LTYM Raleigh-Durham

Being Enough

We had our first read-through for our Listen to Your Mother show yesterday.  First of all…it is going to ROCK!  We have a wider variety of posts this year thanks to word of mouth, and the show, well, I like to think of it as a diamond with many facets (look at me getting fancy).  Sooo many perspectives of motherhood represented.  I am SO excited about it and love the ladies participating.

Anyway, yesterday a few people mentioned to me that they didn’t know how I did it, managing a full-time job, parenting and Listen to Your Mother. I gave some answer about it being my hobby.

Well, LTYM is a hobby, but the truth is that I don’t feel like a very useful co-producer.  Liisa and Marty are able to handle cast communications and getting sponsors and press. I send a few emails to potential sponsors (who never reply because these are the equivalent of cold calls), handle the web stuff and attend auditions and rehearsals, but the truth is that I feel like dead weight.  I feel like there should be an asterisk by my name as in “sort of” a producer.

And if I’m being truthful, that’s the way I feel about everything. Am I a good employee? wife? parent? My answer would be that I’m fair to middling. I don’t feel like I excel at any of it. Not in the way I’d like to anyway.

The truth is that I don’t know if I have a realistic comprehension of what competence in any of those roles would look like.  Does anyone? Maybe that’s the problem. We have way too many ideals and not enough reality. I know I would welcome a reality check right now.

How do you ever feel like you are doing enough, being enough, simply enough instead of what you think you ought to be or should be?

I’m 36 years old. Shouldn’t I have the answer to those questions by now?

Once More, with Feeling

One of the accomplishments I am most proud of this year was co-producing Listen to Your Mother: Raleigh-Durham. It was a whirlwind of planning, logistics, casting, obtaining sponsorships and enticing press, but it came together beautifully, and it was powerful seeing our cast bond and come together as well as watch the audience’s emotional response to the cast’s powerful stories about motherhood.

That’s why I am thrilled to announce that Marty and I will bring Listen to Your Mother to the Triangle again in 2014!

The 2014 season expands to 32 cities, and I am awed again to be part of such a wonderful group of women.

We have no details yet about a show date, venue, or audition details – the official announcement only came out today! I am certain we will have more details about our show after the holidays.

In the meantime, if you are in NC, start looking over pieces to submit. If our are outside NC, please see if a city close to you is on the list! Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Spokane and Chicago, to name a few, are some of the participating cities. I’d love to have my friends from all over the country participate!

Congrats to the 2014 cities! I know it will be another amazing series of shows.

LTYM 2013 Video Launch

Now for some good news!

Thanks to the support of National Video Sponsor The Partnership at Drugfree.org, LTYM celebrates the release of over 300 new videos from our 2013 season on the  LTYMShow YouTube channel!   LTYM is proud to share The Partnership’s message of preventing prescription drug misuse and abuse. Join the growing number of parents pledging to end this epidemic.  The Partnership at Drugfree.org is a national nonprofit dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse.  The Medicine Abuse Project is a multi-year national campaign of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, with the goal of preventing half a million teens from abusing prescription medicine by the year 2017.

You can access LTYM: Raleigh-Durham’s videos here:

And here’s the link to mine 🙂

 

I am so thrilled to be able to revisit Raleigh-Durham’s wonderful performances and cannot wait to watch the videos from the other cities.

Of Strawberries and Microphones

Berry picker

Berry picker

Last weekend, Daniel and I went to a local farm and picked strawberries.  It was a blustery day, very unusual for May in North Carolina.  Daniel was so excited. Honestly, so was I. I’m not sure I’d ever picked my own berries before, and we’re fortunate to have several farms in the area that allow you to do so.

I quickly schooled Daniel on how to identify ripe berries vs unripe ones.  That explanation mostly worked.  I was left holding the pail as my super-fast little boy’s fingers nimbly plucked berries from the vine.  He might have picked a few green berries by mistake, and he definitely ate more than a few berries as he picked them. I gave up preventing him from eating them and tried to keep him from putting half-eaten berries in our bucket.

It only 20 minutes, we had a huge bucket filled with strawberries for which we paid only $10. Daniel tried to carry the heavy bucket to our car but after he left a trail of berries in his wake, I convinced him to let me carry the bucket.

I used some of the berries in daycare lunches for the week but was at a loss at what to do with the remaining strawberries before they went bad because I knew Daniel would want to go pick berries again and soon.  As I was prepping for the Listen to Your Mother cast party last Wednesday, I was inspired to bring along the remaining berries.  They had been picked by Daniel and he had more or less listened to my instructions, so it seemed right to have them at the party, like a little token from him.

