Contributed by OKWB Community Manager Mari Farthing
It’s that magical time of year when bloggers everywhere proclaim their words for the New Year and commit their resolutions to the interwebs in order to promote follow through.
If you’re reading this, you probably know what I mean.
Let me encourage you to add to your list of resolutions this year, by being a part of Listen to Your Mother. Listen to Your Mother—or, LTYM for short—is a speaking series that celebrates motherhood. In the past, Oklahoma City has hosted the show in 2013, 14 and 15 and the tradition continues with a new production team for 2016.
Many of our OKWB members have participated in LTYM in years past (including me—more on that below), and it’s a life-changing project for everyone involved. For the people who are willing to stand in vulnerability and share their stories, it’s a chance to be brave. For the people who share the word about the project to their family and friends, it’s a chance to provide an opportunity to others, to share and connect.
But it’s more. Because there is also a charitable contribution made, through proceeds raised by the show, so even the audience plays an integral part of the process. Our 2016 beneficiary will be announced very soon, a United Way charity that benefits local mothers and children and one that we at LTYM hope to shine a light on.
I was a cast member in the 2013 show and it was a challenging, rewarding, scary, life-affirming, positive experience. So much so that I have been a loud and proud cheerleader and supporter of the show in the following years and when the opportunity arose to apply to be a producer, I jumped at the chance. I’m proud to be on the production team along with Carolyn Bechtold and Jennifer Dennis-Smith.
I do hope you’ll consider being a part of LTYM in OKC! Auditions are open now. We ask that all cast members are available for the important dates (March 5 for live auditons, April 2 & 16 for rehearsals, May 1 for show). Have more questions? Hopefully they can be answered here:
Q: Can I submit a story even if I’m not a writer?
A: You don’t have to be a writer! I mean, you can be, but there is no requirement or expectation. We want honest, true tales with the common theme of motherhood, any aspect of motherhood.
Q: What if I’m not a mother?
A: You don’t have to be a mother! Everyone has been touched by motherhood in some way, whether it’s being a mom, having a mom, knowing a mom or not having a mom. All stories are valid. All voices matter.
Q: How long should my story be?
A: We’re looking for submissions that are about five minutes long (give or take a few) when read aloud—about 2 pages or 1200 words. Read it out loud and time yourself so you know if you’re hitting that mark.
Q: Can I send in this really cool flash fiction piece that I had published?
A: Previously published is okay; fiction is not. Stories must be non-fiction and if they are previously published, you must retain all rights to it.
Q: What if my story is too sad/funny/angry/ridiculous?
A: We want diversity. We want all the sad, the funny, the angry and the ridiculous. We want your stories, your honesty, your vulnerability. That’s what connects with the audience, that’s your truth.
Q: What if I’m going to talk about something people might think is inappropriate?
A: Is it true? Then it fits. We just ask that you keep it relatively PG-13.
Q: OK! I’ve got three stories that I want to send in! Where should I send them?
A: First, please send only one submission. Email it to LTYM.OKC@GMAIL.COM pasted into the text of the email and include 2016 submission in your subject line.
Q: So I have to narrow it down to one? How long do I have to decide?
A: Submissions should be sent by February 28. Audition signups will open March 1, and if you fit the criteria stated above regarding length, topic and non-fiction, you will be asked to audition.
I hope you make LTYM a part of your New Year!
Along with being a co-director/producer of the 2016 Listen To Your Mother show in OKC, Mari Farthing blogs at MariFarthing.com and is a prolific social media presence (meaning she drinks copious amounts of coffee each morning and proceeds to avoid housework by surfing the internet). She’s a freelance writer and editor and mother of two.