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A decade of intrigue and infatuation, retold in poetic and artistic form. Join the journey through the world of human connection Read more

Atlanta, GA Poetry
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This project was successfully funded on August 10, 2012.

A decade of intrigue and infatuation, retold in poetic and artistic form. Join the journey through the world of human connection

Atlanta, GA Poetry
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About this project

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ---Howard Thurman

Ophelia's Wayward Muse has been a project in the works for nearly 10 years, and has finally evolved into a full-length poetry manuscript that's ready for publication. Although the story told through the work is autobiographical, the concept is a universal one: intrigue. 

The work reveals the passions and complex psychology behind human relationships and connections, particularly of the romantic variety. From the obsessive and irrational often portrayed in the form of literary heroines like Ophelia, to the emotional connection that can happen simply from locking eyes with a kindred spirit, this set of poems deals with love, lust, romance, intrigue, infatuation, obsession, regret, longing, and everything in between.

All the poems are based on life experience, told from the viewpoint of a modern-day, well-traveled, sexually liberated young woman who isn't afraid to allow the reader to see both her heart and her mind. The idea originated from a simple question: What if Shakespeare's Ophelia had been allowed to live and love in modern day society? Would she still be the innocent, idealistic ingenue willing to sacrifice herself for the approval of men, or would she have been inspired to find her own voice? Would a character typically viewed as easily manipulated, weak-willed, overly emotional, and even crazy find the strength to become multi-dimensional and speak with a voice worth hearing? 

As audiences have been intrigued by Ophelia for centuries, it is a pity that she was never permitted to explore the world, to become equally enamoured by its possibilities. In Ophelia's Wayward Muse, it is my goal to allow her the journey she was denied, the process of growing from innocent, compliant nymph into a woman of worldly elegance.

I'm seeking a helping hand in bringing Ophelia's journey to life, and illustrating it as vibrantly as possible. Last year, I happened to find myself suffering from an illness that turned my life upside down, and forced me to re-evaluate my own journey. Although the experience was a frightening one, it enabled me to look at my priorities, my relationships, my own sense of importance in the world on an entirely different level. My time of crisis has fortunately passed, or is at least manageable, but it left me with the shocking realization that none of us will live forever. The best we can do is to create something worthy of enduring, of speaking with our voice.

Your donations will help cover:

  • Publishing costs for both e-book and paperback formats of the compilation.
  • Marketing and social media efforts to call attention to the project
  • Costs of obtaining copyright and ISBN licensing
  • Costs of obtaining licensing for cover art and/or illustrations.
  • Costs of working with industry experts to edit, typeset, and produce a quality product.
  • Any additional donations that exceed the requested amount will be put toward development of an upcoming project, this one a novel.

I'm a fairly realistic person, and I'm not looking to produce a New York Times Bestseller. I'm just a girl who has had a vision for a long time, and received the sign she needed that visions and ideas are all well and good, but what is created is ultimately what matters. 

For those who are not just friends, but poetry fans, I'm sharing the book's title poem.

"Ophelia's Wayward Muse"

Ivory-sculpted woman,
Tainted muse of Circe’s jaded beauty
Hiding behind the concealed grace
Of that beautiful, cherished innocent,
One who supposedly only thought to ask
For love and honour, and faithfully practiced
Obedience, drifting toward tomorrow
Upon her impenetrable curtain of destiny.
Yet, one cannot fail to notice
The silently provocative curve of a back,
The practiced, submissive gaze
Burning within dark liquid
Eyes of fire.

Fallen angel,
Have you been so betrayed
That you are forever unable to feel?
And she, being the gilded, precious type
Who so often lost her own thoughts
Amidst the chaotic hue of her own sparkle,
Was not at all impressed by
That world’s twisted inspiration.
It is a heavy burden,
Being that a muse only ever exists
For the use of man;
And used she was,
For the beauty and longing her girlish passion inspired,
The secretly irresistible Madonna-whore
With a spirit moved only by
Her inevitable destruction.
Oh, to be fixed in history
As something that was;
Ageless and screaming with the power
Of her own indestructibility
Through seemingly acquiescent obliteration.

Descartes comme femme;
I am,
Because I am desired.

My birthday is in December, and I'd like to be able to celebrate completion of this long-awaited project, and to look at it not as a step toward notoriety or making money ---poetry rarely accomplishes either --- but to cross something momentous off of my "bucket list". When that happens, I'll be throwing a book release party for friends, family, loved ones, and supporters.

If you're interested in reading more about the book, it's on my website, Jaded Elegance. You can check it out, as well as see the shout-outs to those who've donated by visiting the page for this project:

In the meantime, I'm focused on achieving this particular goal before December, 2012, and hopefully moving forward with a larger project in the upcoming year. 

Thanks so kindly for your consideration, and your support.

