I spent most of my high school weekends traveling the state, competing in speech and drama tournaments. My friends and I spent weeks scouring scene books and collections of poetry and stories, then memorizing, rehearsing, and fine-tuning our pieces to get ready for the next tournament. We practiced pace, volume, diction. We traveled by school bus and our “stage” was the front of a classroom — chairs and desks pushed to the walls. We performed in front of other students, just like us from around the state, and the further we advanced in the tournaments the bigger the audiences would get. Everybody wanted to go see the six or eight lucky souls who broke through to finals. They were the competition for next time.
It was my sport.
Hindsight being what it is, it’s easy to see now, but I had no idea the impact it was making on me — as a writer and a storyteller. For all my talk about grammar, I’m not the purist I pretend to be. I love and respect spelling and punctuation and mechanics, but I don’t hesitate to take liberties in the name of rhythm. Years of rehearsing and performing taught me — the rhythm of your words is as important as the structure of the sentences.
In writing — it’s your voice. And I have always taken that literally, I suppose. I was trained to appreciate inflection, rhythm — and it materialized in my writing. I write almost every sentence as if someone somewhere will be reading it aloud. I’ll bet you had no idea you should have been reading all this out loud to yourself the whole time, huh?
All that to say, I’m getting on stage. But this time, it’s something I wrote.
The chance to perform something I wrote is so incredibly exciting, because on some level — that is always the intent. But the experience will be unlike anything I’ve ever done, ever performed, ever written. In high school, I performed — but they were someone else’s words. Any reactions I got genuinely belonged to THAT writer, THAT playwright. And when it comes to blogging, they may be my words, but I never actually see your reactions. I never truly know if what I write gets the reaction I was hoping for. I just send these words out there and hope they resonate with someone.
It’s incredibly exciting – and unbelievably intimidating. The nature of blogging keeps things private somehow. I know – private? – these words are out there, published on the internet for anyone to stumble upon. But I like to think of anyone who reads this blog as a friend. And now – I’ll be sharing my words with perfect strangers.
LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER features live readings by local writers on the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood, in celebration of Mother’s Day.
Born of the creative work of mothers who publish on-line, each production is directed, produced, and performed by local communities, for local communities.
Now in its fourth year, LTYM will take place in 24 cities across the country. And I am beyond thrilled to be part of the cast here in Northwest Arkansas.
- Thursday. May 30. 7pm. Fayetteville AR.
- Please come! I don’t know each of the members in the cast yet, but I know the show will be incredible. I cannot wait to experience the stories each of these folks has to tell.
- Get tickets! The show will be held at the Walton Arts Center, Starr Theater. It’s a small, black box theater and seating is limited. The show WILL sell out. Click here for tickets.
- Still wondering what the heck I’m talking about? Click here to check out LTYM’s YouTube channel for a collection of videos of past shows. You’ll laugh, cry, and sometimes both.
giving mother’s day a microphone