Alicia Cook

:: AGE

30

:: LOCATION

New Jersey, USA

:: MEDIUM

Writer, Editor. I work full-time as the Director of Communications at a private college in NJ, so I write literally around the clock.

:: IDENTIFIES AS

Curly-haired person

As a womxn, why do you think it is important to create?

As women we are literally designed to create. We create LIFE for crying out loud. So why wouldn’t we create in other ways too?

What has been your proudest moment as an artist/creative?

I’ve hit a few milestones – which is totally humbling. My work has appeared on CNN, in USA Today, I write regularly for the Huffington Post…these were all bucket list things I’ve checked off over the last few years. But my proudest moment…honestly it was when I released Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately, my latest book, and my parents liked it. They are always proud of me, but sometimes what I write is not their cup of tea – too dark or what not. Something my dad has said to me is “I get that others get it, but I don’t get it.” To get the stamp of approval as an artist from my parents meant a lot to me. The fact that it has been selling so well (thousands of copies sold to date), is just the icing on the cake!

How do you define love?

I know he loves me because, sure, he tells me he does, but that’s not how I’d define love. I define love by the everyday things, that to the naked eye, can seem mundane. I know he loves me because I see him checking things like my tire pressure in the morning before I have to drive a distance. I know he loves me because he is entertaining the idea of having multiple Christmas trees in the house, even though I know he thinks it’s totally ridiculous to have a completely decorated Christmas tree in the bedroom.

Where do you feel the most creative? How does location or your environment play a role in your work?

I feel most creative after I, or someone I am close to, goes through something worth documenting. I also feel most creative after the release of a great album. Not many artists release true albums anymore. A lot of times they are just 4 single tracks with filler. But there are still those gems that release a true album, a sonically cohesive work that tells a story all the way through. That inspires me.

What or who keeps you inspired?

Music is a big part of my life. I’ve been playing the piano, classically trained, since I was nine. My most recent book is designed in the style of an old-school mixtape. Lyrics are so important. I will listen to a song on loop until I have all the words and inflections memorized.

What do you like to listen to while you create?

Music. See a trend here? Haha. Ranging from Frank Sinatra to Miranda Lambert to Big Sean and Eminem. When I have writer’s block, I listen to Christmas music – not matter what time of year.

What’s your earliest memory of making art?

I wrote a poem when I was eight-years-old, and it was published in a student anthology and I was so excited when the copy my mother purchased came in the mail and I saw my name in print on a page. I still have that book.  By the time I was 10, I knew I wanted to be a writer. My parents got me a typewriter for my 10th birthday and I’ve never looked back.

Do you have any words of advice for young womxn/artist/creators out there?

I’ve heard something recently that I love. “I didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” Not sure who I can attribute that quote to, but it’s my new mantra.

What social issues do you care about most?

Anyone who really follows my writing knows I write primarily on the Heroin Epidemic. Statistically, it is the worst drug epidemic our nation has ever faced. I lost my cousin to a heroin overdose nearly 10 years ago and ever since I have used my words to help other families who are going through a similar situation, cope. Drug addiction affects more than just the user, it affects entire family units and communities. I speak on that. What the loved ones go through while someone they care deeply about is battling addiction. My work caught the attention of Steve Rogers, producer of the Emmy nominated documentary series, Here’s the Story, and an episode chronicling my efforts will air this fall to 2.2 million households and stream online.

Who is an artist/creative who inspires you?

Sara Bareilles is an amazing writer, composer, and singer. She never sold out and her music got me through some really crazy times in my life.

Alicia, we are inspired by how you moving issues forward with your writing. Thank you for using your creativity and interest in other people’s stories to speak truth to power. We are big fans of your book, Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately, and we can’t wait to check out your documentary around the heroin epidemic this fall.