Tuesday’s Story Swap at Port Angeles Library to feature volunteer’s disaster experiences

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Richard Seaman’s storytelling began unexpectedly.

As an early volunteer with the American Red Cross’ Disaster Mental Health Service, Seaman, a therapist, responded to catastrophes around the country.

“As new mental health professionals came on board, some would ask, ‘What do you actually do after a fire or at a flood scene?’ I found that telling examples from my experiences made things come alive for them,” Seaman recalled.

“From that beginning, I moved on to tell personal stories — coming of age, high school in nine different schools, foreign travel, non-war military experience — among a small group of friends.”

Now a well-known member of the Story People of Clallam County, Seaman will be the featured teller at Tuesday night’s Story Swap at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.

Admission is free to the swap, which will start with Seaman’s stories at 7 p.m.

After a refreshment break comes the open-mic section for others to share their tales. The evening will wrap by 9 p.m.

Seaman’s set, titled “The Power of Bearing Witness,” will include his stories of two men he met in his Red Cross work.

“One possessed a rare spiritual quality; the other saved the life of his young son,” Seaman noted. “Telling each man’s story is my way of honoring them.”

Seaman volunteered with the Red Cross from 1992 through ’99. One of the worst disasters he responded to was the 1993 flooding of the Midwest.

He was also a therapist in private practice from 1980 through 2000 in his home state of Massachusetts.

In 2002 after retiring, Seaman moved to Port Angeles to be near his son, Erran Sharpe, also a storyteller and therapist, and his daughter-in-law, Rosie Sharpe, a musician and teacher, and their young children.

The Story People’s Story Swaps, now held the second Tuesday night of the month, are always open to the public.

For more information, visit www.ClallamStory
People.org or phone 360-452-8092.


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 12. 2014 7:32PM
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