Category: writing

Interview: Angelique Nguyen

Today we’re joined by

Angélique Nguyễn. Angélique is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories, mostly in English and she’s soon going to start writing in French as well. When she’s not writing,
Angélique

does some visual art, mostly drawing and painting. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I will draw and paint visuals from time to time, but my
current works mostly consist of writing.
I like writing poetry and short stories, and I’m currently working one
long-term piece of work.

My mother language is English but French is my up-and-coming
second language; I have plenty of poetry written in either language.

What inspires you?

There are many things out there and within that inspire me.
Often times it is a mix of my current/remembered emotions, my life experiences
or other’s life experiences, the aesthetics of my world, and the lessons I’ve
learned from life and others. I like taking in what happened in my world and
taking it apart, mixing it up, and reconstructing it again to tell stories. The
influences can be big or small. Such influences can be as large as my mother’s
presence in life or as small as the way the white markings fall on my rabbits
coat. Culture is also a very grand influence in my life. I always loved
learning something about my own culture’s or another culture’s stories and
imagining how they would fit together in the grand scheme of storytelling and
human life.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

Throughout my life, I always knew I wanted to do something
to express my artsy heart, even when society seems to demand me to focus more
on mathematics and science. I’m pretty good at math and science but I find I
will always be more appealed by art and emotion. At the beginning of sophomore
year of high school, my English teacher assigned everyone to write a short
story. As I was writing my short story, I realized that not every good story
needed to be long like a novel. Before, I always had this idea that good
writing takes a very long time and needed to fill a lot of pages. But now I
know that this is not always true.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I’m relatively new to my creative writing so I still need to
explore what makes my writing unique from others. However, I find myself
attempting to just the pen or fingers write and type away without thinking too
much. Sometimes, it just makes sense to follow your gut feeling and see what
comes out of it. This is especially true for my poetry.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If you find there are no big themes or events you want to
base your writing off of, then look for the small things. Even the small things
could have a story behind it. You could make the story behind it. Write what
you want to write and write how you want to write it. Inspiration always
exists; it is up to you to find it. That will lead to you finding your comfort
in writing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

For the most part, I identify as a demi-sexual and bi.
However, the truth is that my actual identity is very complicated. Even I don’t
know all the answers to who I am.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

So far, there is no aphobia I have encountered in my field.
If I do encounter it, then I would simply continue living my peaceful a-spec
existence.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common misconception about asexuality that I have
encountered is that asexuality is all out being repulsed by sex, which is
simply not true. When I first heard of asexuality, even I thought I qualified
because I was repulsed by sexual activity. Now I know it is simply about
lacking full attraction to any particular person, which is also true of me.
Also, my *favorite* misconception of demi-sexuality is that it is “practical”-
therefore, not a separate orientation. That is also not true because a
demi-sexual actually lacks any attraction to a particular person until they get
to know and bond with them as much as it takes. Whereas a typical allosexual
may instantly feel attraction to this person but still take their time to get
to know them before jumping into any sexual activities. That is the main
difference.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

It is okay to be or not to be asexual. Sometimes, asexuality
may be permanent for one individual, but not for others. That is okay and
totally valid. Maybe you know your reason to identify as asexual but maybe you
don’t. That’s all right! Exploring my orientation has been a struggle for me,
and it might be one for you too. However, you are never alone. All I suggest is
that you simply move forward and embrace whatever identity you feel is best for
you. If you don’t want any labels then that is okay, too.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My work is currently all over the place. But here are some
common spots for posting my work:

Tumblr: 17angelsprings.tumblr.com
(search “my post” or “my poems” and you will certainly find some of my poems
and other works posted there)

DeviantArt: 17angelsprings.deviantart.com
(you can find some written works as well as some visual art stuff)

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/17angelsprings
(my current long-term writing project, Speaking
My Language
, is posted there, and that is where I’m compiling poems into
anthologies)

Instagram: 17angelsprings (mainly
reserved for my visual art)

I also hope I can eventually start a YouTube channel about
mainly centered around my writing and being a writer.

Thank you,
Angélique, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Holly

Today we’re joined by Holly. Holly is a wonderful writer who is currently working towards a biochem degree. In her free time, she runs a D&D campaign that involves a lot of writing and worldbuilding. They’re also working on a story podcast project, which she hopes to bring to fruition in the future. Holly is clearly a dedicated and talented hobbyist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

It’s something I use to distract a little bit from the real
world, nothing too professional. I’m mostly interested in writing short
stories, and I’m currently working on a fictional podcast series with one of my
favourite people, and while we do have some scripts written up, it is going to
take a while to put into production. While I’m making my way through university
for a biochemistry B.Sc, most of my creative energy goes towards a lore-rich
D&D campaign in a homebrew setting that I run for my very best friends.
It’s difficult and long-form but it’s increased my social confidence, I’ve
created some wonderful characters that I feel able to apply to different forms
of writing, and it’s definitely given me more experience with storybuilding.

What inspires you?

