Every year, I sit on stage and listen to brave people tell personal stories about motherhood. And every year, I sit at the center of the stage directly behind the microphone. So every year I literally “listen” to these people tell their stories, as I cannot see actually see their faces as they speak.
Not that they don’t all have wonderfully expressive backsides… But it’s always a treat for me to watch our show videos and actually SEE what audience did as they listened to all the stories unfold.
I won’t can’t all of the videos – but here is mine:
And here is a list of links to the DC 2015 line up:
The 2014 LTYM videos are finally here! This year’s DC show was fantastic and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with everyone who couldn’t be in the audience on May 4.
I would LOVE for you to watch our show (and the other LTYM shows held across the country) – which can be found on the LTYM YouTube Channel. But in the meantime, here is my reading, “The Care and Keeping of Magic.”
Already starting to think about 2015…hope to see you there!
I am so incredibly proud of the 2013 cast. Their April 28 performance was nothing short of spectacular. I would LOVE for you to watch the show (and the other 23 LTYM shows) – which can be found on the LTYM YouTube Channel. But in the meantime, here is my reading, “Turn Signals.”
You know when you buy a sweater because it’s on sale, and it looks so cute on the hanger, and it’s SO cheap, but you don’t have the time or energy to try it on first? And then you get home and find out that the sweater was designed for supermodels and not suburban moms who don’t get to the gym enough, and it makes you look two sizes larger than you already are? Then it sits in your closet for years because you have this hope that one day you will turn into a supermodel and the sweater will look as stunning on you as it was meant to be? And then there is this afternoon when you are really cold and the sweater looks really warm, and even though you have to volunteer at school, you wear it anyway because elementary school kids don’t care about how bad you look in your sweater? And after volunteering you remember that you have to go to the store and people out in the world WITH EYES will see you in the unflattering sweater? But you don’t really care, because when you walk into Safeway you encounter one of the cashiers draped in a white sheet wearing nothing but black socks on his feet (and WHAT was THAT all about by the way?) And you think that in the context of Safeway that afternoon, your ill-fitting sweater really isn’t all that bad… And THEN you realize that the strange ringing in your ears is actually your 23-year-old self screaming herself hoarse, and now that she has your attention she’s begging, “why? Why would you do that? Why would you wear that hideous sweater out in public? Why? WHY? What has become of us?” And you know that you’re going to have to make it up to her by wearing lip gloss and earrings tomorrow. Then you buy a pint of ice cream and eat the whole thing with Cake Decor sprinkles because for some reason, it seemed like a good idea at the time…kind of like buying the sweater did.
So THAT happened today… How are you?
Sorry for the radio silence. The holidays were rough. I have a half written post about that, as well as two others that I meant to do something with in December. So hopefully I can finish those by the end of this month.
It’s been a long week of back to school transitions (my kids) and recovery from a nasty virus (me) and some other stuff I’ll write about later.
For now, I’d love for you to check out the fantastic readings from our show. Each one holds a warm and fuzzy corner in my heart. They’ll make you laugh, cry and think – and possibly even consider auditioning for a show (or – gasp – hosting one in your own city)!
You can read about it HERE. Have you bought your ticket for the DC show yet? For the show in the city where you live? Well what are you waiting for?! DC locals can do so HERE. And remember that everyone who buys their ticket before April 5 will be entered to win one of two signed copies of Scary Mommy’s new book!
While I wasn’t working on Listen to Your Mother, I was finishing up a four volume “compendium” of the graphic novels for The Walking Dead. That’s right – I said graphic novels and The Walking Dead. These are letter formations that should in no way be featured in my lexicon – unless we are living in a parallel universe… If you are a reader here, you know that I watched the first season of The Walking Dead on Netflix because Chris suggested it and Tom & Lorenzo seemed to be into it. But really – it’s an aberration.
I generally abhor everything about the horror genre and if I had to pick two things that scare me the most, they would be demonic possession and the undead. And The Walking Dead pretty much corners the market on the latter.
