Meet Alley Marrow
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Alexandria (Alley) Marrow and I am proud to be a part of the Ever Eden family! A few facts about me: I love anything jazz or blues, the first thing I notice in someone else’s home are the books they have, I adore strawberries but hate anything strawberry flavored, and my husband and I share a pipe dream of living on a sailboat one day. Before staying home with my two-year-old and her soon to be born little sibling, I taught moral theology, philosophy, and ethics at a Catholic high school which I absolutely loved and still miss sometimes. When I’m not writing, I love to travel, lay at the beach or curl up with a good book.
Tell us a little about where you grew up and where you live now? How does it influence your writing?
As my father was in the military, most of my childhood was spent moving every few years and we lived everywhere from Florida and Colorado to England, Portugal, and Germany. My husband and I have lived for the past few years in St. Petersburg, FL, but have recently taken to living in an RV to explore life on the road for the foreseeable future! Although it’s difficult to pinpoint, I think that living in so many places and meeting so many different types of people, has fostered a certain sense of restless wonder that has made me more creative and open in my writing. There is so much in the world to draw from and I think my experiences have definitely taught me to approach the threads of human connection in a simple and humbling way.
How did you get started writing?
Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved to write, but it wasn’t until I moved to Paris after graduating college that I really started to take it seriously. I worked there for a year as an au pair and being immersed in such a beautiful city so rich with art and culture, was such a period of growth and introspection for me that the only way I could really process it was through writing. As cliché as it sounds, there is a reason so many great writers and artists of the 20th century moved there to develop their craft! Everything after was sort of born from that experience.
What does your writing routine look like?
These days my writing routine is haphazard at best. Usually I’m walking the balance beam, trying to store away moments that particularly inspire me towards writing, and finding the time to pen down those same thoughts or ideas that have accumulated in my head. For the most part, that time tends to come when my daughter is napping or when things have gone quiet in the evening.
What are some things you do to get yourself in creative thinking mode?
I believe that so much of good writing lies in the power of observation, curiosity, and self-awareness. Usually, when I feel inspired or gently prompted in a certain direction for a poem or story, I’ve found that making intentional time for silence, whether in the early hours of the morning, or on a quiet walk is particularly helpful. For me, learning how to cultivate that inner sense of peace and gratitude usually helps distill the chaos in my mind so I can flesh out whatever emotions are weighing heavy at that time.
Which authors inspire you and your writing? What about them particularly moves you?
I’ve always been captured most by writing that not only tells a good story but is also somewhat poetic in its use of language. To me, there is something lacking if the story is good, but the lines are dull, because ultimately writing should leave the reader with more than a story to ponder but a feeling to carry with him. When you read a writer that can tell a story through poetry, simply by the way he makes use of language, there is such a visceral intimacy there. The authors that inspire me the most in this way are Anis Mojgani, Jonathan Safran Foer, Simon Van Booy and F. Scott Fitzgerald. My other favorite authors are hands down Tennessee Williams, for his raw honesty and genius character development, and Maya Angelou for her tenderness and wisdom.
What was the inspiration for the piece(s) included in our issue?
Recently, I had three of my pieces included in the 2019 summer issue. The first, Gratia in Excelsis, was just sort of the natural response to the birth of my daughter. The second, Ice Fishing, was a poem I wrote a few years ago, while exploring the concepts of hope and renewal, and the profound softening they can have on a person. My last piece, a short story titled The Fullness of Being, had a few motivations. I have always found sudden and unexpected death interesting, as it tends to leave so many unanswered questions. There is a sadness to it to be sure, but also a beauty to the things one leaves behind. At the time, I was fascinated with the idea that even the most ordinary and mundane moments carry an incalculable weight that is often only really appreciated in hindsight, which is largely what prompted the story.