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Sunday, January 08, 2017

Three Reasons Why You Should Submit to "Listen to Your Mother"

When I was part of the St. Louis "Listen to Your Mother" show (there are shows all over the country), did I have a good hair day when I stepped onto the stage? Nope, my hair was a hot mess, like it always is. Did I trip on my wedge heels (since I chose to not wear my trusty Crocs, much to my family's joy)? Nope, but it was a close call a couple of times. Did I manage to find an outfit that camouflaged my fat rolls? Nope. I let it all hang out... and when I read my story aloud  (about looking for my birth mother), I let all my emotions hang out, too.

Which brings me to reason # 1 why you should submit a piece to Listen to Your Mother: The experience is healing/uplifting/entertaining--for you as well as the audience.

The year I was a performer, several people came backstage after the show and told me their adoption stories. Being surrounded by the other performers-writers made me laugh (and cry) during rehearsals. I got to know a group of writers who encouraged me during the rehearsals, the pre-show party, the performances and the post-show party. We laughed together so much, pantyliners had to be occasionally replaced, and the pre-show mimosas kept the tears (more or less) in check.

#2  It's a different way of sharing your writing.

When you write a short story or novel, you rarely get to hear or see your readers' reactions. Unless a reader writes you some fan mail or an email or sees you at a book signing, you're clueless. When you're a "Listen to Your Mother" writer, you get immediate feedback. You read aloud (not memorize) your piece. The audience laughs, sniffles and nods... and you get to bask in that immediate gratification.

And finally reason #3. It's a way of honoring your mother. Or highlighting your children's shenanigans. Or memorializing an aunt/grandmother/neighbor who was like a mother because you had a lousy, should've-been-reported-to-the-authorities mother.

There are Listen to Your Mother shows being held in 32 cities. The submissions usually open up in early January, and they look for stories that--when read aloud--last for five minutes or so. Do you have or did you have a uterus? Did you come from a uterus? If you can answer "yes" to one of those questions, you have stories to tell... and you should submit one of those stories.

Here are a few of the stories from St. Louis to give you a nudge. Watch a video and then get to writing... 'cause in St. Louis, submissions are open now, and they close on February 17.

Sioux Roslawski is a full-time middle-school teacher and a part-time writer. She lives in the St. Louis area and since she (most of the time) talks the talk and walks the walk, she is most definitely submitting a piece to the local Listen to Your Mother show (and will be keepin' her fingers crossed). If you'd like to read more, go to Sioux's Page.


  1. I am going to consider this. Is there a deadline or do they keep accepting until they get the program full?

  2. Margo--They WILL have a deadline but I'm not sure what it is... perhaps we'll find it out on January 13? They'll accept emailed submissions, will put together an audition list from the submissions, and then will choose the performers from the auditions.

    By the way, there are hundreds of Listen to Your Mother performances on Youtube. Maybe watching a few will jar something loose?

    Good luck. And don't just say "consider." Use the verb "submit" instead. Say, "I am going to sbumit to this," and mean it. It's just a short piece. Not many words + not a huge time investment = a phenomenal experience.

  3. Here I was thinking this was just a St. Louis thing. Looks like Atlanta is in on the shenanigans, too. I'll have to check it out.

  4. You do a great job of getting me fired up to write and submit. But then I realize that the prize is wearing not-Crocs, and reading in front of a crowd!

    I hope you make it again this year.

  5. Lisa--You should totally submit. I think it's the last year for the shows--nationally--but I understand some of the local producers are planning on keeping them going without the connection to the national core. Good luck. Check out the videos from Atlanta to see what kind of stories they've chosen so far.

    Val--You CAN wear Crocs, but my daughter and granddaughter would disown me if I were given the chance for a free pair of designer shoes and instead of taking them up on it, chose to wear my old Crocs. (I have warned my family that when my son gets married this Spring, I am going to bling up a pair of Crocs with either sequins or rhinestones. Which do you think would be the most chic?)

  6. Thanks for the inspiring post, I am trying to think of something to submit!

  7. Mary--You're quite welcome. I imagine you have lots of stories you could tell. Go on Youtube, watch some of the videos, and that might prod your thinking...

  8. Love your hair, Sioux.

  9. KAlan--Really? Well, thanks. (Are you sure you don't need to get your eyes checked? :)


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