Interview: Jessica

Today we’re joined by Jessica, who also goes by stormleviosa online. Jessica is a wonderful up and coming writer who recently had a short story published in an anthology. She’s currently a student studying English and writes in her free time. Jessica hopes to write longer narrative forms, such as novels and novellas, in the future. She’s clearly a dedicated artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer when I have time but mostly I’m a student because education is important. I’ve written a few short stories and I’m currently working on longer pieces (novellas or eventually a full-length novel). I also write a lot for my college newspaper which I am also an editor of.

What inspires you?

I don’t really have a specific inspiration for my work. Some of what I write is heavily based on current affairs, particularly those I have an invested interest in such as the refugee crisis. I also write from prompts or based on other author’s works which includes dabbling in fanfiction. For my most recent piece of coursework, I wrote a short story based on 1984 with heavily implied connections to the Brexit situation in the UK.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

It sounds cliché but I’ve been writing since I was a young child. I read a lot of books (and still do) which helped develop my skills and it escalated from there. I’m also useless at art so being able to express myself with words rather than images was important.

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 like to write about things I am passionate about and problems that need to be resolved. Often, I try to include characters that are marginalized or misrepresented by the media to spread the issue to a wider range of people. It is something that challenges my writing but is very rewarding for me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop writing! If you truly feel passionate about it, write about it and don’t let anyone convince you it’s worthless. If you hit a writer’s block, work around it by writing something else. But at the same time, it’s OK to take a break if you need to. Your writing will only suffer if you work yourself into the ground.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t encountered any yet although this may be because I’m not out to many people. My sexuality does make it difficult to write romantic subplots between characters because I don’t experience those kinds of feelings.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Mainly that asexuality is something you will grow out of. My parents don’t know I’m asexual but whenever I mention that I don’t want a relationship they tell me I’ll change my mind. It’s not a phase to grow out of and that’s perfectly alright.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Don’t worry about figuring it all out right this second. You have all the time in the world to sort out what you feel and if you never find a label that fits that fine too. Any feeling you have is valid so don’t worry about categorizing them all right away.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I don’t have much published work but my most recent is in the DoveTales anthology (published later this year) which is compiled by Writing for Peace. There is more information on their website or you can ask me questions directly via my blog (stormleviosa.tumblr.com). I sometimes write fan fiction on AO3 under an account with the same name (StormLeviosa).

Thank you, Jessica, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Harmony

Today we’re joined by Harmony. Harmony is an awesome up and coming author who is currently working on the first novel in a series. She prefers to write science fiction and fantasy stories. When she’s not writing, Harmony enjoys singing and dancing. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m primarily a fiction writer, although I do sing and dance. Most of my stories are fantasy, sci-fi, or have supernatural elements to them. Currently, I’m working on the first book in a series based on fairy tales. It’s been hard for me to find the time to write, but I’ve been making progress little by little.

What inspires you?

I like to ask myself a lot of “what if” questions, and see where my imagination takes me. I also use little bits and pieces that I like from other stories. Some ideas can come at random times, which is why I usually have my phone on hand to jot down ideas. One of my stories was inspired by a title that I randomly came up with while thinking about a cartoon character!

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been a reader, and since I was little, I’ve made up stories. When I was younger, my mom swore I would be a writer, and even though I insisted she was wrong, here I am now! I really started writing in elementary school, when we had to write short stories for class. I came up with a book about a girl who adopted a dog that turns out to be a cursed human girl. I won a small writing contest with that story, and that inspired me to keep 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?

I don’t have any common mark in my stories, but every writer has their own individual voice that you can sometimes identify. I like to be very descriptive in characters’ appearances and the background.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing and developing your art, no matter what other people say. There’s no one else who knows your art like you do. It might seem hard, but if you take a few minutes every day, you can create something beautiful.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, though I use it as the umbrella term, since I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

There’s not really any prejudice so much as ignorance about asexuality. I’ve read a lot of books, and it’s been mentioned once or twice, at most. Most fiction books for anyone over thirteen have some sort of “oh, that person’s so hot” moment. I’ve heard of some books with a canon ace character, but I’ve never read any. Personally, I try to keep my characters diverse, but there’s barely any romance, and no sex in my stories, so their sexualities aren’t very important to the story.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I’ve only talked to a few close people about asexuality, and they’re accepting, but the most common misconception is that I’m too young to know. I live in a city, so more people do know a little about it, at least.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You know yourself better than anyone, and only you truly know what you’re feeling. Other people’s ignorance doesn’t change that. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not broken, and you are not alone.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I don’t have anything published … yet. But I occasionally post parts of stories based on writing prompts on my Tumblr, at demonfairyprincess. You can also find me on Wattpad, sgeheart24. (I named my account a while ago, when I had just gotten into the School for Good and Evil series. I’m a fan, so sue me.) I only have part of an old fanfic there, but I plan to eventually post some original stories.

