Welcome to Fuller by Design, where we explore what it means to lead a creative life. Because the truth is this - life is what you make of it. So let's make, every day. For life.

Listen To Your Mother

swampromp4.28So last week I told you that in high school I wasn’t particularly good at singing or dancing.

Well, that’s still true. I doubt I’ve improved much since back then.

Thankfully the kind of audition I went on in February didn’t require anything more than reading (now that I can do!). And writing (yep, I can do that too!).

One Sunday afternoon a few months ago my friend Naomi sent me a Facebook message with a link and said “you should totally do this!” and I thought to myself “Ummm, really? I should get up on stage and read my own writing to a theater full of strangers? OUT LOUD? Are you crazy, Naomi?!?”

And then I thought a little longer and the quiet voice inside my head finally said “Why yes…yes, you should totally do this.”

So I auditioned, and as luck would have it, I was selected to be part of the Washington DC cast.

The show is called Listen To Your Mother and it’s an annual performance offered around Mothers Day. It’s a staged production of essayists who write about motherhood. The essayists need not be women, nor even mothers themselves to take part, as long as the essay itself is about the topic of motherhood. I definitely fit into all three of those categories.

And it’s put on in more than just Washington DC - the shows are staged all across the country, in 39 different cities, each with local casts. The ticket sale proceeds go to a variety of causes that help women and children. So not only am I doing something good for me, I’m doing something good for families in need. Win-win.

I freely admit that so far it’s been a pretty intense and intimidating experience. There are head shots and bios and edits and tickets and meet-and-greets and run-throughs and more. I left the first event, a cast party at someone’s home, with my head spinning. There are so many performers in the group, and a performer I am not. I felt like a crazy introvert listening to all the conversations spin up and out around me, growing louder and more lively, people networking with one another and swapping stories, trying to gain an edge on internet notoriety. They certainly knew the ropes.

Meanwhile I felt myself wrapping up and cocooning inward with my thoughts, wondering how I fit into this group. What would they think of my essay? What would they think of me? Do they think I’m rude because I’m not goofing around, rather I’m lost in my own misgivings about how I fit into this whole thing?

But my essay is strong, I know. (I’m not allowed to say what it’s about so don’t even think about asking!) I joined a writing group last year and I’ve read a number of my essays out loud during those sessions. One evening one of the group members said “You know, if you ever write a book and there’s an audio version, you really need to read these stories yourself. They come to life through your voice.”

And that’s exactly what I’m doing. I think it may be one of those things where someone put the intention out in the universe and the universe conspired to bring it to life.

(thanks for that intention)

I’ll be reading my essay on Sunday, May 3 at The National Geographic Grosvenor Auditorium at 2pm and I invite you to come. There’s even a party afterward, I’m told. I’m curious about how in or out of place I’ll feel then.

This weekend we have a private read-through where the whole cast finally gets to hear all of the essays, read by the individual writers. I’m kind of nervous, and kind of excited. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, read my cast spotlight here - it’s an interview starting off with the question “Who IS Susan Fuller?”

Well wow, that’s a good question.

I’ll let you know as soon as I figure it out.



Motherhood by Design: Vanessa Christenson

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