*~ Alayna


  • If you wish to make a donation without signing up for the website, you have a few options. You can either give your pledge to me in person, or send a PayPal to me privately at, and another friend will make the pledge on your behalf. In the event the project doesn't reach the funding goal, your contribution will be returned.

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  • You can't donate anonymously on Kickstarter, but the only people able to see your pledge are others who have contributed. If you really wish to remain anonymous, you can give the contribution to me personally, or via PayPal, and another friend will make a pledge on your behalf.

    If you wish to remain anonymous, you'll be thanked as an "anonymous donor" on my site and my FB page. However, why not consider taking credit for being the super nice person you are?

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  • Yeah, that happens to all of us sometimes. I know your heart is in the right place. But, if you'd still like to show support, you can literally pledge a dollar and receive a "thank you" on the website and a Facebook shout-out. As someone pointed out recently, if everyone I knew just donated a dollar or two, it would add up. :)

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  • That's absolutely fine. I suspect we'll be taking donations up until the very last minute! However, this project ends on the 10th, and it's an all-or-nothing kind of thing. If I don't reach my $600 goal by August 10th, I don't get a cent of the money pledged. So, the sooner, the better. :)

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  • Of sorts, yes. Each poem in the book is based upon a person, an experience, an encounter, a relationship, a life-altering moment I'm not likely to forget anytime soon. I consider it an average girl's coming-of-age story, combining the reality of the present day with homage to inspirations of the past.

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  • There very well may be, if you've been a significant part of my life or we've shared a memorable experience during the past decade. Whether you're a former lover, unwavering friend, future infatuation, or someone who made an indelible impression by being you, you're probably a part of my story in some way. Don't worry, though. There are no dedications, except for one, and that's only because I made a promise long ago to someone special that my first book would have a dedication to him in it. ;) The poems are also not always in chronological order, so you can't figure out if I've written about you that way, either. In short, unless I tell you, you'll likely never know if you inspired a poem...and neither will anyone else. Your secret is safe with me. :)

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  • That's a complex question with a complex answer, one that's more succinctly addressed in the book's title poem. About a decade ago, I'd auditioned for the role and was, not unsurprisingly, turned away. The feedback I received was that I was too strong, that I didn't come across as the innocent ingenue, even at the age where I likely should have been. That made me think more about the character of Ophelia, and why it seemed so wrong that what is glamourized about her is the fact that she's unable to exist when she's no longer able to define herself through the eyes of the men in her life. That's labeled "innocence" and "purity" and has been repeatedly depicted as something beautiful in multiple artistic mediums. In reality, Ophelia is a character written with strong passions, emotions, a genuine capacity to love, and does not have to be a frail, helpless soul. If she had just been able to reclaim a sense of identity, to stand up to her father, to walk away from a crazy guy who treated her badly, the story would have been a little different. In Shakespeare's world, there was no option for Ophelia to dye her hair black, get drunk, and sleep with Hamlet's best friend. There should have been.

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  • That one's simpler. I am. :)

    My personal life journey hasn't been an easy one, and much of that has been exacerbated by the fact that, like Ophelia, I'm a walking ball of emotion that may often make impulsive and self-destructive choices. I'm also an extraordinarily loving, adventurous, open person. I feel, live, and experience life a little more intensely than most people. I don't consider it positive or negative; it is both. Mostly, it just is what it is.

    I've been judged a lot. People love me or they hate me. For such a sensitive soul, I've always been a divisive kind of personality, and it's taken me a lifetime to reconcile with that. About a year ago, I learned that many of both my positive and negative qualities are illustrated by the idea of a type of stock character popular in films called the "manic pixie dream girl". It is a fictionalized, one-dimensional ideal that people either love or hate. It takes a willingness to look a few layers beyond what's seen as "flighty", "emotional", "crazy", "impulsive", or "lacking in substance" to see the reality of the person.

    Like Ophelia, I've spent a lifetime being told that I'm the kind of person who inspires people, who evokes intense emotions, positive and negative. I've been told I both help improve the lives of those who love me, and disrupt them. I've been told people love me despite themselves and against their better judgement. Unlike her, I'm not content to simply inspire creation or exist through the eyes of others. The wayward muse is one who doesn't set out to inspire, and isn't going to slow down in order to be admired. She's equally tired of criticism and pedestals, and sees experience as far more worthy of being dubbed "beautiful" than the idea of glamourizing innocence, frailty, weakness, or death.

    Ophelia was a girl in great need of a wayward muse, so her legend made a great framework for me to relate my own stories.

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    Should you choose to be my personal hero, and donate more than $200 towards the project, you'll receive all the previous perks, plus I will write a poem to be published in the book, and dedicated to you, or anyone you choose. I will not only add it to the compilation, but send you a lovely handwritten manuscript version of your special poem. In addition, you're entitled to dinner and drinks with the author, who happens to be one of the most interesting people in the world. (Caveat: Well, either you have to be in Atlanta, or in an East Coast city I happen to visit. :P )

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