March 20, 2014

Sometimes I just have to stop what I’m doing to write something, even if I don’t have any idea what it is that wants out. Or maybe nothing wants out, but my creative muscles need some yoga…or at least some stand up with arms straight up in the air tippy toe stretching.

Lately I fire off words away from here, so I’m still stretching, or jogging, or some-such exercising analogy. Just not right here in this space.


My directing/producing cohorts and I have been making the final very difficult decisions in casting this year’s Listen To Your Mother Austin show. There’s never going to be anything that feels good about sending the inevitable, “We sincerely appreciate your story and time, BUT…” responses. Ask pretty much any director/producer, and if they’ve got a heart at all they’ll say, Yeah, I hate that too. It’s awful.

(I know, I know. Poooor us.)

But really, if my heart had it her way, those rejective (totally a word) responses would be two pages long. I’d want to explain exactly what it means to have far too many stellar pieces of writing in front of you and to feel a little too vulnerable with the responsibility, maybe even a little (or a lot) insecure. (WHO thought it was a good idea to give ME this job?) (Oh yeah, I did.) But if I did explain, at length, my love for all the stories and how hard it was to narrow them down, I’d be making it all about me, and it isn’t.

I’ve figured out very little in life, I’m sure. But one thing I know for certain is that I can head off a lot of needless and exhausting questioning and insecurity if I don’t assume the role of Center Of All The Things, stealing from the process. I am prone to taking myself too seriously, and it is a relief to remember I am only a part, not at all the center. (PHEW)

These shows have a path and it digs its way through soil with a magical spiritual tiller–a hand plow that is so much smarter than the three of us could ever be. (No offense, Leigh Ann and Kristin.) We are simply tools (most likely loose screws) who have been given a deep and true love for story. We know Listen To  Your Mother. We LOVE Listen To Your Mother. We are here to work hard and to believe in the process itself.

Trust the process, Heather. That’s what I say to me.

One of my favorite parts of a Listen To Your Mother Show is how people see a flyer or an announcement on Facebook or a friend or family member says You should submit something, and all the pieces end up being so different. Different shapes and sizes, some heavy and some light. Some make you snort-laugh and some keep a lump in your throat and your breath held. They cover a multitude of themes and years and experiences and who am I? Who am I but a witness, a little trail guide director in camouflage whispering, Please trust me while I trust the tiller. You won’t believe where we end up.

Some of these stories end up on a Listen To Your Mother stage, some appear on another website and then get picked up by another, and some even find their way to another stage for another kind of reading. A few come back for another try and many stay tucked away, still waiting their turn. They are all of equal value, and if they haven’t been pulled up from the dirty work of writing to be seen and heard this time, they are still in the plan.That’s art.

Screenshot 2013-07-31 at 8.53.36 AM


molly March 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Being a part of LTYM Kansas City was one of the coolest opportunities that my blog ever brought my way. It’s like a sisterhood and I am so proud to have been a part of it! Good luck, this year. I’m sure those decisions are never easy at all. Everyone is so talented!
molly recently posted..My Breastfeeding Journey | Part II

DontBlameTheKids March 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I keep hearing about LTYM, but I actually have no idea what it is. So now I am off to find out!
BTW, I’ve never been here before–I found your blog through the Happy Hausfrau. But a quick glance at your sidebar ensures I will be back. You had me at backyard chickens. March 23, 2014 at 8:23 am

I’m with you. Never heard of LTYM. But something to investigate for…down the road. That long road of choices.

You are so right, Heather, rejection is such a part of an artistic process. I know how much it has meant to me along the way. recently posted..are you afraid of being buried alive while you get a gallon of milk?

Kristin Shaw March 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

And now I know how you two found me, Rebecca and Lynn. :-) You’re both story tellers, and you will love learning more about Listen to Your Mother!
Kristin Shaw recently posted..Where I Lived Wednesday: Glendora Avenue

Liz March 20, 2014 at 11:50 pm

I don’t think I”ve ever read something that involves rejection that is so brilliantly and gently and honestly written.
Hat tip. :)
Liz recently posted..Boxes: Just Write

Amanda March 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I am so grateful for the passionate work that you all do. I hope one day there will be a LTYM near enough that I might throw my hat (words) in the ring.
Amanda recently posted..Same Window, New Views

Ann March 25, 2014 at 6:40 am

I just love this. Especially the tiller/plow metaphor and the last paragraph, and you.

MrsTDJ March 25, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Awesome description of the process and our role in the big picture. Delighted to be in the LTYM family with you!
MrsTDJ recently posted..My Little Guy Turns 5

Leigh Ann March 25, 2014 at 9:28 pm

I love learning more and more about this process every day, both on the production end of things and the emotional side. Happy to be on this journey with you and Kristin.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: