meet Alex

April 21, 2010

I met Alex (online) through a dear friend. Her website published a short story I wrote this week. More on that to come.

For now, meet Alex. She's fabulous - 

Tell me a little big about yourself?

Writer, latent crafter with a penchant for vintage clothes and a dislike for shopping. Lover of literature, world cinema, world music, live jams, spoken-word, poetry, history and  psychologyI'm a bit of a quantum-physics geek  on the side too . Walker, runner, dancer, stinky-cheese eater (abysmal cook) and apple fanatic – the juicy fruit, not the computer (although they’re fab too).

What is your favorite quote? 

Oh, it’s almost impossible to have a favourite. No doubt I’ll be kicking myself sometime later when I find the perfect quote seconds after sending this copy to you. In the meantime here’s one that resonates deeply with me:
 “A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein.

How do you hope to affect others with your life?

I believe in everyday magic, that a listening ear, empathy and encouragement can change a life forever. I believe people are like seeds - bundles of potential, but impotent, dormant without nourishment and grounding.
We each have a talent, a unique song. Sometimes it just needs shaking awake and coaxing out by an inspiring melody, a rhythm that fires the heart or the impassioned voice of someone who’s belief in the lyrics and joy in singing drowns out every drop of self-consciousness.

Tell me a little bit about your organization?
  • Making Me Magazine is a showcase for writing and art that gives voice to often marginalised, stigmatised or misunderstood individuals and experiences. It is a place for anyone who has confronted or is dealing with significant life challenges to share their story.
  • Underpinning the project is the understanding that although adversity is universal, much suffering - arising through ignorance, fear and isolation - can be tempered and even dispelled.
  • Making Me is a safe place to find relief through expression, strength through identification and to channel emotions and experiences into creativity.
  • Currently contributors are located in Holland, the USUKBulgaria and Germany. Their words tell tales of building new lives after communism, conviction, of living with a personality disorder, of overcoming eating disorders, of losing a partner and surviving cancer and abuse.
Describe the philosophy behind it in a sentence?

Creativity, community and purpose leads to wellbeing - leads to creativity, community, purpose and wellbeing :-)

What prompted you to start it?

Making Me is a group effort. Everyone involved has found solace, beauty, connection, pleasure, self-esteem and/or income through creative endeavours of one sort or another. As a group we noticed ourselves ruminating over two recurring themes:
a. That the very people who could benefit most from writing and art often have few avenues for exploration and exposure.
b. That many professional areas of creativity are relatively exclusive – hard to crack - without the correct connections or qualifications.
One day it dawned that we had the resources to address this – so we did.
Also, I have worked in the fields of homelessness, addiction and mental health and have had my own demons to befriend. My personal conclusion is that although professional intervention is often vital, there is neither pill nor therapy to create an identity, counter stigma or rebuild a life. This is where the everyday magic comes in…see below.

What do you hope to give to others with it?

  • Non-judgmental support.
  • The opportunity to find a voice and speak out. Despite the universal nature of so many challenges, shame still drives many of us into silence and isolation.
  • Opportunities to discover passions, talents and to develop these alongside confidence and transferable skills.
  • Mentoring and training: Making Me Magazine is sponsored and supported by isca media. isca media is a collective of artists, writers, photographers and filmmakers. The collective’s skills are available to anyone who wants to develop their craft. isca media also publish an online lifestyle magazine called iwalkiwrite. 
  • A fiction website called The Storyteller's Arms

    What do you feel you have accomplished?

Well, since January 2010 we’ve had over 6.8 million visitors and a whole load of emails and comments via various social media platforms. The recurrent theme is that many people have felt relieved and revived simply by reading stories of others who have felt, do feel or are living through similar experiences. We’ve also striven for balanced presentation and essence. We don’t shirk the difficult issues, but I believe we’ve created a space that acts as a spring-board, rather than a bog of pathology.

Where do you see it going in the future?

Supporting members of Making Me to run their own blogs and connecting them all to produce a community of creativity.
More projects based of the – practical and creative – iwalkiwrite model.
Collaborations with other agencies to facilitate art projects, training, and exhibitions of work by those who are either on the path of recovery or who incorporate themes that raise awareness, inspire and challenge negative preconceptions.
And we're going to need to do some serious fundraising if we're going to create opportunities. But we're up for it.

What are some of your favorite stories that have been published?

 Links to the Isca Media websites: 


oaxacaborn said...

Alex and Shanley, this is fantastic! =D

Melissa said...

Just to echo how much fab stuff you are doing and the wide wide net it is casting is. I have been contributing to Making Me; and the magic has been felt, appreciated and benefitted from. Creativity, voice, a space to talk - and someone with a wand can make a huge difference in today's society!

Thanks for all you're doing and thanks for this great insight into it.


Xiane Sierocka-Stock said...

One of the rare moments in my life that I - immediately - knew: Something important happens right now! was the first short communication with Alex online. With this interview, dear Shanley, you let the sparks of her magic fly... Thank you very much!