Somehow, in this whirlwind of a year, the Listen to Your Mother season has come and gone. Raleigh-Durham held 2 shows last week, and they were both sold out and amazing. I can’t believe it is over. It felt like we had just gotten started and that we were building the show, meeting the wonderful women who comprised our cast and conducting the first nervous reading. I took a breath, closed my eyes for a second and months passed while I wasn’t looking. But both shows were amazing. The cast and audience were electric both nights. I can’t wait to do it again next year.
The two weeks leading up to Listen to Your Mother, I thought a lot about storytelling and what it meant to be a storyteller as I prepared for various media appearances (doesn’t that sound grand LOL). I don’t consider myself a storyteller. As I have said before, I wasn’t the creative writing type of English major; more the analytical, critical type. I dissected stories. I analyzed stories. I did not tell stories. Even doing theater, the stories I shared on stage were not my stories but merely my interpretation of them. Call me a conduit maybe.
I’ve never thought of myself as someone with something to say which is a little absurd given that I have been blogging for roughly 6 years. But I consider my ramblings and musings to be simply that…ramblings and musings. Surely not storytelling. The bards who spread Beowulf were storytellers. The Native Americans who shared myths around fires and ceremonies were storytellers. I’m just a woman rapidly approaching middle age in North Carolina with an Internet connection. That’s not a storyteller.
But as my 2014 cast mate and new friend Joy commented on Friday in our Facebook group:
People become the stories they tell about themselves. Rather than having to write at a certain quantity or quality to call ourselves writers, it is through telling the story of us being writers that we call ourselves to the page.
Isn’t that so true? And when I think about it, I’ve been telling stories even when I haven’t been using words. I morphed from English major to web developer, finding enjoyment in coding and databases. I told people that when I coded, I was using language to create pictures and stories, something that I was unable to do otherwise. While I code rarely now, I think the same can be said for what I do with data. I say I play with data, but what I’m really doing is figuring out what story the data is telling. It isn’t words being shared in a great hall, but it is story telling nonetheless.
Our cast is amazing. Last year’s cast was amazing. I truly consider myself privileged to know these people. I got LTYM last year, but this year I think I truly got it. I have a background in theater, so sometimes I forget how nerve-wracking it can be to be on stage. But it is, especially when you aren’t shielded by someone else’s words but exposed by your own. I am in awe of these women and their bravery as they shared their stories. And how as they shared their stories, they heard the gasps of recognition, laughter, sobs, and thunderous applause. Listen to Your Mother is important because it gives average, normal people a microphone. We aren’t celebrities or elite. We just are, trying to get through each day as it comes. The power is in the epiphany, the “me too” moment. The empathy. The catharsis. That is its gift.
We are a week out from the final show. I sort of picture it like the final scene in Ocean’s 11 in which each member sort of fades away after coming together to do something amazing. It hurts not to see these women every day. But I also love how the camaraderie continues. Writing groups are being scheduled. And we are planning to get together. Also, TWO of our cast members had their pieces published in the Huffington Post. How amazing is that? I am SO proud of them and so proud that I am part of something that enables such opportunities.
Bravo, ladies. The second Raleigh-Durham show was amazing, as you all are.