Generally, looking at fictional stories and seeing what hasn’t been included, rather than what
has. It’s satisfying to fill a gap and tell the stories of people who aren’t
often looked at in popular media, i.e. neurodivergent characters, people with underrepresented
gender identities and sexualities, people with disabilities, people of varying
ethnic backgrounds. I’m aware that I can’t personally relate to some of the
characters I write, so I do try and stay respectful and do a ton of research,
ask people who know better than me, etc. Sometimes I do make characters that
correspond to my own experiences with depression and severe social anxiety, and
even the speech impediment I still have to manage – and the personal catharsis
I get from that can be reward enough, even if I don’t do anything with the
characters or works I create.

For the most part though, I tend to like interspersing
mundane reality with absurd high fantasy or scifi concepts. Like a time
traveler who uses their ability to cut in line before it forms, or a
particularly finicky pit fiend who wants you to remove your shoes before
entering its lair.

On another level, I’d say my friends inspire me on a day to
day basis. Especially the person I’m working on this project with, whom I’ll
call T. T has a fascinating mind and boundless creativity, and with her and K’s
support, I can have days where I feel indestructible. My mum also tends to
listen to whatever crazy plotlines I’ve come up with that day too, so I’d say
she also plays a big part in my support network.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I always wanted to be an actress when I was growing up, but
did a big ol’ switcharoo around college (not university, the British meaning of
college), where I found an interest in biochemistry. I’d begun to feel
directing and writing was more my thing by that point anyway, but didn’t have
enough belief in myself to do it. I think what drew me back to creative writing
alongside my STEM studies was the freedom I felt when I began this D&D
campaign. Building the world, building the story, adapting to the unexpected
antics of my players, it felt like when I was a kid throwing blankets and
pretending they were fireballs, or picking up a stick and pretending it was a
greatsword, having intricate sociopolitical plotlines with my Barbies, and all
that grand stuff. I’d been doubting for a while the value of that kind of
imagination, but gradually it became necessary to keep me sane during
university. Now I appreciate silliness and the Rule of Cool way more than I do
grimdark, gritty, realistic scenarios.

I write more often than not to just have fun. Sometimes it’s
a scenario that I can’t stop thinking about and I have to write it down or
it’ll keep bouncing around in my head, and other times it’s building a
character that can help me feel less alone when I’m winding myself into a
spiral about the simplest social situation. I write so that any potential
readers can have fun too – and, if I’m lucky, find a character that they can
carry about with them like I do.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I usually include at least one of my NPCs from my campaign
in almost everything I write – with a different name and/or species. This isn’t
obvious unless you’re part of that group, though.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I have struggled with finding my voice because I thought I
needed someone to address – like an audience or someone who wouldn’t reject me.
But to hell with it. This isn’t a marketing strategy meeting, go ahead and
shout into the void with your art until someone shouts back, if that’s what
you’re after. Make the art for yourself. What’s actually stopping you?

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am ace demi-aro. I think. The ace part I’m certain about,
but I’m still figuring out my romantic orientation. Demi fits for now.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not in my field particularly, but I’ve been given the
‘you’re young’ and ‘you’ll find someone’ or ‘how can you not be attracted to
anyone, is there something wrong with you?’ talk quite a few times by
well-meaning friends or relatives. Usually this is met with an eyeroll, but it
hasn’t held me back anywhere. I’ve experienced some anxiety about going to
LGBTQIA events because of the whole ace inclusion debate I saw floating around
at the time, but I’m fairly confident aces are more universally accepted than
not, these days.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The idea that it means having no sex drive. Even people who
are familiar with asexuality seem to fall into this trap a lot. Many non-ace
people seem to have trouble separating the idea of having a libido or enjoying
sex with sexual attraction. I guess I can understand where they’re coming from,
but I don’t know how many times I’ve said the sentence: “Asexuality is
literally just a lack of sexual attraction. It means I don’t look at a person
and want to have sex with them. That’s it.”

Some people seem to get it after that explanation. Others
don’t. Whaddya gonna do except raise awareness?

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Finding out that you’re ace can be a confusing and deceptive
road, simply because it’s harder to characterize a lack of something than it is to characterize a different something. I thought I was bi or pan for a long time in
high school because I felt the same way about all genders (turns out? Not an
uncommon experience for ace/aros), and many people still don’t even believe
being ace is a thing. Protip: don’t listen to those people.

What I would say? If you don’t feel you fit neatly into the
ace label, firstly remember that there is a wide spectrum of asexuality, and
includes identities such as gray-ace or demi-ace, but secondly remember that
you don’t have to assume it. Same goes for knowing your romantic orientation.
This is not required of you. Honestly, this applies to any LGBTQIA identities –
you are not required to know what label you are. Just listen to yourself and
trust what yourself is saying, because you know better than everyone who you
are.

You are still a ‘proper ace’ if you’re not sure what labels
fit you, and you’re still a ‘proper ace’ if your orientation was due to past
events, or if you think it might be temporary. It is not a life sentence. It is
simply what fits you the most at the time, and sexuality can be fluid as heck.

Most importantly – you are welcome here. You are welcome in
LGBTQIA. You’re always free to find one of us in the ace community and ask
questions if you’re not sure where you fit or how you feel about your
orientation.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

Nowhere yet as I’ve still gotta get this degree under my
belt before I take on any projects, but soon. Soon.

