A couple of months ago, I read an article about how writing saved the life of Alicia Cook. I can totally relate to that as writing, more specifically writing poetry has genuinely rescued me from certain death many a time. To be able to express yourself fully, and drain your spirit of the angst and pain that has endured over snapshots of painful circumstances — from the days of old is beyond cathartic. When I read Alicia’s poetry, I’m surrounded by words that render me — into a puddle of human goo. Especially Alicia’s pieces where the subject matter is either; mental health awareness or fighting the stigma attached to addiction and the possibilities of overcoming addiction. Alicia truly NEVER minces her words – what she feels she writes and makes no excuses – as obviously she should not. Alicia’s poetry genuinely stands on its own and authentically tends to house an honest tone. Below, you’ll find my follow-up interview with Alicia – she altruistically is a conqueror and should be read – please follow @thealiciacook on Instagram.
RMMW: How do you distinguish between the poems you share on line and those you keep for your books?
AC: Depends. If I am actively working on a manuscript (currently, I am not), I will save most of my work for the book. Or only post excerpts to kind of get a read on how the content sits with my readers. If later on I want to compile work for a manuscript, I will include pieces I already posted online, but I will add more to them so the reader isn’t buying the material I already posted for free online. I wouldn’t do that to my readers so I always expand the pieces or change them or anything to elevate them from what it was on the internet.
RMMW: Why was it important for you to keep the release of your third book Anomaly: A Concept Album a surprise?
AC: Because traditional book roll-out is exhausting and Anomaly wasn’t about numbers, sales rank, or anything superficial like that. This was me having fun writing a collection of love poetry and songs and I wanted to make it accessible to all readers, which is why I 1) self-published it and 2) priced it at just $5.99. I love when artists I admire drop surprise shit so that’s what I wanted to do emulate with Anomaly. Plus, meeting someone and falling in love with them usually sneaks up on a person, and since the book is about that, I figured it all made sense.
RMMW: What is your favourite theme to write?
AC: I write about myself, so I am pulled toward mental health, relationships, and grief and how they all tie together. We aren’t just one thing at one time. We encompass a multitude of things that intersect and affect other aspects of our lives. It is silly for me or anyone to think that my mental health – for better or worse – won’t impact my relationships. It does. So I blend those themes a lot.
RMMW: A million plus eyes can be very intimidating. How did you feel when your poem that you shared on Instagram went viral?
|poem, that went viral!|
AC: Intimidated, haha. Usually when things go viral, the internet trolls come out to play. But with this poem, I didn’t really see a lot of that. I saw compassion and understanding. My poem opened up tons of conversations surrounding mental health and how we feel we have to censor our true feelings even from the ones closest to us. So I am proud. The people who tried to plagiarize my poem can fuck off though.
RMMW: Do you feel social media hinders or helps authors?
AC: I am asked this a lot. I think it’s both. Like most things in life, there is good and evil associated with social media. I try to use it authentically. To share free content, promote my books, and connect with readers. I respond to nearly every message I receive (except for dick pics or insincere messages). It helps me connect with people who read my work. I am grateful for that.
RMMW: What do you feel good poetry ought to do?
AC: Make you feel. Make you reflect. Make you understand another point of view.
RMMW: Where and what time of day is your favourite to write?
AC: I don’t have an answer to this. Things pop in my head and I write them down.
RMMW: What do you feel is your greatest poetic achievement?
AC: I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t care that Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately is still selling strong 3+ years later. That book saved my life. But aside from that, my greatest achievement is that I have been able to use my poetic platform to advocate for families affected by drug addiction. I weave all of my passions together and the people who follow me for just my poetry, or maybe just my writing on addiction, have embraced and supported me. I can’t ask for much else.
RMMW: How do you maintain a healthy life balance between writing for work and poetry?
AC: I’ll let you know when I figure that out.