By Brittany Scardigno
Alexandra Kleeman is celebrated at Monmouth for her contributions to the literary world. As someone who always held a secretive ambition to write fiction, Kleeman claims it is helpful to consider “all the different shades of telling” in a written work; whether fiction, nonfiction, reportage, essays, or poetry, allow yourself to explore. Her advice is to “store everything you perceive because you never know when you could use it.” Stripped of conventional topics, Alexandra’s writing has led her to some interesting places and allowed her to experience them firsthand. From attending fruitarian festivals to going on bed-rest to not only write about the subject but to live it and know it personally, is perhaps what gives Kleeman’s work its uniqueness. Surrounding herself with inspiration, Alexandra succeeds in portraying the idealized concept of female beauty through themes of entrapment, fantasy, identity, space, among others, and within a stream of consciousness that is freakishly fantastic. Some of her inspirations include Ben Marcus, Donald Barthelme, and Don Delillo. The author has always been drawn to the art of storytelling, and we were lucky enough she did just that for our Visiting Writers Series event held on September 17, 2019, along with a rewarding Q & A held afterward:]
How do you create a character without making them too much like yourself? How do you create an individual?
“I seem to incorporate a seed of myself into creating a character, a seed that relates not only to you, but to everyone. Plant the seed, watch it grow into it’s own being. I consider questions like ‘How do they like their coffee?’, ‘Do they always get to work early or late?’, or ‘How do they make their breakfast?”
What inspired you to write in a stream of consciousness?
“I’ve always been interested in fantasy tales and getting to play with those dream-like realities. It’s special when you read something and you can say ‘I could see myself in that’. I like the idea of language being a weapon and wanted to explore those magical, fabulist aspects of writing.”
What are your thoughts on the writing process? How do you find time to write?
“I prefer to write at night, because it works better for me. It’s so important to know your writing process and learn what’s best for you. Don’t force yourself to write every day if it’s too much for your schedule. Try new things, make an outline, write on paper instead of the computer, vise versa. Putting pressure on your work can make the writing process difficult, discover your optimal timeframe and work around it. There’s a lot more than just one way to find out what works for you, attempt as many as you can.”
Read our Q & A’s with all of the 2019-2020 Visiting Writers here: Taije Silverman, Jordy Rosenberg, Michael Imperioli.
For more information about the Visiting Writers Series, please visit https://www.monmouth.edu/mca/series/visiting-writers-series/.