Alex Rasmussen is a writer and musician based in Seattle, WA. He has spent much of the last decade traveling the country, playing music, and selling his books. The stories he wrote as a child were centered around monsters, ghosts, and aliens. When he was 14, he got an electric guitar and began channeling his creative energy into songs, which, at that point, were mostly about girls he had a crush on. A few years later, he became interested in heavy metal and started writing songs for a band he fronted that was inspired by Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Slayer. These adrenaline-pumping musical events fed his creativity until his early twenties, when—longing for the ability to write about subjects beyond frustration, fear, and zombies—he bought an acoustic guitar and began writing Americana songs. At age 24, he got his first pocket notebook. This spawned his first novel and first poems. He has two self-published books: his novel, Coloring Outside the Lines, and his poetry collection, Inside Out. Coloring Outside the Lines follows the story of an ambitious street musician as he travels in pursuit of his dreams, while Inside Out explores love, loneliness, hollow consumerism, and a life shaped by the journey from a turbulent childhood to a traveling artist. Currently, he is working on a second poetry collection and pitching his latest novel, In This Void, to agents and publishers. The novel is about a misanthropic musician who spirals into darkness while searching for purpose and validation.
Alex has been carrying a small notebook around for over a decade; usually, the initial idea for a poem will jump into his mind at the most inconvenient moment, so he’ll use the notebook to catch that idea and expand on it once he gets to a quiet place, preferably with his laptop. As for the titles of his work, they’ve all come from phrases that leapt from the pages of the book they summarized. Although the initial ideas for his poems, stories, or songs can come to him anywhere—the tranquility of an alpine lake or the chaos of a crowded bar—he does the bulk of his writing in his room, where he can fully lose himself in the process. Alex finds that pitching his work can be tedious, exhausting, and disheartening. However, he understands that he needs to consistently put his work out there. Alex writes nearly every day, but how much he writes depends on what he’s working on. If he’s working on a novel, he might sit down with his laptop in the morning and work all day, stopping only for the occasional meal or bathroom break.
If it’s a poem, he can sometimes finish it in fifteen minutes. Regardless, he tries to write at least one thing every day, because that constant momentum helps keep him sane and brimming with a sense of purpose. Alex feels that writing is the best tool he has for processing his confusing and elusive feelings; if he gets emotional while writing, it means he’s stirring something that’s begging for release, and he needs to step further into that discomfort.
The creative process keeps him going, as long as he’s working on something that he believes in. Alex is also constantly reading or listening to books. Currently, he’s reading The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy, as well as listening to The 50th Law by Robert Greene. He is particularly inspired by Flannery O’Connor, as he finds her writing honest, raw, and often bleak, yet infused with the occasional warmth and sense of wonder.
His writing has also been influenced by Bukowski, Kerouac, Cormac McCarthy, Hemingway, and Steinbeck.
As far as contemporary writers go, Alex recently read On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong and found the writing to be spellbinding, beautiful, and, at times, gut-wrenching. He enjoys reading anything that’s well-written and rooted in reality but isn’t as fond of fantasy and sci-fi (excluding Phillip K. Dick). Alex loves each of his own poems for different reasons; at the moment, he’s particularly fond of a piece he wrote about the way life can often feel like a sensory onslaught when it’s experienced through a highly perceptive mind.
When Alex isn’t writing, he loves being surrounded by natural beauty and spending time outside, whether this be hiking, snowboarding, or camping. As far as nightlife goes, if he’s not listening to the melodic musings of a local singer-songwriter or head-banging in a heavy-metal crowd, he’s checking out a comedy show.
His writing wisdom resides in his pocket notebook; without it, he firmly believes that he’d have forgotten the initial ideas for most of his poems and lyrics. It’s also quite possible that his first novel wouldn’t exist! That being the case, his advice for new writers would be to buy a notebook, live a vibrant, inspired life, and keep an ear out for the whispering of the muse.
You can find Alex Rasmussen at www.wordsandmusicbyalex.com, on Instagram as @wordsandmusicbyalex, or email him at email@example.com