I want to start this week’s Individual of the Week interview off by saying that this young woman is one of my favorites. She has gotten me through some hard stuff just by her comments, communication with me, and her wonderful book Basket Case. Please check her out as she is a lovely young woman with a big heart and amazing goals and dreams.
Starting off, introduce yourself to us. Tell us your name, job, and two fun facts about yourself.
I’m Lexi Vranick, and while I work as both an office manager for the state park system and a marketing assistant in academic publishing during the day, I’m an independent author and freelance writer after hours. I’m also studying (or, rather, preparing to study) to become a sports and entertainment lawyer and am pretty heavily into fitness – I practice yoga, hold a brown belt in Japanese jiu jitsu, trained in ballet and contemporary dance for fifteen years, and am an avid hiker! I don’t know how fun those facts are, but hey, I tried.
What is your current goal that you are working towards?
Right now, I’m in the middle of a few different projects. I’m changing up the way I self-publish by stepping away from print-on-demand services and going a more traditional route, I’m curating the first issue of my literary & arts journal – Little Lion Literary, and I’m planning out projects for 2019. I suppose my goal is to find balance between all of these things as I aim to add to law school into the mix come fall. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew, so I’m working a lot on time management and nailing down a schedule to get everything I want to get done, done.
What is one obstacle in your way of achieving above mentioned goal? And what is your plan in overcoming that obstacle?
My own head, as it normally is. I live with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I currently manage my symptoms through a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still hit rough patches or get caught in harsh waves. I’ve gotten much better at managing these moments, and at managing my day-to-day stress, which helps to limit them. I’m pretty confident that, with therapy and the coping strategies it’s taught me, I have the tools to keep on track in spite of them – and to get back on track should I need to.
Why is your goal so important to you?
With how much literature – and fiction in all its forms – has impacted my life, it means everything to me to use my words to put my own mark on this world. Writing professionally has been my dream since I was nine years old, and I’ll chase that dream to the ends of earth if I have to. If I can help others chase that same dream through Little Lion, then that’s even better.
You hear a lot of people talk about finding their purpose in life – searching for it restlessly, chasing after it. Well, I’m not entirely sure what my purpose is, but I think writing has a lot to do with it.
Who is your role model? Why?
My mother, without a doubt. You look at a woman who carries the pain of a lost child, who stands strong as her family’s rock through losses and illnesses and everything in between, who goes back to school for an associates degree in her thirties and keeps pushing and pushing through the tangles of academia until she earns herself a spot in a doctoral program, who can remain positive and optimistic and kind through every ounce of hurt the universe insists on throwing at her, and tell me she’s not some kind of goddess. She’s my confidant, my best friend, and my hero – and always will be.
What is one cause/issue you think is important to bring awareness to and why?
I’m a huge advocate for mental health awareness and the elimination of mental illness stigma. As someone who lives with mental illness every day, I’ve been personally affected by stigma more times than I can count, and it infuriates me to know how many people go without diagnoses or treatment simply because their families or communities are so averse to mental health care.
My first two books, Ready Aim Fire and Basket Case, are heavily inspired by my own experiences with mental illness and I wrote my undergraduate thesis on cultural perceptions of mental illness and stigma in contemporary literature. The responses I’ve gotten to each of these projects have inspired me to keep pushing – to keep educating myself, and to keep using what I’ve experienced and learned to educate others.
If something good can come from my darkest moments, then maybe it was worth it. If my openness about my own illnesses can inspire someone else to get help, or can make someone rethink their stigma, than it was definitely worth it.
What is one thing you do to relax or relieve stress?
I have a four-year old border collie mix who loves walks, hikes, and playing outside. Spending time with him gives me a chance to unwind and focus on something other than myself and my thoughts. He keeps me active, which keeps me from getting too stuck inside my head and helps me blow off steam.
Do you have any guilty pleasures? If so, what are they?
I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. Why should anyone feel guilty about enjoying something? I listen to too much nostalgic 2000s pop and sometimes indulge in reality TV. It’s fun. It doesn’t hurt anybody. I don’t feel guilty about it.
Who are your favorite bloggers and what drew you into their blog?
I’ll admit that I haven’t explored the book blog scene as much as I’d like to. I enjoy chicnerdreads – I was drawn by Gretchen Gomez’s poetry on Twitter and Instagram and started reading her blog from there. I respect and admire Gretchen as an artist, and absolutely love the content on her blog! And I’ll always credit Tyler Knott Gregson for drawing me into the Tumblr poetry scene. I don’t visit the site much anymore, but I still keep up with his blog. I’m obsessed with his typewriter series and his haikus!
Share any links you want to share with the readers, photo or logo if you please, and anything else you want them to know.
You can visit lexivranick.com for blog posts, book news, and more! I’m also on Twitter at @lexivranick, and Instagram at @lexivranickbooks. You can also check out my literary journal at littlelionlit.com. The first issue will be going live in late winter 2019, and I’m so excited to officially launch! The editors are some of the kindest, most talented, and hardest working women I know and I’m so grateful to have them on this journey with me – not to mention all the incredible artists we’ll be featuring.