Thank you, Holly, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Alexa Baird

Today we’re joined by Alexa Baird. Alexa is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who is so ridiculously creative. They’re a fellow indie author who has self-published a number of novels and novelettes, which can be found on Amazon (look them up and supported a fellow ace). They also has a wonderful webcomic entitled Selfinsertale, which looks absolutely fascinating. Also, they’re a fellow Star Trek fan, which is awesome. Alexa is so passionate and dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My main art is writing. I write and self-publish novels and
novelettes about a wide cast of characters including humans, robots, and
magical beings, sometimes all in the same book. I’ve even taken to illustrating
some of my more recent novels though I’ve been creating visual art since
childhood. I also like to create comics and started my current webcomic series
in 2016.

What inspires you?

I always like to say that tea helps with my creative-tea,
but a lot of my inspiration comes from conversations with my friends and the
ideas we spark together about our characters, how various characters would
interact, etc. A lot of my ideas come from the desire to see a specific audience
reaction that I test run by sharing these ideas with my friends.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

Starting in elementary school, my family and some of my
teachers encouraged my artistic pursuits, though growing up I would jump from
visual arts, to crafts, to music, to visual arts again, and also to writing. I
used to hate writing as a result of the standardized tests I had to take when
younger, but after being introduced to the concept of fan fiction and original
characters I started to spend a lot of time in middle school creating my own
stories as a coping mechanism. Over time I stuck with it and created more and
more stories and characters until I got to where I am today with my novels and
comics.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

It’s subtle and not always consistent, but in a lot of my
novels or series I try to fit in the word “trek” at some point in it as a
nerdy, small reference to Star Trek.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try new types of art and don’t be afraid
to change your mind on what sort of artist you are. Maybe you start out as a
writer but you want to try making crafts and find you have more fun with crafts
and don’t want to write any more. That’s fine! Do what makes you happier in the
end. Or maybe you’re a musician who tries painting a few times but end up not
liking it. That’s fine too! You gained experience just from trying something
you don’t normally do. Or maybe you try all sorts of things and have several
different types of art you like and want to pursue. More power to you then,
buddy. Trying new things always gives you more insight, and if you find
something you prefer to do over what you had been doing before then the insight
you gained is one of exploring more about yourself and your desires.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m ace and aro.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’ve mainly seen prejudice remarks said to others rather
than to me directly but it’s always hurtful to see. I find the best way to
handle it is to support those who deal with this ignorance to let them know
they aren’t alone in their identity and to understand that while those who are
hateful may be the loudest, they are not the majority and there are ultimately
more kind people in the world than there are bad.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexual people don’t belong in the LGBT+ community,
usually due to people insisting that asexual people are actually straight. The
most common misconception I see is that a lack of sexual attraction can let a
person pass as straight, or that it means they actually are straight, and
therefore that we aren’t queer enough to be part this community.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Asexuality is a normal and valid thing, and there are more
people out there who are also asexual than you can count. Though the common
statistic is only one percent of the world is asexual, that would still mean 76 million people in this world are also
asexual, and I don’t think this takes into account those who due to societal
norms don’t realize they are asexual as well. There is a large community here
that can help and support you, and even if you can’t reach out to them personally
they are still here if you ever need them and will be willing to help you as
well.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

You can find my books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/alexabaird
and my webcomic at http://selfinsertale.smackjeeves.com/
and bonus content at my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/alexabaird

My main Tumblr
and my Instagram username
is allislaughter. And my Twitter is allislaughterEX.

Thank you, Alexa, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Lauren King

Today we’re joined by Lauren King. Lauren is a fantastic indie author who is working on self-publishing some visual novels. She has also dabbled in some fanart and vocal covers of music. Writing is where her heart lies and Lauren is incredibly passionate about the art of writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My main form of art is my writing, it always has been. I
love to pick apart the English language, finding different forms of expression
through writing. It’s always been fascinating to me.

For my writing specifically, I’ve always had an interest in
character-focused stories, or stories that play with genre or base plots.
Generally my stories will focus more on the tension between people, even those
who are on the same ‘side’ in a conflict. Villains are more there to set off a
story, while most of the conflict comes from human error and all the ways communication
can break down. It’s not always a cheery ride, especially when I deconstruct
story types like the Hero’s Journey, but I’ll always try to bring it to a
cheerier outcome!

My presentation of my writing has changed a lot over the
years. Right now I’m putting my stories into visual novel format, with the
possibility of drawing the images for it myself if I can get my art to the same
standard as my writing.

What inspires you?

Other art, usually. Life is a great place to draw
inspiration for some people, but I don’t really get out enough. Instead, I try
to watch and read as much as I can! When I’m writing I’m almost always watching
something in the background or listening to music in order to get inspired.

Something I don’t usually admit is that a lot of my
inspiration comes from myself, especially when it comes to characters. If you
were to point out any character from any story that I’ve written then I would
be able to tell you what part of myself I see in them. That isn’t always a good
thing, obviously, since I like to write about stressed and depressed people,
but at least it helps make the characters seem more real, even when they’re
pushed to their breaking point (as they often are in my stories).

