In a previous post, I shared that I recently stepped outside of my box and tried something new. It didn’t go well. That’s not exactly true, it just didn’t go as I expected.
Being a writer and a blogger, I had noticed that some of my favorite storytellers seemed to have a shared experience. They had been part of the Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) show at some point. You see, writers that are compelled to share their motherhood experiences, audition for a place in this very small, elite club. These shows take place in 32 cities around the country and the big performances take place on or around Mother’s Day.
I was intrigued. I was intimidated. I was inspired.
Last summer, I had an interesting parenting moment. I won’t go into the details, but it had to do with my TBP being exposed to something at the pool that was part of me that shouldn’t have been showing. Let’s just leave it at that. The experience was embarrassing, hilarious, and unforgettable so I did what most writer’s do when they can’t forget about something, I wrote about it.
I read it to my inner sphere of close people and they laughed. They laughed until there were tears.
I wondered if it was truly funny or just crude, so I sent it to some of my favorite bloggers and a few that are WAY out of my league to get their reaction. They thought it was hilarious and loved it and confirmed to me that while it was different from my typical essays, it was good.
When the LTYM show in Portland put out requests for auditions, I put my hat in the ring and was quickly emailed back that I had a spot.
At that moment, I was filled with a range of emotions. I was nervous, excited, and wondering if I really could be a contender. Since I didn’t turn in the piece that I was reading, I’m assuming that I got the audition from essays that I had written and possibly my obsession with being very active on Twitter. No matter how it came my way, my mood was a mix of intrigue and a dash of terrified thrown in.
I knew that my pool sighting piece was unusual and a risk (I am laughing out loud because I know that is an understatement), but I thought about all the talent in the area and thought that an essay like that, is what would get me noticed.
I practiced and edited to get my piece under the required 5 minutes. I read it to groups of friends who all laughed in the right spots and assured me that it was hilarious. I was ready. I was going to kill it. I was trying to feel confident by practicing my positive thinking mantras but I was secretly terrified.
So the day finally arrives. We arrive early into town because I didn’t want to be late or add traffic worry to the already very present butterflies that had lived in my stomach since the previous day. I signed in and wait. Finally, it is my turn.
The two producers are lovely and approachable and obviously trying to make me feel as comfortable as possible after they had spent a long day of listening to others.
I started and I hit a place in my piece where there is supposed to be laughter. I count on it like clock work because it is the very place where I get that feedback as a reader that I need to keep going. It doesn’t happen. They don’t laugh. They look straight ahead at me; they don’t react the way that my previous audiences have with my carefully chosen phrases and recollections of this most embarrassing day.
I start to panic. I realize that if they don’t think THAT is funny…they are REALLY not going to like what I am about to say in 2 1/2 minutes. When there was no laughter in any of the places that others had laughed a lot, I became increasingly uncomfortable and embarrassed. It was a very l-o-n-g five minutes.
When I returned home, I told others how it went. I said, “I am not getting in. They didn’t laugh” and my surprised sphere of influence said:
“How could that be?!”
“They were just trying to get an accurate time on it”
“I bet it was like Willy Wonka being all stern and then when Charlie gives the gobstopper back, he lights up and becomes animated again! They had to be Willy Wonka!”
The “thanks but no thanks” email that I received was very nice and gracious; I knew that it was a long shot, but I would have always wondered if I didn’t try.
Although it was an embarrassing experience that didn’t turn out the way that I wanted, I am glad that I did it. How could I talk about taking risks and trying new things with my son if I didn’t do it myself! Who knows, maybe I will risk the humiliation again and try out next year.
If I do… I will certainly choose a less exposing topic 🙂