Interview: Sabrina

Today we’re joined by Sabrina, who also goes by how-to-sit-gay. Sabrina is a phenomenal writer and dancer from Germany. She has recently picked up fanfiction again after a five year hiatus. She started writing fanfiction over ten years ago and wrote in a variety of fandoms. When she isn’t writing fic, Sabrina writes a lot of original work, mostly short fiction and poetry. Aside from writing, Sabrina also danced quite a lot. She danced in a Gardetanzgruppe, which is part of carnival culture in Western and Southern Germany (for an example, here’s a video). My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

PENTAX Image

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It feels like I’ve been writing stories since I was able to spell my name, even though this might be far from true. I wrote my first proper fanfiction back in 2005, but I started writing poems and original stories before that, way back to when I was in elementary school. Since then I have written more short stories and poems than I can count, apart from fanfiction.

Gardetanz is a very special dancing style that is deeply rooted in the carnival culture of Western and Southern Germany. I started dancing when I was a wee little 7 year old and only stopped 17 years later when I moved away to a federal state that has no carnival traditions whatsoever and hence no dance group for me to join. I still miss it so much. Luckily, any kind of dancing or working with my body still comes naturally to me.

What inspires you?

Usually it is my latest obsession, which I think is not uncommon for fanfiction writers. I’m quite often inspired by songs – some lyrics fragment that just makes me immediately develop a scene in my head.

When it comes to original stories or poems I draw a lot from personal experience, especially when it’s about struggle or going into the dark places of one’s mind. I’ve only ever written two “happy” poems in my whole life, and that just to prove myself that I can.

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

Looking back, it seems like I was born with a pencil in my hand. Always either drawing or writing. And when I was not holding a pencil, I was running and dancing around. Little Me didn’t care for her 39.5 °C fever, she just needed to relentlessly jump and flail.

How and why I started dancing I is a simple story. Our across the street neighbour told my mother about starting a children’s dancing group in our local carnival club, and she thought this would be a nice way to have me use my pent up energy. It was one of her best decisions.

I never wanted to be any kind of artist, or at least I hadn’t planned to. In the end I just became Me with a raving passion to create stories, and to move my body.

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, except you count the main characters having a snarky and sarcastic kind of banter going on. This just happens naturally. But I’m actually thinking about implementing something like this now, like in Bones where there’s always a clock showing 4:47 in key scenes.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Go for it. And of course practice makes (almost) perfect. It’s actually a good sign when you look at your old work and cringe a little (or a lot in my case), because it shows that you’ve grown and improved yourself. This counts for works both of the mind and the body.

2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

It’s really hard to tell, the safest bet would be grey-asexual, but there are times when I go “full ace” for different lengths of time. As I have figured out thanks to my last relationship, if there is any sexual attraction to happen it definitely isn’t towards male identifying persons. Romantically I’m pan, though.

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

Not personally, so far. I think when it comes to writing fanfiction where people try to live out their own fantasies (not necessarily sex-wise), there are a lot of misconceptions about ace writers. Yes, I am ace. Yes, I can enjoy reading smutty scenes. Yes, I am also capable of writing them myself and have already done so. No, I’m not an innocent child who squeals ‘ewwww’ as soon as the characters kiss.

I don’t know how it is with dancing. Luckily for me, Gardetanz isn’t a dancing style loaded with sexual undertones, even though the skirts are so short and your panties are visible most of the time. In my group there was never any other sexuality discussed than heterosexuality, so I don’t even know if my fellow dancers realised I was and still am utterly queer. In the end, probably the same common misconceptions apply there as in most other cases.

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

First and foremost of course, that it doesn’t exist and I just haven’t had good sex yet. That it’s not natural. That I must have lived through some trauma but maybe can be ‘repaired’.

When I was looking for a therapist for my depression and anxiety, one said to me that I probably don’t want to have sex because I’m such a closed off person. That woman never saw me again.

And being on Tumblr for quite some time now, I noticed the astounding misconception that ace people don’t belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, that we’re basically just prude/virgin hets-to-happen. The first ones I can shrug off, the latter one really riles me up.