Thank you, Harmony, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Rachel S.

Today we’re joined by Rachel S.. Rachel is a wonderful up and coming writer who is currently studying for a degree in English, journalism, and creative writing. She writes quite a bit of poetry but also writes long-form pieces. Rachel is a phenomenally talented and dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer currently living in Arizona and I am in the process of gaining degrees in English, journalism, and creative writing. After almost seven years of writing everything I could, I find that original, thoughtful pieces suit me more than anything else!

Right now I’ve been working on more ethereal themes in my writing along with more detailed scenes and dialogue.

What inspires you?

As cliché as it might sound, I find inspiration everywhere. Car rides and flowers will inspire poetry just as Tumblr posts and things my friends say can inspire full stories. Personally, I find that anything can be inspiring – it’s just a matter of how you look at it.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Oh, not at all! When I was younger I had wanted to be a singer, believe it or not. I got interested in writing in middle school because a friend of mine wanted to write our own Harry Potter fanfiction. It was absolutely horrible: our OCs were Mary Sues and I couldn’t take valid criticism. But if it wasn’t for that first and delightfully bad venture into writing, I don’t know where I’d be now.

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 don’t know if I’d call this a signature feature I do but I have been known for doubling up and my tone. I’m a very long, drawn out writer and when I give detail I love to give it two adjectives or just unneeded adjectives in general. (It drives my editor mad, let me tell you.)

As for my tone, I’m a very bittersweet writer. I don’t care for strictly happy things or continually horrible things. I’m very much “sad beginning, happy end” or “humorous beginning, sad end”.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Write whatever you want. Write what you know, write what you don’t – write with too many commas and spaces and ellipses and exclamation points. Write happy things and dark things and then write the one you like the most. Write fantasy and science fiction and mythology and about what happened last week in school. There is nothing you shouldn’t write. And don’t forget to read either! That is just as important as writing most days.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a sex-repulsed aromantic asexual … kind of. It’s really hard to explain exactly how I feel most of the time. I’ve learned to just say that I’m gay or bi if someone asks but I’ve been lucky enough to encounter people who genuinely take the time out of their day to listen to me talk about my orientation. I’ve learned to not limit myself to, in full, I consider myself a pan-aromantic asexual.

I have no romantic or sexual inclination but I’d be ecstatic to date any person should we be compatible. Orientations are fluid so why not put a prefix on your prefix?

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I have never encountered prejudice but ignorance has definitely been a theme. I’ve been lucky enough to encounter well written asexual characters but misinformation is, sadly, a norm. Sometimes the character is hypersexualized and other times they’re a complete prude – which I understand to a degree. However, there was one non-ace writer who had called the asexuality their character portrayed as “their favorite type” of asexuality—which, you know, was a little creepy.

Other than these few instances, I don’t think people write about asexuality enough as is.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common is that the asexual will still be “like everyone else” and have sex. There are real asexuals like that but this also ignores all the sex-repulsed asexuals (like me and a good friend of mine). I wouldn’t call this a misconception but it is a fact that not all facets of asexuality is being represented.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

There’s sex-repulsed asexuals, sex-positive asexuals, gray-asexuals, demisexuals – there are so many ways you can identify. Don’t feel ashamed to identify as one and then realize your something else. Take all the time in the world; only you can decide who you are.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I’m here on Tumblr at miistical as well on DeviantArt and Twitter under the same name. I’m also on Instagram as miistical but that’s purely for everyday photos! If anyone is interested in my poetry, I’m on DeviantArt as hedonophobe (and will eventually get to making a poetry Tumblr account as well).

If anyone has any questions about me or my work/commissions or requests, feel free to email me at miisticalwrites@gmail.com!

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Thank you, Rachel, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful writer who specializes in poetry and is currently working on a novel. She has also dabbled in short stories and nonfiction. She plays around with different forms and genres of poetry. Amy also enjoys writing in a variety of genres when it comes to prose. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Thanatos Hear Me
Thanatos Hear Me

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I write mostly poems, and I’m working on a novel, which will hopefully be finished in a few years, as well as short stories, and one-off pieces. I write in lots of genres, mainly fantasy, occasionally sci-fi, with some non-fiction thrown in every so often to mix it up. The poetry I write varies between rhyming and not rhyming, and basically wanders across all the poetry structures like iambic pentameter that we all learnt about in school.

What inspires you?

