Everyone loves a good story. They are the themes of songs, books, poems, plays, cultures, religions and history. The digital age and high tech has only enhanced the popularity of a good story as evidenced by the standing room only crowd at the second “True Tales” event held last October at Odie’s in Soldotna. The idea of three local writers and story tellers the next True Tales is coming Friday the 13th, “A year ago a couple of us Kaitlin Vadla, Jenny Neyman and myself got together and started thinking about the art of storytelling and how important it is to a community and music so we put together our first event last April, focusing on April Fools and everyone love it. So Kaitlin and I pinky fingered promised that we’d do it again so in October we had a scary tales event that was even more popular and now we are kicking off the New Year with our third Ture Tales Friday the 13th,” explained Pegge Erkeneff.

Two very busy ladies are again collaborating to bring the community more True Tales asked about the coming Friday the 13th event Vadla said, “Seven local people will each tell a true story from their life related to the theme, ‘strange but true’ befitting of Friday the 13th. The second True Tales event in October featured eight locals—Marcus Meuller, Sarah Pyhala, Bill Holt, Merrill Sikorski, Bunny Swan, Pegge Erkeneff, Meezie Hermanson, and Hedy Huss—each told a personal story related to the theme “scary stories.” In between stories, local musicians Katie Delcur, Bunny Swan, and Hunter Hanson added musical storytelling to the night’s entertainment. Odie’s was a packed house for both the April and the October storytelling events,” reported Vadla.

For True Tales founders, there is something powerful about storytelling. Inspired by storytelling events around the country like the Moth and radio shows like This American Life, the three women wanted to create a local storytelling event that provided a space where community members could unite beyond their differences. “While many kinds of conversations divide people, telling personal stories connects people,” says Vadla. “We’ve all had wild successes and fantastic failures. We’ve all had good and bad experiences that have shaped who we are. A story intimately connects the teller and listener as humans, regardless how old they are, who they vote for, or where they’re from.” Vadla spent time in college and grad school studying the intersection between storytelling, leadership, and psychology. “I define story as ‘a unit of understanding’ and see storytelling as the way we make sense of our lives, each other, and the world around us,” she says. “But, listeners are just as integral to storytelling as the tellers. Whether it’s nodding in agreement when the storyteller describes how she couldn’t stand her little brother growing up or feeling tears well up when the storyteller describes how helpless he felt during his father’s struggle with cancer, listeners give storytellers an incredible gift: space to be heard and understood, even if just for seven minutes. So to listen to some strange and true stories, head to Odie’s this Friday night. Grab dinner, a beer, a glass of wine, or a cup of tea and a cookie and listen to your neighbors recount strange and true stories,” said Vadla. If you have a story to tell, or know someone who does, message True Tales Told Live on Facebook and nominate yourself or another to tell a story that relates to the next April 7th theme: “lost and found.” If you’re interested in helping grow True Tales Told Live, email kaitlinvadla@gmail.com.