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

Don’t doubt yourself and your feelings (or lack thereof), everything you experience and feel is valid. You don’t need to put a tag on yourself if you can’t or don’t want to. There are times it feels like the world just wants to spit in your face, but there will be a time all that sh*t will go away to make room for all the good things.

I basically try to live by some wise words by Charlie Chaplin: “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.”

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

After a very long writing hiatus, I finally published a fanfiction again. It can be found on AO3 under my username how_to_sit_gay. I’m thinking about uploading my old (English) RP fanfiction after re-reading and editing it as well, but this might take some time.

Said old tennis RPF can be found at poetry-of-dance.livejournal.com/tag/fic but I probably really have to revise them as they are more than 8 years old. Last but not least, a lot of my German short stories and (revised) fanfics (2006-2009) are on fanfiktion.de/u/AngelOfFreedom

Unfortunately there are no videos from our Garde performances online. You have to search YouTube for “Gardetanz” to get an impression of it.

3

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

Interview: Tristan

Today we’re joined by Tristan. Tristan is a phenomenal origamist, a first for Asexual Artists. He makes phenomenal shapes by folding patterns. Tristan does both representational and non-representational origami. His work is extraordinary, showing a great complexity and beautiful detail. Aside from origami, Tristan also runs the Asexual Agenda (which is a wonderful site) under the pseudonym Siggy. It’s clear he’s a passionate and dedicated artist who loves what he does. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. IMG_0810 (cropped)
Floral Dodecahedral Space, semi-original design, modular origami

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make origami, specializing in non-representational origami.  I started out with modular origami, in which multiple sheets of paper are assembled into a larger model, typically in a symmetric shape, and typically without glue or string. Then I started making origami tessellations, which are folded patterns that could in principle repeat infinitely to tile the plane.

I dabble in representational origami too, especially after I started going to origami groups, but in my heart I’m all about the abstract and geometric forms.

Origami is best understood in analogy to music.  Just as music has composers and performers, origami has designers and folders.  I do both: I fold models designed by other people, and I fold my own original (and semi-original) designs.  Original design is a very complicated process that calls for a lot of experience, specialized techniques, and trial and error.

What inspires you?

My original designs are often based on some mathematical shape or idea.  Sometimes inspiration comes from math that is unrelated to origami, and sometimes it comes from the mathematics of folding itself.  Even when I’m folding someone else’s design and choosing what colors to use, I’m always thinking about the mathematical structure of the coloring.

Other inspiration comes from other people’s designs.  Much of origami design is about incrementally mutating existing designs.

2. IMG_1041 (cropped)
Compound of Five Octahedra, design by Meenakshi Mukerji, modular origami

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

I have a story that is typical for an origamist.  I did some origami as a kid, and then I revisited it as an adult, discovering that it was a deeper and more intricate art-form than I ever could have appreciated before. When I was a kid, I made traditional origami, but as an adult I had a better sense of my own aesthetics, and immediately gravitated towards modular origami.

I have not always wanted to be an artist.  I wanted to be a scientist.  I was a scientist, and now I’m switching to tech.  But here I am, also doing art.  If I had an opportunity to make a living from my art, I would strongly consider it.

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?

Sometimes I write my name on my models with invisible ink.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is common to value art that was technically challenging to create.  But in my own designs, I value the opposite; I prefer designs that are simple enough that other people can learn to fold them.  So my advice is to internalize the difference between technical prowess and aesthetic value.  There is value in art that is not difficult to create.

3. IMG_1051
Cube Tessellation, original design, tessellation

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m gray-A, and gay.  I’m also gray-romantic, but I don’t talk about that part much.

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

No.  At the moment, I mostly interact with other origamists offline, and it doesn’t come up.  However, at least a few people find me through my blog, where I write about being ace all the time.  I also sometimes incorporate ace or aro colors into designs, because why not?  And none of this has ever led to any problems.

4. IMG_1072
Stairway Leaf, original design, neither modular nor a tessellation

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

There aren’t many interactions in my life where people might directly express misconceptions.  But I would guess that a lot of people are confused by my relationship with an allo person, and are too polite to ask.