***

Listen to Your Mother. Y’all.  I don’t even know where to begin or how to find the words. The cast was amazing and read flawlessly. It was so gratifying to hear the audience laugh at the parts that made us laugh and cry at the parts that devastated us. Our sold-out (!) audience was very into the show, and it felt like we were performing for family and friends. OK, many of us were, but there was an intimacy in the hall, and it was possible to connect one on one – a glance here, a smile there – with the audience.

I am so damn proud of us and the show we put on.  That these 14 women and 1 man were able to swallow their fears, doubts and anxieties and bare their souls. To be brave, to use the word of the night. It’s one thing to write something, publish it and walk away. It’s another to stand up in front of a crowd and read it, exposing the most vulnerable parts of you.

But this cast did it and knocked it out of the damn park.

Mingling with my pride is a wee bit of sadness. It’s like the day after Christmas, when you have the let down after weeks of euphoria and anticipation. I can’t believe the show is over and that 14 people came to mean so much to me in such a short period of time.  But we’ve converted our FB group to an alumni group, and I hope that we can continue to stay in touch.  I can’t imagine any of us would turn turn away the possibility of more friends.

There are pictures to come and the full video will be on YouTube in a few weeks, but for now, check out show photographer Jess Rotenberg’s post on the show with a few gorgeous pictures.

Too often motherhood is portrayed in the media as black and white: you’re either good, perfect and saintly or bad, selfish and neglectful. In reality, though, we know that motherhood is complicated. Mothers are complicated. It’s not and we are not black and white. There are many, many, many shades of gray and I am honored that we were able to give a microphone to these amazing women and man so that they could tell their stories.

Beautiful flowers from the cast after the show

Beautiful flowers from the cast after the show

Presenting Listen to Your Mother: Raleigh-Durham

Today’s the day.  At half-past-7 (imagine that in a pretentious British accent), 14 brave women and 1 intrepid man will file onto the stage at Kenan Hall on the campus of William Peace University, take their sits and the inaugural Listen to Your Mother: Raleigh-Durham will begin. For the next hour and a half, the audience will be treated to original readings on motherhood:  the  highs, the lows, the hysterical, the wistful, the sweet.  Tears of mirth as well as sadness may flow. And then, it will be over.

Somehow, it has become May, and it’s time for our show.  It truly seems like only a few weeks ago when Marty and I were trying to find a location and then holding auditions.  It seemed like we had plenty of time before the show, but the day has come.

We’re ready. There are a few show-day hiccups however: one cast member is in the ER for pain and shortness of breath, and I sound like a 3-pack-a-day smoker thanks to allergies (hopefully) or a poorly-timed cold (hopefully not). But the show will go on, and it is going to be so awesome.

We’re sold out, y’all. Sold out. We hoped we would sell out, but actually seeing the ticket site say zero tickets remaining gave us chills.

And our cast rocks. Despite only getting together a handful of times, the 15 of us plowed through forming, ignored storming, and quickly progressed to norming and as of tonight, performing. They are exchanging emails and offering each other hugs and advice, and swapping stories.

I learned in Performance Leadership that the quickest way to build trust and intimacy is to share something about yourself, to show that you are human; that’s what each of us have done in our pieces.  Baring our souls has allowed us to gel, and I’ve never felt so close to so many former strangers in such a quick period of time.  Everyone one of us is grateful for the opportunity to be in the show and keep thanking me and Marty while we keep thanking them. It’s their stories that make this first-ever show in Raleigh-Durham possible.

I have a new dress. I have new jewelry. I have a new haircut. And most importantly, I have new shapewear.

Of course, none of that is important. We could read in burlap sacks and it wouldn’t alter the impact of our words.

Spare a moment to whisper “break a leg” at 7:30 PM EST if you can.  I can’t wait.

I’m the Monday Snapshot!

Hi. I’m here. Insane, but here.  We have under 2 weeks to go until our Listen to Your Mother show and much like a wedding, there are many last minute details to finish up.  I find myself humming, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” at odd moments, but you know? It feels GOOD to be back in this theatrical environment. Also? Tickets are still available!

And work has responded by crowding my calendar with meetings, meetings and more meetings.  Today I was in Greensboro for our strategic plan refresh session. I was in meetings pretty much every day last week and will be in meetings every day this week. Even Friday, and that’s just wrong!

