Today we’re joined by Rey. Rey is a fantastic writer who writes a lot of poetry. She also writes a fair amount of fiction and published a couple pieces at a very young age. She’s currently working on a novel entitled Fearless that features an ace protagonist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m an author and poet. Ta da? I guess?
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the people around me. My day job is an EMT and aspiring biologist (maybe), and it’s in my nature to be curious about the people I see and their stories. I have a bad habit (is it a bad habit? I don’t know) of writing stories about people I work with, or people I meet briefly. I love to write about things that could have been or maybe things I want to turn out differently.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Despite my love of science, I’ve always been a writer. That’s how I’ve defined myself for, pretty much, my entire life. I wrote my first story when I was four, and it was about a skateboard and a clown running away from their families to start a jelly bean factory.
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 love to make characters that make people confront their own biases and really consider something that they haven’t beforehand. For example, in the book I’m currently working on, there’s a character who’s introduced as a black sex worker, and then it turns out she turned to exotic dancing/sex work as a way to pay for her PhD in Contemporary English Literature. The character is portrayed as very sexual and very in touch with her own sexuality, which is a bit taboo for women these days.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep writing. Be creative for creativity’s sake. I self-published two of my own works before I turned sixteen, and, granted, they’re not the best I’ve ever written, and they’ll probably never see the light of day, but it’s incredibly gratifying to see your own work come to life. Don’t let other people bring you down for not putting your art out there. It’s your own art, and if you want to release it to the wider world, go for it! Just make sure it’s your own decision to do so.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m asexual. I previously thought I was ace/biromantic, but some encounters with the male gender at my college have sort of made me really reconsider my own identity. This just goes to show that you, as a person, don’t have to confine yourself to one label! Things change. You find out things about yourself that you didn’t know beforehand.
So. Ace. Maybe aro. Maybe homoromantic. Who knows?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Yeah… Well, my mom isn’t the most accepting of people. When SCOTUS legalized same-sex marriage last year (yay!!) she picked me up from the airport when I came back from a competition and gave me a lecture the entire ride home on why same-sex marriage is terrible and is going to send our economy down the toilet, and all that. When I told her I believed I was ace, she laughed at me and told me I wasn’t. (I know. Ouch.)
I just ignore it. (And I write about it)
I am who I am. I have the best friend in the entire world, and when I came out to her, she immediately accepted me and planted me among her little community of cute ace friends. She’s my validation that I need, and I stopped seeking any of that from my mother.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That ace people are prudes, or that they “just haven’t found the right person yet.” It’s actually really insulting to reveal a really intimate thing about myself and to be denied the validation that even lesbian/other minority folks may get. I believe there is a difference between being a sensual person and being a sexual person, and many people tend to believe that ace people aren’t either.
We are people, just like all of you out there. So, like, chill? ‘Kay?
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You don’t have to come out. I’m not going to be out to my mother until I am financially stable and independent. It’s not a phase, but it’s also okay if you change! People change! They grow! I thought I was biromantic, but there’ve been a couple guys at my college that are like “hey pretty girl” and I feel like I want to throw up.
All these fancy words and the split identification (ace-biromantic etc) are just that. Words. Let yourself change and grow and become something better than what you were yesterday. It’s all okay.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Well…. LOL. I post occasional tidbits on my blog, theemsprincess.tumblr.com
I’m hoping to get a website up sooner or later, but if y’all follow me there and pretty please be patient, I will post teasers and info about Fearless.
A fair warning: I am depressed, so some of the poems I post tend to be dark/depressing. I usually tag them under baddaypoems
PS: Fearless is going to be amazing. Just sayin’. 😉
Thank you, Rey, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.