Today we’re joined by Lib. Lib is a fantastic writer who is currently a hobbyist and incredibly passionate about the art. They have written a number of different things. They’re currently playing around with screenwriting and considering some historical fiction, though science fiction seems to be the genre Lib’s most enthusiastic about. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write speculative fiction as a hobby. For me the biggest part of writing is answering the question “what if”. I’ve written a couple of short fantasy stories, but my heart is set on science fiction and adaptive screenwriting. Lately, though, I’ve surprised myself and starting thinking about historical fiction. I wrote a short two and a half minute screenplay for a class and the piece was well received. I’m currently doing historical research to see if I can adapt the short piece into a full-length feature script. Part of the reason I’ve shied away from historical fiction is the amount of research involved. My dad’s a history teacher so if I do take the historical fiction route I want my pieces to be as historically accurate as possible and still be interesting. History shouldn’t be boring.
What inspires you?
I draw inspiration from music and folk songs. I like how short and to the point music lyrics have to be while at the same time maintaining beauty. I try to shape my stories the same way and say what needs to be said in as little words as possible and using as many perfect words as possible. I know a sentence is meant to be when there are no other words that are more suitable. I also draw inspiration from other art like TV shows, movies, and other books. One of my literature professors talked about “writing in the gaps” and it has become my favorite phrase for what I do. I don’t have to be truly original to be a good writer, I can add to the existing narrative by filling in the gaps. I had another professor say “it’s all fanfiction until you get paid”, but I like the filling in the gaps phrase better.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in middle school. During summer break I would read at least one book a day powering through 200 pages or more. My dad made an offhand comment about me becoming the “next Anne McCaffery” because that’s what I was reading at the time. For me that’s when the light bulb went off in my head that I really could do that. That dream hasn’t gone away and the potential is still there, but I’m working really hard to perfect my own brand and style. I don’t just want to be a writer, or even just a published writer, I want to be proud of myself and my craft. Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “If in 100 years I am only known as the man who invented Sherlock Holmes then I will have considered my life a failure.” So, I’ve strived to create work that I can be proud of for myself.
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?
Even before I knew what asexuality was, I’ve had it in my writing. I have ten rules that I use for writing with the purpose that it will diversify my character set and storytelling. I know Harry Potter was really popular when its day, but I’m making a point to write about someone other than a young white male as my protagonist. This practice won’t make me a mainstream writer, but after discovering my asexual/aromantic identity I cannot in good conscious write mainstream characters. I also put a lot of thought into my antagonists and villains. Often the villains become my favorite characters because I can sympathize with them and see their point of view. Are they really villainous? Or is it just that they can’t find “true love” in a sexually/romantically charged society and are demonized for it?
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
The difference between an amateur and a professional is a professional is an amateur who never gave up. As my favorite writer/philosopher Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.”
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m an aromantic asexual. I can feel aesthetic and sensual attraction, but I’ve never felt sexual attraction. I’ve only felt romantic attraction once, but I still choose to identity as aromantic instead of demi-romantic because that’s the identity I’m most comfortable with and feel describes my experience best.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve experienced general acephobia and prejudice like people saying asexuality isn’t a real orientation, it’s a Tumblr fad, etc… When I came out to my parents they said I just “haven’t met the right one”. I’ve found that the best way to deal with acephobia is advocacy and education. People have been told all their lives that true love is between a man and a woman. I get asked constantly if I have “another half”, but I find it empowering to think that as an aro-ace, I am perfectly whole. I don’t need another half because I’m not incomplete and I don’t need a soulmate because I’m not half a soul either. This is a really hard idea for people to understand though because they’re basically trained to think that it’s expected to grow up, get married, and have kids. Even LGBT individuals grow up now thinking marriage and kids by adoption or surrogacy. Saying I don’t want even a relationship is going against everything people have been ever taught.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That I’m missing something. Like being single is proof that I’m defective. Being asked if I have a boyfriend/girlfriend is usually one of the first questions people ever ask me. I usually choose to avoid the question saying I consider my relationships to be private. It is private. I know we’re so used to having everything about us out in the open for everyone to see on social media, but even social media has privacy settings. We can choose what we share with others.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I was 25 and living in a conservative state when I discovered I was asexual. My exact words were “Holy shit, I’m queer!” and I was absolutely terrified. Suddenly everyone I had ever known and complete strangers seemed to have a license to hate me just because of who I am. But then I called down and gave myself time to adjust to the idea and now I’m very happy with my labels. Slapping a label on me didn’t magically change who I was. I was always aromantic and asexual, but now I have the words to describe my experience and as a writer, words are everything to me.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Lib, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.