Saturday, March 2, 2013

Almost Two Years Ago



Listen To Your Mother Show, Madison Wisc.
Almost to the day, in 2011, I drove an hour and a half to Madison, Wisconsin, to do something I have never done before in my life.

Inside a yellow folder in the passenger seat next to me were two white sheets of paper that would change life as I knew it. They were filled with the words I had carried inside of me for over forty years. The pages were so alive I felt like seat belting them in.

I was on my way to audition for a live reading presentation called Listen To Your Mother. I had heard they were looking for readers, to tell true stories from their lives. I had never read before an audience, and even higher at stake was that I had never told my story publicly. But I was ready to live wide open and free the gates to whatever came my way -- or left -- by telling the world who I was.

For too many years, my family, not meaning any malice, had imposed an unspoken rule of things not to be talked about. The weight of keeping a defining point in my life closed and locked had started to feel heavier each year.

I saw a boat heading my way now, and everyone on it waving me aboard, telling me "You have a story to tell, share it with us."

Almost two years ago today, I was chosen for the cast of the 2011 Listen To Your Mother Show, and I am now doing things in my life I have never done before.

Being heard, having someone listen to you and bear witness to your existence is an experience too powerful to try and put into words here. But I can tell you this, it changed me. I remember thinking at the time of my audition, whether I'm chosen or not, this is win-win for me, because someone listened to my story.

It's two years later now, and my world has gone from auditioner with LTYM to producer of LTYM. I am in the fortunate role of being able to offer just this opportunity of being heard, to others. Jennifer Gaskell and I are the co-producers for Listen To Your Mother Show/Milwaukee, and today is our first day of auditions. We will hear over forty people who have decided to share their lives on stage, and yes, we are honored. Yes, we can't wait to give your life a microphone while you share your tale as a small part in making the world smaller by bringing us together with your words.

Ordinary people with extraordinary tales.

Jenn and I feel so very honored.

Thank you, Listen To Your Mother, and Ann Imig, creator and founder, for trusting us with your show. Thank you, Deb Rox, for your brains and consulting/advising powers. THANK YOU to BlogHer, for their third year of supporting LTYM as our National Media Sponsor. Read how they paved LTYM's way here.

The not so quiet revolution of people sharing their lives across 24 stages this May is changing the world -- the way it changed mine.

*For information on Listen To Your Mother shows, tickets, and 24 locations nationwide, please visit their national website. To catch the spirit of a LTYM show, there are over 200 videos of readers up on the LTYM youtube channel for you to see. To see my piece from 2011, please click here.

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36 comments:

  1. so very cool that you are a part of this...and empowering voices all over...very cool empress...

    hi to e!

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    1. Thanks, B. I'm really having a good time...

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  2. I went back and listened to your Listen to Your Mother piece about your grandmother from 2011. You are such a good writer. I'm glad there is a forum like this were woman can get up an tell the stories of their lives. Good for you for being a part of it.

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  3. I love how you followed your instincts to share and be heard. Inspirational! I hoping one day to participate in this. Loved listening to the stories at BlogHer13!

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    1. I hope you do, too and I LOVE that LTYM does a Friday night open read at BlogHer.

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  4. So awesome, and like you said, either way for these people auditioning, they will be heard...and I know you provide a word someone needs to hear!

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  5. First LTYM, next The Moth...I'm looking forward to hearing you on This American Life next, and I'm not kidding.

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  6. This is so great, Alexandra! LTYM is fortunate to have you!!

    XOXO

    A.

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    1. You always make me feel like a million bucks, Anna. Thank you.

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  7. I can only imagine reading your story aloud to an audience is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I hope one day we can give LTYM a Southern accent and bring it to Atlanta.

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  8. Being heard - such a small thing, such a huge & profound thing. Brava to you all

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    1. Oh, yes, Deborah. TO have even read my piece. That would have been enough for me at the audition. It's the silent listening. Letting me present without interruption to a rapt audience, that has forever changed me.

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  9. I think it's so cool that you do this. You're like one of the people on the voice, only without the big red chairs. And you look at people. But I know you don't judge people on their appearance, so you know what I mean...

    They're having one in Sacramento, so I'd have to go (as we say) over the hill. I was looking though my stuff and of course came across what I'd written about my cousin dying. But when I started reading it, I completely lost it. So reading it out loud, mmm, not so much.

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  10. That is one of the first ways I discovered your writing, Alexandra. I watched the video of your reading and loved it. I hope I can do this soon.

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    1. Hillary, I am so lucky to have met you. xo THANK YOU

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  11. It is an amazing thing, isn't it, to be heard? We have our first run-through this coming Saturday. I CANNOT WAIT. I will treasure this experience forever and ever amen.

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    1. You really will, A. Everyone involved: as cast or audience, leaves feeling connected. IT is changing the world, one performance at a time.

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  12. This has been an amazing weekend for us here in the Twin Cities. I feel so humbled and honored that so many are sharing their stories. People like you..and me. This is amazing. xo

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  13. I can't think of a more perfect person to produce this! Bask in their words... and revel in the glory of coming full circle and giving back.

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  14. What a beautiful piece! I miss my own grandmother every day, and I think often about what my children will remember of our lives together today. Thank you for sharing such lovely words.

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    1. THank you, Korinthia. Means a lot to me that you spent the time watching it. THANK YOU. LTYM, in any part of the journey, is an experience that will not leave you untouched.

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  15. Not enough words for thank you in our language, Alexandra. I'm so grateful to you.

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    1. Ann, you know? My dreams show how LTYM has changed me. The whole journey. I am so grateful.

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  16. Milwaukee is lucky to have you! What a fantastic movement LTYM is!

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    1. How I wish I could be at Chicago's show. Don't know how I can swing it. Congrats to you in making the cast!! You will be forever touched.

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  17. I'm so proud of you, Alexandra. Not just for your involvement but for the courage to release and to share with others what had been inside for decades. I know how hard that can be, and I wish I could be as brave as you. But anyway, I am watching, and learning, from you.

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  18. Alexandra,

    It is my greatest joy to be able to witness these stories with you. You are truly my fairy godmother who tapped me on the shoulder to be a part of this. I cannot wait until we finally put the pieces of our quilt together as our amazing cast.

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  19. Dang, you make me laugh and then boohooo. I adore you and am so proud of the life you have built for your sweet family. To get more info please visit http://customessayswritingservice.com/.

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