Months ago, I signed up to be part of PAIL’s Monday Snapshot. They told me it would likely be April before mine went up, and I promptly forgot.  Last week, they emailed me that Monday was my day, and I promptly forgot again. Then this morning, I woke up to an email asking if I had gotten the earlier email and if I could still participate. Yikes.

I was looking so forward to participating and had screwed up royally. I hurriedly found a picture, wrote a few paragraphs and sent it out. The PAIL ladies were very sweet to work with me despite my tardiness, and my profile went up later today.

I’m not usually so disorganized, and I hope to be in better form soon. In the meantime, check out my Snapshot if you have a moment.

We survived Monday, right?

Almost Show Time


A month from now, it will all be over.  All the meetings and Facebook conversations.  The tweets.  The texts.  The sponsor soliciting.  Celebrating when your cold call gets a positive response.  Gnashing your teeth in frustration when you are turned down by a potential sponsor or charity who doesn’t get what you are trying to do.

A month from now, these 15 women and men who were brought together due to their heart-felt pieces on motherhood, camaraderie formed, confidences shared, enthusiasm evident, will disperse.

For Raleigh-Durham’s Listen to Your Mother show will be over.

I remember in January as Marty and I bounced venue and charity ideas off of each other, how much time it seemed like we had.  Suddenly it was time for auditions and building our cast and our show.  And now, here we are in the last few–very few—weeks before our show.  It’s time to shift our mindset to publicity, to ensuring we have a full house for our show.  It feels like there are a thousand balls in the air that we are juggling for the show in addition to our “normal” lives of working, parenting and living.  We’re at the detail stage right now: designing ads, posters, programs; thinking of cast gifts; finding an after-party location.

It’s been difficult for me to be as engaged with the process as I would like since work has been crazy just when I need to contribute the most.  I hate feeling like I’m not pulling my weight.

Sometimes my mindset shifts to my old theater days in terms of thinking of the production: need to do this, tech rehearsal, costumes, etc. But then it dawns on me how special our show is, how remarkable it is to be part of the Listen to Your Mother organization.

Our cast is comprised of real women and men with real stories.  These aren’t scripted lines.  They come from the heart.  They are their reality.  The darkest moments.  The highest highs. Painful histories.  Worries.  Doubts.  Appreciation.  Love. Side-splitting humor   I feel honored that Marty and I have been given the opportunity to help bring these stories and these wonderful voices to a wider audience.  I take a step back and am awed and so proud to be able to do this for our community.

Tickets are on sale.  I’ve added a feed of the latest posts on our LTYM site to my sidebar (it’s a bit wonky).  Right now we’re posting cast profiles and posts on our gracious sponsors.  I’d love it if you’d click over and get to know the amazing man and women who will be reading on May 8.

In the Merde

Mercury Retrograde ends on March 17, and it certainly is going out with a bang this week: 5 coworkers were laid off on Tuesday, one of them in spectacular fashion.  While I had worked with most of them for many years, I was particularly close to one of them.  We started at this organization one day apart, and we joked that he was like the 14-year-old brother I never had.  You might recall that my boss left unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. It really has been a shitty few weeks.

I know I talk a lot about Mercury Retrograde, but rest assured that I don’t really believe in it or astrology.  Not a lot anyway.  It’s simply nice to have something to blame or identify a cause or reason instead of the indifferent universe when something shitty happens.  I find it a bit ironic that I am currently reading Lean In when after the recent events, I want to lean back so far that I’m out of the picture.  But I have to keep it together for my team so that they won’t run screaming from the building.

Yesterday in Performance Leadership, we learned about different generations in the workplace.  I’m Gen X (bitter, jaded and cynical naturally), but I’m on the cusp of being Gen Y.  Gen Y wants to do meaningful work or find meaning in their work.  The Xer in me wants to roll my eyes and tell them to get over it because there’s a reason why it’s called “work” and not “fun.”  “Meaningful” for Gen Y is often interpreted derisively as a job that contributes to saving the planet or protesting for Tibetan freedom or something.  Meaningful work is relative to the worker, though.  For one employee, it might be work that compensates them fairly and allows them to live how they wish.  For another it might be an ethical workplace.

As a Gen X/Y cusper, I understand that quest to do work that is meaningful.  I am passionate and very proud of the work my organization does to help NC industry and how my efforts support that.  I’ve always been able to find meaning.  No matter how boring a class, I was always able to find something interesting or redeemable about it. Something that elevated it past mere drudgery. It’s a very useful mindset.  My team consists of two young Gen Yers, so I’m trying to focus on the importance of our work during this chaotic time.  It’s hard, though, because what do you do when your Gen X clashes with your Gen Y?  What happens when you are still able to find Gen Y meaning in what you do but that ol’ Gen X distrust rears its ugly head? When the bitterness outweighs the optimism?

