935. Joining Up with Her Sisters to Create Worldwide Change
Kaia Hollan Alexander
“I’m going to join up with my sisters here and we’re going to create new policy changes that are going to drive bottom line change in the world…the big changes we want to see, like the green movement and taking care of the environment and making sure children have their needs met. These are the things women have always cared about throughout history, and now we have realizing we are actually capable of leading these movements. And more and more women are running for office as well, which is another fantastic reflection of seeing this change.”
Kaia Alexander is an award-winning author and filmmaker. Her novel, “Written in the Ashes,” is the untold story about the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt, and the life of Hypatia, the world’s first female mathematician/philosopher. Kaia’s new documentary feature film “Chalice: Women Leaders Rise,” explores how and why women were written out of history, how this has influenced the treatment of women globally, and the exciting rise of women leaders today. Her mentors are American novelist/humorist, Tom Robbins, and the late comedian, Garry Shandling. A mystic misfit and pagan surfer, she is proud to be the “B” in LGBTQ.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“While I was re-establishing myself in Hawaii, I was taking care of a friend’s children and working part-time in a coffee shop. In what little free time I had, I began putting my creative side to work doing some drawings and writing poetry and taking a stab at writing my first novel. Those early attempts at writing, which I have in my original journals somewhere, would actually become the early drafts of my novel, “Written in the Ashes,” which took me many years to complete because it’s an historical novel that required a huge amount of original research.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“When I was 17 my father and mother were going through a divorce, and my father had what could be called a “psychotic breakdown” and became highly abusive and threatening to my mother and me. It was utterly terrifying. My mother chose to get a restraining order against him, to stay and hunker down. I decided to emancipate myself. I put what I needed into a backpack, scraped together what money I had and hopped on a plane for Hawaii. I did not know a soul there, arrived with only a couple of hundred bucks in my pocket and a pup tent, and started over.”
Steps to Success from Kaia Hollan Alexander
“First of all, you must build the courage to do the discovery work on yourself and your talents, to find out what they are and how you can use them to build a life on your own terms. It’s brutally hard because most people around us are doing what is expected of them, whether in their education or occupation, and do not think outside the box at all. Next, you must reframe rejection and failure and do your best to depersonalize them. I probably got 100 rejections to my first novel on three continents. And each time I took the rejection so personally and felt sick for two days. Now, I see each turn down as one step closer to a positive result.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“Several key lessons have guided me throughout my life: the power of stamina, relationships, collaboration and the vital need to stay aware of your environment and the factors that impact you. Early on I learned that writing demands utter persistence and focus, or in other words stamina. With my first book, I experienced the vital need for close collaboration and trusting relationships with my editor, agent and publicist. My friend, Gary Shandling, really educated me on the value of an artist particularly staying keenly aware of the many factors—business and others—that impact one’s success.”
On Her Bookshelf
Written in the Ashes, by K. Hollan Van Zandt
Connecting With Kaia Hollan Alexander
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Careers: Author, Film Maker