Who is Ashleigh?
Ashleigh Gamboni Diehl is a writer. The day she decided to become a writer was important because she felt as if divine inspiration had shined on her. It happened one day in October of 2016 while she was driving to her classroom where she taught, a 40 minute commute from her home. The idea appeared in her head. Being a teacher wasn’t her calling, she was going to be a writer. This was something she had always secretly known, but not until then had the idea fully matured and presented itself to her.
Ashleigh was formally trained in philosophical writing and received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. She began her search for a career in philosophy, but Ashleigh concluded there were none to be found. So, she went back to school and received a teaching credential from Fresno State. Shortly after receiving her credential and beginning her first teaching job, the writer joined the University of California, Merced Writing Project (UCMWP) and received a certification to teach creative writing.
Teaching Experience and the UCMWP
While teaching, Ashleigh became heavily involved with the National Writing Project at the University of California, Merced. There she was a Teacher’s Consultant and editor of a newsletter. Through the same university she participated in writing workshops offered through the Writing Project and the Creative Writing Department.
In June 2018, Ashleigh quit her teaching job and began to pursue her writing career full time. At the moment she does freelance work, substitute teaches, and works on her writing projects.
Reading and Writing Interests
Ashleigh’s philosophical interests are wide and include modal logic and possible worlds, to questions about time and personal identity.
The writer likes to be interdisciplinary and explore one disciple through other one; for example, learning about philosophy through psychology, or literature through philosophy. She believes understanding isn’t inclusive. Thinkers need to constantly be questioning the world around them and trying to discover surprising and original ways of expressing their findings.
Her philosophical influences include the Roman Stoics, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius; David Lewis; and the existentialist philosophers Kierkegaard, Ortega, Sartre, and Nietzsche.
Existentialism is one of Ashleigh’s main interests in philosophy. She has studied the the father of existentialism, Kierkegaard. His book, Either/Or, allowed her to understand the dialectic process and appreciate how flawless an idea can segue from one into another.
Ashleigh may have been trained in philosophy, but psychology is her research passion. For over two years the writer has dedicated hours to the study of it. Her main focus in psychology is the history of mental illness and specifically, how manic-depressive disorder relates to creativity. Sometimes her psychological research finds its way into topics of religion and mysticism. For example, William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience.
Ashleigh enjoys Russian literature and the rich history of the Russian people. Her favorite Russian authors are Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Tolstoy.
Since this writer focuses on mental illness, she studies the works of Chekhov and Dostoevsky closely to understand how authors before her approached the subject of psychology.
Tolstoy and Turgenev have a special place in Ashleigh’s heart because they describe the human condition with acute understanding. She has read, over a dozen times, Turgenev’s Diary of a Superfluous Man (Link takes you to the best audio reading of the story), and her favorite Tolstoy novel is Anna Karenina.
Ashleigh respects American writers too. The first literary novel she read, in high school, was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (link takes you to a BBC Radio Dramatization). After reading Bradbury, Hemingway, Orwell, and Steinbeck, Ashleigh realized that a richer and deeper meaning always hides under the surface of stories.
Ashleigh’s favorite science fiction writer is Philip K. Dick. (Check out his short story The Second Variety to see if you like him too.) What she likes about Dick’s work is how he has transformed the science fiction genre into a philosophical and psychological discussion about the human condition.
The work of transcendentalist writers like Emerson and Thoreau inspire Ashleigh. She enjoys writing creative non-fiction on a variety of topics. Topics dealing with the creativity of writers and other artists are especial interest of hers.
The writer wants to blend non-fiction and fiction into a hybrid form. Ashleigh hopes to do this with one of her short story projects.
Some of Ashleigh’s top poets are Poe, Blake, and Pushkin. What she admires about Poe is his versatility and word choice. Her favorite poem from Poe is The Raven.
William Blake, not only wrote his own poetry, he also self-published it because his job was that of an engraver. Knowing this about one of her literary heroes gives Ashleigh hope for her own self-publishing endeavors.
Check out the rest of Ashleigh’s Writing Portfolio HERE.
In August of 2019, Ashleigh published her first book. It is a reference book titled Freshman’s Etymology Dictionary. Her fascination with words and their meanings inspired her research for this project. Every time Ashleigh comes across an unknown word, she writes it down, along with its definition, and an example sentence showing how to correctly use the word. When she gathers enough words, she will publish them in the second edition of Freshman’s Etymology Dictionary.
Ashleigh is focusing on a couple of full-length book projects. Her top priority is a YA fantasy novel that explores mythology and folklore. Also in the works, and which has been in the works for over two years, is a historical fiction set in the 18th century. The story follows a Russian doctor who has taken a job in an asylum.
The writer is also exploring the boundaries between insanity and sanity with a collection of short stories. The way she wants to present the short stories is in a hybrid form. Blending non-fictional prefaces, written in scientific terms and descriptions, with fictional stories, will inspire readers to embrace the challenges of living with a mental disease.
Short stories and sketches, poetry and aphorisms, and philosophical ruminations are also a part of her ongoing writing projects.
Besides writing, Ashleigh strives to make every moment meaningful. She understands that people are the authors of their life. If they are to find happiness, the must endeavor to live the life they imagine. Painting, sketching, and playing the piano; raising rabbits; and living a healthy lifestyle are ways she chooses to spend some her time.
Blogs as Experimental Writing
Ashleigh enjoys experimenting with writing. One technique she has utilized is publishing some projects online as blogs. Using blogs allows the writer to create an interactive environment for her readers and expands her readership.
Through the years Ashleigh has created, designed, and written over a dozen blogs and websites. Some are still available to visit:
Check out more about Ashleigh’s experimental writing projects HERE.
How Ashleigh Makes Money as a Writer
Ashleigh enjoys working with other writers. She has worked with young writers at UC Merced’s Bobcat Academy and engages with adult writers in workshops and online writing groups. Training through the UCMWP, Ashleigh has developed her skills as a writing critic. Ashleigh built her client list using Fiverr and UpWork. She was able to build a client list and successfully move her freelance business off those platforms. She currently offers feedback on short pieces or manuscript length projects in any genre, type, or topic; line edits manuscripts; and offers writing advice.
The writer wants to reach as many possible clients as possible and has extended her outreach by directing all new and potential clients to her website. You can contact her HERE.
Currently, Ashleigh looks forward to finishing her YA novel. In the meantime she continues writing short stories and plotting future writing projects. She continues researching agents and publishers, magazine editors and newspapers, to find a home for her writing–unfortunately a considerable stack of rejection letters have accumulated in this endeavor.
Ashleigh has learned that failure doesn’t signal the end, instead failure is the signpost that points towards the path of success. Only through falling down and scrapping your knees, so to say, can a writer learn to get up, brush the dirt off, and keep moving. The writer that perseveres, wins. If that means success and fame, so be it, but more likely than not, winning means living your life as you want. Ashleigh lives her life as a writer.
Check out more about Ashleigh’s freelance HERE
You can contact Ashleigh directly through this site.
Updated 5 April 2020