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve wanted to be an artist since I saw my first movie, The Wizard of Oz. At first, I wanted to
be a singer. I can vividly remember singing Somewhere
Over the Rainbow
with my mother as we did the dishes. Singing gradually
drifted to acting in musicals, where I became interested in the scripts,
specifically the characters. Wanting to become a writer was a gradual thing,
and deciding on visual novels was even more so. Until this year I was wavering
between writing scripts for musicals, writing books, or just keeping my writing
as a hobby on the internet. I’m glad to have found a way that agrees with me
and my writing style.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

This isn’t an intentional thing, but I have a habit of
‘getting meta’. Characters regularly realize that they’re in stories, and that
fact is actually used by some characters in order to manipulate the outcome. It
doesn’t happen in every story that I write, but since almost all of them are
linked into the same story it is always something that could come up.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

People are going to tell you that art isn’t going to pan
out, that only a few people ever ‘get noticed’. That isn’t true. With the
internet, there’s more opportunities for artists at any stage of their lives to
get themselves out there. Find your niche, do something you actually want to
do. Don’t feel bad for wanting to be popular, everyone wants to be noticed for
their art. Just make sure that your love of art is stronger than your need for
attention. And no matter what stage your art is at, whether it’s a published
novel or a few work-in-progress drawings that you haven’t shown anyone yet, you are an artist. Never let anyone say
otherwise.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Poly/pan aro/ace. Sorry for the word-salad label, but it’s
the best way to describe me! I’d just love a big house full of QPRs with no
pressure for sex or romance, but still a close bond.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Thankfully, no, though I think that may be because I’m not
very established in my field yet.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexuals can’t have sex or relationships with anyone.
It’s a stupid assumption, and I plan to write something someday specifically
going against this.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Never go into the ace discourse tag. Negativity is
addictive, don’t let youself get pulled in. You are LGBT+, but you don’t have to put yourself in the community if
you feel unsafe. Don’t try to avoid stereotypes, because specifically going
against them is letting them control you just as much as specifically following
them.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I have several blogs where I put my work. I have an
Undertale fan-blog at http://undertalebrothertale.tumblr.com/,
a personal blog with general art and music covers at http://lkwriting.tumblr.com/, and a
professional blog and twitter for my visual novel development at https://freefallgames.tumblr.com/
and https://twitter.com/FreefallGames.

Thank you, Lauren, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Fiona

Today we’re joined by Fiona. Fiona is a wonderful visual artist and writer. For writing, Fiona is working on a number of stories at the moment and enjoys writing a variety of genres. She’s no less versatile when it comes to visual art, doing both traditional and digital art. Her work demonstrates a keen eye and an amazing attention to detail, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I both write and do visual art. Both vary quite a bit as I
am currently working on 3 extended stories/novels and all three are vastly
different genres. As for visual art, I used to do a lot of traditional art in
varying media (acrylics, graphite, pen, etc.) and most of it was as realistic
as I could get it. Now I do mainly digital art mainly because it’s hard to get
materials for other forms and Photoshop has an undo button… My style in digital
art is still fairly realistic but more comic book like with lines and kind of
soft cell shading.

What inspires you?

I have never been able to give this question a good answer. I
guess I’ll do ‘who’ inspires me because I’m honestly coming up with a blank for
‘what’ inspires me. Currently I am working on a Sci Fi story/novel and that was
really inspired by The Martian by
Andy Weir because I really like the more realistic type of Sci Fi where it
could conceivably happen. In my digital art, my style was inspired a lot by
Fiona Staples’ art (Fionas are generally gr8) though my style has evolved a bit
and is far from just copying what she does. (Hopefully.)

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

When I was a little kid I drew so much it was ridiculous.
Whales mainly for some reason. I kind of lived in the middle of nowhere and the
only thing to do was draw or read so I did that 24/7. I blame that for why I
like to write, read, and draw to this day. I never really wanted to do art as a
job, I’m more science minded, but since I could remember I’ve loved to draw and
I started writing extended stories in probably 6th grade.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not particularly… my stuff is way too all over the place to
have a connected symbol of some sort.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I know young artists have heard this time and time again but
Practice. When I was younger I always was told I was good at art and it was
just because that’s all I did. I never really took any formal art classes that
would teach me how to draw (I did take some classes but they were more ‘studio
time’ kind of things where the teacher didn’t actually teach anything.) I only
started digital art the summer before last and already my stuff has vastly
improved as I’ve gotten used to the media and practiced with it. Scrolling
through my art blog you can see my improvement in digital stuff from my early
posts to my more recent ones. Other than that I would just have advice for
people who want to improve with anatomy which is take a life drawing class. If
you can’t do that, watch a dance video or something and pause at different
times to do drawings of different lengths. (10 seconds, 30 seconds, 5 minutes
etc.) it really helped me a lot.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am sex repulsed and bi romantic (if you really want to get
into it, demi romantic as well) basically I’m a massive amalgam of ‘hard to
explain’ so I usually don’t go into it lol.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Well, as far as my art goes, I just work in my room and post
stuff online so I haven’t experienced much in that regards. I’ve encountered it
a bit with just people I tell I’m ace (which honestly, hasn’t been that many people)
but mainly it’s just along the lines of ‘wait that’s a thing?’. Ignorance as
opposed to being outright mean basically.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Mitosis? Lol. No seriously I’d say the most common is that
ace people are just people who ‘can’t get any’. Like, honey no. I just don’t
want any.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

