Friday Speak Out!: Unleashing My Tongue Through the Reader’s Vision and Not My Own, Guest Post by Alexandra Caselle

Friday, April 19, 2013
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive
Audra Lorde, “A Litany for Survival”

As a woman, I love to unleash my tongue through the vehicle of writing. What better place to relax, relate, and release the mental playground of characters, ideas, thoughts, and emotions and examine each one closely? When I sit at my laptop, I don the smock of the word artist. I keystroke textual graffiti across a canvas of white space. It spirals into an intricate architecture of syntactical patterns.

I have an overall vision for each piece that I craft from my mind to page. There is an underlying message or image that I want to impress upon my reader. Sometimes the reader interprets a different meaning, and I feel a little discouraged.

As a woman, I have been here before. I talk to my loved ones, and they are just not getting what I am saying. I want them to understand my point-of-view. I experience a situation with my family, and each person comes away from it with a perspective, and it does not always match mine.

I’m always right in my head, or maybe I probably need to accept the inevitable. My daily manipulation of my imagination may have me a little delusional. Women and writers can be control freaks, or maybe it’s just me.

Another thing women and writers share in common is the fear of not being understood. It can sometimes lead to silence. But silence is the antithesis of writing. It is why I spend hours tending to so many ideas that I now have accumulated like stray cats inside my mind.

I have to let them out before they overcrowd my space.

A recent comment on a poem that I wrote has helped me to make my peace with the disconnection of my vision from the reader’s. Demetria Foster Gray tossed around different interpretations of the poem’s last line. She finally came to the conclusion that, “each reader, multiple interpretations and all of them relevant because the writer gave us pause, made us think, made us feel.”

Her comment reminds me of Louise Rosenblatt and her theory of transactional reading, the belief in the reader using her own background knowledge and life experiences as an interpretive lens of her reading. My writing is a tapestry of text, waiting for a reader to transform it into her own masterpiece of meaning.

Instead of a sense of disconnect, my writing serves as a conduit of creation authored to impact change in my readers. Leaving an impact on this world through my writing is one of the many reasons why I write.


Alexandra Caselle is an aspiring, native Floridian writer and poet and a former secondary and postsecondary English teacher. She maintains two blogs: Womanlution: Inside the Mind of Alexandra Caselle (, a blog of young adult literature reviews, original YA and literary/reading concept stories, teaching memoirs, and a little something of everything and Rhet Effects ( , a blog about writing and writing conventions through the art of the story. She aims to change the literary and educational world, one story at a time. She is currently working on a novel and a book of poetry. She also is known to hang out on Twitter, Facebook, & SheWrites.


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Unknown said...

Alexandra, this was beautiful, but everything you write is elegant and expressive.

On one of my blogs I post creative nonfiction pieces-- different subjects-- and I love how each reader comments a little differently. For some it triggers an opinion, for others a memory, or reminds them of someone or of an experience. For me, that is the satisfaction of writing-- what it evokes in a reader.

Alexandra Caselle said...

Thanks for commenting, Julie. You are right about the different ways that readers comment being the satisfaction as a writer. I think that is why I write. When we create a piece, it is a text that serves as a conduit to human experience.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Alexandra--A "tapestry of text" is a gorgeous phrase.

Yes, moving readers in different ways is one of the main perks of writing. I will never forget my mom reading Grisham's novel "The Chamber" and after finishing it, she was mad. The author had made her feel sympathetic towards a KKK member (one of the main characters), and that disgusted her. I told her, "That's what writers hope for--to shift a reader in their thinking, to change their mind, to nudge their perspective."

Thanks for the post, Alexandra...

Jennifer Brown Banks said...


You definitely put the "WOW" factor in this piece here at WOW!

Much continued success to you in sharing your voice and your vision.

Jennifer Brown Banks

Alexandra Caselle said...

Thank you, Jennifer for your kind comments. :)

Thank you, Sioux for your kind comments. As writers, we definitely want to cause a shift in our readers. You also want writing that will evoke a reaction in your readers. When I first read THE SCARLET LETTER & BELOVED, I was so emotionally moved afterwards. They forced me to speak up in class and discuss them. They also convinced me that I want to do the same in my writing. I want my writing to disrupt the reader's comfort zone and evoke emotion.

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