When I was part of the St. Louis “Listen to Your Mother” show (there are shows all over the country), did I have a good hair day when I stepped onto the stage? Nope, my hair was a hot mess, like it always is. Did I trip on my wedge heels (since I chose to not wear my trusty Crocs, much to my family's joy)? Nope, but it was a close call a couple of times. Did I manage to find an outfit that camouflaged my fat rolls? Nope. I let it all hang out… and when I read my story aloud (about looking for my birth mother), I let all my emotions hang out, too.
Which brings me to reason # 1 why you should submit a piece to Listen to Your Mother: The experience is healing/uplifting/entertaining–for you as well as the audience.
The year I was a performer, several people came backstage after the show and told me their adoption stories. Being surrounded by the other performers-writers made me laugh (and cry) during rehearsals. I got to know a group of writers who encouraged me during the rehearsals, the pre-show party, the performances and the post-show party. We laughed together so much, pantyliners had to be occasionally replaced, and the pre-show mimosas kept the tears (more or less) in check.
#2 It's a different way of sharing your writing.
When you write a short story or novel, you rarely get to hear or see your readers' reactions. Unless a reader writes you some fan mail or an email or sees you at a book signing, you're clueless. When you're a “Listen to Your Mother” writer, you get immediate feedback. You read aloud (not memorize) your piece. The audience laughs, sniffles and nods… and you get to bask in that immediate gratification.
And finally reason #3. It's a way of honoring your mother. Or highlighting your children's shenanigans. Or memorializing an aunt/grandmother/neighbor who was like a mother because you had a lousy, should've-been-reported-to-the-authorities mother.
There are Listen to Your Mother shows being held in 32 cities. The submissions usually open up in early January, and they look for stories that–when read aloud–last for five minutes or so. Do you have or did you have a uterus? Did you come from a uterus? If you can answer “yes” to one of those questions, you have stories to tell… and you should submit one of those stories.
Here are a few of the stories from St. Louis to give you a nudge. Watch a video and then get to writing… 'cause in St. Louis, they start taking submissions on January 13.
Sioux Roslawski is a full-time middle-school teacher and a part-time writer. She lives in the St. Louis area and since she (most of the time) talks the talk and walks the walk, she is most definitely submitting a piece to the local Listen to Your Mother show (and will be keepin' her fingers crossed). If you'd like to read more, go to Sioux's Page.
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