New Chapters

I posted this update over at Homeless Tales, Matt’s site, and wanted to repost here to fill everybody in on what’s been going on with the two of us (to make up for my somewhat vague update a couple of posts ago).

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I will start out with Matt’s joyous news – Wednesday, October 28th, at 9:25 AM Scotland time (2:25 AM PST), Matt’s daughter was born via Cesarean section. Her name is Kelsey, after his grandmother, she weighed just about 6 lbs. even, has bright blue eyes, and undetermined (but darkish-seeming) hair. She’s absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think Matt wants to post photos/video of her online, understandably, but if you’re interested in seeing her, perhaps he can e-mail you privately. That’s his call, though, and she pretty much looks like… a baby.

(Since you’ve likely guessed by now that I wasn’t the one giving birth, I should probably head off any negative knee-jerk reactions at the pass, so: No, there was no infidelity involved; yes, there was protection being used; and no, there is no ill will on the part of any parties involved).

Matt and I found out about Kelsey’s impending arrival a couple of months into our relationship. For a girl who decided at about age 9 that she never wanted to have kids (I mean, look at the role model I had to go on!), it was something of a shock for me and a lot to take in, and Matt graciously gave me the option of backing out. But I love him so much, and I know I’ll love his daughter, so I stuck around, obviously. Now I’m nervously prepping for the responsibilities that come with being a stepmom, and eventually a full-time mother, since we will likely have children ourselves one day.

Life-altering event #2 came the day after Kelsey’s birth, when I received an offer for a book deal (thanks to my brilliant agent, Chris Schelling, who also represents the famed Augusten Burroughs)! Chris is clearly the most awesome evil genius ever; the preparing of the contract and such details takes a few weeks, but upon signing, I receive a decent advance. It won’t buy us a house or anything, but it will rent us an apartment and should also clear up my debts, opening the way for us to get a home loan, we hope! There’s also talk about potentially turning the story into movie-ness, which is kind of mind-blowing to me, so I’m just kind of trying to study up on the various options one day at a time and make sure Matt is involved in all decisions, since it’s his story, too!

So where do we go from here? Well, for now, I’m still in the trailer, waiting on contracts and such to be ironed out. But upon receipt of the advance, we are likely going to look into relocating to upstate NY – towards the small, tree-covered town where we’d like to settle permanently, when we have the means – and yet within a couple hours’ drive of the city, for when book promotions and such things start, which I get the feeling might be largely NYC-centric.

Matt and I would also like to get married, although we still need to bat around immigration red tape, and now with Kelsey thrown into the mix, options are further narrowed down, so that’s just one big wait-and-see game. I imagine once Matt flies back to CA, there will be lots of running around and spazzing out like decapitated chickens, trying to get things planned and settled. I’ve entered that phase already, truth be told, but not much I can do about it for several more weeks, so I’m probably just stressing myself unduly.

In case you can’t tell, I never in a million years imagined something like this would happen to us, and I’m sort of floored and flabbergasted and quasi-in-denial. I don’t feel like an author or the subject of a movie, or anything grand like that, which kind of makes me feel a little like a fraud. I’m still very much “just plain me”. I keep wondering whether they’ve just got the wrong person and haven’t realized it yet. Or I keep coming up with “what-if” scenarios and future disasters like “what if it all falls through and they change their mind before the contract is eked out?!?!?!” Which is unlikely, I know, but still, what can I say? I’m panicky and uncertain right now. A large portion of my life I’ve been told that I’m untalented, uninteresting, a disappointment to my family and to God, and ugly to boot; it’s still so hard for me to imagine or accept people being interested in me, much less enough to ask me to write an entire book about myself.

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I can’t say it enough; I am so grateful to my readers, friends, and the Street Voices and Twitter communities for having my back for so long.  Things are finally really looking up and there’s no way that I would have gotten to this point without the online support network that I’ve been lucky enough to find, as well as the utter kindness and generosity of E. Jean Carroll, ELLE magazine, and the most fantabulous Chris Schelling.  Thank you all, guys.


  1. Congrats to you!!

    I heard about your story on Twitter – specifically the internship at Elle. Must admit that my first thought about it was, how is such a low paying position going to help someone get out of homelessness? I also, of course, wanted to know what the going rate of such a position was. I think I ended up coming to the conclusion that you either need to either be very well-off or homeless to do such work. ;)

    I also thought though that something good could come of it, and am so pleased to see that doors are opening. I will definitely show up at one of your book signings!

  2. Linda Bartell says:

    Hi Bri,

    You know I have got to be one of your biggest fans. To me your talent was apparent on the first reading of your blog and since then I can’t wait to hear how your saga continues. You so deserve great things. I am honored to have developed a friendship with you. Cant wait to see how your story continues. Couldn’t be happier for you and Matt and all the great things you two have accomplished and have yet to accomplish.