Whenever I read something really good, I sometimes have to stop and let my world shift for a few moments afterwards – I’m sure lots of people have felt the subtle shift in their thinking that happens after reading an amazing piece of work. The idea that that could someday be me – that I could change people just with my words, is mostly what keeps me going.

In more prosaic, day-to-day terms? Anything? Bits of books I’ve read, things I’ve heard or seen, random thoughts that get stuck in my head and won’t leave – all of this gets added to the mixing bowl, and sometimes art comes back out. I mostly draw from my own experiences with poetry, and my prose pieces tend to be more imaginative, drawing on things I’ve read or heard about.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I have honestly wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. I’ve still got the first story I ever wrote, in shaky I’ve-just-learnt-how-to-write handwriting (it was about a girl that made friends with a spider, if you’re interested), and I’ve been writing ever since. It feels like something I was made to do – like I’ve always had that urge to tell stories, and I always will. The idea that this was something I could make money from (not that I am yet), and that this was something I could devote my life to, was an epiphany for me.

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?

Nothing in particular. My work tends to include a lot of me in it – a lot of what I think and feel gets included, so someone who knows me pretty well could probably pinpoint what was my work, but there’s nothing specific. Greek and Roman mythology sometimes gets a mention, just because I’m really interested in it, but nothing that I would say is consistent across all my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you not to do it. If you want to create something, create it. It doesn’t matter if you never show it to anyone, or if everyone you show it to thinks it’s terrible – you’re still an artist. And also, you’ve got to love it. Even if my writing never gets any recognition – if I never get published – I won’t ever stop writing, because I couldn’t imagine not doing it. If you want your art to take you somewhere, if you want to make money, or a career, from it, you’ve got to put a lot of hours into it, and trust me, that is so much easier when you can enjoy it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as completely asexual, although not aromantic. Absolutely no sexual attraction to anyone, but I would like a romantic relationship.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I wouldn’t say I encounter a lot of prejudice. I do get a lot of ignorance from people around me, and I have a very sarcastic sense of humour, so a lot of people would probably think I was joking if I mentioned it. I haven’t talked to many other writers about it, as I’m a kind of private person, but it does seem to me that asexuality is not widely known at all, or represented in novels, which could be caused by ignorance or prejudice, really.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it precludes a romantic relationship, and also that an asexual person would have to have been traumatized by something, or that they would be completely cold-hearted. People think it’s caused by something, not that it’s just part of who a person is.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I would say that you can choose what to label yourself. And that you don’t have to decide instantly. It took me ages to realise that I was asexual, and even longer to be comfortable using the term – and that was just in my head. I’m still cautious of telling people about it.

Also that it’s no one’s business how you identify yourself as. You’re not hurting anyone, you’re not doing something wrong – if they don’t like it, that’s their problem. Be okay with yourself as you are. You’ve discovered something new about yourself that is hard to discover (how do you figure out if you lack something? Took me ages). Be proud of yourself!

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I do have a Tumblr blog – ifthisislifewheresthemanual – and an AO3 account Coruscant, but I do post infrequently, I’m afraid. Hopefully, in about a year, I’ll have a book published that you can all rush to read!

To Be Afraid
To be Afraid

Thank you, Amy, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Alexa Baird

Today we’re joined by Alexa Baird. Alexa is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who is so ridiculously creative. They’re a fellow indie author who has self-published a number of novels and novelettes, which can be found on Amazon (look them up and supported a fellow ace). They also has a wonderful webcomic entitled Selfinsertale, which looks absolutely fascinating. Also, they’re a fellow Star Trek fan, which is awesome. Alexa is so passionate and dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main art is writing. I write and self-publish novels and novelettes about a wide cast of characters including humans, robots, and magical beings, sometimes all in the same book. I’ve even taken to illustrating some of my more recent novels though I’ve been creating visual art since childhood. I also like to create comics and started my current webcomic series in 2016.

What inspires you?

I always like to say that tea helps with my creative-tea, but a lot of my inspiration comes from conversations with my friends and the ideas we spark together about our characters, how various characters would interact, etc. A lot of my ideas come from the desire to see a specific audience reaction that I test run by sharing these ideas with my friends.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Starting in elementary school, my family and some of my teachers encouraged my artistic pursuits, though growing up I would jump from visual arts, to crafts, to music, to visual arts again, and also to writing. I used to hate writing as a result of the standardized tests I had to take when younger, but after being introduced to the concept of fan fiction and original characters I started to spend a lot of time in middle school creating my own stories as a coping mechanism. Over time I stuck with it and created more and more stories and characters until I got to where I am today with my novels and comics.

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?

