Interview from Sydney Pfeifer
Photos courtesy Alexandrite
Now is the perfect time to take a big old swing like launching an ezine, people!
“Alexandrite is a quarterly ezine that utilizes a multimedia art form. Using the power of collaboration between artists and poets, Alexandrite fuses their talents to convey a message, a meaning, or a feeling.
The name Alexandrite comes from the Steven Universe fusion of the three Crystal Gems Pearl, Amethyst, and Garnet. Together, they fuse to create a beautiful and powerful entity.”
Rise: What was your motivation for your work?
Sara Ali: Back in 2015 or 2016, I messaged my friend Ben Brindise saying something along the lines of, “Wouldn’t it be cool if somehow we combined artists and poets to work together, creating some sort of collaborative piece?” He’s a poet and I often would message him, prefacing ideas with “wouldn’t it be cool if?” Not only did he agree, he brought my idea to life. Together we created “There Will Be No Haikus Here,” an event that paired artists and poets to create two cohesive pieces inspired by one another. We did it for two years in a row and then got sidetracked with other projects.
Surprisingly, COVID-19 re-struck a creative chord in me and I thought “wouldn’t it be neat if No Haikus was digital?” Ben left the country for a bit, so I went ahead and made it a digital endeavor. And then Alexandrite was born. I was getting stir crazy, and I knew others were too. I knew this would be a healthy outlet to inspire others to continue creating.
Rise: How did it come together?
Sara Ali: Since I already had the format for No Haikus, Alexandrite was easy to transfer virtually. I reached out to some talented poets and artists, randomly paired them together, and provided them with loose guidelines. To keep it timely and relevant, I made it COVID-19 theme. I asked the artists and poets to create something related to how they are coping through the pandemic, their thoughts on our current administration’s response, etc. The outcome was better than I expected. I love what the teams came up with.
Rise: What are your long-term goals for it?
Sara Ali: Alexandrite will be a quarterly ezine. I am currently working on the Halloween issue; I’m a Halloween fanatic and I love all things horror and eerie, so I am immensely stoked for this coming issue. I plan for Alexandrite to cover different themes, whether it be seasonal, political, dark and gloomy or upbeat and ecstatic; my goal is to continue exploring how poets and artists can collaborate and inspire one another.
Rise: Do you have any advice you’d like to give artists and poets during this pandemic?
Sara Ali: Keep creating. Whether you’re an illustrator or a writer, keep perfecting your craft. I took a hiatus and then jumped back into things, and I feel better than ever. Some days it gets hard and I have to force myself to get up and write, but I feel 100% better afterwards – like a load of weight jumped off my shoulders and into an abyss. It’s a therapeutic escape. I know a lot of us have barriers which prevent us from doing what we love, and this pandemic isn’t helping, but keep on trekking through those treacherous paths – what you’ll find on the other side is glorious.
Rise: What impact are you hoping Alexandrite has on its readers?
Sara Ali: I hope Alexandrite inspires poets and artists to collaborate and challenge themselves. I hope it highlights the value there is when combining crafts and creating something new.