Where would I acquire such an item as a graphic novel – and one about zombies no less? I saw it at a friend’s house and after a lively discussion about how the show (or in this case, the graphic novel) offers a fascinating view into the breakdown of both society and humanity, I found myself carrying the tome out to my car.
I finished it and am now mentally and emotionally prepared for the zombie apocalypse. Seriously – I am only slowly coming out of the totally-bought-into-the-possibility-of-this haze. I’m hoping to be able to walk outside after dark without sprinting soon. That is some f*cked up sh*t, my friend…. I’m now scarred for life and anxiously anticipating Volume 5.
Moving on… It’s not all about dead bodies in my life! I also think about fashion. And speaking of… I am now a full day late in announcing the winner of my Shabby Apple Giveaway! I know people who don’t read this blog but entered the giveaway are like, “who is this crazy lady who writes two sentences about her son’s birthday and a freaking thesis on The Walking Dead!? Get to the Shabby Apple winner already!”
Alright, alright already! The winner is…
Miriam!! (Miriam – I sent you an e-mail with directions on how to collect your prize.)
I expect that this will buy me some karma to win someone else’s Shabby Apple giveaway now… Fingers crossed for that.
Wow – that was quite a weekend. And I didn’t even talk about the brunch I hosted or the Mt. Everest of laundry I folded. It’s a very exciting life I lead…
Happy almost-Wednesday! (Is that a thing? I think it should be…)
Well I am. And no – I have no experience in theater. In fact, I’m not entirely sure how I managed scam my way into heading up this project… But somehow, I did! I’m producing the Listen to Your Mother show in Washington, DC.
And luckily, I have a partner who actually DOES come from a performance background. Stephanie (or @MinkyMoo as she’s known on Twitter – where I swear, she spends at least 50% of her day…) is our LTYM director. And thank god for her – as I would be completely winging it on the whole auditions/casting/rehearsal thing if I was working solo. This experience wouldn’t be half as fun or exciting without her enthusiastic spirit behind it.
The show will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 6. We selected the Synetic Theater in Crystal City as our venue and, as I’ve mentioned here previously, will be donating a portion of the ticket sales to the Susan Niebur IBC Research Fund (see that widgety thing on my sidebar?)
And things are REALLY coming together now that we’ve completed our two days of auditions! Over 40 people read us their wonderfully unique stories about motherhood, and we are now tasked with the impossible job of selecting 10-11 cast members. In a perfect world, we could cast four different shows, because we didn’t have ONE bad audition.
Truth be told, I’m a little sad that auditions are over. It was like watching my own private production of Listen to Your Mother – but all day, two Sunday’s in a row. Nice work if you can get it, indeed! But we’re officially done now (sniff) and a cast will be announced this Saturday.
Next on the agenda – besides setting up rehearsals – will be contacting potential sponsors and sending out press releases (not to mention ticket sales). But back to sponsors, our sign sponsor BuildASign.com offered to send us these fantastic bumper stickers:
We passed some out at auditions (when we could remember that is). And we’ll bring them to the show as well.
That is one of ONLY THREE pictures I thought to take at auditions (typical). Here are the other two:
What – you don’t bring coordinating floral paper goods to your casting-related events?
No audition day is complete without a full table of snacks.
If in February-April, Cadbury Mini Eggs are a requirement.
So if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for the past few weeks – this is it. I’m just a little bit distracted. But I really am going to try to get back to more regular posting soon. I promise! Definitely before May 6th…
A couple of weeks ago, I posted an image in honor of Susan Niebur, a local blogger battling a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.
I didn’t know Susan well – only met her once. But we shared friends and acquaintances. And, of course I followed her courageous story through her writing.
When I learned that Susan passed away on Monday, I was overwhelmed by sadness for the people who loved her – love her – so much. And since then, I’ve spent a lot of time reading their words about this incredible woman.
