She Flew! We Watched: First Look NWI, San Franciso, Philadelphia, Madison & Spokane

by Ann on May 16, 2012

Judy Miller, LTYM:NWI, courtesy of Beth Fletcher Photography

For a long time, she flew only when she thought no one else was watching.

Brian Andreas

Stephanie Precourt gave me this quote on a card after she drove all morning to attend the Madison LTYM show, just three days after wrapping up LTYM : Northwest Indiana.

For me, this quote sums up LTYM 2012. LTYM allows people to fly when they know someone else is watching. Whether by providing the impetus through auditions to put words to something you didn’t even know you needed to say, or whether up on a stage in front of hundreds (and hundreds) of people launching your story, LTYM allows us to cross that divide between hidden and seen, silent and heard.

All of a sudden people soar left and right who a few short months ago might have said never, not me, I couldn’t unless no one else watches.


LTYM: San Francisco photo courtesy of Kim Thompson-Steel

I’m fond of saying to anxious local directors/producers/casts that you could do LTYM in a Greyhound station with only the people in that Greyhound station and it would mesmerize. Andreas’ quote makes me realize that recognition of the potential of flight in everyone is the magic. We now know in a tangible way–by seeing and hearing the unexpected from so many people we think we had figured at first glance at LTYM auditions and at LTYM podiums –that she and he and yup, her too, has a story that can soar and loop-de-loop and leave our mouths agape in laughter or awe.

Some of us fly in fancy patterns for the love of the audience, some of us sky-write our biggest bravest truth for all to behold, some aren’t ready to fly and might never be–yet revel in touching the words zipping through the stratosphere.

What started out as a show stemming from my innate call to the spotlight –has expanded into something deeper and broader and so much more meaningful that anyone could’ve believed. I’ve come to see the shows as a ribbon uniting a living breathing spirit of commonality, empathy, solidarity and, well, love for a dazzling two-week flight.


Stephanie Precourt, LTYM: NWI, courtesy of Beth Fletcher Photography

Thank you to the incredible Stephanie Precourt not just for another full heart, full house LTYM Show, but also for starting this whole expansion with that first brave email. Your dedication, love, talent and vision honor and exemplify LTYM’s mission. As you’ve said in similar words, it’s like you knew this in your soul before it even began.

Mere months ago I had a different life. Days ago I (literally) had no voice. After last night I can firmly say I love my life and I have a voice again. Listen to Your Mother gave me a voice. It gave me so much Katy Hoagland LTYM: NWI

LTYM: San Francisco curtain call - photo courtesy of Sherri Kuhn

Thank you to the fabulous Kim Thompson-Steel for letting her inspiration from the BlogHer ’11 Open Mic Salon fly by taking the leap into first-time LTYM show production alongside blogging veteran Kirsten Patel. You both contribute so much beauty to the online space with your photos Kim, and both of your words and I feel deeply grateful to you for sharing it with LTYM and San Francisco through your glorious show.

I know why I did this show. I know that having something besides parenting is vital to my mental health. What I didn’t know was how much it would affect me. The hunger it would stir in me to find an outlet for this side of me. I didn’t anticipate the effect it would have on those who watched – what it would stir up in them. The inspiration that is found in listening to people tell their stories – whether their stories rile you, amuse you or cause a long held dam of feelings to burst in you...My take away is this – tell your story. It can be to a stranger on a park bench, anonymously online or to an audience of hundreds but tell it and feel the joy/relief/freedom of telling. Joy Latimer, LTYM: San Francisco

LTYM: Philadelphia Cast courtesy of Amanda Domergue

Bloggers Extraordinaire and Social Media Pros Cecily Kellogg and Dresden Shumaker brought LTYM to Philadelphia, thanks to the help of former punk rock singer turned mama Jo-Ann Rogan. These women are serious about storytelling online and off, and they delivered a powerful evening full of incredible talent. Thank you all for finding time in amidst the chaos of over-full lives to give Mother’s Day in Philly a microphone and such a meaningful gift.

LTYM: Philadelphia cast member Brandi Jeter - courtesy of Liz Henry

The show was exactly the way we envisioned it the day of our first Listen to Your Mother Philly meeting.  It was a show with twists and turns, tears, laughter, heartache, and hope. —Jo-Ann Rogan, LTYM: Philadelphia


LTYM: Spokane cast, courtesy of Elise Raimi

This was a moment that defined me…It defined who I am. It was vulnerable. It was putting it out there- all the way out there. This moment defined my past– a cherished lullaby with my mother- my family’s cabin hideaway- a daughter I never had. The silent wishes of my heart. The yearnings of a mother. The moment defined who I am…We share defining moments. And then- and then, there are moments that define us. Us Alone. And those are scary. And real. And ohmyGod embrace them. Because that… is why we’re here. Zibby Merritt, LTYM: Spokane

LTYM: Spokane Director and Producer Stacey Conner and Elise Raimi - courtesy of Elise Raimi

Stacey Conner and Elise Raimi–now 2nd year LTYM veterans–officially closed out our season with the last LTYM show. Both of these women are incredibly bright and gifted women/mothers/writers with huge beautiful hearts. They infuse their surroundings with support and warmth–the ideal environment for the entire LTYM process and for all of our communities. Thank you for allowing Spokane to listen again this year and for creating that space where we can fly.