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

When I first identified as ace, I spent a lot of time trying to analyze my feelings and build detailed models out of that.  After almost a decade, most of those details seem to fade away in significance.  It’s fine to spend time analyzing one’s feelings, but if it’s causing you a lot of stress, remember that figuring out every little detail is ultimately optional.

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

Photos of my origami can be found on my flickr page.  There’s also some origami content on my blog, A Trivial Knot.  Finally, some readers might recognize me as Siggy, the admin of The Asexual Agenda.

5. IMG_1201
Three Axis Woven Design, design by David Huffman, tessellation

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

Interview: Ash Kleczka

Today we’re joined by Ash Kleczka, who also goes by Umber online. Ash is a phenomenal visual artist, an all-around fantasy enthusiast. They love using visual art to tell a story and highlight beauty. Their images show a unique style and a very vivid imagination. It’s clear Ash loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. a1a07d8a-2d86-4c3b-8394-714d65561840

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fantasy illustrator, a painter, concept artist, and all around enthusiast… I was going to add more to that statement, but honestly I think ‘enthusiast’ about covers it. I get really excited about concepts that are self-reflective in some way, or that highlight an unexpected beauty.

I really try to create art that tells a story.

What inspires you?

Nature, mythology, the occult. Things that are taboo or archaic. I’m also deeply inspired by role-playing games like D&D and the character building process.

2. HogwashnNewtonFIN
Hogwashn Newton

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

The simple, inelegant answer is that I got into visual arts because I was dissatisfied with the attractiveness of some characters from a video game I was into at the time – and I wanted to make characters that would appeal to me.

It’s an ongoing struggle haha.

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?

My super-secret naming convention for pretty much any character I’ve ever created ever is to try to match their personality/appearance/some interesting feature to a bird or other natural flora or fauna and then I build their name around the scientific binomial of that thing.

So for example, one character named Cyril Alcyon is based around the belted kingfisher megaceryle alcyon. Another is named Melia Edarach which is taken from the chinaberry tree, or Melia azedarach.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is to just keep going. It’s OK for things to not look exactly as they do in your head, or to be dissatisfied with where you are with your art. It means that you have room to grow! Stay open to new ideas and roll with the punches. Art, like life, is full of happy accidents.

3. Greed
Greed

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey-Ace/Pansexual

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

I’m not particularly open about my sexuality in the workplace, but the few times it’s come up typically end with the person I’m talking to feeling sorry for me. It’s not hateful – just a lack of understanding. So I try my best to explain that it’s not a negative part of my life experience. It’s just an orientation in the same way that being gay, or bisexual is.

I have encountered prejudice in my personal life however. One instance was in my last D&D campaign. I played an ace/aro character, and was met with some questionably in-character commentary from another player. That was really the first time I’d encountered something like that in the wild before, and honestly…I’m open to advice myself.

4. FortSaveWeb
Fort Save Web

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

That it’s something to be fixed.

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

Find people you trust that you can talk to, and be patient with yourself. Sometimes it’s not as simple as just being one piece of the big sex/gender pie. Sometimes you’re a triple decker slice of pie with whipped cream and cherries.

I’ve found it really helpful to talk to my husband (who’s allo) to see where we differ. Sometimes the answers you’re looking for are in the empty spaces between two truths.

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

I have a website umbertheprussianblue.com!

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter at ThePrussianBlue

5. Solas
Solas

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

Interview: NomnomNami

Today we’re joined by NomnomNami. NomnomNami is a phenomenal game-maker and author. With her friend DarkChibiShadow, a fellow ace, she has a game studio SofDelux. NomnomNami makes a number of games with numerous ace characters in them. She specializes in wlw characters and is very passionate about greater visibility for aces. NomnomNami is an incredibly talented and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Clever Fox Moxie

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make stories about girls who like girls! I mostly like designing femme and androgynous characters who are all excessively adorable. I’m currently doing a variety of visual novels and RPG maker games, but I’ve also done comics and some animation every now and then.

What inspires you?

