ALL AUTHORS BLOG BLITZ
Special guest author Alayna-Renee Vilmont
author of Ophelia's Wayward Muse
When I was asked to write a piece for this blog, I was concerned that somehow, I couldn’t come up with anything that would fit well. I sat with a blank screen and an internal monologue that went something like this: “OMG, I’m too boring for this blog, and I don’t read romance novels. Eeeeee!!! This blog is about erotica. Are they all going to find out about that post I put up bashing “Fifty Shades Of Grey”, even though I only read 5 pages? Help!”
This is a rather ironic concern, as I’ve been blogging since 2000, and never once have I been shy about discussing my personal life. In fact, stories and anecdotes regarding my personal life and colourful misadventures are standard dinner party fare for me. I pride myself on being able to make grown men blush, and dressing up in costume and dancing in a cage to gothic/industrial music is a monthly outing.
At one point in my life, my entire world turned upside down because I happened to be the type of girl that was “scandalous”. Scandal, of course, is relative to where you reside and the company you keep. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia, right smack in the middle of the “Bible Belt”. It’s not terribly difficult to be scandalous here. In fairness, I’ve been scandalous other places, too, but most of those stories are things I like to put in a category labeled “Not At All My Fault”. It’s a large box that sits next to a smaller box labeled “Life Experience That Will Make Funny Stories One Day”.
All in all, it seems like I was teamed up with a great blog for my personality and style. Yet, when I found out I’d be posting a guest blog on a site that discussed romance, erotica, and was filled with poetic and gothic overtones----well, I drew a complete blank. I had no idea what to share.
I mentioned this conundrum to a friend of mine, who laughed in response. The problem with being a snarky person is that people do not take you seriously when you have a conundrum.
Conundrums are often serious.
I may need new friends, the sort who are less snarky.
Now that I’ve gotten the angsty bit out of the way, I suppose I’ll introduce myself! “Hi, I’m Alayna, and I’m a writer.”
(Brief pause for room to say hello, while looking around for booze and cookies.)
I’m originally from the Northeastern U.S., and have lived in Philadelphia, New York, London, Los Angeles, and the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area. As mentioned above, I currently reside in Atlanta. My plane ticket for moving here was dated September 12th, 2001. As you can imagine, it took a few days and a lot of frustration and being frightened out of my mind to get here. I moved here because I met someone online I believed to be a soulmate, and after knowing one another online for many years and having a brief fling in New Orleans, I came for a “visit”, which is code for “moving in with a guy you barely know”. I did not realise that my impetuous love affair would be interrupted by a terrorist attack, but when I’m determined, I’m determined. Terrorism will not deter an adventurous 21 year-old on a mission to keep life interesting. On my way here, seventeen canceled flights later, I made a deal with any omniscient being that may exist that if my plane didn’t crash, Atlanta would be my new home.
I didn’t keep the guy, but I kept the city, which has been my home for over a third of my life. I may not be terribly good at romance, but I keep my promises. J
I hold a degree in opera and musical theatre, and have performed professionally since the age of six. Writing has always been a creative and secretive hobby for me. I published my first poem at the age of seven, in a literary journal that made me sign a release saying I was 13, so I didn’t have to get parental permission. I’m not sure whether I was simply rebellious, or I didn’t want my mother to read my poem. Maybe a bit of both.
In any case, I studied writing throughout the years, participating in Johns Hopkins Center For Talented Youth program as a teenager, and eventually minoring in creative writing. In 2000, I started a blog, known today as Jaded Elegance: The Uninhibited Adventures Of A Chic Web Geek. Honestly, it was not out of any great desire to share myself with the world, but because I was dating a guy who was involved in getting the idea of “blogging” off the ground, and it was expected of me to be supportive and put myself out there.. Whether because of the frankness and openness with which I was willing to share my stories, or because of my personal connections, or because people already knew me from the acting world, my personal blog sort of took off and never looked back. At the same time, I was still writing poetry and short stories and hiding them under the bed. It took a long time before I felt confident in myself enough to explore the possibilities of melding the two forms of self-expression together.