It’s subtle and not always consistent, but in a lot of my novels or series I try to fit in the word “trek” at some point in it as a nerdy, small reference to Star Trek.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try new types of art and don’t be afraid to change your mind on what sort of artist you are. Maybe you start out as a writer but you want to try making crafts and find you have more fun with crafts and don’t want to write any more. That’s fine! Do what makes you happier in the end. Or maybe you’re a musician who tries painting a few times but end up not liking it. That’s fine too! You gained experience just from trying something you don’t normally do. Or maybe you try all sorts of things and have several different types of art you like and want to pursue. More power to you then, buddy. Trying new things always gives you more insight, and if you find something you prefer to do over what you had been doing before then the insight you gained is one of exploring more about yourself and your desires.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m ace and aro.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’ve mainly seen prejudice remarks said to others rather than to me directly but it’s always hurtful to see. I find the best way to handle it is to support those who deal with this ignorance to let them know they aren’t alone in their identity and to understand that while those who are hateful may be the loudest, they are not the majority and there are ultimately more kind people in the world than there are bad.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexual people don’t belong in the LGBT+ community, usually due to people insisting that asexual people are actually straight. The most common misconception I see is that a lack of sexual attraction can let a person pass as straight, or that it means they actually are straight, and therefore that we aren’t queer enough to be part this community.

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Asexuality is a normal and valid thing, and there are more people out there who are also asexual than you can count. Though the common statistic is only one percent of the world is asexual, that would still mean 76 million people in this world are also asexual, and I don’t think this takes into account those who due to societal norms don’t realize they are asexual as well. There is a large community here that can help and support you, and even if you can’t reach out to them personally they are still here if you ever need them and will be willing to help you as well.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

You can find my books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/alexabaird and my webcomic at http://selfinsertale.smackjeeves.com/ and bonus content at my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/alexabaird

My main Tumblr and my Instagram username is allislaughter. And my Twitter is allislaughterEX.

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Thank you, Alexa, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Lauren King

Today we’re joined by Lauren King. Lauren is a fantastic indie author who is working on self-publishing some visual novels. She has also dabbled in some fanart and vocal covers of music. Writing is where her heart lies and Lauren is incredibly passionate about the art of writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main form of art is my writing, it always has been. I love to pick apart the English language, finding different forms of expression through writing. It’s always been fascinating to me.

For my writing specifically, I’ve always had an interest in character-focused stories, or stories that play with genre or base plots. Generally my stories will focus more on the tension between people, even those who are on the same ‘side’ in a conflict. Villains are more there to set off a story, while most of the conflict comes from human error and all the ways communication can break down. It’s not always a cheery ride, especially when I deconstruct story types like the Hero’s Journey, but I’ll always try to bring it to a cheerier outcome!

My presentation of my writing has changed a lot over the years. Right now I’m putting my stories into visual novel format, with the possibility of drawing the images for it myself if I can get my art to the same standard as my writing.

What inspires you?

Other art, usually. Life is a great place to draw inspiration for some people, but I don’t really get out enough. Instead, I try to watch and read as much as I can! When I’m writing I’m almost always watching something in the background or listening to music in order to get inspired.

Something I don’t usually admit is that a lot of my inspiration comes from myself, especially when it comes to characters. If you were to point out any character from any story that I’ve written then I would be able to tell you what part of myself I see in them. That isn’t always a good thing, obviously, since I like to write about stressed and depressed people, but at least it helps make the characters seem more real, even when they’re pushed to their breaking point (as they often are in my stories).

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve wanted to be an artist since I saw my first movie, The Wizard of Oz. At first, I wanted to be a singer. I can vividly remember singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow with my mother as we did the dishes. Singing gradually drifted to acting in musicals, where I became interested in the scripts, specifically the characters. Wanting to become a writer was a gradual thing, and deciding on visual novels was even more so. Until this year I was wavering between writing scripts for musicals, writing books, or just keeping my writing as a hobby on the internet. I’m glad to have found a way that agrees with me and my writing style.

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?

