More than a hundred local writers compete to be a part of “Listen to Your Mother” annually. But this year, Las Positas College instructor Michelle Gonzales trumped most of them as she landed one of the only 14 spots available.
In May, Gonzales will be reading a piece for “Listen to Your Mother.” Co-directors and producers Kirsten Patel and Kari Paulsey chose her early in March.
“When I first read Michelle’s piece, one of the first submissions that we had received, I saw that she had a very unique personality, and we’re very excited to see her reading her piece,” Patel said.
“Listen to Your Mother” (LTYM) is a show in which approximately 12-15 people are chosen to read their own original piece about motherhood. For this year, Gonzales will be reading a piece she wrote about her and her son playing music together.
According to Gonzales, it was a friend who auditioned and previously was cast on the show last year who mentioned the show to her.
Her friend’s encouragement pushed her to send in her own piece and to audition for the show herself. Gonzales, who has her personal memoir “Pretty Bold for a Mexican Girl” available online through her blog, found that this step could help her in “building her platform” in the world.
“Since I had written this book that I’ve only had published online, and I’m trying to get it published for real, in a book form, I’ve been looking for opportunities to read in front of an audience,” Gonzales said. “I have also been looking for opportunities for things that will get my name out there.”
Gonzales said that in getting somewhere with her book, and even more than that, she knows that it’ll take more than just one thing and more of a series of events or things for her to build her way to the top.
Kirsten Patel sees that and much more for picking Gonzales.
“We like that she’s not the typical PTA mom, and the way that she talks about her son brings this fresh and unique way to mothering.”
LTYM was originally founded four years ago by Ann Imig in Chicago.
After attending a blogging conference, Imig found she really wanted to hear her writings be read on stage, thus coming up with the idea of hearing about others’ experiences with mothers or mothering.
LTYM is a show in which the chosen readers read their pieces about mothering, and show the bigger picture about it. The point is to have Mother’s Day be known for more than just a day for celebrating your mother and taking her out to breakfast; to show what mothers go through while raising their children.
Patel started co-producing and co-directing LTYM locally with her sister Kari two years ago.
Patel and Paulsey gave a deadline for submissions and received around 100 emails with pieces from people wanting to audition.
They narrowed it down to 54 people who they asked to come and read their piece in person and subsequently chose 14 out of those 54 to be in the show.
“It’s such a different experience between reading the pieces and listening to the readers actually listening to it,” said Patel. “There’s the point where you’re just reading it, and you’re not getting the real emotion until you have the reader there in front of you, showing the emotion they put into it.”
“Listen to Your Mother” will be showing on Sunday, May 12 at Kamber Hall in the San Francisco Jewish Community Center. Ticket information can be found at the “Listen to Your Mother” website for $25, or at the door for $30.