I am honored and excited to introduce my dear friend Deborah Bryan, the author of The Monster’s Daughter and Memos from Your Closet Monster, as our guest today. What first struck me about Deb (besides the swell name of her Facebook page) was her keen intelligence, strong conscience and grace, and I think my first impression was dead-to-rights accurate.
In December, 2011, Deb and I first started writing these notes, or epistles, back and forth to one another, beginning a correspondence that has covered almost every subject imaginable. Often we talk about writing and the projects we’re either working on or dreaming about starting. If I am struggling with a blog post, a scene, or even the concept for a new book, I can bounce all of my ideas off Deb. I value Deb’s input into my creative process so much that in a couple of weeks, I will be sending Deb Draft Two of my upcoming novel, Ripple, for her review and commentary.
Deb and I talk about far more than work. Often, we talk about philosophy, politics, social reform, parenting, psychology and personal issues in our lives. I’ve laughed, cried and even argued with Deb. Whether I am confused, amused or feeling abused, I can call or write Deb, and I always smile when I see her name in my in-box or hear her voice on the telephone.
I hope that Deb and I will continue to talk, work and laugh together for many years to come. I cannot emphasize enough how gifted she is or how much I value her friendship. Her latest book is a must-buy, and it is available through Amazon on the attached link: Memos from your Closet Monster.
Without further ado, I introduce Deb Bryan:
Conversations with good friends don’t really end and begin so much as they continue in different times and places.
El and I hold conversations across a half-dozen forums, frequently seeming to leave one conversation behind in favor of a new one elsewhere. While it might seem this way, it’s not the truth; we are always engaged in conversation, and it’s always coherent between us, no matter how it might seem from the outside.
A couple of months ago, I emailed El to let her know that I was stressed out, and why. She wrote back almost immediately in an email to which I did not reply.
The next morning, however, I awakened to a short, sweet personal message on Facebook asking me to consider taking a new approach to my writing. El knew I’d been slowly working through edits on the second book in my YA Glass Ball trilogy. Although she loved its opening book, The Monster’s Daughter, she wasn’t convinced that it was what I needed to be working on right now. In a couple of short sentences, she explained what she felt I should be working on, and why.
As I read her so-short email, my entire perspective changed.
I tabled editing my trilogy’s second novel and considered what I might write, were I to follow El’s suggestion. Inspiration didn’t strike immediately, but I did let El know that she’d reoriented my entire perspective with her email.
A couple of days later, I found my new project. I wouldn’t even have been looking for that project, but for an early morning email from a friend who not only felt certain things, but took the time out to express them. Like that she believed in me, more than I believed in myself.
I started working on that new project immediately but slowly. As I worked on it, I wondered, “Is writing this enough, or is there something else I need to be doing?” El is constantly thinking not only about the words she’s shaping, but about other projects and ways for allowing her words to shine in new ways and places. I wanted to try thinking a little more like her—not just pushing out word after word, but looking at everything from another angle altogether.
This exercise led me to ask myself why some of my best blogs shouldn’t be aggregated into an ebook, thus enabling them to reach a whole new audience from the one they had previously reached.
I emailed El to ask her opinion.
There were many steps between that and last week’s publication of my new ebook, Memos from Your Closet Monster. El was involved in each of them.
More than that, she was the inspiration for them. Thanks to both her offered perspective and her encouragement, a book that included but was more than the sum total of some of my most powerful blogs came into existence.
Every day, as I work on my new project, I say thanks for El and friends everywhere who inspire their friends to think in different ways. To see themselves through their friends’ eyes.
I may never yet have met El in person, but she has taught me best of all that in-person meeting isn’t required for someone to reach straight into the heart of another’s life and change it, for the better, forever.
© 2012 by E. L. Farris and Deborah Bryan