3rd Annual LTYM: Madison Marquis

It was cathartic, funny, and meaningful, all rolled into one. It was what I needed and worth the weeks of jitters. It’s something I’ll always carry with me. Marlena Deutsch, LTYM: Madison

LTYM: Madison set, furnished by The Century House

LTYM: Madison exceeded any expectation. I’m still waiting for the final count, but the audience total neared 450. I hardly felt nervous, as my role becomes clearer and clearer to me as listener even on stage. One of my cast members noted that I made sure to make eye contact with every reader before moving on to the next. Part of this motivation stemmed from wanting to give each reader every possible minute of applause, but also I just wanted to have a mini-private and silent high-five/namaste/I SEE THE BEAUTY OF YOUR FLIGHT with each reader. Hearing these stories–rich in diversity of content, form, and speaker–shared with my beloved hometown, well the gratitude overwhelms me…

That magnificent 2012 ribbon now unfurls. I’ll keep documenting the flight of LTYM 2012 on this site and with the highly-anticipated video releases this summer (check out all 69 2011 videos here, and each city will publish recap posts with more details and photos. Thank you once again to our Premier National Sponsor Snapfish by HP for your support and all the well wish-tweets and fb updates to our casts, and to National Media Sponsor BlogHer for continuing to sustain the movement your community and conference inspired. Of course none of our shows would be possible without the support of our generous local sponsors who help host each local LTYM show.

Meanwhile, we all continue to fly. Hopefully next year–for a few magical moments around Mother’s Day–we can all watch again.

LTYM: NWI Full House, courtesy of Beth Fletcher


Joy/Parenting Myth May 16, 2012 at 10:56 am


Elizabeth May 16, 2012 at 10:56 am

And as LTYM up and flies off with all this new life breathed into it, here’s another (of my favorite) Brian Andreas quote from Story People:

“If you hold on to the handle, she said, it’s easier to maintain the illusion of control. But it’s more fun if you just let the wind carry you.”

Arms in the air! Have fun, and congrats on such a beautiful creation.

xo elizabeth

Kirsten May 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

Tears. Thank YOU Ann for giving us all wings.

Deb Nies May 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

And, these 2 favorite Story Peoples hanging on the wall above my desk – which I thought of while reading this piece:

We had gone far enough together to listen easily in the quiet spaces.

There has never been a day when I have not been proud of you, I said to my daughter, though some days I’m louder about other stuff so it’s easy to miss that.

Nichole May 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

Love this so much.
The most surprising part for me has been how much I wish I could rewind time and live it all over again. What an amazing experience it was.

Stephanie Precourt May 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Wow I am just covered in chills. Still pinching myself that I could be so lucky to be any part of this incredible life-changing movement. It continues to feel like a dream. Thank YOU.


tracey May 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Lovely quote. I loved flying and hope that I get to do it again very soon!

lceel May 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

This was amazing. Next year will be even better – if that’s possible. I was glad to see other Men participating. I’m just sayin’.

Holly May 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I feel like Katy Hoagland. You have given me a voice, even from the wings of the stage, and it’s lifting me so far up I will never come down again. For that, I am GRATEFUL.

Wendi May 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Just wonderful. What will 2013 bring!?!

anymommy May 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Flying. Yes. I’m still up there in the clouds. Thank you, Ann. This thing you’ve created and given to us is magic.

Melisa Wells May 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Sigh, I can’t believe the season is over…it was SO GREAT.

Karen King May 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Flying… and crying. (Again.) Best experience ever. Thank you, Ann~

Judy May 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I’m still orbiting! What an amazing experience. Thank you, Ann for your vision! :)

mosey (kim) May 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I still can’t quite grasp that it’s all over and am trying not to succumb to the blues. So honored that you gave us this amazing opportunity, Ann.

Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac May 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

This is wonderful, Ann. You’ve created something really incredible. Thrilled to be a part of it!

Sherri May 18, 2012 at 12:25 am

Oh, Ann…I loved this wrap-up. Seriously, this is the best.thing.ever.

Thank you, and expect a huge hug when we one day meet in person.

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