Dear Chew On This Storytelling Community,

It’s Cici. I don’t usually start out a blog post this way, but stick with me and you’ll find out why soon.

This has been a year of unexpected highs and lows, even for a storytelling series based on the question: What do you do when you are going through the unknown?

Since last fall we have:

  • Had over 60 guests share their stories
  • Traveled from the SF Bay Area, to Sydney, to Los Angeles, to Sydney again
  • Become the first storytelling series in virtual reality, by having a monthly show presented by AltSpaceVR
  • Held a monthly show at the The Marsh Theatre in Berkeley with our own jazz trio
  • Had an entire audience get up and dance
  • Done yoga as our pre-show routine
  • Created a Slack community for people from Shanghai to Spain to Sydney

We have also had team members come and go, had to delay some projects like our podcast and book, and have put live events on hold for now. Some of you may know that my original reason for becoming a storyteller was to share the story of my mother who has schizoaffective disorder, to help alleviate stigma around mental illness. We celebrated our first year anniversary as a show in September with the help of comedian/actress Kristina Wong, who created a one-woman show “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” which is a personal take on depression and how many Asian-Americans experience it without seeking help. As it turns out, my mother’s health is in decline, so I have made the choice to keep the Chew On This Storytelling community going, while balancing my family priorities. This means we will no longer have our show in Berkeley, but we are continuing with our show in Virtual Reality, along with some other projects.

It turns out that when you ask for help, people show up! I have been looking for people to join us who are passionate about inspiring storytelling. So I am very happy to announce that in addition to our ongoing support team, we have our newest team member: Maor Tiyouri. Maor was introduced to me by Shanthi Marie Blanchard, who had interviewed her earlier this year. Shanthi said I’d have to wait until Maor was done competing in the Rio Olympics before I could meet her. After I got over being stunned, I casually said “Great!”

If you don’t know Maor’s story, please check it out: “Strides of Faith”. She is back and while training for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics, excited to be part of our team. Maor will help me with some of the blog posts, social media, and some other projects to help get the stories out to you, in case you missed it the first time or want to hear them again. Please join me in welcoming Maor!

You’ll see our social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram: @ChewOnThisStory and you’ll know when Maor is posting or me (or another team member if we continue to expand).

We’ll share more about what we plan to bring in 2017 to help you connect with inspiration through story. If you have ideas or suggestions you would like to see, please let us know by emailing us at: ChewOnThisStorytelling (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks to everyone for your support, especially our wonderful friends and sponsors at Epic Coffee, The Writing Pad, Archetypal Musings, and many more. We had put our monthly newsletter on hold, and will resume it in 2017, so please be sure to keep an eye out and/or subscribe by emailing us your request, if you are so inclined.

Sending you good wishes, onwards and upwards,