Today we’re joined by Aiyana Ruiz. Aiyana is a phenomenal writer who is currently studying dramatic writing with a focus on playwriting in New York. She’s studying a wide variety of different sorts of writing and is incredibly dedicated to her craft, as you’ll soon read. It’s very apparent that we’ll be seeing much more of this writer in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am a writer, and I use that as a very broad term. I am currently studying Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, with a concentration (as of now) in playwriting, but that is subject to change within the next year. I’m being cross-trained in writing for stage, television, and film. I love writing for all of the above. My whole life growing up, however, I wrote mostly short stories and poetry. I have been working on a fantasy young adult novel with a queer protagonist for a few years now; school doesn’t leave me much time for personal writing, but that’s okay. I also have a blog where I write weekly (for the most part).
What inspires you?
Everything inspires me! What a crazy question! I am inspired by life. There is so much the world has to offer us if we open our minds. People inspire me. I’m a character-driven writer. I love the things that make people unique and complex and interesting. Everyone has a story and they deserve to be heard.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Let’s get one thing straight. I have never wanted to be an artist. It is simply who I am. I’ve been writing songs, poems, books, stories, plays, etc., ever since I could hold a pen! Ask my mom; she’s seen my less than polished work. I can’t explain it. Something in me has to communicate how I feel and what goes on in my head constantly. And people get tired of hearing me talk, so I turn to the page.
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?
The only thing I can really tell about my work that links all of it together (because the type of work I do differs so much from piece to piece, and is always evolving) is that there is always a large part of me inside of it. It always deals with a question or conflict going on in my life. That’s the place my stories come from. It sounds selfish, but it’s true.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Do the thing. Whatever your thing is, do it. Make time for it. Don’t let life make you feel like you’re not good enough to make art, or that it’s useless if it doesn’t make you money. If it brings you joy, do it. Make art. Art changes everything. We need more of it in this world. We need more of you in this world.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
For a few years, I have been identifying as asexual and biromantic. I think that is probably still what best describes me, but I tend to use queer or gay as an umbrella term to describe myself since sexuality is so incredibly confusing. It’s possible that I’m closer to being demi, but who knows?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I think working in specifically dramatic writing has kind of opened my eyes to just how hypersexualized modern media is. I have felt that if my work hasn’t had some sexual component that perhaps it was immature or inferior to my colleagues’ work. I’ve noticed that people tend to assume that sex is really important to everyone, and I know that is not the case, so I try to put as much explicit representation of different sexualities into my work, as a way of educating and perhaps paving the road for future ace spectrum writers as well as characters.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I’ve heard, “You’ll want to have sex one day,” quite a lot. I know I just got finished saying that sex may not as important to asexual people as to the rest of the world, but the misconception that asexual people are equivalent to celibate people is one of the most annoying. Personally, though I do not experience sexual attraction to any gender, I am not opposed to the idea of having sex. I’m just more indifferent than most. But the thing about this misconception is that it is also offensive to people who don’t want to have sex ever, for any reason. It doesn’t mean they are not mature or grown up enough. It’s a personal preference.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’s a struggle. I can’t deny that. In the current world we live in, sex is all around us. In my industry, I know more than anyone. It is glorified and simultaneously shamed. The fact of the matter is that in reality, you aren’t missing out. Sexual attraction is just one part of life. There is so much more to your story that is exciting and important.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can follow me on twitter (at) bananaberry626 and read my blog at madhattersbookshelf.weebly.com where I post as much as I can and often discuss both sexuality and writing related things, as well as life in general.
Thanks so much! Keep an eye out for my work in the next few years!
Thank you, Aiyana, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.