Alexa Kocinski Finds the Small, Absurd and Mundane and Magnifies Them
By Matt Levy
Writer and comic mind Alexa Kocinski is originally from Minnesota but lived in New York for half a decade. She’s physically back in the Midwest, but prefers mentally to stay on the East Coast.
Alexa rents the top floor of a duplex and is working tirelessly helping maintain the safety and security of the animal community from her top-floor space. She has a terrarium where she feeds and shelters homeless bugs that need housing for the winter. In the spring when it’s warm enough, she releases the insects back into the wild. This zoo-like environment also has two cats that are “never not sleeping.” On top of all this, she proudly claims, “I’m currently feeding a mother squirrel who is raising five babies on her own without the help of the father, who is nowhere to be found. Typical.”
Before her days as an Animal First Responder, she was an unusual only child with off-kilter fascinations and sensibilities. She was born to a father in education and mother in the tech sector (they have since retired and are actively living their “respective truths”). Thanks to her active imagination, she was never bored. Alexa plaintively added, “I’m still very much like that kid. I’m able to live wholly in my head and stay amused.”
She added, “People often say writing is a lonely pursuit, but for me it’s an alone pursuit. I’m having conversations in my head that are just as real and just as fun as the ones that take place between me and friends.” This joy and subversive perspective shines through in all she puts on paper.
She was fairly athletic and made the varsity high school team in seventh grade. After retiring from the sport, Alexa went to SUNY Purchase to study American History and Literature. Then she broadened her horizons and attended the University of Minnesota for a STEM degree in Environmental Science and Policy.
Upon graduation, Alexa’s writing career began as a journalist for a small neighborhood bimonthly newspaper. Unfortunately, this was just in time for the industry to be completely disrupted by the internet. Soon after, she adapted to the new direction and became a business-to-business corporate profile writer as well as a director of marketing for a condominium conversion company.
Still, the proudest moment of her career thus far was a bittersweet one. The editor of Gawker accepted one of her pitches, told her the article was a game changer(!) and then he was fired a week later. Alexa’s piece wasn’t published. However, being told she wrote something that “changed the game” was very edifying for this burgeoning writer still finding her voice. She emphasized this, saying, “Big wins don’t feel as big as the small compliments given by people who matter.”
As a fan of her style, I can happily add to the pile of worthy compliments her work deserves; Alexa’s point-of-view is not obvious, it’s nuanced and eminently readable. As she says, “I will do anything to reflect the creativity and vision of the client.”
Her friend Liv summed up her comedy writing best when she said, “Alexa writes about Napoleon like it’s her job.” She treats every assignment with the same passion and one would be hard pressed to find evidence that proved otherwise. Her writing is wry, personal and written by someone with a fiery commitment to creating the absolute best piece she can.
This is reflected in the offbeat sensibility of her humor writing where her humor was informed by artists as varied as Larry David, Woody Allen, Julio Torres, David Sedaris, and Tina Fey.
Her accomplished humor career spans a number of pieces for prestigious beacons of satire Reductress and (now defunct) xoJane, as well as 25 comedy pieces on Medium. She developed her voice as an extension of her extremely short-lived background in improv, where she never bowed down to the populist philosophy of “Yes, and” and was eventually told that participation was “mandatory.” Instead, Alexa prefers to find the precious moments of weird in-between. Both in her creative work and professional writing, she will always come to an assignment with an angle that other writers wouldn’t want to explore. For her, “Writing is risk taking.”
An example of Alexa’s fearless wit is her joke, “I saw a Holocaust movie that was so bad, it made me wish we’d never even had the Holocaust.” She goes there. She really does.
As a creator, Alexa is happiest in her craft after nailing a joke in one of her pieces. Or creating a funny scene. Sometimes it’s just a single irreverent line. She bubbles up and continues, “Polishing up a piece I know has legs is amazing, that moment right before it’s sent out to potential publishers.” Then she took me by surprise. She said, “What also makes me happiest is designing houses. Especially when it comes together better than how I had imagined.”
Turns out the animal-loving, hard hitting wit is interested in architecture and loves to build houses on gaming platforms. She humbly told me in an aside that she’s even won game-dev editorial competitions. She spelled it out: “If I could go back and do it again, I would become an architect rather than a writer. There’s almost nothing like designing a whole building.” She corrected herself and added, “Except maybe writing a good joke.”
Still, she’s writing. Up next, the tireless Alexa is working with the famous @Sorrowscopes to write the next batch or two of their horoscopes.
Most importantly, she will have released her bugs and those baby squirrels will be well fed. No matter how subversive her wit or hard hitting her writing, there’s a humanitarian center inside of her.
Not enough? If you want to check out some of her favorite quarantine content, here are a few recommendations of hers.
TV shows: The Americans, The Good Wife, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Movies: Double Indemnity, Husbands, Zelig.
Music: Rolling Stones, early New Orleans jazz, Yebba, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande.
Books: Colette. The Bell Jar. The poetry of Emily Dickinson.
Art: She adores the Impressionists, as do most people, but can’t wrap her head around contemporary avant-garde. She added, “I don’t appreciate multimedia installations. I shrug at sculpture. I’ll be honest, I don’t really get it. And I’m willing to put money on it that nobody else really gets it either.”