What started as a group of local writers in Madison, WI, reading their musings on motherhood, has blossomed into an annual event that now graces stages in 41 cities across the U.S. and Canada. The national storytelling show, Listen To Your Mother — brainchild of author Ann Imig — is a grassroots production that connects writers with a live audience to share their authentic stories. Each show is crafted by a team of local producers, directors, and readers who perform one show for their community each year around Mother’s Day.
Staying true to the local nature of the show, each city chooses a non-profit cause in their own backyard and donates 10 percent of the show’s profit from ticket sales. Since the show’s inception in 2010, Listen To Your Mother has collectively donated $80,000 to local causes.
This year, hundreds of women and men will be taking the stage for the live reading event, which is performed in the following cities: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Boston, Boulder, Burbank, Charleston,Chicago, DC, Evansville, Kansas City, La Crosse, Lehigh Valley, Lincoln, Little Rock,Madison, Metro Detroit, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, North Jersey, Northern Utah, NYC, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Rochester, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Southeast Texas, Southwest Michigan, Spokane, St. Louis, Twin Cities, and Vancouver.
My part in Music City's show
Among this list of host cities is Nashville, home to the show I was fortunate enough to be a part of in 2015. It’s wrong to boast, but my cast was amazing. Not to say that other casts in other cities or other years aren't amazing, it’s just that it simply isn’t possible for another group of people to have the same impact on my soul. It’s like babies: You certainly think your friend’s baby is adorable and smells like angel feathers, but no other baby will ever come close to the utter perfection of your own child.
A good story has the power to change you — to make you feel something and remember you’re alive. Hearing someone read their story aloud produces a specific kind of magic, one that boomerangs back to you when you least expect it. During the weeks prior to the show, I listened to each of my cast mates read their story three times, and in that time period I experienced what I refer to as "soul glue," a cosmic substance that binds a piece of someone else’s soul to your own.
I came down with a serious case of soul glue in the month Listen To Your Mother was in my life. I had beautiful episodes of cerebral vignettes that starred the voices of my cast mates. In quiet moments I would find snippets of their stories being thrust to the forefront of my thoughts. They eventually became imbedded in my heart and I'm honored to carry them with me for always. What a powerful notion to think, that after the curtain closes on this year’s shows, thousands of others will carry stories with them. And their souls will forever be glued.
Check out Autumn's hilarious story from Listen To Your Mother, Nashville 2015: