(From Amy Ferris)
Hollye and I met through She Writes.
It's one of those girl writer meets girl writer and falls in love (in the best friend AND let’s write a book together kinda way) stories.
A wonderful tale.
Both Hollye and I are pretty all-out honest - open - in terms of our writing. I'm a huge advocate of writing/righting my life and speaking my truth. Ever since I sat down and wrote Marrying George Clooney, Confessions from A Midlife Crisis, I knew... I absolutely knew... that I couldn't turn back. I loved writing from my soul.
Sharing my darkness, my demons.
Shame has always played a part in my life. When I was a young girl, through my awkward teens, all the way into midlife and marriage - shame was a stain. In meeting Hollye, and in our getting to know each other, sharing our stories, talking weekly, we saw that our stories, our lives, were extraordinarily universal and intertwined. A kinship, a friendship, a partnership blossomed. With the anthology, Dancing at The Shame Prom, we set out to encourage and inspire other women to do the same.
To tell their truth.
To speak their heart.
To offer up their stained lives.
27 stunning, courageous imperfectly perfect women raised their hands. Shared their stories, their secrets.
We were able to create an atmosphere where each and every woman could feel safe so they knew that they weren't alone. Hollye & I went through some rough patches, as all partners do: feeling our way with each other, forgiving each other our foibles and flaws - our crazy-bad-ass days - working through the editing process, which is tough in and of itself. All of this was new territory. A big canvas. But we were determined to not only value and treasure the collaboration, but have that be the thread throughout the book. Each essay connects and threads beautifully into the next essay. Each essay on shame opens the door to the next story.
Our partnership is very much like that: we hold open the door for each other.
We wanted to start a dialogue with the word "shame," and celebrate, full on, the courage it takes to share your shame, release your shame, and put it out in the world.
And yes, like all grand SHE WRITES love stories, we wrote and wrote and wrote … and got published, and yes, became better girl-friends.
You know, a happily ever after kinda story!
(From Hollye Dexter)
I started my blog a few years ago because of the crushing (but kind) rejection I finally got from the dream agent with whom I'd just spent six months in back and forth mode. Overwhelmed with feelings of failure, I blogged for the first time, and sent it out into cyberspace. A woman who I had just connected with on She Writes commented on my blog:
HOLLYE: never ever ever give up! i am actual proof of two agents saying no to my book, and now my memoir is out in the world and it's so frickin' liberating and scary and writing memoirs is scary scary scary...so DON'T GIVE UP. WRITE. be brilliant. be bold. fuck 'em. something amazing will happen. love, Amy Ferris
I was wowed by this new friend who barely knew me being so supportive, and not competitive. I bought and devoured her book Marrying George Clooney. Her writing was so honest and accessible, reading it felt like having a chat with your best friend. I added Amy on Facebook, and discovered that we had the same birthday. Before long, she and I became the best of friends. We would have long talks about life and love, and disappointments and courage. We started to write a few essays and blogs together, never competing, always championing one another. And one thing we agreed on – as writers we were going to be bold, be brave, and always tell the absolute truth. We challenged each other to write essays about shame and agreed to put a scary, revealing blog out on the same day….and WOW - the responses we got were overwhelming. People began to reveal their innermost secrets to us, and it became clear that each of them had thought they were the only one carrying hidden shame. Now we had a mission - to keep writing in this vein so other could see they weren’t alone. The phone conversations and blogs with Amy continued until we realized, after seeing one public persona after the next fall on his sword with shame, this was not just a year-long phone conversation that two women were having. This was a conversation that the whole world needed to be having. It needed to be a book. We knew brilliant women who were ballsy enough to take on this subject. And so, we gathered a collective of courageous girls, and together Amy and I wrote a proposal. The first publisher we went to – the one we really wanted- bought it! (And by the way, everyone told us, everyone, that it was impossible to sell an anthology in this market.)
So what is the moral of this publishing story? Writing our truth broke everything wide open, and like Amy promised, something amazing did happen. I found an amazing friend, and we published Dancing at the Shame Prom - an anthology full of brave writers with amazing stories - and ultimately, the truth brought us to what I would call amazing grace.
To learn more about Dancing at the Shame Prom - and to get a copy for yourself - head to www.theshameprom.com.