I’m really bad at giving advice like this lol but maybe just
that a lot of people feel the same way you do and those who say it’s fake are
just as ignorant as someone who looks at some characters in a language they
don’t speak and insist that therefor, it isn’t a language. (Basically, those
people are just ignorant and you should ignore them). Don’t ask me advice about
coming out because I am just as lost about that.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My main blog is kvothe-kingkiller, my art blog
is cork-run and I’m uploading one of
my stories chapter by chapter as I finish them, both on my fictionpress account
(cork-run) and AO3 (cork_run)

Thank you, Fiona, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a fantastic author who currently has a short story out in the world, in the collection entitled Athena’s Daughters. When she’s not writing, Jordan does various crafts and even enjoys singing in a local LGBTQIA+ affirming chorus. Jordan is obviously an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a writer who dabbles in art and various and sundry forms
of crafting. I mainly write curriculum material these days (I’m a high school
English teacher), but I’m a Published Author (all-caps, so official, yes yes)
with a short story out in the world. I enjoy making costumes, knitting, doing
cross-stitch, writing fan-fiction, and baking. Oh! I sing, too. I’m a member of
an LGBT-affirming chorus in my hometown.

What inspires you?

My family and friends, and often, my students. And books!
Good lord, books. I read voraciously, and nothing is more inspiring than
encountering a book that you can get yourself completely lost in for a few
hours. I read a lot of historical fiction, and I’ve been diving into LGBT+ YA
quite a bit since I started teaching. Glorious stuff, all.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been interested in the arts. Ever since I was a
little kid, I’ve been writing stories. I remember a “series” I wrote when I was
in first or second grade all about my favorite teddy bear. It was called
“Cinnamon: Bear of the World,” and it chronicled the adventures of my teddy as
he saved lives and spread love across the globe. I fell in love with anime in
middle school and started drawing then – I’ve never stopped, really, although
my anime obsession has fallen to the wayside (probably for the best). I was
introduced to Broadway pretty early by my parents who recognized a drama
student when they saw one, and after seeing “Beauty & the Beast” when I was
7, I’ve never looked back.

Do
you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you
include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t necessarily include them in my “official” work, but
I like to sneak opossums in whenever I can. I always draw opossums when I sign
yearbooks, and I’ve gotten very good at drawing one on the spot in less than 10
seconds.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do your craft. If you’re an aspiring writer, WRITE! Love art
but not sure if you’re good enough to make it in the real world? Who cares!
Draw! Paint! Sew! Bake! Even if you think your stuff is awful, you’ll never get
better unless you keep getting your work out there and practicing like it’s
your job (and maybe it will be). I look back at things I wrote even five years
ago and I shudder. We’re always developing and growing, learning, as artists,
and that’s OK!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not necessarily in my field (although there is plenty of
ace-phobia out there on the Internet, and Tumblr is no exception), but in my
personal life, I struggle to get myself recognized. I’m not “out” to most of my
family, but when I express my desire to remain single and my apathy towards
romance, the most common response is confusion or even exasperation. My parents
are afraid that I’ll end up alone, and it’s difficult to convince them that
having a partner and/or getting married are not the end-all-be-all. I try to
explain asexuality, usually without using the actual word, as simple and
logically as I can. It’s a work in progress.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That you’ll “find the right person,” or that you should get
into counseling. I take medicine for my OCD, and my parents have suggested that
I talk to my doctor to get my prescription changed, as if that would alter my
views on romance and sex.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

You are valid, you are not a freak, you are are not
unlovable or unloved. Just like gender is a spectrum, so too is sexuality. Some
people like girls; some people like guys; some people like both; some people
like everybody; and yes, some people don’t “like” anyone, and that doesn’t mean
you’re broken. Your life can be as full and rewarding as you want it to be:
your worth is NOT measured by your libido. Be strong, loves, and surround
yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My short story “As Far as Death This Way” is in the Athena’s
Daughter’s 2 Anthology published by Silence in the Library and can be purchased
in hard-copy or eBook form on Amazon at http://a.co/3fx7mPK

I’m on Tumblr at dozmuffinxc,
Instagram at extermiteach,
and I have a fledgling travel blog at http://www.anopossumabroad.wordpress.com.

Thank you, Jordan, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Margaret Rose

asexualartists:

Today we’re joined by Margaret Rose. Margaret is a wonderful young writer who specializes in poetry. She already has a poetry collection entitled I Don’t Have One, which can be found on Amazon. Margaret’s poetry is very personal and she is incredibly passionate about writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I love to
write. I have been writing since a young age, I wrote a novel on a dare once
(which now sits on my book shelf). But mostly I write poetry and keep track of
anxious thoughts and questions in journals and on my phone. I usually don’t
share anything out of fear. I submit to poetry contests under anonymous, and it’s
nice when your work wins but then it’s a little sad when nothing comes of it
because I don’t attach a name.

