The Brooklyn 100: Ashley Ford, Writer

ashley ford

Once you hear a voice like Ashley Ford’s, you don’t forget it. An essential part of over 30,000 readers Twitter feeds and an essayist whose bravery, honesty, and generosity astound, she’s currently writing for Elle and Lenny Letter as well as working on a memoir. Her love for Kenny Loggins is unwavering.

How did you become a writer?
I became a writer when I chose to become a person who writes. I’ve loved storytelling my entire life, and I’ve never wanted to do anything more than make art and tell stories. Writing is my medium of choice for now. I don’t know if that will always be the case, but in this moment, I can’t imagine a more consistently enjoyable way to connect with other people.
Why is writing important?
I just got back from a trip to England where I toured the homes of Beatrix Potter, William Wordworth, and the Brontë Sisters. In their stories, their poems, and their letters, they created and recorded entire worlds. We still use the words they left us in writing to understand what people were like in their time. How they thought, how they showed love, and how they reflected on the worst parts of themselves and humanity. Writing is important because we do not live forever. Writing is important because our stories can live forever in one iteration or another.
How has social media, and Twitter in particular, shaped your relationship with your audience of readers?
Twitter allows me to have readers who feel more like friends and family in some cases. I am the lucky writer who gets to see immediately how her writing affects people she’ll never get the opportunity to know, good or bad. Some writers can write for the sake of it, but I am not that kind of writer. I do this thing to connect with other people. I do this thing to remind myself that I’m not alone, and I’m certainly not special.
Writing is something that can, hypothetically, be done anywhere. You are working as a freelancer here, in Brooklyn. What has that experience been like for you? What has been the most, and least, surprising aspects of living and working in New York?
Being a freelancer is interesting because while chasing down my money is often stressful, the control I have over my schedule and which assignments I do has been amazing for my mental health. I do miss regular collaborative projects, but the truth is, I could find them as a freelancer if I made it a consistent goal. The most surprising aspect of living and working in Brooklyn is how many people are scraping by on nothing. This is an expensive city and lots of people who do brilliant work, and are well known, are also barely making it financially. The least surprising thing about living here is the sheer wealth of things you can have delivered to your home in a moment’s notice. It’s not a bad life. The experience of freelancing has been overall positive, but I’m not opposed to going back to an office. It would just have to be the right office. I’d need a very good fit.

Read more about the rest of the 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture here.

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