Peter 'Fish' Case: When one story ends, another begins

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Did you ever hear the old saying, "When one door closes, another opens"? It was Alexander Graham Bell that said it, but that's not the only part of the quote; the rest of it goes, "But we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." We like the first six words of the quote; if we simply apply those then we don't have to work, we don't have to exert any effort. The latter 25 words is where we need to apply our skills of adaptation. We need not get lost in what just happened; we need to focus on what could happen from that point moving forward.

Roughly two years ago I was going through a tough time. A door was definitely closing (actually it was being slammed in my face). Since standing and looking at a closed door was not an option, but still confused about where and what to do I began to scan the horizon. It was then I saw the open door and began doing something I love to do - tell stories and listen to stories. Fables was born.

For those of you who may not know, Fables is a monthly story telling event that happens the second Wednesday of the month at the Next Stage Arts Project in Putney. In the little over a year and a half that I've been doing it I've told nearly 100 short stories or anecdotes and listened to a hundred more. For me, story telling is my drug of choice when I'm not swimming, biking or running. Story telling is how I recover from a bad day, and what I do to hit the reset button. When I say "story telling" I mean the act of telling and listening. Every single time I learn something new about humanity and often gain a new respect for the species and it all comes through the mechanism of the spoken word.

If you've never attended a Fables, you would do yourself a great service by coming out on the second Wednesday of the month and taking in an evening. From the first four story tellers that included Don Cuerdon, Becca Balint, Steve West and Sarah Levine ... to the most recent five that included Sandy Harris, Bob Etzweiler, Dave Meeker, Johnny Caldwell and Charlie Richardson, these evenings are packed with amazing and emotional moments and plenty of great laughs. Stories that are told from a first-hand account almost never disappoint, and if you're lucky enough you'll come on a night when there's an unexpected story told that is drawn by random selection.

So, when that door was closing nearly two years ago, Fables found me and gave me something to pour my energy into. From crafting stories that tied into the stories that were going to be told, to researching and developing the themes that the stories are based on, it all allowed me to channel my energy into something that could bring people together and entertain and provide insight. I have made friends and acquaintances that I treasure; it's brought me closer to those friends that I've suckered into telling their stories. But perhaps the greatest thing of all, is helping those people craft their tale into something that can bring happiness to a room full of strangers. That is the thing that brings me the greatest amount of pride.

The next six themes are "Love" next month, March is "Sugar," April is "Mud," May is "Magic," June - "Lost & Found," July - "On the Road." Last month's theme was "Snow" and the very first Fables covered Vermont as a theme. Sure, we've gone down some rabbit holes but that's half the fun. Here's the best part of all: you can be a story teller; just go to the Next Stage Arts website and fill out the pitch form. I'll reach out to you I always do.

When one door closes, another opens. It's true. But in my case, when one story ends, another begins. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Peter "Fish" Case is a man with an opinion. He offers up a weekly podcast discussion that can be heard at www.theearspoon.com. Questions, compliments and complaints can be sent to him at fish@theearspoon.com. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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