This isn’t an intentional thing, but I have a habit of ‘getting meta’. Characters regularly realize that they’re in stories, and that fact is actually used by some characters in order to manipulate the outcome. It doesn’t happen in every story that I write, but since almost all of them are linked into the same story it is always something that could come up.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

People are going to tell you that art isn’t going to pan out, that only a few people ever ‘get noticed’. That isn’t true. With the internet, there’s more opportunities for artists at any stage of their lives to get themselves out there. Find your niche, do something you actually want to do. Don’t feel bad for wanting to be popular, everyone wants to be noticed for their art. Just make sure that your love of art is stronger than your need for attention. And no matter what stage your art is at, whether it’s a published novel or a few work-in-progress drawings that you haven’t shown anyone yet, you are an artist. Never let anyone say otherwise.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Poly/pan aro/ace. Sorry for the word-salad label, but it’s the best way to describe me! I’d just love a big house full of QPRs with no pressure for sex or romance, but still a close bond.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Thankfully, no, though I think that may be because I’m not very established in my field yet.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexuals can’t have sex or relationships with anyone. It’s a stupid assumption, and I plan to write something someday specifically going against this.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Never go into the ace discourse tag. Negativity is addictive, don’t let youself get pulled in. You are LGBT+, but you don’t have to put yourself in the community if you feel unsafe. Don’t try to avoid stereotypes, because specifically going against them is letting them control you just as much as specifically following them.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have several blogs where I put my work. I have an Undertale fan-blog at http://undertalebrothertale.tumblr.com/, a personal blog with general art and music covers at http://lkwriting.tumblr.com/, and a professional blog and twitter for my visual novel development at https://freefallgames.tumblr.com/ and https://twitter.com/FreefallGames.

Thank you, Lauren, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a fantastic author who currently has a short story out in the world, in the collection entitled Athena’s Daughters. When she’s not writing, Jordan does various crafts and even enjoys singing in a local LGBTQIA+ affirming chorus. Jordan is obviously an incredibly dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer who dabbles in art and various and sundry forms of crafting. I mainly write curriculum material these days (I’m a high school English teacher), but I’m a Published Author (all-caps, so official, yes yes) with a short story out in the world. I enjoy making costumes, knitting, doing cross-stitch, writing fan-fiction, and baking. Oh! I sing, too. I’m a member of an LGBT-affirming chorus in my hometown.

What inspires you?

My family and friends, and often, my students. And books! Good lord, books. I read voraciously, and nothing is more inspiring than encountering a book that you can get yourself completely lost in for a few hours. I read a lot of historical fiction, and I’ve been diving into LGBT+ YA quite a bit since I started teaching. Glorious stuff, all.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been interested in the arts. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been writing stories. I remember a “series” I wrote when I was in first or second grade all about my favorite teddy bear. It was called “Cinnamon: Bear of the World,” and it chronicled the adventures of my teddy as he saved lives and spread love across the globe. I fell in love with anime in middle school and started drawing then — I’ve never stopped, really, although my anime obsession has fallen to the wayside (probably for the best). I was introduced to Broadway pretty early by my parents who recognized a drama student when they saw one, and after seeing “Beauty & the Beast” when I was 7, I’ve never looked back.

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 don’t necessarily include them in my “official” work, but I like to sneak opossums in whenever I can. I always draw opossums when I sign yearbooks, and I’ve gotten very good at drawing one on the spot in less than 10 seconds.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your craft. If you’re an aspiring writer, WRITE! Love art but not sure if you’re good enough to make it in the real world? Who cares! Draw! Paint! Sew! Bake! Even if you think your stuff is awful, you’ll never get better unless you keep getting your work out there and practicing like it’s your job (and maybe it will be). I look back at things I wrote even five years ago and I shudder. We’re always developing and growing, learning, as artists, and that’s OK!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not necessarily in my field (although there is plenty of ace-phobia out there on the Internet, and Tumblr is no exception), but in my personal life, I struggle to get myself recognized. I’m not “out” to most of my family, but when I express my desire to remain single and my apathy towards romance, the most common response is confusion or even exasperation. My parents are afraid that I’ll end up alone, and it’s difficult to convince them that having a partner and/or getting married are not the end-all-be-all. I try to explain asexuality, usually without using the actual word, as simple and logically as I can. It’s a work in progress.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That you’ll “find the right person,” or that you should get into counseling. I take medicine for my OCD, and my parents have suggested that I talk to my doctor to get my prescription changed, as if that would alter my views on romance and sex.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You are valid, you are not a freak, you are are not unlovable or unloved. Just like gender is a spectrum, so too is sexuality. Some people like girls; some people like guys; some people like both; some people like everybody; and yes, some people don’t “like” anyone, and that doesn’t mean you’re broken. Your life can be as full and rewarding as you want it to be: your worth is NOT measured by your libido. Be strong, loves, and surround yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My short story “As Far as Death This Way” is in the Athena’s Daughter’s 2 Anthology published by Silence in the Library and can be purchased in hard-copy or eBook form on Amazon at http://a.co/3fx7mPK

I’m on Tumblr at dozmuffinxc, Instagram at extermiteach, and I have a fledgling travel blog at http://www.anopossumabroad.wordpress.com.

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Thank you, Jordan, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.