Folk Stories

9: Telling Stories with Paul Currington

November 19th, 2018 (93 minutes)

Paul Currington runs the Fresh Ground Stories(FGS) meetup in Seattle. If you're not familiar with FGS, its a meetup that comes together ones a month to share personal stories (based off "The Moth"). Every month, there's a theme and people tell stories based on that theme. Anyone can go up on stage and tell a story, provided that they are true, personal and under 8 minutes.

I've gone to a couple of these events and have always been struck at how raw some of these stories can get. I also told two stories at FGS and found the audience there to be overwhelmingly supportive and kind hearted. I've been wanting to talk to Paul ever since I started this podcast because I think the work that he does, both in telling his stories and enabling others to tell theirs, is incredibly important and has touched the lives of many people, myself included.

Paul has a history in stand-up comedy and has done that for over a decade before switching over to storytelling. He was drawn to the format because he found it to be a richer medium in which to tell stories that were not just black and white. Paul is a man of many stories and a lot of them center around the theme of mental health and depression (themes which we will cover in today's podcast).

In today's episode we'll talk about FGS, storytelling and why you might want to share your own story, we'll talk about the dark nights of the soul and how Paul got through some of the lowest moments of his life and what he's learned, and we'll talk about Paul's principles, how faith is a choice and how turning something into a story can be the start of being able to live with it.


  • fresh ground stories (FGS), what it is and how Paul got involved with it
  • how FGS brings out really personal stories from people
  • storytelling vs stand-up and how pro-life and pro-choice people can be moved by the same story
  • Paul's first memories of depression
  • what happened on December 2012 and life afterwards
  • AA and the 12 step program for depression
  • why Paul doesn't monetize FGS
  • how Paul started talking about depression publicly, starting with a conversation with his son
  • advice on talking to a significant other about depression
  • advice for people who want to help people with depression

Closing Questions

  • inspiration:
    • an African American musician who got a clansman to burn his robes through empathy
  • surprising fact:
    • Paul is a fan of boxing (life is punching you in the face every day and it's how you deal with it)
  • principles:
    • faith is a choice
    • if you can turn something into a story, then it's the start of being able to live with it
  • closing notes:
    • try telling one (safe) person something thats scary and see what that feels like