Today’s feature guest on Ink and Quill, is Alexis Rose from Untangled. An inspirational author/writer and poet, sharing herself openly with her readers. Please follow her links to read more about her moving journey of healing.
NAME: Alexis Rose
COUNTRY: United States
Please tell us a little about yourself:
I began my healing journey in 2009. Sparked by a family tragedy, I began to piece together, for the first time, a personal history of abuse and trauma. Supported by my spirituality and writing, as well as family and friends, I have profoundly grown and changed over the past seven years.
While learning to live with the effects of my trauma, and working with the deficits caused from post-traumatic stress disorder, I co-authored three inspirational books.
My newest book, Untangled, is my memoir and speaks to the courage, resilience and triumph over my unimaginable hardship. I continue my process of healing and becoming whole to this day, trusting the long and winding path of recovery. I am also an active blogger.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing in 2010. At first I used it just as part of my therapy, a journaling exercise. Then one day one of my friends asked me what it was like to have PTSD. What did it feel like? I looked the same, but she expressed she didn’t understand what it felt like on the inside. I took that question very seriously, went home and wrote my first poem about what it feels like to have PTSD.
I had such an amazing reaction, that I began to share it with others. I was asked to collaborate on two books with artists. One was a photographer, the other a painter. I wrote poetry to accompany their art work. We went to a printer, made them into little books and they began selling. Not only selling, but people were purchasing 8 at a time to give as gifts.
Also, at that time I collaborated with a friend on how to journal using specific writing prompts. I had no idea I had a gift to write or the ability to touch people with my words. I was shocked and still to this day, I feel extremely humbled.
A friend took me aside one day and said,
“Out of the darkness, came this gift of light.”
What does writing mean to you? Why do you write?
I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. At first, I strictly used it as just one of my healing tools. I would write and send what I wrote off to my therapist. I started to notice that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud. At first, I thought it provided distance from having to use my voice, but then I found it actually gave me a voice. When I thought I couldn’t speak a truth, I found if I read it out loud to my therapist, that I WAS speaking the truth. My truth!
“Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling.”
Do you write poetry, short stories and/or novels?
I write poetry and non-fiction. My latest work is my memoir. I have another book bubbling up inside of me. I’m just not quite sure of the subject matter. I love the collaboration process, so maybe I’ll find someone to do another book of poems coupled with art work.
Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?
I am compelled to write. Even if I think I have nothing to say, I will sit at my laptop and free write. I’m motivated and inspired by the art of writing and using my ability to put down on paper what is in my mind. I realize that as some feel the need to paint, draw, sculpt, I have a need to write.
What are your current projects?
My memoir was published six months ago, so I am busy marketing that. I love to speak to groups, no matter the size about what it’s like to live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’m determined to make this an open conversation. It’s an invisible illness that effects so many people and their families and its very misunderstood. I also speak to groups about using writing as a healing tool. I’m just so energized by all of this. I could talk about it and write about it all day. Definitely gives me a purpose.
Writers/poets who inspire and influence your own writing?
I am very inspired by Rumi. I love poets, they have a beautiful way of expression.
I read a lot of books on mindfulness. I love historical fiction. I don’t think I have one author who really influences me.
I’m a person who will sit down with a book and escape into their world. I simply love good books.
I think the people who have influenced my writing have been some very talented writing teachers I’ve had over the past few years. I have gone to workshops and taken some on-line classes to learn the craft of putting a book together. Those lessons have been invaluable to me.
Also, I have found I have been very inspired by the bloggers I’ve found through my WordPress experience. I’m fairly new to the blogging world. In fact, I never even read a blog post anywhere, until I wrote my first one in October. What a gem of a writing community I found.
Have you any published works, or do you plan on publishing in the future?
My book Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage and Triumph by Alexis Rose is available on Amazon in both book and Kindle forms.
What process did you go through to get your book published?
When I decided to publish Untangled I was terrified. The other books I collaborated on were available through Amazon, we had them published and sold them ourselves. I knew that I absolutely wanted Untangled to be out in the world. I had done a lot of research on going with a publishing company vs self-publishing. For my goals and purposes I knew that self-publishing was the right decision.
I used create-space as my self-publishing platform. I was nervous about asking people to be my beta readers and then going through the painful editing process. But I tried to keep my mind open, as long as the people working with me understood that it was imperative that my book was told using “my voice.” There were some arguments with my editor a few times and a lot of compromising, but I understood the bigger goal, and had to learn to check my ego at the door.
“I felt compelled to publish my book. I knew that this was my truth, and that by letting my story go out in the world for others to read, no one could ever take that truth away from me again.”
I just really wanted to share my story. I wanted to share what it looks like to live through unimaginable circumstances for 20 plus years, with continued threats to stay silent and still be determined to be live not just survive.
Do you have a specific writing style/genre?
I find I write with feeling. I try to go to the place of, this is how it feels when something happens. Good, bad or neutral. I can weave a story and use visuals but I like to bring people to a place of, relating to the tightness in your chest, or the wave of emotion we feel in our stomach when we see something beautiful. I think the biggest feedback I have gotten from all readers, is even though they haven’t been through trauma they have felt those things too. In short, I try to write in the style of the human experience.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you want to write, then write. Just do it. Don’t worry about if anyone will ever read what you write. Just write. That is the first step that all writers must take. Stay true to your own voice.
Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it?
This is my latest piece. I was feeling the pain of the truth of my life, and the hope that I know it will get better.
I’m barefoot, in a grimy torn t-shirt and shorts; my hands and feet caked with dirt.
My hair is filthy and matted. My mouth is dry; I can smell and taste the gritty dust that hangs in the air.
I sit down on a curb at the side of the road, and I know it’s over.
I’m unbelievably weary, all my energy spent in the act of sitting down.
I’m devastated…emotionally, mentally, and physically, and the worst of my wounds are invisible.
My eyes fill up, but no tears fall. I can only sit amid the rubble, trying to trust the safety of the gray, silent sky.
But I made it up the many, unforgiving mountain climbs.
I’m on the other side looking at the carnage, no way to fully wrap my mind over my truth yet, but I know
that I’m resilient, I’m courageous, I fought through.
And the words of Joseph Campbell resonate within me. I’m the hero of my story.