This past Sunday was one of those glorious days in London that makes you insanely happy: bright and sunny, despite being icy cold, full of amazing people. One of those amazing people was my friend Deborah.
Her birthday party was this Sunday evening and honestly, if you have ever wanted to walk into a room and meet twenty or so perfectly-wonderful-spectacular-in-every-way people, Deb’s house on this night was the place to do so.
Morgan, her wonderful boyfriend (and otherwise charming friend of mine) had organized an amazing gift for her, that I, being out of the country, had not had a chance to participate in: a multi-media dvd/cd/booklet of music, art, poems, stories, and film made by all of her friends who would be at this party and presented in a most exciting way (a bit of performance art which surprised and hushed the crowd!). There were also a lot of cakes and cupcakes and delicious thai green curry and a lot of smiles all around.
Because I wasn’t able to participate in Deb’s present, due to my being out of the country at the time (It’s okay Morgan! You’re a star!) I’d like to make her a little present here. It’s not much (but I promise, I did make her cupcake kebabs!) but for an artist, sometimes a little extra exposure is just what a girl needs. So here goes:
Deborah Pearson, who has a delightful blog of her own at Confessions of a Young Playwright, is a pretty genius young thing. She has won numerous awards, including being named one of the prestigious stage 100, an annual list of power players in the UK theater.
As a girl who lost her heart in Edinburgh, Debbie means a lot to me, since she founded the Forest Fringe Festival in my beloved Forest Cafe, which is an experimental theater festival during the big August Festival that overtakes Edinburgh every year. She wanted a place where artists could make whatever art they wanted without having to focus on money. And she totally did it: it’s free for everyone, the artists and the audiences. And she started doing all of this while she was attending Edinburgh University. Ta-dah! You can read about this in more detail here: Post City Article!. Or you can read a quick interview with her here: 5 Questions: Debbie Pearson and see a quote from here her in The Guardian.
So this is sort of my love letter to another great North American girl. She’s been a bit of a hero, a bit of role model, and a lot of a friend who helped me leap before I looked and gives me a lot of faith everyday that if you do what you love you can never be sad. And in that spirit, I would like to dedicate a list to
“How To Be More Debbie Like in 5 Easy Steps”
1. Smile all the time.
Deb has this huge smile that she uses most of the time. She makes everyone around her feel instantly happy and at ease, which makes it a million times easier for her to talk them into doing things or teaching people (or sometimes Italian children).
2. Speak softly.
I’m sure that Deb yells. Probably. But I’ve never really heard her do so out of anger. In fact, it took me a long time of knowing her to even realize that she ever felt stressed because she keeps her voice soft and with an even, soothing tone. Only after being around her for a long time can I see on her face when she’s getting a bit flummoxed. I think I got very confused at first as I grew up in a loud Italian household, where you yelled even if all you wanted to do was ask for the salt, and she’s a sweet Canadian, but she is patient and calm under pressure and this is what makes her a tremendous leader. Leaders should always be brave in the face of danger, and she certainly can do that.
3. Surround yourself by people you love and love you.
Don’t waste your breath on anyone else, it’s only wasting your time. Deb cultivates the most beautiful friendships and it’s a lesson to us all. On Sunday I saw lots of people I already knew, but also met a bunch more of Deb’s friends who were brand new to me. And while everyone was very different from each other, while conversations ran the gamut, their was an eerie similarity that everyone shared: they were all absolutely adoring of Deb and she was absolutely adoring of them. They were all friends that you could count on for anything and everyone wove in and out of each others lives fluidly. There was not a single person there who was not warm and friendly and interesting to talk to and it was clear that every single person in that flat that night loved Deb and was willing to work hard for her. And the best bit? She gives it right back. Which brings us to number four…
4. Be willing to work hard for people, because in exchange they will be willing to work hard for you.
Deb loves to say she is a procrastinator, but I would give my eye teeth to be able to procrastinate as productively as she does. She is always doing a million little projects and she is always trying to incorporate her friends as much as she can. And while a lot of people are always looking to see what they can get out of any given situation, Deb is a lot more altruistic than that: she always wants to see what greater good can come out of any situation. I think that’s why she’s getting as much credit in ‘the straight world’ as she does: she’s not greedy or selfish so people want to do nice things for her.
5. Take the time to enjoy every single day.
Whether she is reading War and Peace just because she really really wants to (even though maybe she has been told she should be doing more with her day) or strolling through a Sunday market or eating cakes out of the box from Louis Hungarian Bakery because to get a plate would just be less fun or spontaneously deciding to make a curry for lunch and watching a few million episodes of Arrested Development with me and Morgan…she’s always enjoying her day to the max. Because life is more important than work, even if you are doing what you love, because having adventures and being with friends is what is going to influence every aspect of your life and work. It will make you cheerful, it will help build up that support network of friends, it will fuel your creativity, it will give you memories that will make you smile when you are far away from home.