It’s Wednesday, so where’s the guest post? Just when a pattern gets established, I’m switching it up. But only for this week. In honor of Spring Break here in Austin, I left this week off the guest post schedule. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming next week.

This week we’re celebrating. We’re jumping for joy, in honor of

Women.

Writers.

Mothers.

Readers.

Daughters.

Stories.

Sons.

Listeners.

Families.

Why?

Because we have a voice. All of us. Whether you’ve started to tell your story, or it’s still brewing, you have a voice. Your experiences are pieces of this vastness through which we’re all wandering. Now more than ever, we have outlets for sharing those experiences, for shrinking the gaps between your story and mine.

I’m honored to be part of one such story-telling outlet: This spring, I am lending my voice to the story of motherhood as part of the 2012 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

 

It’s humbling, and thrilling, to be involved. I’ve been a fan of the show since hearing about the first LTYM, created and directed by Ann Imig, in Madison, WI. After that show took place, videos started floating around the internet and I sat one day, mesmerized, listening to story after story.

Many of you know I auditioned last year, but was not selected for the cast. And yet, the audition experience was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. Sure, I was sad when I didn’t get selected, but the process was completely worth it.

For those who are wondering, the audition process is tricky. It’s about putting together a show that flows, that balances all of motherhood: joy, sadness, sleep deprivation, and everything in between. I knew that liking what I wrote was merely one criteria for making the show; it didn’t come as a surprise to get the “not this year” message. Yes, it stung, but not because I felt rejected (there’s not a writer in the world who isn’t familiar with rejection* – we’re pros in that department). I was bummed because I love Listen To Your Mother, and I wanted to be involved.

Which brings us to this year. Thanks to some gentle nudging (you know who you are), I once again submitted a piece to read. This time… well, this time my story found a spot in the show. My story fits within the delicate balance that the show co-producers/directors, Wendi Aarons and Liz McGuire, were tasked with creating.

And so. We’re celebrating.

I feel grateful, humbled, excited and a bit nauseous to be part of Listen To Your Mother 2012. The show is happening in 10 cities this year, so if you want to see what it’s all about, please buy a ticket or 12. Just don’t tell me if you’ll be in the Austin audience, because knowing you’re there will make me very nervous. Click to purchase Listen To Your Mother Austin tickets or one of nine other cities (just click on ‘Local Shows’ to find the one closest to you).

The cost of your ticket will also help local families in need. Part of Listen To Your Mother’s mission is to support families in need by giving 10% of ticket proceeds to a non-profit cause. In Austin, that cause is Any Baby Can.

As for that asterisk up there…

*Lemme say this about rejection: even though it’s a familiar part of writing, of course it stings. Of course, the validation that comes with acceptance is like a drug. So of course, I longed for that validation last year when I auditioned. Being in the cast would have rocked!

And yes, I allowed myself a little wallow after I found out it was a no go. I talked to a couple of understanding friends, and a couple of understanding writers. I shared my blah-ness, and then moved forward so that I could keep writing.

I understood how complicated the audition process was, and I also felt – for once – that what I submitted was good work. Rarely do I think what I’ve written is good enough for anything. Just hitting ‘publish’ on this blog nearly kills me sometimes. That’s part of the disease. Writers could edit and rewrite every word, over and over, and still never feel that it’s quite there. I have to force myself to send stuff out in the world. Sometimes it glows, and sometimes it sits there like a big, steaming pile.

What I’m getting at here… Not getting cast last year was a little sad. But only a little. I’m telling you the truth when I say, at heart, it wasn’t about feeling rejected. In fact, I felt included in something so much bigger than myself, and was proud to have had the chance to read for the show.

I wonder…

:: If you’ve ever read your work to an audience, how did that feel?

:: Have you considered telling your motherhood story (you don’t have to be a mother to have something to say – you probably have a mother, know a mother, have heard of mothers)?