Today we’re joined by Marescha Muys. Marescha is a wonderful writer who occasionally dabbles in crafts. When she’s not writing, Marescha likes to crochet and embroider. Marescha is incredibly passionate about writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am, first and ever foremost, a writer. This of course entails the necessary procrastination, since it’s physically impossible for most humans to just sit down and write. So I do like to dabble in crochet and embroidery, though it’s mostly a fun way of flooding my friends’ houses with personalized gifts that are terrible in taste.
What inspires you?
Human relationships. But, not just the relationship that exists at that moment, but everything that has led up to that moment I’m describing. I’ve always thought every emotion is just an accumulation of past experience and few things get me as excited as conveying that thought through my writing.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I started writing when I was… 11 or 12 years old, in one of those cheap ring binders. And the thing that got me writing was reading. I’ve always been a reader and I think it’s one of the most inspiring things in the world. There are two books I distinctly remember in my childhood that quite possibly inspired me to give a go at it myself, both in Dutch. The first one was ‘Lion, a little bit’, about a scientist who thinks the world would be better off if people were more like animals and the neighbor girl that accidentally gets transformed into a lion. The second one is ‘The Gilded Fleece of Thule’ and it influenced me a lot. It also happens to contain the first romance I ever got invested in as a young person. There was nothing in your face about it, just honest feelings and a hope to make the other person happy.
I believe those books inspired me to have a go at writing. And I think I kind of grew into the role without realizing it. Even when I replied differently to adults asking me what I wanted to be, books were always in the background.
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?
Some of my friends have mentioned my entire personality shines through in my writing. It’s something I’m very bad at hiding. Personally I’ve always believed I just tend to focus on interpersonal relationships the most, but my friends tell me it’s mostly my taste of humor that takes the spotlight. I guess there must be something unique to it, if people tell me ‘nobody else could have written it like this’.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
It doesn’t matter what art you create, just make it. Daydream about it. Discuss it with others. Collect resources and read up on techniques. But the most important thing is to sit down and do it. If you spend time on your craft for a long time you will improve. Practice makes perfect.
Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re just doing it for nothing, but that isn’t true. You are creating something with your own hands, with your mind and your entire self. You’ll feel bad about it, you’ll look at others people work and go like ‘damn, I wish I could create that’. But the funny thing is, a lot of people will look at your work and think the same. Comparing your level to that of another person doesn’t help anyone, but swapping tips does help everyone.
One of my friends is amazing at describing the environment in a story. I mean, she does it better than amazing. So one day I told her that, no matter how much I practice, there’s no way I’ll ever be able to do it like her. She turns around and says, I wish I could do with dialogue what you do. No matter what I do, I can never tell as much about my characters as I want that way.
We still kind of suck at working the way the other person does. But we’ve gotten better at it in our own way and that’s pretty cool.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Asexual all the way, though romantically I do go for men.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Most of the time people forget aces exist, in my experience. To be honest, I’m the only one where I live. I haven’t even met another ace person in real life. I was 22 when I first heard the term online, and though I’ve mentioned it to a few people, most don’t really know what I’m talking about. The concept seems to be extremely foreign to some people, which can be extremely frustrating.
I once had a long conversation about it with a friends of mine who’s solely into men sexually and romantically. He asked me how it felt for me to look at people and wondered what I felt. I told him I felt for everyone on the planet what he feels when looking at a woman. It cleared up a lot for him, though I still don’t think it’s the best way of describing asexuality.
When really necessary, I mention the asexual lifestyle just gives me that much more time for plotting world domination. Most people still think I’m joking when I say that.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
There are two that I’ve personally been confronted with. The first one can be attributed to the fact that I like men and people still think sex should be part of any relationship. I don’t mind it much, though I have ten thousand other things I’d rather be doing. When I came out to my current lover, his first thought was that I had hated every second of sexual intimacy we had. It was kind of confronting for me to hear that and it took a long time to clear up the air. I think for any sexual person it is hard to understand where aces are coming from. After all, they feel an urge that we don’t, and it seems hard for them to comprehend they’re not doing anything wrong.
The second one is about looks. I’ve been ‘blessed’ with a curvy figure and the few times I mention I’m ace to other people one of the most common reactions is ‘no you’re not’. People seem to associate your appearance with your sexuality and that one is just frustrating to no end.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
First of all, you’re not broken. You’re not suffering from some strange defect that can be cured with the right approach. You’re just you. You’re going to feel weird at some points. It feels like the entire planet is obsessed with sex. And yes, sometimes it can feel like you’re missing out. Trust me when I say you’re not.
What does help is finding someone you can talk to, even if it’s just being able to mention ‘I found out something about myself today’.
Know what’s important to you. You can have meaningful connections with others. You have them right now. Romance, love and sex aren’t necessarily the same thing and an ace learns that lesson well. It can get hard and lonely sometimes. Reach out to others, in real life or online.
Not all aces are the same. Some of us hate sex, others are quite okay with it. It can take some puzzling to find out where you are on the scale, but no matter which position you end up in, you’re still ace if you feel you are.
Being asexual means you’re an ‘ace’. You can bring unique perspectives to the table others might miss out on. At the same time be open to the opinion of others. Mutual respect goes a long way.
And hey, all the time we save by not having sex is time we can use to plot our next great master piece.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I’ve only had one short story published so far – Glossy as part of an anthology named Blame it on my Youth. I write fanfiction as a way to blow off steam, something which I may feature on a blog I’ll be started around the 20th of January this year. It’ll mostly be stories about my life, some which will most certainly focus on asexuality. It’ll be on WordPress, Ace is a Good Word. If people should ever feel like they need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me.
In 2020 I hope to publish my first book, Love, Not Romance, about an aromantic asexual girl making a deal with the devil to wake up her best friend from a coma. I’m very excited about it, though it needs a lot of polishing.
Thank you, Marescha, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.