I’m going to be performing in front of hundreds of people at the Listen To Your Mother show in NYC, 5 pm, Sunday, 5/12, at Symphony Space on Broadway at 95th.
I gotta tell you, I’m very nervous.
One part of me knows I’ll be great.
Another part of me feels like apologizing for my story in the show — it’s a small story about a small moment. It’s nothing big, nothing earth-shattering, nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, I could’ve plumbed the depths of my soul (could I?); instead, I chose a story about taking out the trash with my surly teen.
So I’m inclined to say, “Awww, P’shaw! My story? Me? We’re not that important.”
But wait! I must remember my advice to myself. When I used to do stand up, right before I went on, while nursing a diet coke at the bar, I’d psyche myself up by telling myself these three things:
- Be yourself
- Have fun
- It is important
These three rules seemed to make a positive difference in my performance. Also, I received precious advice from Eddie Brill who told me, way back when: “Never apologize in your stand up act!” That was great advice! It turns out that audiences don’t trust or appreciate apologists!
The truth is that I love the truth. I love hearing truths about motherhood — good, bad, and indifferent truths. Extraordinary and ordinary truths.
I love that I am someone who loves the truth. Because too much of my mothering and my life is spent putting up a good appearance and trying to keep up with the Joneses
So the fact that I am invited to tell my truth along with a bunch of other truth-tellers, well, it’s just icing on the cake of my life.
When I saw this quilt, I thought it was as beautiful as any Michelangelo oil painting. I saw the quilt by Joan Lintault at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.
Do I think the other writers have bigger truths? Maybe. But it’s not a competition. It’s a collaboration. And each square of the quilt makes for a beautiful pattern. Some of fabric is flowery, some plaid, some embroidered, some plain. Each story, each piece, makes up this crazy quilt.
When we tell our stories, we make room for even more truth. And, as the saying goes, the truth will set you free.
This Listen To Your Mother show is not a show for or about perfect mothers. It is not about pretty mothers like Stepford wives. If you’re looking for that, look in the Mother’s Day aisle for a Hallmark card. (Although I’m pretty sure Hallmarks’s marketing strategy has turned towards a more honest appraisal of motherhood as well.)
In this show we laugh and cry over our real truths. And in these truths, the writers have made art, found freedom, and even, perhaps, woven together a new kind of patchwork quilt, more beautiful together than we could ever have been on our own.
I am honored to bring my piece to the show.
I am just going to show up; have fun; be myself; and remember, it IS important.
This post was inspired by the the daily post prompt: “We each have many types of love …Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of ‘love’?”
Thanks to director Amy Wilson, producers Varda Steinhardt and Holly Rosen Fink, and assistant director Shari Simpson for weaving me into the show.
And thanks to the rest of the cast, truth-tellers and artists all: Barbara Patrick, DeBorah “Momma D” Gray, Jaime Fernandez, Kim Forde, Kizz Robinson, Laura Pruden, Marinka, Nicole Goodwin, Nivea Castro, Rebecca Land Soodak,Sandy Rustin, Sasha Schreiner, Shari Simpson, Sofia Quintero, Stacy Morrison, Susan Buttenwieser,Tracy Beckerman, and Virginia Watkins.