We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Braziller and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
There are a few key moments in my life when I took a risk, or perhaps it is more apt to say leapt into uncertainty. When I was 19, attending a small liberal arts college in the midwest, I found myself uninspired with academic life and yearning to do something else. One day, when in a laundromat strumming a guitar, I decided I would drop out, move to NYC, and play rock ‘n roll. When my parents, worried of course, asked how I would support myself, I replied “make sandwiches and philosophize.” And while that wasn’t quite how I supported myself, I did learn graphic arts and typesetting, paid my bills mostly, and played in a punk band for several years. A decade or so later (age 33 to be exact), I found myself tired of the NY metropolitan area, and my partner at the time and I decided we needed to move somewhere more affordable. She had once traveled through the Rocky Mountains, so we threw ourselves at Denver when she found a job as a nurse. I had just began adjuncting as an English prof, and I assumed I would somehow find work out in Denver. We knew nobody there, yet took a chance that life could be better despite leaving behind family and friends. I have now lived happily in Denver for almost three decades. Most recently, I took an opportunity to retire early from my faculty position, deciding I wanted to go out on a high note, still liking students and the challenge of teaching, rather than dragging a bitter self to the end. I have no idea what’s next, but I trust that this leap will land me somewhere rewarding.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always been a writer. Truth though, I haven’t always been able to call myself that, mostly due to self-doubt and a lingering notion of imposter syndrome. I worked with a therapist many years ago, focusing some of our work on how to reclaim a sense of being a writer, trying to shut out all those messages in my head that told me otherwise. With the encouragement of my spouse, I reclaimed my writing back in 2011, taking a writing class at a local enrichment program. Low stakes and a supportive teacher got me back into a regular practice, which lead me to Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, and numerous workshops and the company of fellow writers. Over the years, I’ve gone through periods where I feel super productive, aiming for 100 rejections along with a few publications. Yet, it’s never easy. One of the best ways to summon that creative spirit when I find myself searching is to either place myself in some natural majestic wonder or travel somewhere that is new, providing me with opportunities to observe and stay present. Currently, I’ve found myself back in a bit of a slump, uninspired, distracted, and not wanting to sit much with myself due to experiencing a fair amount of recent grief. Yet, I tell myself the same advice I used to give to my students: “put your butt in the seat and don’t get up–just write.” Amazingly, it works, even if it’s difficult, even if I have to quiet some of those old demons who taunt me and say “are you really a writer?”

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In terms of eating, we’d definitely hit up the Pearl Street Farmer’s Market, Dim Sum at Star Kitchen, Osaka Ramen, and great mussels and a generous wine pour at Bon Ami. In terms of some good drink, we’d hang at Platt Park Brewing, Brutal Poodle, and La Dona Mezcaleria. We’d definitely run, bike, or stroll around Wash Park; take a hike up Waterton Canyon to check out the Bighorn Sheep; and for a bit of urban fun, we’d head to Rino to check out the cool murals down different unexpected alleyways. One day would have to be spent heading out of town. In the fall, at the peak of Aspen season, we would drive the Peak to Peak Highway, grabbing lunch in Nederland before heading back to Denver.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My dad who always stood behind me, never judging, silently rooting. Dr. D who showed me the love of literature and how to celebrate the edge in life. And The Little Prince who inspires me whenever I feel lost and need to find my way back to myself.

Website: amybraziller.com

Instagram: @asbraziller

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