Being a co-director/producer of Listen To Your Mother is kinda like being pregnant. The show is my baby, and while it’s developing and growing inside me for many months, I feel a rollercoaster of emotions. I’m tired, overwhelmed, anxious, hormonal, and excited. I’m also restless and wake up in the middle of the night to write my blog because I have so much on my mind, not to mention a to-do list that never ends. At our meetings, I crave Laura’s famous blueberry bars and Naomi’s bruschetta (I suppose that explains the weight gain). On top of that, my feet even swell, but that’s probably from walking across stage in four-inch heels that I didn’t break in first. And, of course, no pregnancy is complete without labor pains. But it’s all worth it.
Because in the end, I give birth to something incredibly beautiful and truly one-of-a-kind. Then after a short period of bed rest , I can’t wait to do it all over again.
Last weekend, I went to my first BlogHer. Sort of.
I planned a last minute trip to Chicago with two of my Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) St. Louis cohorts, Naomi Francis (Master Events) and Laura Edward Ray (Brain Dead in the Burbs), and coincidentally we stayed at the same hotel as the word’s largest social media conference. It’s karma, says Laura.
Having been to these types of ginormous networking conventions before (Book Expo America in NY), I knew it would demand a lot of emotional and physical energy and stamina (not to mention many wardrobe changes). The truth is, since I was still jet lag from a recent 10-day trip to Israel, I wasn’t sure if I would be up to it. Besides, our goal was to do a little sightseeing in Chi-Town over the weekend and join the rest of the LTYM directors/producers for Sunday brunch at Yolk. At least we would finally get to meet Ann Imig, founder and national director of LTYM, and many of the other women we bonded with, virtually, this past year to create a national Mother’s Day movement. By the way, it made my heart swell with pride to see all LTYM names listed as VOTY speakers, panelists, and even fashionistas at BlogHer.
What’s the #1 fear of most people? Public speaking. What’s the #2 fear? Watching themselves speaking. OKay, so now that I got that out of the way, I’m actually very excited to share with you our entire LTYM St. Louis playlist, now live on our YouTube channel. In fact, you can watch shows from all 24 cities across the nation, from Chicago to Washington, DC. That’s about 350 speakers, who all have their own stories to tell.
Of course, it’s impossible to capture the energy in the room that day. St. Louis was the only city to have two performances, a morning and afternoon, and, believe it or not, we were so pumped up that we felt like we could have done it again if our Spanx were not so damn uncomfortable.
It’s hard to come up with the words to adequately describe my experience with Listen To Your Mother (LTYM), and considering I’m a professional writer, that’s not good. So in times of writer’s block I turn to my Jewish ancestors who express their emotions in Hebrew so succinctly.
If I had to summarize LTYM St. Louis in one word, it would be Dayenu, which translates to “it would have been enough” or “it would have sufficed.” I never thought I would use Dayenu other than at Passover when we sing the festive song by the same name to describe our appreciation of the abundant gifts that God gave us when we escaped slavery.
However, Dayenu captures my feelings about LTYM because it exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I’m truly grateful for everything I learned and everyone I met. And for that I say, Dayenu.
St. Louis is one of 24 cities hosting Listen To Your Mother (LTYM), a national series of live readings shared on local stages and via social media in celebration of Mother’s Day, and YOU can be part of this heartwarming, hilarious, and humanitarian event. In fact, without YOU, there would be no show. So please start writing and send us your submissions by February 15. Keep in mind, your piece should be no longer than 4-7 minutes when read out loud. Auditions will be held February 28, 7-9 p.m. and March 2, noon-3 p.m.
You DON’T’ have to call yourself a writer. You DON’T have to be a professional speaker. You DON’T even have to be a mom.
You DO have to write an original essay about anything related to motherhood. You DO have to speak in front of a live audience who will clap for you and make you feel like a celeb. You DO want to touch the lives of many people and make a difference in the community. You DO want to have an experience that you’ll never forget.
Born of the creative work of mothers who publish online, LTYM is produced and directed by local moms and is performed by local communities, for local communities. Our beneficiary is Connections To Success, a local nonprofit group that breaks the cycle of poverty one family at a time through programs, hope, and resources.
As a producer/director of the show, I’m thrilled to be associated with the LTYM family and, most of all, to put St. Louis in the spotlight and raise money for a great cause. I’m working with a powerhouse team of talented St. Louis moms: Suzanne Tucker, Laura Edwards Ray, and Naomi Francis.
Our show will be held in the beautiful auditorium/atrium at St. Luke’s Health Education Institute, 232 South Woods Mill Road, in Chesterfield, MO, on the Saturday of Mother’s Day, which is May 11. So mark your calendars!
Here’s important dates to remember:
February 15: Deadline for submission. Send your story to LTYMSTL@gmail.com.
February 28, 7-9 p.m.: First day of audition
March 2, noon-3 p.m.: Second day of audition
May 11: Showtimes are 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m.
So c’mon St. Louis, let your voice be heard. It’s time to give Mother’s Day a microphone.