It wasn’t until 2008, when the recession hit and I needed a career change, that I began to work professionally as a freelance writer. I started to become more confident in my work, and became active in the Atlanta literary scene. In 2012, I published my first book, an anthology of poetry called Ophelia’s Wayward Muse, which is why I’m here chatting with you today.
The collection is largely autobiographical; many people in my life received a copy with a dedication that read “There’s a poem in here inspired by you”. I purposely didn’t tell most people which one it happened to be. The reaction that accompanied other trying to figure it out was curious and amusing in itself.
Poetry is a difficult medium to get others interested in reading, understanding, or wanting to learn about. There’s this preconceived notion that it is something largely cerebral and inaccessible. I’d like to think that my personal style and unique voice is something that can help break past that barrier. I don’t think of poetry as an intellectual form of artistic creation, but a way of telling stories that relies on imagery and word choice to evoke an emotion from another person. One of my reviewers remarked that I don’t write poetry that’s about sunshine and rainbows and puppies, and that’s true. I’m not afraid to write about things that are raw and lack grace or delicacy, because they can be beautiful, too. On the other hand, I also don’t write things that should be turned into emo songs and can only be understood by 15-year-old girls shopping at Hot Topic. I think I use my poetry as a way to share myself and my emotions, but also as a way to explore what I observe and intuit about human emotion, the eternal struggle we all have when it comes to connection and disconnection, and the desire for something more---whatever that means to you as an individual.
I write about love and romance, sexuality and attraction, cynicism and detachment, and everything virtually every person goes through during the course of becoming a complex, self-aware human being. Most importantly, I write about the ways in which each person passing through our lives leaves an imprint, and that imprint helps to shape us, even in the most subtle of ways.
I’ll leave you with one of my (shorter) favourite poems, because it was suggested that I share. If you’re interested in reading more, there are links to “Ophelia” on Amazon, as well as my blog, and other ways to network with me. Thank you so kindly for having me as your guest today, and I do hope some of you will visit me soon!
"Ophelia's Wayward Muse"
Tainted muse of Circe’s jaded beauty
Hiding behind the concealed grace
Of that beautiful, cherished innocent,
One who supposedly only thought to ask
For love and honour, and faithfully practiced
Obedience, drifting toward tomorrow
Upon her impenetrable curtain of destiny.
Yet, one cannot fail to notice
The silently provocative curve of a back,
The practiced, submissive gaze
Burning within dark liquid
Eyes of fire.
Have you been so betrayed
That you are forever unable to feel?
And she, being the gilded, precious type
Who so often lost her own thoughts
Amidst the chaotic hue of her own sparkle,
Was not at all impressed by
That world’s twisted inspiration.
It is a heavy burden,
Being that a muse only ever exists
For the use of man;
And used she was,
For the beauty and longing her girlish passion inspired,
The secretly irresistible Madonna-whore
With a spirit moved only by
Her inevitable destruction.
Oh, to be fixed in history
As something that was;
Ageless and screaming with the power
Of her own indestructibility
Through seemingly acquiescent obliteration.
Descartes comme femme;
Because I am desired.
Alayna-Renee Vilmont is a freelance writer, blogger, performer, and modern-day Renaissance woman currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Her first book, “Ophelia’s Wayward Muse”, is a poetic anthology based around the many facets of human relationships and experiences. Alayna is also the voice behind Jaded Elegance: The Uninhibited Adventures Of A Chic Web Geek, which has been entertaining readers since 2000. She maintains an active presence on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and almost every other form of social media out there. If you’d like to follow the adventures of this modern-day wayward muse, please stop by and visit at www.jadedelegance.net
* Facebook: www.facebook.com/princessalayna
* Twitter: www.twitter.com/princessalayna
* Blog: www.jadedelegance.net
* Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6862252.Alayna_Renee_Vilmont