Today we’re joined by Kat. Kat is a wonderful aspiring writer who enjoys a variety of different sorts of writing. She’s a passionate sci-fi writer, but also dabbles in poetry and persuasive writing. Her current project sounds fascinating and will undoubtedly be an interesting read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Well, I’m a new writer (as well as a professional procrastinator). I really enjoy stories, poetry, and persuasive writing. My current project is a story about an alien race with a sixth sense of empathy. They literally feel one another’s emotions with them. The main character is a child, born without this sense, and in a society where emotional communication is taken for granted, emotions are rarely intentionally communicated, she grows up feeling lost, confused, and out of place. She fakes it until humans land on their planet, and, intrigued that these people actually tell one another how they’re feeling, she stows away on their spaceship, in the hope that they’ll take her to a society where she belongs. It’s still in the outlining phase. It actually wasn’t intended to be any kind of parallel; it was intended to explore the roles that empathy and emotional communication play in different types of relationships. But now I see that it might serve two purposes, because that description sounds kind of similar to an asexual in an over-sexualized culture! Maybe I’ll dig into that parallel a little more now. Who knows?
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 young, and I’ve just been doing it on my own. I’m always looking for advice and help. I’ve done a lot of research on the structure of the story, I’ve taken a lot of writing classes, and I do a lot of reading, all of which together have fueled my passion for writing.
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?
Well, every story I’ve written has explored ethics in one way or another. I wrote one that explored a girl’s experience with guilt after accidentally killing a family friend in a car crash. It didn’t only imply that it’s harmful to stay angry at yourself, but it also implied certain ethical responses to the guilt (how she could apologize to her family, how she shouldn’t approach the issue, how to gracefully accept the legal consequences without sacrificing her dignity). I did my best to personify her without making her weak.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
For aspiring novelists, specifically, I would say don’t start with page 1! I’ve wasted days of my life that I can’t get back for that. If outlining is too rigid and doesn’t get your story flowing correctly (I totally understand! I’m the same way), try writing a short-story version of your proposed novel, and then use that short story as your outline. That way, when you hit writers’ block, you have somewhere to turn.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Specifically in the field of writing? Nah. I’m not out of the closet, but I don’t talk about sex like sexual people do, and whenever the topic of sex comes up, it’s obvious that I’m missing some element that everyone else is in on. So I get some unintentionally inconsiderate comments from friends and acquaintances about that (they’re either oblivious or they’re teasing). It’s kind of hurtful, especially since I’m in a successful romantic relationship already; it can feel like they’re not granting my relationship validity. But those are often people who are really close to me, so I just have to remember that they don’t intend to be hurtful. They’re just really oblivious to the reality that not everyone experiences what they do. I’ve gotten pretty thick skinned, because honestly, relationships are worth more to me than the right to take offense.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I’m not out of the closet, so I don’t see any misconceptions about the term, but I see misconceptions about my disinterest in sex. If I actually express disinterest in sex, I almost always get one of the following: “You’ll get there eventually!” “That’s just because you haven’t been exposed yet.” (That one is far from true). “You’ll meet the right person eventually!” The problem is that I can’t really correct those misconceptions, because I’m not out. Without using the label, it’s hard to say “actually, there are people who grow up without ever experiencing sexual attraction. It’s a valid reality.” So I tend to just forgive and move on. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll come out.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
If you feel like you’re missing something when it comes to sexuality, like everyone else is sharing a common experience that you don’t have, then odds are, your gut is right. Trust it! I wondered for a while if everyone was just making sexual attraction seem bigger than it really is, and if I was experiencing it but not exaggerating it like they were. I was wrong! If you feel like you’re different, you probably are, and that’s a good thing, so don’t be afraid of it 🙂
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I haven’t published anything yet, but I plan to write an asexual story, and when I do, I’ll put it on my blog acesareroyaltytoo. If I actually get some interest in that, I might post some unasexual related stories on a different blog! It’ll all just depend on whether people seem to want to read it.
Thank you, Kat, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.