Interview: Abby Grace

Today we’re joined by Abby Grace. Abby is a wonderful writer and musician. They have been playing the cello for over ten years and are even studying for a degree in it. They’re also going for a degree in English Literature and have written both fanfiction and original poetry. As if that’s not impressive enough, Abby has also recently taken up crochet. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, 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.

I’m a writer and musician – specifically, I write various fanfictions, and some original poetry, and have been playing music from the age of four. My main instrument is the cello, which I’ve played for almost 12 years now. I’m lucky enough to have been able to pursue both of these passions, and am currently at university studying English Literature and picking up a minor in cello. I also recently picked up crocheting.

I’ve had two original poems published in the past, in Skipping Stones (an international children’s magazine). Personally, though, I feel most accomplished about my work whenever I receive a heartfelt review on my fanfics. I’ve actually cried over a couple of emotional reviews on a specific story, “Firsts,” which is about a trans character trying on his first binder. I also recently started sharing some of the funnier stories from my life and my family, and am considering collecting them into a book of short stories.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere – from silly things overheard in public to major life events to watching a storm roll in. Inspiration for art, no matter what medium, is everywhere.

There are a few specific people who inspire me every day, though. My grandmother, who was known locally for her amazing quilts, didn’t learn how to sew until her late twenties. I crochet to feel closer to her. Janelle Monáe, who is so unapologetically herself at every turn. Yo-Yo Ma, the best-known cellist in the world, who is still so kind and friendly as to grin widely and give a fist bump to a shy fourteen year old who plays the cello, too.

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

I’ve always loved reading and writing, it’s been an important part of me for as long as I can remember. More than half of my family is musically-inclined in some way or another, too, so it was really less of an ‘if’ I would be a musician, and more of a ‘when.’ There’s definitely a few pictures in a family album somewhere of me sitting on my grandfather’s lap at the piano, looking absolutely delighted as he shows me that pressing the keys makes sound.

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?

Hm, I don’t believe I have anything that I work into every piece I do. A lot of my poetry involves stars in some way, but that’s just because I really like space.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be discouraged by only getting a couple of notes or kudos, or even nothing at all. You still have something valuable to share with the world – the world just takes a little while sometimes to notice it. I have one fanfic that has the most kudos of that specific ship on AO3… and I have 10 fanfics with less than 30. I have even more with less than 3 comments. Don’t worry about the numbers. Focus on doing your best.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual

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

Luckily, I have yet to see anything specific in the general writing and music communities. Within fandom itself, however, I have most certainly seen people attack others for being ace and/or aro and trying to identify with a character by suggesting that they are also ace and/or aro.

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

That we are frigid, unfeeling, or that asexuality isn’t ‘a thing’ and is just ‘attention-seeking.’ I hear this most often in regards to demisexuality.

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

Be confident in yourself. And if you’re not, ask questions! Talk to the community – most people are happy to chat and help where they can. It’s something that I wish I had done more when I was younger. It could have helped me avoid a seriously bad time.

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

I’m on AO3 (DarthAbby), and Tumblr (main – butim-justharry) (side – official-cello). Please feel free to send an ask or private message to either blog if you want to talk!

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

Interview: Sarah

Today we’re joined by Sarah. Sarah is a phenomenal young cellist who has been playing the cello for a few years now. They’re very dedicated to music as you’ll soon read. It’s clear they have an incredibly bright future ahead of them. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

This is my fourth year playing cello. I began when I was in the sixth grade in a school music class, and have continued my music through school and private studies.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the works of classical composers like Gustav Mahler, but my favorite pieces to perform are done by Danny Elfman and Nikolai Korsakov.

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

When I first heard somebody playing the cello, I was in fifth grade and playing the violin. I heard and loved the way the music sounded with the cello, and immediately decided that I would play the cello.

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?

Not really. Most of the stuff that I play is already composed, and so I follow the dictation.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know most young artists get tired of hearing this, but the trick really is just to practice. You have to keep at it, and you will get better. After four years of music, I sound immeasurably better than I did when I began. You just have to keep at it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual aromantic. I am also very much sex-repulsed.

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

I usually try to educate my fellow musicians about my orientation, or ignore them. Most of the time they just accept that they won’t change my mind, and leave me alone.

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

That asexuality is a medical condition that can be cured. When I tell people, I usually get responses like “That’s too bad”, “But you’re so pretty”, and “Have you seen a doctor about that?” And any combination of the three. People think that it is a bad thing, like a disease.

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

You are completely and 100% valid. No matter what other people say about your sexuality or try to convince you about your asexuality, it is real. And that’s awesome. It is NOT a disease or illness, it is a valid sexual orientation, and you definitely belong in the LGBTQIA community!

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

I will often post stuff about it on my blog (at mindel14)

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