My Daughter, My Role Model

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She Inspired Me to Be More Creative

Deborah Asberry, 51
Lauren Asberry, 20
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

The first time Lauren Asberry pushed the screenplay she'd just finished into her mother's hands, Deborah Asberry didn't have time to read it. A divorced mother of five, Deborah was trying to start two new businesses and care for a son with autism. Poring over a script for a futuristic animated fairy tale was not on the schedule. But after weeks of Lauren's nudging, Deborah sat down with the manuscript. "I was like, 'Wow, this is good -- Pixar should do it!' "

Deborah always knew her children were creative. When they were young she lulled them to sleep with made-up adventure stories, then watched approvingly as the older kids invented tales to tell the younger ones. "A vivid imagination was a prerequisite to being in our family," she says. Deborah, a journalism major in college, had put her own writing ambitions on the back burner for years -- until she read Lauren's script. "It got me thinking about plays I'd started." She was also inspired by Lauren's discipline: The teen would crawl out of bed at 6 every morning to crank out a few hundred words on the family's single computer. "I thought, 'She did it, why can't I?'"

Now, for the first time in 30 years, Deborah is working on a play she started back in college. She's optimistic about Lauren's prospects but believes just as firmly in her own. Even critiquing each other's work -- often a parent-teen minefield -- has bonded them. "My mom's a great critic because she's always honest," says Lauren. "She'll say, 'Okay, this part is terrible.' Working with her has not only brought us closer, it's given me a thicker skin."

Continued on page 3:  She Helped Me Find a New Career


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