(Pictured above, my mom, my baby sister, mom’s ’68 Mustang, and me with the mop of black hair.)
You have this ambitious project that you need to take on, the kind of project that most of the world around you sees as utterly impractical. And while you can’t imagine how you could survive without this, the rest of your world can’t imagine how you’re going to pay your bills and do this at the same time.
For me that’s the moment I decide to write Voice of Authority and take it to Edinburgh Fringe.
So my question to you is, how do you know if you can trust your mom enough to tell her about it?
If you’re an artist, or even just a human being, I suspect you understand my thinking here. Moms can get acutely curious about what their kids are doing, particularly when they’ve become accustomed over time to questioning your judgment, as mine has.
My show is a true story about landing in a $19 million lawsuit with the Department of Justice. There’s no track record of good judgment my part. For all she knows, this is one more thing I’m doing that’s going to cost her money.
And she’s right, it is.
But that’s not the point. No one’s judgment strikes you as hard or as deep as Mom’s. Sorry Dad, that’s just how the world works. And if you’re going to tell her about it, you’re going to have to accept a couple of things:
- If you don’t follow through and take the show to Edinburgh, you’re gonna have to answer the question “Whatever happened to taking your show to Edinburgh?” More than once. Possibly over a holiday dinner in front of a table full of people.
- If you make a shambles of it by not preparing, you’re going to prove her more subtle and passive aggressive judgments of you correct. You might also find yourself answering questions about that during the holidays. Along with the one about how you could have put that money towards law school (it’s a little late at this point, Mom).
- You’re going to have to know why you’re taking a show there.
The first two are brutal, yes, but that last one is the killer. That’s the divide between the amateur and the professional, the trophy hunter and the provider. And dammit, sometimes as much as I hate to admit it, Mom is pretty insightful.
I’m going because I want to get better as a performer and a writer, and 21 days of performing on the road in front of strangers will do that. I’m going to meet the sort of people I want to work with in the future. I’m going to develop this story into a bigger show or another medium altogether. And I’m going because it puts me in a spot where I have to prove myself, and I seem to have reached a point in my life where that matters.
But that’s enough about me. Back to the question. How do you know if you can trust your mom enough to tell her about this project? That might depend on whether you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. And she might surprise you, because no one gets as excited to see you driven and focused as your mom does.
Dean’s comedy solo show Voice of Authority runs at FRIGID New York Feb 21, 28, and March 5, 8, and 9 (Tickets»). He takes it to Surgeon’s Hall at Edinburgh Fringe from Aug 2-24.