    So many congratulations to you and Matt. Congratulations on your book deal, congratulations on your move to NY, and last but not least, congratulations on the birth of little Kelsey.

  3. I actually had a feeling this might happen. Congrats on the book deal! Upstate NY is a lovely place, too. It sounds like your life is coming together in the best of ways.

  4. Many, many congrats to you and Matt! I continue wishing you the absolute best in all of your endeavors :)

    Happy Holidays, too!

  5. Congratulations honey – I’m so excited for you.
    You deserve everything that comes your way.

    Love from rain and wind lashed London


  7. Nita in SC says:

    I just found your blog recently, and I would like to say that you ARE talented, you ARE interesting (very!) and I more than suspect that God thinks you’re awesome.

  8. What wonderful and exciting news! You know, I think what people are interested in is the truth of another person’s experience of life. No one else can live your life, but I think we like to share. To discover commonalities, despite wildly different lives. That is what draws me to read so many different kinds of blogs, and sometimes a story strikes a chord.

    You might not feel like the subject of a book or a movie – because you are not. You’re a human being that’s been through some pretty rough times. But you’ve done something spunky and sassy with your life, which is a tough thing to do while being homeless and unemployed!

    So don’t worry, I’m sure people are going to be interested in your story. And congratulations on everything once again :)

  9. WOW!!! Talk about turn around luck….. pretty neat. GO girl, GO GO GO.

  10. Woah so amazing! Congrats to Matt on the birth of his daughter and to you for your book deal. How exciting on both accounts. Hope that advance comes soon so you guys can rent a nice apartment. I first found out about your story on and ever since have been following your blog plus twitter page. You are so amazing!

  11. I’m so happy for you both. This is amazing news and it’s so encouraging to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You are an inspiration. :) Yay!

  12. Bri – you make me smile. i love reading your posts and getting updated on your life. One moment at a time, lots of deep breathing, and staying centered in love will likely get you through all of this. You are surrounded by so many who hold you dear.


  13. Congrats! It’s so nice to see things are going so well!

    I love books and cannot wait to read yours! (You are such and inspiring person that it is bound to be awesome)

  14. Been following you now for a while.

    NEVER, NEVER let anyone define you, but you!

  15. Hi Bri -

    I found out about your blog a couple of months ago, and love reading it! I’m so happy for you that things are finally turning around for you. Congrats on the birth of Kelsey! Also, my hubby emigrated from the UK, so if you have any questions or would like any tips, please let me know!

  16. Tiffany Hart says:

    Congrats on all your future adventures!! Your such an inspiration! =]

  17. EEEE!!!! I’m so excited for you. I’ve enjoyed your blog. And I have to admit, so far I’ve been prejudiced against bloggers who write books (because I didn’t like Julie & Julia). But I’m sure you’re up for the challenge! I’ll definitely read your book when it hits the shelves :)

  18. I am so happy for you and all your good news!

    I am a stepmom myself and know that the love you develop for a child can be the same whether they grow in your heart or under it. My stepdaughter had just turned three when I married her dad and I have always loved her as much as the two daughters I gave birth to. And even though I divorced her dad after being together over 13 years, I love her the same today, many years hence.

    Don’t doubt your good fortune — you deserve it and have earned it. I told you here once before that I can feel your good karma and I hope it continues to bless you forever. :)

  19. Dear B,
    I stumbled across your blog many months ago when I was researching a homelessness project I was working on and I have followed it ever since. I remember commenting on your site early on that you were a talented writer. — your talent and wit was there from the beginning. I know you have the talent and the work ethic to do it. I am a freelance writer, and one of my favorite books on writing is Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. I highly recommend it. (Her chapter on first drafts will get you through those dark nights of writer’s block!) I am so happy for you!

    I am an East Coast girl now living in Orange County, CA, so I am envious of your move to NY (although I have to admit I don’t miss the snow). Now those flights to England will be shorter. Wishing you joy, love, and laughter.

  20. Wow, lot’s of news here. CONRATS to you both, congrats on book and the book advance! On everything – best wishes!!!!

  21. I knew you’d get a book deal – you are talented! Congrats!

  22. “A large portion of my life I’ve been told that I’m untalented, uninteresting, a disappointment to my family and to God, and ugly to boot; it’s still so hard for me to imagine or accept people being interested in me, much less enough to ask me to write an entire book about myself.” <—This is not true. I've been reading your blog now for….oh, at least 6 hours straight? Unable to take myself away from your riveting story, even though I have job applications I need to fill out. I know the feeling though. My Dad told me I should write a book regarding my job search story and I was like "Who would want to read that? Boring!!" But I think as your story has shown, this is something that everyone can related to in this economy. If you think about it, you're like the people who became homeless during the Great Depression…and we read their stories and made movies about their stories. Keep on keeping on, and congrats to you on the book deal!!! :)

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