Saturday, April 29, 2017
I have always loved words, the stories they tell and the emotions they evoke. Writers have long been on the top of my list of life wizards—those who do what the rest of us cannot.
Only writers write, I’d think. And then I’d wish that I could do what they do.
Seven years ago, I learned that the start to anything that you want is to turn your face in that direction.
In 2011, I auditioned for the LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Show in Madison, Wisconsin. I had never tried out for a cast before. I had never read my writing out loud before, and I had never imagined myself as someone up at a podium, behind a microphone.
But when I learned of Listen To Your Mother shows, I felt a pull. I knew that public speaking wasn’t something I did, and that to think of myself as being part of a show was the most outrageous endeavor I had ever put my mind to, but I didn’t know how not to try. My reaction was a lovesick yearning to tell my story. I drove the two hours to audition, with a printed copy of my story in the passenger seat next to me. I had taken my lifelong dream and set my face in its direction.
I did audition, and my story was chosen as one to be read on stage that year. What I didn’t know then is that on show day, while on the stage reading my words, that there would be a whisper behind the voice that the audience heard. I would be the only one hearing it in the undercurrent as I spoke, I am a writer I am a writer I am a writer.
As I drove home that night after the show, I smiled like a goose at my reflection in the window. I felt ridiculous, heady, but I finally said the words I had wished were mine my entire life: I am a writer.
I don’t talk about that day much, about my time on stage during the 2011 Madison show, but I write about it in my personal journals. I remind myself how it was that first step in belief of what I could offer that changed my life. Today, I can only say that I can’t imagine anything that has happened since without LTYM behind it.
This 2017 LTYM season will be our Grand Finale LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Show for Milwaukee. When I think of this being our final show in our city, my throat tightens. Emotion overwhelms me and I grow grateful all over again for all that LTYM has brought into my life. The stories I’ve heard, the women I’ve met, the relationships I’ve seen form between our cast members.
In 2011, I had planted a seed when I auditioned, even though I had never auditioned before. In 2013, when I applied to produce LTYM in Milwaukee, I planted a second seed, even though I had never produced a show before. I look at my journal and see empty pages up ahead. I can go back and add to them as I see events unfold in my life, and I will go forward and complete these pages with the new opportunities that I have learned to recognize. My words since my first show with LTYM have grown, and I have along with them.
Before LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER, I used to wait, watch, be patient, for everything to feel right, align, for opportunity to present itself. What I learned seven years ago with that first LTYM show, is that we are the opportunity.
We are the chance we’ve been waiting for.
Though this is Milwaukee’s last LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER SHOW, I know this is not the last of the stories that our past casts have told, nor that our 2017 show cast will tell.
We will keep writing our stories, we will find chances to share them and we will remember that it is in us where we find the key to unlock all the fierce and unforgettable moments that we have yet to share.
To our past LTYM casts and final 2017 cast: promise to return again and again to yourself and to drink in what you will absolutely continue to find. Plant your seeds and grow your vines, live in wonder of you and the moments in your life.
As LTYM producers and directors, we thank you. We have been privileged, humbled, and honored to have had a part in bringing your stories to our community. Thank you for your gift of time, and self.
**For tickets to see our final Listen To Your Mother Show Sunday May 7 in Milwaukee, please visit www.listentoyourmothershow.com/milwaukee