Gotta say the Disgaea series! I’ve been a huge fan since childhood, and a lot of my storytelling is really just me trying to emulate the feeling I get from those games. Looking back, the series is actually really ace-friendly so it’s no wonder I fell in love with it so easily, haha.

First Kiss at a Spooky Soiree

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

Pretty much! I’ve always loved games, cartoons, and comics, so I just ended up drawing a lot to express that. I remember in middle school I told my class I wanted to be a mangaka — and although it turned out comics weren’t really my passion, I still get to do storytelling through drawings! So I feel like I pretty much had the right idea, even back then.

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?

Hmm… just cute girls loving cute girls. Nothing secret about that 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you drawing anime will get you nowhere, and don’t let them stop you from drawing fan art either — HAVE FUN DRAWING WHAT YOU WANT THE WAY YOU WANT TO!

Friendly Bunny Mochi

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I consider myself gray ace!

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

Definitely ignorance, but I’ve never had any kind of negative interaction over it. Anyone I can think of that I’ve had to explain things to has been very open to listen and ask questions in very non-intrusive ways.

Lonely Wolf Treat

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

Hmm, it’s hard to think of any I’ve run into a lot personally. This is gonna be a NSFW answer, but a big one is definitely the idea that ace spectrum folks can’t be interested in porn. Some of us absolutely are!! Sex is a really interesting facet of relationships between fictional characters — there are a lot of people who love exploring those sorts of ideas without any desire to be involved in it themselves. Like, for me, it’s about the strong emotional connection between the characters. There’s a lot of great, really emotional porn out there if you know where to look! Heck, I’VE released a comic like that!! I even got comments from ace spectrum friends telling me it was one of the few NSFW things they’ve enjoyed/felt safe reading. I want to provide more stuff like that. Just, comfortable Yuri!! I’m very passionate about this.

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

IN THE END, it’s up to you what you are. Don’t hold yourself to others’ standards. You’re not weird or wrong for being whatever way you are. Love yourself!! ❤

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

All my games are available free on Itchio: https://nomnomnami.itch.io/
And I have an art blog for doodles and finished works: http://nomnomnamiart.tumblr.com/
And a personal Twitter! For updates and yelling about my favorite things: https://twitter.com/nomnomnami.

Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet

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

Interview: Murkrowzy

Today we’re joined by Murkrowzy. Murkrowzy is a wonderful visual artist with a unique style. She does both cartoon-style with realistic proportions. Her work is fascinating, with a remarkable amount of detail. It’s clear she’s a talented and dedicated artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

20170630_155500

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Uhm, well, I wouldn’t know how to describe my art well! Alright, let’s see … I’d say it’s a mix of a few different styles of cartoons. I took inspiration from shows like Ed, Edd’n Eddy, Danny Phantom & some comics like Scott Pilgrim. It’s mostly “I’m gonna draw this & not care about how it looks” & then seeing where it goes. It’s mainly cartoony with some realistic proportions I guess.

I also make costumes & other little accessories sometimes! I work mainly in traditional art, sometimes digital.

What inspires you?

Other people’s art! Animation! Seeing other artists do the thing! Seeing creativity! Movies! Music! Really, just experiencing stuff other artists put out is what inspires me. Whimsy, never before imagined stuff!

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

I was drawing since I could remember. I don’t remember any specific movie or franchise or whatever that made me think “Shit, I wanna draw like that someday”. Maybe it was Disney or anime? I’ll say yes. I’m also autistic; I guess this was one of the many ways I would fidget creatively with. I just always had a pencil & paper in my hand during school. I never stopped drawing & that meant my grades suffered for it! No regrets. (Don’t be like me, alright?)

Have I always wanted to be an artist? Friend, all of us are artists. We take lines & force them into recognizable shapes. We are gods! Rulers of the pencil! Ancient deities of craft & world making! Without our god powers, our world would not be as bright as it is! Bow down to our unbelievable powe-… okay, I’ll stop.

chester cup sleep 4 copy
Chester Cup Sleep

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 used to have a symbol, but it fell away into some deep space void. Now I don’t have a special symbol. I just use text & put in ways to find me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

(Can we curse here? I’m gonna do it.)

