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.
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?).
And finally, without these voices, there would have been no song. Just a lonely, buzzing, gangly microphone.
Leanne Goolsby -
is a native Oregonian who calls Portland home, single mum to human son Tabor and puppy son Thunder, first-time homeowner, psuedo-designer, runner, writer, sewist, chef. Constantly in the middle of approximately 53 semi-finished projects, Leanne has what could only be described as a messy, beautiful, imperfect, brilliant life. For those wishing to see an overabundance of adorable puppy-and-kid pictures, DIY projects, and general musings, Leanne can be found on the internets via her website, Lea Camille.
Jessica Peyton Roberts -
Tracey Barnes Priestley -
Melissa Sher -
Melissa Sher, her husband, and their three boys moved to Portland a couple of years ago. (No, they don’t mind the rain.) Melissa’s writing has been featured frequently in the Huffington Post, New York Times’ Motherlode column, Chicago Tribune, and on bathroom stalls all over this beautiful country. She was also named to the Babble 100: Top Bloggers of 2013 (and her mother wasn’t even one of the judges!). You can read her on her blog, Mammalingo; or just go outside and yell as loud as you can. Even if she can’t hear you, it will feel good.
Jenny Forrester -
Nadia Martinez Chantry -
Renée Butcher -
Sage Cohen -
Meghan Yow -
Deb Stone -
Clarissa Moll -
Nikki Schulak -
I'd just like to point out that this is the appropriate usage of comic sans.
Let's. Do. This. Again. Portland.
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