By Barbara Falconer Newhall
It was a fun night at A Great Good Place for Books in the Montclair district of Oakland. Some very funny ladies gathered to celebrate the publication of Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now, an Erma Bombeck style collection of personal essays for, by, about, and at the expense of mothers and motherhood.
You can buy the book and have some laughs, or you can get your mother, daughter, best friend — or maybe even that guy in your life — to celebrate Mother’s Day with you at the annual “Listen to Your Mother” show nearest you.
Originally inspired by blogging mothers, the “Listen to Your Mother” shows feature local writers reading from their sometimes humorous, often touching, stories of motherhood and mothers. Subjects have ranged from “Waiting for My Kids to Wish Me Happy Mother’s Day” to “Prepare to Be Judged, and Possibly Stabbed” to “The Children Ate My Gratitude.”
The project began as a single show produced by blogger and “stay-at-home humorist” Ann Imig at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. Since its beginnings in 2010, “Listen to Your Mother” has grown into a national live storytelling movement with thirty-nine local productions across the US.
Timed to coincide with the run-up to Mother’s Day, the shows are directed, produced, and performed by local people in communities from Bangor to Oklahoma City, to San Francisco.
The dozens of folks, mostly women, who showed up last night for the author readings at A Great Good Place for Books were treated to Nancy Davis Kho’s “in Praise of the Other Mother,” Michelle Cruz Gonzales’ “Does Your Mom Play Drums?” and Risa Nye’s “A Letter to My Grown-Up Daughter and Her Baby Who Will Not Sleep.”
“Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now,” Ann Imig, ed, Putnam, 2015, $25.95, hardcover.
A Great Good Place for Books, my favorite bookstore, will be hosting an author event for my own book, Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, 6120 La Salle Ave, Oakland, Calif. There will be wine, cheese and maybe even some funny stories.