And I’ve wished that there was something that I could do to help.
Then one friend, Stephanie or “Minky Moo” offered me two opportunities.
The first was a general call to action. She is putting together a book of memories for the Niebur boys, and asked that people share their stories. My immediate response was that this didn’t apply to me, as I had only met Susan briefly at a blogging event. So I did my part by helping to pass on the message – to let others know.
Then I actually read Stephanie’s post about wanting to give Susan’s children memories of their mother as others knew her. And something she said, made me think: “To me, stories of my father are precious jewels. I hold on to them like treasures. I can do nothing to heal their pain now, but perhaps we as a group can give them a gift to treasure.”
When one of my favorite people in the world lost her son last September, I learned a lot about grief. Particularly that there will never be enough memories, pictures, stories… That no detail could be too small to be treasured. And that anything new – previously unknown – is a rare gift.
And it occurred to me that I do have one small thing. One tiny detail: Susan’s smile.
Remember, I did meet her once.
It was a few years ago when DC Metro Moms hosted an event. I was late and didn’t see any familiar faces when I arrived. I don’t know what it is about walking into a room full of women who all seem to know each other, but I immediately flashback to high school and all of the associated insecurities and anxiety.
I can hide it well…but make no mistake – at times like that, I may as well be an awkward sixteen year old, worried that no one will want to talk to me.
Trying to find a seat in that crowded room – hunched over and apologizing – I cringed my way to an empty spot in the front. Then I sat down next to Susan.
The room was quiet – all attention on the speaker at the podium. It would have been entirely appropriate for everyone at that table to make room for me without any ostensible acknowledgement of my arrival.
But Susan did acknowledge me. She turned her attention away from the presentation and looked at me. Not just a quick glance…a distracted nod. She turned in her seat, really looked at me and smiled warmly. And just like that, I felt included.
It sounds like a small thing – a smile. But this one said, “there you are!” It was welcoming. It was in her eyes. It was genuine. And it immediately put me at ease.
I don’t remember meeting her when the presentation was over – though I know we were introduced. People I was looking for but didn’t see on my way in came up to greet me. Susan’s friends gathered around her. Pulled in different directions, we didn’t cross paths again.
I shouldn’t remember my brief interaction with Susan. There was nothing significant about it. Just a smile and companionable proximity. A few words of introduction… But I do remember it because she said more with one smile than others do in an hour of pleasant small talk.
In that brief moment, she told me that she was kind. That she cared enough to make others feel important. That she saw a potential friend in each new face.
She was so obviously that girl in high school who didn’t seek safety in small and exclusive numbers. She made room for one more – as many times as necessary. Or at least, she was that girl now.
She had a smile that was remembered. She left an impression. And I feel honored to have such a memory – one to give to people who can never hear enough about Susan. Who will treasure every small detail of the woman she was and the effect she had on others.
She had a beautiful smile.
The other request that Stephanie made was specifically to me.
We are working together on a production of Listen to Your Mother, a show in which local writers read original essays on the subject of motherhood. This is the first year that the national production will be held in the DC area, and Stephanie and I are over the moon excited to be part of it (let alone producing it).
All Listen to Your Mother productions donate 10% of their ticket sales to a local charitable cause. We’ve exhanged several links to causes close to our hearts, and have taken far to long to choose one… But Monday night, Stephanie asked me if we could contribute to Susan’s cause.
You can imagine my response: YES – OF COURSE – SEND ME THE DETAILS – I’LL GET TO WORK ON THAT IMMEDIATELY…
In addition to 10% of ticket sales revenue for the DC Listen to Your Mother show, we invite anyone who would like to contribute to Susan’s cause – her legacy of awareness and support for research – to donate. Whether you do so in name or anonymously, every penny of your donation will go directly to the Inflamatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Visit the Listen to Your Mother DC website for full details. And remember Susan. Her strength, courage and grace. Her crusade for awareness. Her hope for a cure. And her beautiful smile.