GOMI

Last night on Twitter I had a nice conversation with Schmutzie and Bon about Get Off My Internets (GOMI).  I read GOMI.  I admit it.  If you want to stop following or shun me because of it, so be it.  I understand the criticism of GOMI, and I acknowledge that threads can deteriorate quickly into personal attacks instead of criticizing the behavior.  I also acknowledge that some of the members can be mean bitches with axes to grind.  I like the snark, but I’m really interested in the function GOMI serves as a counterweight to the blogosphere. I admit that it’s weird because bloggers are actual humans (most of them anyway), and it’s sort of weird to talk about them as if they are in the public domain like a celebrity.  But in a way they are.  And there’s some stupid shit that goes on in the blogosphere.  My bottom line is this:  if you delete comments that are mildly critical or questioning something you’ve posted about; if you allow only sycophantic fans to post glowing comments; if you do stupid shit; if you endanger your child; if you…ah screw it.  I guess it comes back to what I wrote in my post on criticism: you do not exist in a vacuum.  If you blog publicly, you put yourself out there and people will notice you.  Not everyone will like you.  People will judge your choices and opinions.  And that’s OK.  Because we’re human, and that’s what humans do. Surely there is room for a happy medium between “OMG U R the best” and “you’re a fat, jealous hater.”  Am I being ridiculous?  I’m comfortable among the gray instead of living in black or white.

Listen to Your Mother

Things are moving along quite nicely. Marty and I held auditions on three nights last week and heard 40 amazing readers.  Today we think we finalized our cast list.  We have also revealed our charity partner and have scored three sponsorships.  In short, there’s a lot going on, and I urge to subscribe to our LTYM site to stay in the loop!  May 8 doesn’t sound nearly as far away as it did only a few weeks ago!

Google

So long, Google Reader.  I shouldn’t be surprised that Google has made another decision that is so astonishingly bad it defies belief.  Do they understand who their users are? Do they understand that not only do people still blog but also still read blogs? Fine, Google.  Continue to put all of your resources and spend your social capital on Google Plus, something no one uses, instead of promoting and supporting the services a lot of people use.  We’ll see how that plays out in a few years.  I’ve updated my rant about Google from last Fall to include an update on the demise of Reader.

***

So that’s my week.  I’m bummed and numb and down.  I haven’t been sleeping well thanks to the time change, and I cried three times yesterday.  I’m reading and following along but seldom able to comment.

I hope you’ve had a better week.

Listen to Your Mother Raleigh-Durham: Location Update!

Awesome news!  We have a venue!  The Listen to Your Mother Raleigh-Durham show location will be at Kenan Auditorium on William Peace University’s campus May 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM.

I am so relieved to have a location for our show, and it looks like it will be perfect.  Having a place, date and time makes our show so real!  Marty and I agreed that we are going to keep our scope small for our first year of putting on a Listen to Your Mother show so we can learn the ins and outs and not become overwhelmed, but I promise you the show will be no less meaningful and awesome.

Stay tuned for audition information that will be announced next week!  We also are getting close to announcing our chosen charity.

If you aren’t in the Raleigh-Durham area, I urge you to check the other participating cities for audition dates and performance information.  You do not have to be a blogger to participate.

Thank you for your support.  I’m a little in shock that we will be having our show in less than 4 months, but it is SO exciting.

LTYM: Raleigh-Durham Update!

 

The Listen to Your Mother website for Raleigh-Durham went live this morning!  Please feel free to bookmark the site as it will be where we post the official information about performance date, venue, and time as well as audition information and sponsor information.

Marty and I have been busily contacting potential venues, and it’s been more of a challenge than we anticipated to find suitable space that can seat at least 300 people AND is available Mother’s Day weekend.  The latter condition is the one we are having the most problem with since Mother’s Day weekend is apparently a hot commodity in the area.   Contacting venues and receiving rejection after rejection reminds me of trying to find a reception site for our wedding years ago.  We got married in December (ahem tomorrow), and I had a difficult time finding a place that wasn’t already booked for holiday parties or didn’t require a much higher food and beverage minimum during the lucrative holiday season.

We still have a few irons in the fire, so I’m confident we’ll find an awesome space for the show.