In this podcast episode, you’ll hear stories about a rule-following good girl making a stand against injustice, a woman who uses kindness to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation in Brooklyn, New York, successful communication during a near-death experience on a mountain road and a neighborhood coming together to protect songbirds in a time of crisis.

Today we feature four storytellers who worked hard during a Tell Us Something intensive storytelling week-long workshop. They shared their true personal stories from their living rooms, their kitchens, their bedrooms — from their homes —  during our first-ever live-streamed event. The theme for the night was “No Excuses: Stories of Hope and Resilience”.

We didn’t have full control over the sound quality for all of the storytellers, and some of them are somewhat compromised because of Internet connectivity issues. All of the stories are worth hearing and they are all incredible. Thanks for your patience with the limitations of live storytelling during shelter-in-place.

Our first story comes to us from Bonnie Bishop, who encounters a personality at work that has some interesting ideas about what constitutes professional attire. Bonnie calls her story “GREATER THAN MY PANTS”.

Bonnie Bishop is originally from Northern Virginia and moved to Missoula 3 years ago (site unseen) after working a few summers in Yellowstone National Park, where her love for wild things took hold. Since then Bonnie has gotten her master’s degree in Public & Community Health from UM, which has fueled her passion for health equity and social justice. Bonnie values authenticity, laughter, empowerment, courage, and swears by blasting Evanescence in the bathtub as the remedy for a bad day. Described by her family and friends as an Earthy Firecracker, she joins us today to celebrate Taurus season through story.”

Anna Stene finds herself in Brooklyn New York and is walking home one morning when she decides to explore an unfamiliar neighborhood on the way home. She encounters a man who engages her with a surprising question. Anna calls her story “Can’t You See I’m Wearing Headphones?” (or) “If You Must Know”.

Anna Louise Stene is an alumnus of the University of Montana’s Creative Writing program. She is a roustabout who collects stories and, by her own admission needs to get a job. A life long equestrian, she can fly fish off the back of her horse, but can’t manage to catch a damn thing. She currently straddles America with one foot in Montana and one in Brooklyn, casting for a home.

Katie Matthews and her friend Katie share a fantastic day out in nature, running up a mountain and swimming in a mountain lake in the wilds of Montana. Their trip down the gravel road turns nearly disastrous as Katie’s car almost tumbles off the side of the mountain. Ride along with the tow truck driver in a story Katie calls “Tow Truck Troubles”.


Katie Matthews has lived in the Missoula community for the past 14 years. She is currently a 6th-grade teacher. Katie loves sharing her passion for science and the outdoors with her students! When she is not teaching, she is guiding visitors down the Alberton Gorge west of Missoula in the summers.

In our final story, Becca Frucht rallies the neighborhood to save an important long-standing housing development recently inhabited by some very industrious tenants. She calls her story “Let it Stand”.

Becca Frucht is a self-ascribed “Tumbleweed Queen”, whose eclectic personal and professional journey has taken her from the red carpet to the Rocky Mountains. After a decade of big city adventures, she blew up her urbanite existence, to live and work on an 87 thousand -acre ranch, and has been exploring the intersection of open range and open minds, ever since. She is a Program Officer with AMB West Philanthropies, — The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Montana-based endeavor, where she helps support and evaluate West Creek Ranch, an inspired retreat and think tank space. Becca also moonlights as an amateur cowgirl, karaoke professional, conservation cheerleader, and unicorn believer.

Catio with Becca’s cats Aldo Meowpold and Ralph “Waldo” Emerpuss
cottonwood tree that Becca helped save