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Creativity Heals: Countless outlets for creative expression

Alyssa Christian has a magical quality about her. Her slight stature, lilting voice and high energy are some of the reasons she has a unique charm. Her vast creative endeavors are another. From her active participation (during normal times) in community theater, to playing flute in the Noank Community Band, to volunteering at a bird sanctuary, to adapting her novel into a television series, Christian’s creativity never takes a break.

But that wasn’t always the case. As a child growing up in Stonington, Christian struggled socially.

“I used to make faces that expressed what I was thinking; I didn’t have any filter,” she said.

While Christian may not have had an active social life, she had a love of writing. Creative writing gave her an outlet for her active imagination; she could create fantastical worlds where her protagonists — characters she describes as her aliases — enjoyed adventures.

While in college, Christian joined a sorority and played in a wind and flute ensemble. She also discovered theater.

“Theater has been a great way for me to be different than myself. It’s also a great way for me to connect with other people,” she said, adding, “Oddly, I don’t get nervous.”

It wasn’t until she was 23 that Christian was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

“Because I’m high functioning, it wasn’t discovered until after I finished college,” she said.

More recently, Christian has added volunteering with rescued parrots in Rhode Island to her list of endeavors. Foster Parrots appeases her love of animals where she relates directly with parrots and other large exotic birds.

Yet, the arts have been a steadfast friend, sticking with her all along, keeping her active, creating, and exploring her dreams.

“Writing is a way for me to unleash my creativity. My stories are based on my life, but in completely different circumstances,” she said.

Christian, who received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Tampa, is focused on adapting her first full novel into a television series.

Emma Palzere-Rae is the associate director for Artreach, Inc. and founder of Be Well Productions. If you have a story about how creativity has helped you heal, contact emma.artreachheals@gmail.com.

Who: Alyssa Christian

Town: Westerly

Creative Outlet: Creative writing

Helpful Resource: Foster Parrots, fosterparrots.com

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