I also paint
and love photography, but not nearly as much as writing, and writing is where I
would hope to succeed.  

What inspires you?

I find watching people over-come their personal
obstacles really inspiring and people who really embrace their personality no
matter how weird people may think they are. Sometimes liking yourself and
accepting yourself can be a really powerful thing. Sometimes people really
suffer trying to fit in, trying to please others and it really takes away from
their own person. And it can really be a struggle, but hearing those stories
about people getting to where they are happy or are on the way to discovering
who they are, are really inspiring.

Tyler, the creator and Camila Cabello, if celebrity
inspirations are of curiosity. I think they sort of had to make the decision to
stay true to themselves and its paying off. Which I like to see. I like to know
it’s possible to follow your own path and people will embrace it because they
relate. Too many artists, I think, change to fit what is expected of them.  

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you always
wanted to be an artist?

I used to journal a lot when I was younger and
write stories and then later read them back and see how I reacted to certain
things. As I got older I could see where I grew and where I was stuck. And I
started to think about things that happened in books or songs see if they
applied to me. Then I thought maybe my struggles and my triumphs could help
other people, but it took me a long time to share any of my words. I haven’t
always wanted to be an artist, but I always wanted to help people. Eventually I
realized I loved writing even if no one saw it and maybe in time I could turn
that into something.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not exactly.
Sometimes I will place a very specific reference from a time with someone and
work it in to a piece just as a little surprise for when they read it. So it’s
not something broad that everyone would notice but I think it’s nice for people
to read something and be like ‘hey, there’s a person in here, that really did
happen, I remember this’. I think friends reading my stuff is terrifying
because my writing voice is very different from my everyday voice. Sometimes
people are like ‘is that really you writing that?’ So I think of the references
as reminders like yes, it is me, hello.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. there are so many ways to share
your work today that you might as well give it a try. And if you’re stuck or
trying to find your style don’t get discouraged. Keep making, keep creating.
Create bad shit you want to throw away get it out of the way, that’s when you
will come onto something you will be happy with. I write stuff all the time
that I just trash, that sometimes leads me to a really nice place. Same with
painting and photography.

image

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Asexual, aromantic would be the easiest way for me
to put it. Although, I think a lot about demisexual but I think that’s a hope.
In the past I have fallen in love with the idea of a relationship with a
person, but then the real life aspect I’m just like.. nope. Which is hard
sometimes.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

In writing all the time. I’ve had a publisher ask
“how can you be relatable if you do not relate to most of the population?” I
have also been asked, or it was kindly suggested, that I do not mention how I
identify because then people will not know how to interpret your work. Which is
discouraging because I struggle myself with concepts of love and relationships.
So to hear that no one else will get you or want to get you, is tough. It’s
also frustrating that all my other writing gets over looked because publishers
are concerned about who or what the love aspect applies to. I write a lot about
depression, anxiety and other struggles/subjects that deserve attention.

I have always just taken these comments in stride,
I am happy with myself and I expect eventually the people in charge will see
that people want more representation and when that happens I will be here,
willing to share. I’ve also always told people that I just write the words, and
truthfully, you may do whatever you like with them.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That I just haven’t met the right person. Or that
asexuality is a choice. I have had and still have moments where I think and
wish for a regular relationship. Conversations with people would be easier, no
one would make backhanded comments when your sexuality gets brought up, that
sort of thing. But then I also know I would not be happy with that life.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

I would say that it’s okay to struggle, I have days
where I am at a loss when I think about the future. How easy would it be to fit
into societal expectations for love? Easy. But you have to make a decision to
be yourself. And that the people who love you will love you no matter what.
You’re not a freak, a plant or have just never had good sex. You are a person
who has valid experiences. Don’t rely too much on what society has to say about
love and relationship expectations. And if you feel alone reach out, there are
SO many people out there in groups and on the internet, where you can remain
anonymous, who will just talk to you and not make you feel weird and strange.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My writing has been taken from my blog posts and journals
and I have selected some of it for my poetry collection, “I don’t have one”
which can be found here on Amazon: amazon/idonthaveonemargaretrose

Full link in case above is broken http://a.co/6TFGtjZ

I don’t sell paintings or really post them anywhere I just
sort of give them away as people ask.

Instagram: mrg.rose

I have a Tumblr you can check out here:http://aparttimepoet.tumblr.com/ .

Thank you, Margaret, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Margaret Rose

Today we’re joined by Margaret Rose. Margaret is a wonderful young writer who specializes in poetry. She already has a poetry collection entitled I Don’t Have One, which can be found on Amazon. Margaret’s poetry is very personal and she is incredibly passionate about writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I love to
write. I have been writing since a young age, I wrote a novel on a dare once
(which now sits on my book shelf). But mostly I write poetry and keep track of
anxious thoughts and questions in journals and on my phone. I usually don’t
share anything out of fear. I submit to poetry contests under anonymous, and it’s
nice when your work wins but then it’s a little sad when nothing comes of it
because I don’t attach a name.