There will *ALWAYS* people out there who are going to think your art is absolute fucking garbage, that it’s the worst thing they ever saw. Those people will compare it to artists who had more time & experience, & then turn to you & tell you to stop drawing because “it looks like shit”. If you want to get better & for those comments to stop, you *have* to keep going. You will hit blocks, you will run into haters & you will run into people who will reject your art because “it’s not good enough”. That’s reality. You know what is also reality? Not giving up. You got 13 hateful comments? People are saying your art is shit? Here’s how to handle those comments; take them & use them to your advantage by not listening to those people & KEEP MAKING ART. I don’t care if it’s macaroni & cheese latte hearts at Starbucks. Your art will always improve & get better if you keep at it.

The reality is this: you will not understand anatomy, perspective & color theory in 5 minutes. Talent & skill isn’t something that is served onto a plate where you just eat it up & suddenly you get better. It’s years, YEARS, of hard work, trial & error to understand the art of art.

Here’s one more thing: try not comparing yourself to other artists. I find that’s very draining on one’s self-esteem, & that bottle is quite difficult to fill back up. You should: admire their art, use the “I WANNA BE THAT GOOD holy fuCK” feeling to propel yourself forward to get better in art.

So just fucking make ART! Don’t stop! Only stop for food along the way! & sleep. & maybe a shower.

cupstress mugstress copy
Cupstress Mugstress

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Gray ace! Gray aromantic as well. I pretty sure it’s fluid because it changes a lot. Somedays I’m like “hey, that person is really cute!” & other days it’s “you’re so goddamn aesthetically pleasing to my eye holy shit”. Many days it’s “CAN WE HANG OUT. PLZ”. It’s never been “omg hotness I wanna bang you”. I just don’t see how people are like that! How the hell are people attracted to genitalia anyways…

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

Many times. Sometimes, it’s best to ignore it. Although I believe it’s best to talk things out & educate people. I have a friend who thinks sex is the ultimate expression of love. Being ace, I disagreed & we discussed it. He didn’t understand how it was possible to be asexual & still date someone. I told him what I knew: sometimes people just want to cuddle & not have sex. Some people enjoy the act of sex while not being attracted to the person.

I love to explain it to people like this: Do you see a flower? Do you think it’s pretty? Do you want to fuck the flower?

To many people, they would answer: yes, yes, no. I then draw parallels to asexuality: we see a person, we think they’re pretty (aesthetically) & we don’t want to sex the person.

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

“ACE PEOPLE CAN’T/DON’T WANT SEX. ACE PEOPLE CAN’T/DON’T WANT LOVE.” That’s pure fucking bullshit & me & my ace friends will gladly give a fuck about that. I don’t blame a closed mindset; some people literally cannot fathom asexuality & what it’s like! It’s at that point in time we throw some education in their direction & try to get them to understand.

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

Ace people don’t give any fucks, that’s what I say! You aren’t broken, you don’t need fixing. Accepting yourself is hard as bricks … you can break through that wall. You will hear people who will say “Maybe you’ll find somebody. Maybe you’ll change your mind”. I once found those words troubling; I stopped once I gave them my own meaning. I realized that even though I am ace, I can still love someone! I can still have sex, have feelings & do the things. I just don’t experience them as often, nor do I want to.

Maybe I will find somebody who will love me for who I am. Maybe my mind will change; after all, sexuality is fluid. Like fluid, it changes. I’m going to be hitting my 30s soon & I haven’t had my first kiss or first sex. I don’t care if it never happens.

Don’t worry about “not being normal”. Your sexuality is your normal. Hug it, take it out to dinner. Don’t give any fucks. That’s one thing ace people are really good at.

