We love stories. That’s why we read, and that’s why a lot of us write. Well, why not revel in the original storytelling instrument — the human voice?

On Monday, October 20, Traverse City’s own storytelling event, Here:Say Storytelling, returns for its 2014-2015 season. On the third Monday of each month, at the InsideOut Gallery beginning at 7pm, come to experience first-person, true stories.

Here:Say’s founder, local writer Karen Stein, explains why she created the event. And when you’re ready for more information, check out Here:Say’s website and Facebook page.

Why I Started Here:Say

By Karen Stein

“Have you met Karen? She’s a writer.” I had to put my mouth so close I was practically licking his ear when I repeated “Writer. Writer. Writer,” until I finally gave up and pantomimed typing. He asked what I write about. I told him. He gave me the thumbs up, the real live version of that ubiquitous online symbol that, at least in my mind, denotes “I heard what you said, and now we are done talking about that.”

I wasn’t offended. It was a crowded bar with a loud band playing, and this wasn’t the setting to have an in-depth dialogue about my clients. But that wasn’t the only reason I was grateful he shut down that conversation.

“Have you met Karen? She’s a writer.” Is that what I am?

Based on the stories I told at the first season of Here:Say, Traverse City’s only live storytelling show, you’d know that I’m also—in order of their telling—a Cubs fan whose uncle used to own the White Sox whose father died of a heart attack in Mexico, who loves driving around to look at Christmas lights, whose one job interview was interrupted by a bird flying into the window, who adopted a dog that I didn’t realize was a pit bull, who drove with her mother from central Mexico to Traverse City, and who once got so overwhelmed in graduate school that she was sent to what she likes to call “panic camp.”

Our inclination to distill ourselves and others into the most basic information—even when not in the midst of a loud band playing in a crowded club—represents a lot of why I started the monthly Here:Say storytelling show. Stories are where we connect to one another and see each other as people with experiences that explain who, how, and why we are. In the first season of Here:Say, we got to laugh and cry along with storytellers as they related where they have been and where they are going.

Here:Say’s second season promises more of the same. Themes for this new season will include stories about food, music, diary entries and letters from the dusty past, home, that which is to be thankful for (or not), and that which is forbidden.

Never been to a show? Podcasts of the first season are available at heresaystorytelling.com. Here:Say is always on the lookout for more performers to take the microphone and tell their stories at one of the monthly shows. Interested performers should send an email to [email protected].

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