I also paint
and love photography, but not nearly as much as writing, and writing is where I
would hope to succeed.  

What inspires you?

I find watching people over-come their personal
obstacles really inspiring and people who really embrace their personality no
matter how weird people may think they are. Sometimes liking yourself and
accepting yourself can be a really powerful thing. Sometimes people really
suffer trying to fit in, trying to please others and it really takes away from
their own person. And it can really be a struggle, but hearing those stories
about people getting to where they are happy or are on the way to discovering
who they are, are really inspiring.

Tyler, the creator and Camila Cabello, if celebrity
inspirations are of curiosity. I think they sort of had to make the decision to
stay true to themselves and its paying off. Which I like to see. I like to know
it’s possible to follow your own path and people will embrace it because they
relate. Too many artists, I think, change to fit what is expected of them.  

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you always
wanted to be an artist?

I used to journal a lot when I was younger and
write stories and then later read them back and see how I reacted to certain
things. As I got older I could see where I grew and where I was stuck. And I
started to think about things that happened in books or songs see if they
applied to me. Then I thought maybe my struggles and my triumphs could help
other people, but it took me a long time to share any of my words. I haven’t
always wanted to be an artist, but I always wanted to help people. Eventually I
realized I loved writing even if no one saw it and maybe in time I could turn
that into something.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not exactly.
Sometimes I will place a very specific reference from a time with someone and
work it in to a piece just as a little surprise for when they read it. So it’s
not something broad that everyone would notice but I think it’s nice for people
to read something and be like ‘hey, there’s a person in here, that really did
happen, I remember this’. I think friends reading my stuff is terrifying
because my writing voice is very different from my everyday voice. Sometimes
people are like ‘is that really you writing that?’ So I think of the references
as reminders like yes, it is me, hello.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. there are so many ways to share
your work today that you might as well give it a try. And if you’re stuck or
trying to find your style don’t get discouraged. Keep making, keep creating.
Create bad shit you want to throw away get it out of the way, that’s when you
will come onto something you will be happy with. I write stuff all the time
that I just trash, that sometimes leads me to a really nice place. Same with
painting and photography.

image

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Asexual, aromantic would be the easiest way for me
to put it. Although, I think a lot about demisexual but I think that’s a hope.
In the past I have fallen in love with the idea of a relationship with a
person, but then the real life aspect I’m just like.. nope. Which is hard
sometimes.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

In writing all the time. I’ve had a publisher ask
“how can you be relatable if you do not relate to most of the population?” I
have also been asked, or it was kindly suggested, that I do not mention how I
identify because then people will not know how to interpret your work. Which is
discouraging because I struggle myself with concepts of love and relationships.
So to hear that no one else will get you or want to get you, is tough. It’s
also frustrating that all my other writing gets over looked because publishers
are concerned about who or what the love aspect applies to. I write a lot about
depression, anxiety and other struggles/subjects that deserve attention.

I have always just taken these comments in stride,
I am happy with myself and I expect eventually the people in charge will see
that people want more representation and when that happens I will be here,
willing to share. I’ve also always told people that I just write the words, and
truthfully, you may do whatever you like with them.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That I just haven’t met the right person. Or that
asexuality is a choice. I have had and still have moments where I think and
wish for a regular relationship. Conversations with people would be easier, no
one would make backhanded comments when your sexuality gets brought up, that
sort of thing. But then I also know I would not be happy with that life.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

I would say that it’s okay to struggle, I have days
where I am at a loss when I think about the future. How easy would it be to fit
into societal expectations for love? Easy. But you have to make a decision to
be yourself. And that the people who love you will love you no matter what.
You’re not a freak, a plant or have just never had good sex. You are a person
who has valid experiences. Don’t rely too much on what society has to say about
love and relationship expectations. And if you feel alone reach out, there are
SO many people out there in groups and on the internet, where you can remain
anonymous, who will just talk to you and not make you feel weird and strange.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My writing has been taken from my blog posts and journals
and I have selected some of it for my poetry collection, “I don’t have one”
which can be found here on Amazon: amazon/idonthaveonemargaretrose

Full link in case above is broken http://a.co/6TFGtjZ

I don’t sell paintings or really post them anywhere I just
sort of give them away as people ask.

Instagram: mrg.rose

I have a Tumblr you can check out here:http://aparttimepoet.tumblr.com/ .

Thank you, Margaret, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Hi, sorry to bother you: im a writer (and ace,…

Hi, sorry to bother you: im a writer (and ace, for that matter) and obviously i sometimes have ace characters in my books. Usually, these characters dont have sex, but (unless theyre aro) have romantic relationships. However, for one of my characters, i am planning to have her sleep with her boyfriend (in an entirely consensual way) but still be ace. Obviously, ace people can still have sex, but i was wondering how to write this, since i personally dont fully understand (part one]

[continued] dont understand how that works, because i have literally no desire to ever have sex. I mean, i get that some people can enjoy it while still being ace, but from a feelings point of view im not sure how to explain it, and i dont want to mess it up. I was wondering if you had any advice on how that kind of thing feels – and how people figure out that they want to/are willing to have sex despite being ace? Again, sorry to bother you.

