telling personal stories, sometimes amazingly well. I’ve known critics who say it’s a little too produced at times, with its cute musical breaks and the like. For me, I love This American Life. Story Night, the monthly storytelling event I host in Bremerton, owes some of its existence to it. The show is probably my favorite thing on radio, and for one year I tried to do podcasts that borrowed heavily from it. Continue reading “Winning stories about Ira Glass”

20: Corinne Nichol — Literally Falling in Love

Corinne Nichol took flight in her life after her divorce. She realized something else in her life after a brief moment that could have ended differently.

Corinne told this story at the January 5, 2017 Story Night. The theme that night was “Life After.”

She was the night’s winner. In fact, on the three occasions she has spoken, she has walked away with the night’s medal. She’ll be back on February 2, 2017.

Thank you for listening, we look forward to hearing your story.

19: Cris Larsen — Technically, it Was Probably True

sunsetAmid the turmoil and the ill feelings surrounding a nation’s decision to go to war, Cris Larsen found a way to bring peace to someone who had a lot at stake.

That only happened, however, after he had decided to take a short road trip to get family members away from the heat, only to land in the middle of it. It took some quick thinking by Cris and an action that, if he’s Catholic, might land him in the confession booth later. We absolve you, Cris.

Cris told this story at our April Story Night when the theme was “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.”

18: Genavieve Scott — On the Rails to Seattle

railsGenavieve Scott was going nowhere, not even home, in Minneapolis. She ran into a group that for a short time became friends. They suggested Seattle, but getting there would be an adventure. Spoiler alert: She didn’t make it to Seattle then, but given her telling this story in Bremerton and coming back to Story Night the next month, she made it eventually.

We can’t wait to hear that story.

Genavieve told this story at our July 7, 2016 Story Night event when the theme was “Great Escapes.”

Go to our “Events” page to find out when our next Story Night will be.

Thank you for listening. We look forward to hearing your story.

17: Denise LaFountaine — A Vacation Ride


On the other side of the world Denise LaFountaine found herself on a ride that ended abruptly and put her in a place wondering if and when there would be any path home.

LaFountaine’s story was part of the July 7, 2016 Story Night when the theme was Great Escapes. LaFountaine tied with Genevieve Scott for the night’s top storyteller honor, the first ever tie for Story Night.

A word of warning: the audio quality isn’t the best on this one. We’re working on it. Thanks for your patience.

16: Margaret Loveless — Might as Well Jump

courageSometimes an event we’d rather not experience encourages us to do something that can be an inspiring touchstone the rest of our lives.

Margaret Loveless had one of those experiences and told us about it on April 7, 2016. She was judged the top storyteller that night, when the theme was “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.”

Margaret turned that theme around, but we should let her explain how.

15: Story Night of Champions 2015

SNtrophy2015Every Story Night is a night to remember, but this one was extra special. We took our winners and a couple of others who had done well in the past year and put on a “Story Night of Champions.”

At the end we not only crowned the monthly winner, Josh Farley, we handed out a trophy to our “Storyteller of the Year,” Alison Loris. The night’s stories played a hand in creating the overall award winner, but Alison went into the night with a pretty big lead, based on her three wins and her participation at 11 different Story Night events.

The Kitsap Regional Library Friends of the Sylvan Way branch provided gift cards to our seven storytellers. Library staff also recorded the night’s evening. As soon as that becomes available we’ll post it here.

Thank you all for taking part in the Story Night events and for listening here. Thank you to my friends at the library, particularly Sarah Jaffa and Megan May, for all the work you’ve done to help us succeed. When we started we were drawing between 20 and 30 people a night. Now we’re getting 50 or more most nights, and I owe the library crew for most of that. Thanks again to Josh Farley for giving me the push to get this started and for getting the momentum going at first. Thanks to Diana Gardner, my wife, for the photographs from the events, for helping get friends and family to the event and for not resenting my wish to do this in the first place. Thanks to the Cloverleaf for providing a great venue even during football season. Thanks to the Manette Saloon for giving us our first home. Thanks to Mike Bishop for being our most frequent math wiz. Thank you to Alison Loris, for believing in Story Night enough to speak every month. She told me she feels a little obliged to speak, because she wants to make sure Story Night continues. I’d love for her to not feel obligated, but I appreciate that commitment.

This has been a blast. And it continues next month. On Jan. 7, 2016 we are back. The theme will be “Fear of …” We look forward to hearing your story.

14: Adam Lennon — When Life was ‘Over’

SNhallwayThis is a story about waking up, but believing your life is over.

Adam Lennon attempted suicide less than a year ago and soon found himself in a psychiatric facility. There he heard stories, including some he didn’t believe.

By the end of his stay he changed his mind about a lot of things, some because he had to, but others because he began to see things in a new way. A big part of that was trusting that once he left he would be able to find purpose in post psychiatric hospital life.

He did. You can see the evidence at

Adam told this story at the Nov. 5, 2015 Story Night. The theme was “Breaking Bread.”

The Story Night Podcast can also be found on iTunes and SoundCloud.

13: Shannon Repine and Sara Gowans — Taking Care in a Wonderful World

diFerryEven as our final days on earth render us less able to conquer all that we challenged ourselves to overcome, we find beauty and peace in those who are with us, the last good things to happen to us.

In this episode we hear two stories of caregiving, stories told by Shannon Repine and Sara Gowans at our Oct. 1, 2015 Story Night event when the themes came from those found in The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, by Jonathan Evison.

The stories are followed by a song offered by a remarkably talented woman whose talent was only discovered on a grand scale after she left us. Eva Cassidy performs “What a Wonderful World,” a fitting accompaniment to our stories and a perfect message as we approach Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays.

To learn more about Cassidy watch the story Nightline gave us a few years after she died.


12: Mike Etgen — Fishing for Legal Advice

fishingMike Etgen gives us some diversity in our Bremerton audience by providing a Southern voice. Mike got into fishing in his 30s. One trip down a beautiful river not only resulted in a great haul, it netted him some valuable advice.

This story was told at our Story Night event on August 6, 2015. The theme that night was “The Great Outdoors.”