The pressure to follow up an immensely successful debut with more success must weigh extremely heavily on all authors, but it's rare that readers get to see the havoc that it wreaks on a writer.
Sabrina Ward Harrison's first book, 'Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself' was an incredibly refreshing, intimate look at the inner workings of a 24-year-old artist who struggles with anxiety and self-acceptance. By publishing her journal, which consists of pages and pages of art and scribbling, Harrison let readers into her mind and offered a message about the tough transition from girl to woman that spoke to many females across the nation.
It is, in fact, the aftermath of the success of her first book and the demands Harrison has placed on herself to follow it up with something equally meaningful, that led her to her second book, 'Brave on the Rocks.' This book is another installment of her journal, which follows her on a meditative trip to Italy.
The pages of \Brave on the Rocks"" are filled with color images. Harrison uses watercolor, ink and cutout images from many sources, such as photographs, dress patterns and pages from favorite books, to express her ever-changing emotions. At the start of the book, her drawings and writings are dark as she struggles with her fear of failure and the ulcers that stem from her stress. The tone changes after she goes to Italy, becoming more upbeat and confident as the trip wears on.
Harrison has demonstrated through her brave disclosure that the self is an ever-changing thing. Confidence comes and goes, doubt is always present, and happiness comes through recognizing the flux. Harrison tells us that it's OK to worry, cry and stress, but it's better to look inside yourself and work through it. Her bravery in telling her innermost thoughts to the world is inspiring, but more importantly, it is reassuring.