Hey! We’re not really a writing advice blog. I mean, I write, but I’m not sure how good my advice would be. I suggest asking a writing blog like @scriptlgbt , maybe go to a writing forum, or look through @anagnori ‘s masterlist on writing ace characters. Their post ‘Sex scenes with asexual characters’ might be a big help here.

My personal advice: I assume that you’re not writing erotica, so you don’t have to give a play by play of your characters having sex. Many novels I read (especially YA) don’t. They usually start with the characters being romantic toward each other, usually some kissing, sometimes discussion, then cut to afterwards or maybe the next day or whatever. They might make reference to it or they might not. It depends on how major it is in context to the story.

Maybe you could have your characters being romantic or something, then the girl says she’d like to go further. This would be a good time to talk about she asexuality and how aces can have sex. And talk about Whether this is because she wants to have sex or she wanted to do this for her boyfriend. 

The boyfriend could show some shock or confusion and he can ask her “Aren’t you ace?” And the two can have a little discussion about how you don’t have to be attracted to someone to have sex and that libido is still a thing or something. Maybe she admits that she does masturbate sometimes to ‘scratch the itch’ but doesn’t think about anyone while doing so. Maybe the bf can reassure her that he’s fine if they don’t ever have sex. Just make sure it’s clear that they’re both into doing this and no one feels like they have to have sex in order to be together.
Then you can cut to them in bed (or wherever), the bf asking how it was or her just thinking about how she felt about it. You don’t need to tell us what they did. Just tell us how your character felt about it. Was it fun? Awkward? Disappointing? Did she have an idea from porn or pop culture and found out that it wasn’t really like that? Did she not feel much of anything? Maybe she wants to do it again? That’s all up to you.

Hope this helps. If anyone else has some advice, feel free to chime in.

– mod Britt

Interview: Jennifer F.

asexualartists:

Today we’re joined by Jennifer F. Jennifer is a phenomenal visual artist, who specializes in collages. While she’s done a bit of everything, Jennifer is truly passionate about creating collages. Her work shows an amazing eye, making incredible use of colors and lines. The images are so beautiful and they draw you right in, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

So recently I’ve started
creating collages, though my past art has ranged from fifteen years of dancing
to writing to drawing (which I am actually awful at? But it’s fun and I like to
doodle)

What inspires you?

Lately, it’s been pride
flags because there’s so many colors and it makes so many people happy to see
themselves recognized in some sort of media that I love it. However, I also
love nature. Flowers, elements, rock formations, space… They’re amazing and
probably my other big inspiration.

Politics is the other
big one just because I’m a political science/pre-law major. Especially with all
the stuff going on in the news.

And sometimes Disney.

Honestly, life. Life is
probably a more accurate answer.

What got you interested
in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I took a two dimensional
art class over a year ago and I LOVED it. It was an accident, but it was such
great stress relief that I honestly fell in love. Then I quit one of my jobs
and had a bunch of time on my hands… That was when I really started to pick up
the fact that I love collages. I created over 20 pieces in the span of three
months.

Yes, actually! I just
expected to be a dancer, not a collage maker. So, kinda?

Do you have any kind of
special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that
you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t know if it’s
unique symbol or anything, but I love working with blue and it’s always my
favorite part of a piece is the blue section. It is always is the easiest for
me, so I consider my blue sections part of my signature just because they’re my
favorite?

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try
your own art style. Do what makes you happy. (That’s generic, right?) But
really. Everyone paints and draws, but your style in it is about you. Choose something
that you think looks neat instead of choosing what you think others want. If
you enjoy it, someone else will too.

Also, take your time and
let your art change. You aren’t going to stay the same, and neither should your
art. So explore! It’s fun. Do something stupid or out of your comfort zone.
You’ll get there.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do
you identify?

Ace, all the way. The
rest of my identity is kind of in the air. That’s the only part I’ve felt the
need to figure out. I’m just me otherwise.

Have you encountered any
kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you
handle it?

Thankfully, not so far.
My first work to gain popularity was an Ace flag, so that was great! In
political science, we don’t really discuss it. My sexuality hasn’t come up,
thankfully.

What’s the most common
misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That I’m also aromantic.
Explaining that the two can be separate, though aren’t necessarily, has been
the most often issue I’ve had. Usually, it turns into a giant lesson on
sexuality, romantic attraction, and gender.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Breathe before you do
anything else. Then figure out your feelings. Terms can come last, though it’s
nice to have a community. Your feelings are more important than anything else.
You don’t have to label yourself, and you don’t have to come out. Sometimes
just a term can make you feel better.

And don’t worry. There’s
a community waiting for you wherever you go!

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

Tumblr: collagesofcollege.tumblr.com
RedBubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/cajunhusker
Facebook: facebook.com/collagesofcollege/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/collagesofcollege.

Thank you, Jennifer, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.