If you aren’t following author and screenwriter Amy Ferris on Facebook, you should be. In a world – especially online – that seems to spill over with anger and grievance, Amy is an oasis of love, grace and more than a little bit of magic.
Amy Ferris first came to internet prominence–after her long career as a successful screenwriter–for her “Post Coffee, Pre-Wine” Facebook posts; expressions of love, longing, frustration, melancholia, and reminiscence that tugged at something essential and human in tens of thousands. She’s not exactly sure how they started, she told me when we spoke. “One day I was writing something after I had coffee and it really was very organic,” she said, adding, “I don’t know where the fuck it came from, but people seemed to like it.” Those posts became a platform, a meeting place and, finally, a community.
Amy shared the messiness of her life fearlessly, hilariously, and publicly, giving others permission to do the same. In an online world of infinity pools, sumptuous meals, perfect bodies and perfect lives, Amy was–and is–utterly authentic about her imperfections. “Wear your scars like stardust,” she has implored her readers on more than a few occasions. It’s very “Amy” advice, deceptively simple but if you can find a way to embrace it, you can unlock something powerful.
That power is what lies at the heart of all the magic and unvarnished truths, and it’s what draws people into Amy’s orbit and keeps them there. Amy Ferris is no victim, and she encourages and inspires her followers to take control of their own lives. One of her signature Facebook stemwinders begins, “That moment. That moment when you decide, f**k this shit, I’m gonna put on a cape & a tiara & pair of Frye boots and save my own life…” Of hundreds of comments below the post, one reads, “Now is that moment for me. Thank you, Amy ♥Amy’s Facebook page is littered with such moments of connection and empowerment.
The glories and challenges of owning your unapologetically messy life have been centerpieces of Amy’s writing for a long time. Her first book, Marrying George Clooney, was a rollicking and hilarious collection of ruminations on life as she navigated the emotional gauntlets of her own menopause and her mother’s dementia and declining health. Now, she’s out with a new book, Mighty Gorgeous: A Little Book About Messy Love. It’s a collection of stories and essays about her love for her husband of 30 years, Ken, for her dad and her long journey to finally loving herself. It’s full of hard-won wisdom about learning to embrace your flaws, master your pain and make magic from suffering.
“The theme was love. Messy love. And complicated love. I’ve never thought of love as easy, I always knew it was complicated,” Amy says of the book, adding with her typical candor, “I love Ken but we drive each other crazy.”
I asked Amy what it is about her posts that she thinks connects with people, “I think that I share my life, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful,” she said, that she thinks of herself as an ordinary woman who happens to write about extraordinary things.
I’m not entirely convinced that’s true. I’ve personally known Amy for years and she’s many things–screenwriter, memoirist, pugilist, insomniac, prolific deployer of f-bombs, chick, champion of women, spokeswoman for the voiceless. The notion that she might be ordinary has never crossed my mind.
But of course, that’s part of it. As Amy would be the first to tell you, she hasn’t always been the extraordinary woman she is today. While we talked, she told me a story from when she was younger, long before she grew into the woman would ultimately become.
“Years ago, I was dating this guy…and he thought I was gorgeous,” she recalled, “and I remember sitting there at dinner one night and thinking, “This guy’s nuts. Back then I did not have any self-esteem, I felt valueless. And I think there are many women who see themselves the way I did. Now when I think back, I think, “Wow, I was.”
It’s stories like that, I believe, that draw people to Amy. She possesses credibility because of her own lived experience. If someone could fall as low as she did – more than once – and then rise to the heights she’s achieved, anyone can. Her message is one a lot of people need to hear: if you embrace your failures and flaws and take ownership of your life, anything is possible.