Listen To Your Mother Came to Portland
By Kelli Martinelli on May 29, 2014
Listen To Your Mother came to Portland.
I know. I was there.
32 cities across the country each produced a local show that featured 90 minutes worth of stories that were honest, shocking, raw, inspirational, validating, familiar, hilarious and new. Over a thousand stories that took the stereotype of motherhood -- any stereotype: soccer mom, adoptive mom, stay at home mom, sitcom mom, hippy mom, absent mom -- and tore them open to reveal a unique portrait of human life.
We did that. We wrote and edited and auditioned and rehearsed. We overcame the urge to just "drive this car around and skip the audition altogether". We practiced pausing, 8 seconds, before beginning to read our piece, so that ultimately, the stories could be produced for YouTube so that anyone -- anyone -- could watch them. Dissect them. Interpret them. Listen to them.
We agonized over finding local sponsors. We sweat bullets over ticket sales. We spammed our own social media feeds with promotional efforts and hashtags: #LTYM #PDX #MOTHERSDAY #ISANYONLISTENING #DIDYOULEAVE #IPROMISEYOULLLOVEIT #HELLO?
We neglected our other writing habits. And found temporary refuge in publicly postponing all other interests until possibly June.
We cried. We laughed while clenching kegels until our earlobes ached. We spent a lot more time on Instagram. There was a general sense of We going around. Connected nationally with 31 other Director/Producer teams. Google Hangouts were a thing. The Laura to my Mary, Carisa, overwhelmed Facebook chat on more than one occasion, pinged it into temporary hibernation, and we had to result to good ol' fashioned SMS texting. We were constantly dialed in, and it was exhilir ... exhal ... exhausting. And the richest, most beautiful, most life-changing thing since childbirth or eating sushi for the first time.
Somehow during the course of a little more than half a year, I became inspired, motivated and brave enough to take more control over carving out the life niche that would best suit my own life story. I left one job after almost 8 years. And then 3 short months later, I announced that I was leaving that job too, to work independently at this thing I call mamoré. And so I worked that still-new job, and my own new independent project, simultaneously, in the month leading up to the show.
Then I had the anxiety dream to bite all the nubby fingernails off of your anxiety dreams.
And then we were in The Green Room, waiting to tell our stories into the microphone. Into the video camera. Into the ears of whomever might listen. And we knew we had sold tickets but we still prayed that people would actually show up. That they would think that our Portland show was worth an hour and a half of their Portland time. That they wouldn't have gotten distracted by the Grilled Cheese Bus just up the road.
And then they came.
YOU came. And you listened to our hearts as we strummed them across the flat words of the laminated pages, flayed open on the podium, a different tone, each one. And I believe that you not only listened, you loved. And if I believe that, that you loved a bit bigger during those 90 minutes (orrrr slightly longer), then I, by the stars above, call that a resounding success.
First and foremost, thank you to Carisa Miller. For cosmically connecting with me as my soul sister. For fretting with me but never frowning at me. For throwing zingers at me when I was about to collapse under the weight of my own addiction to upheaval. For directing a beautiful show in our phenomenal city.
Second, thank you to Ann Imig, mother of it all. I am quite confident that it was in part because of this experience that I am now working independently, supporting the stories that I love the most. You have given me a foothold to launch myself over the fence I'd been straddling and into the sparkling pool on the other side.
To Melissa, Stephanie and Deb, for your coaching, your grooming, your gentle-yet-appropriately-firm tsk-tsking over my newbie mistakes, for your presence, kindness, talent and support.
And to these guys. Johann Leiter and Tracey Whitney, our show photographer and videographer. They put their faith in this project, in Carisa and I, and in YOU, Portland, and they captured each moment with the clarity of the day itself. My future memory is forever indebted.
To our local sponsors. Gah. Loves Yous Guys. I hope all who are READING THIS RIGHT NOW will go give them a likey-loo. And then I promise to never EVER say likey-loo again. Thank you to Womens Healthcare Associates (my midwives through both births!), Zenana Spa (my post-show unwinding oasis), Crafty Wonderland (my pre-show shopping adventure), Radio Room (my new bffs and after-party host), Bolt Fabric Boutique (my constant inspiration to maybe someday though it's not bloody likely take up sewing but I could possibly become a fabric collector ... ), and Toro Bravo Cookbook (because honestly, have you eaten their food?).
To the LTYM National Sponsors, Chevrolet and BlogHer. Without them, this would all still be a twinkle in Ann's eye.
And finally, without these voices, there would have been no song. Just a lonely, buzzing, gangly microphone.
Leanne Goolsby -