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

Please send all the lovelies to:

Twitter: Murkrowzy
Tumblr: GlassesCatMurk/MetroCatStudios (for art!)
YouTube: SurvivorMurk

*PTERODACTYL SCREECH*

murk retail
Murk Retail

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

Interview: Montiese McKenzie

Today we’re joined by Montiese McKenzie. Montiese is a phenomenal author who recently published her first novel entitled Blood of my Blood (congratulations!). It’s a supernatural thriller with a fascinating plot involving a mysterious disappearance and a hidden world deep in the nation’s capital. Montiese’s 2nd novel will be released in January.  It’s clear she’s an incredibly talented author with a great voice and I can’t wait to read what she has in store next. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

me at comic con

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I write fiction and just self-published my first book, Blood of my Blood. I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, spent my teen years writing stories instead of paying attention in school. In 2005, in my late twenties, I discovered fanfiction and began to write for a few different fandoms over the years. I still dabble in fanfic, it’s always been a great way to hone your skills. My goal has always been get your stories out to as many readers as you can, it didn’t matter if it was original stories or fanfiction.

What inspires you?

People. One of my biggest goals in writing is to get to the center of people. Human beings are so complicated, with more dimensions and facets than you can count. My inspiration from them is limitless really. Especially when you add in people interacting with other people, which is what storytelling is all about. Also, I grew up on soap operas so multilayered stories with large ensemble casts are my weakness.

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

I started writing at 8, which is pretty young. It was an assignment in my 4th grade class to write a story. We actually made our own books, stories, covers, bindings, everything. The only thing I ever truly wanted to be before that was a nature photojournalist for National Geographic, which is a pretty creative job. Both of my parents are artists, my mother wrote stories and my dad is a graphic artist and musician so I guess I came by it honest.

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?

Even though I was born at the end of the 70s, I grew up on things from the 70s and before so there are lots of references to those things in my stories. Television, books, and movies. Most of the characters I write are older than me so it fits in with who they are as people. But there are times when I get emails or messages from younger readers who may not understand a reference. I love teaching people about the stuff I love so it’s cool. Golden age of Hollywood and 70s television pop culture references are really my favorite thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Hone your skills with lots of practice and school if that’s possible for you. Don’t let the bad voices shout you down, they will always be there, but also get used to constructive criticism early. That took me forever and I still struggle with it because I spent so long not sharing my work, when I finally did some reactions to it were difficult for me. If you’re a writer, read as much as you can. There is no lesson more fulfilling than a good book. Find a creative tribe and help each other grow, learn, and take the knocks life as a creative can dole out. Never, ever give up on your art if you love it.

me blackout 10

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey ace. I’m somewhere in the middle, which is kind of the story of my life. I identify as a biromantic gray asexual. I love and appreciate romance but rarely, if ever, feel sexual attraction. For a long time I didn’t know what that meant, I think sexual attraction is a hard thing to measure when you start talking about romantic attraction, physical attraction, aesthetic attraction; it took me a long time to divide and define those things and I actually still work on it.

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

Some people have asked me how I can write sex and romance if I’m asexual. I get that more than I ever expected and it boggles my mind. I’m a writer, I just make it up though I do try to keep the core of my characters steeped in the reality of how most humans are. Also being creative allows me to tap into what a fictional person is feeling or experiencing completely separate from myself. I’m not writing my life, I’m writing someone else’s.

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

That something is wrong with us. For so long we’ve been taught that sexual intercourse is a basic need, like food, water, and sleep. So when people encounter someone who doesn’t feel or experience sexual attraction, they wonder (sometimes aloud) if it is a mental or medical condition. They wonder “who hurt you?” They should be more concerned with why the patriarchy insists sex is a basic need.

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

Get to know yourself and don’t let anyone label you. I didn’t come out as bisexual until 2009 and asexual in about 2015. It took a long time to put words to what I experienced and felt (or didn’t feel). I would tell them to live, experiment, have many different kinds of friends, and do what makes your body and spirit happy. Don’t be in a rush to declare that you are anything, for so many sexuality is fluid over a lifetime.

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

I have a blog, montiesethewriter.com, which I promise I’ll be doing more blog entries on in 2018. My first novel, Blood of my Blood, was self-published through Amazon in September 2017. It’s currently available in both eBook and paperback. My second novel, The Providence of Human Affairs will be released in January 2018. This is the link to my first book: http://a.co/6uhzMn9.

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