Becoming Alex the Poet

by | Feb 29, 2024 | All, Content Types, News

Image of Alex wearing eyeglasses and smiling.

Image of Alex the Poet

As a teenager, I stood out from the crowd. My high school peers were scientific while I was artistic. While watching TV one day, Anne Hathaway made an announcement of playing Jane Austen in a feature film. After hearing that piece of entertainment news, I made it a goal in life to read Jane Austen’s writing. After reading all six of her literary novels, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I were published like Jane Austen?”

During the summer between my sophomore year and my junior year in high school, I spent days in the sun reading voraciously. Ironically, I did not read that much as a child. I made the unfortunate mistake of watching too much TV. Fortunately, though, during middle school I read The Diary of Anne Frank. Learning about the struggles that Anne went through because of the Holocaust during World War II, made me connect with her, as I was striving to find myself, too.

Growing up in Alhambra, California, family life had its ups and downs. Not only were students I knew in high school scientific, but my brother was more of a scientist while I was not. I was original in my own right. My originality was on full display while I was in high school. Most notably, I even walked around the Alhambra High campus with classic novels like Sense and Sensibility. There were times I imagined myself as Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, I actually did stand out like that fairy tale heroine. She was a book worm; I was a book worm. She was musical, and so was I! High school was, unfortunately, not a good time in my life. I was awkward and felt like an outsider since no one I knew in high school liked reading as much as I did. 

I had a better experience in college at Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles. My love and admiration for Jane Austen in high school, continued and inspired me to become the writer that I am today.

Ten years ago, while in college, I served as an editor for a literary magazine, Pasadena City College’s Inscape Magazine. I also began submitting my writings to publishers. It was hard getting rejections. After reading a love poem I wrote—a retelling of the beloved French musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, one fellow editor called it “trite.”

I transferred to California State University, Los Angeles. I spent two years assisting with the literary magazine Statement Magazine. It was tough though, especially since the editorial team showed no mercy on inadequate writing. Once again, I felt defeated because of the criticism my poetry received. After I earned my Bachelor of Arts in English in 2015, things changed. 

I was inspired by the movie La La Land and Oscar winner Emma Stone’s performance of the song “Audition: The Fools Who Dream.” That movie changed my whole life. Hearing this emotional and musical tribute to the dreamers out there made me think of my original dream: “I want to be published like Jane Austen.” After watching the film, I wrote passionately for several years and had my poetry collection entitled An Altruistic debut on Amazon on December 19, 2020.

I offer these words of wisdom to fellow students. There is the famous saying, “Things will be better” but in reality, it is up to oneself to put in the time and the effort to make things better. Here is a poem, my second poem that I had published entitled, “Avoiding Stagnation.”



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