Interview: Desdemona

Today we’re joined by Desdemona. Desdemona is a wonderful writer who specializes in fanfiction, mostly involving m/m erotica. When she’s not writing m/m erotica, Desdeomona collaborates with her father to write fantastic queer sci-fi stories and she also enjoys writing tales involving strong women saving the world. It’s clear she’s a passionate author with a wonderful creativity, 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 am most known for my m/m erotica of the fanfiction variety. I like to write a whole range of genres, from comedy to angst to smut to action/adventure. I like it best when I can mix more than one, which is most evidenced by my current story, in which a vampire king of an imaginary country tricks a feisty little prince from a neighboring country into marrying him.

When I’m not writing fanfiction, I collab with my dad to write what I like to call “queers in space” and then I also dabble in stories on my own that usually feature things like girls with swords saving the world and badass witches getting revenge on well-deserving men.

What inspires you?

You know when white cishet men cry about women invading their spaces? I really like that. Also, I’m a slut for a good cliché.

If I were to give an answer that wasn’t chalked full of feminist rage and flippant sarcasm, though, I would probably say music. I can really focus on unfolding plots when I have the right music.

But, really, anything’s inspiration if you’re spiteful enough.

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

When I was a kid, my dad taught me how to play chess. When he didn’t have time for a match and I couldn’t convince one of my siblings to play with me, I’d set up the board and then use the pieces to create very detailed stories that had absolutely nothing to do with chess. Or, y’know, I’d play against myself, but the point of this story is to showcase that sometimes, there isn’t a beginning. Some people are just born that way. (Heh.)

Basically: yes, I’ve always wanted to a writer. Words are a deep comfort to me and making stories has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I didn’t really have friends growing up, so books were the things that kept me occupied, and then eventually, I started writing down the stories I would tell myself.

The thing that drove me for a long time was a total lack of media featuring main characters like me. I was a teeny-bopper asexual girl who didn’t actually know she was asexual and I couldn’t understand why all these female characters were so worried about what the boys in their life thought. I wanted to read about girls with swords going on adventures, kicking ass and taking names. The ideas of “damsels in distress” and “love interests” were pretty much eye-roll worthy to my younger counterpart.

When I got older and started questioning my sexuality, it became about more than just Girls Do It Better. I got to explore sexuality in a very nuanced way that was still comfortable to me thanks to the popularity of erotica in fanfiction.

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?

Have I told you the good word about our Lady & Savior, “Girl With Sword” yet? No? Would you be interested in taking this informational pamphlet that outlines how very much she is my sexuality?

I also seem to have a serious kink for women who want revenge. It’s possible I’m continually working through some stuff that never truly gets resolved.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Create selfishly. Create that thing that feels like it’s pure self-indulgence. The best thing you can ever do as an artist–any kind of artist–is to create the things that you, as a consumer, want to see. It translates better than what you create when you’re writing for someone else. Always write for yourself and let anyone else’s enjoyment of your creation be a bonus, not the sole purpose.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

So, when people ask me about it, I generally say that I know I’m somewhere on the asexual spectrum, but I’m not sure where. I generally lean toward the idea that I’m demisexual, but my party line is that I don’t have enough evidence to fully support this hypothesis.

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

I’ve been lucky in the way that the only asexual prejudices I’ve seen or heard were random posts on the internet. Nobody’s ever come to my door, so to speak, to spout their ignorance directly to me. I still expect it to happen one day, but so far, it hasn’t.

And really, handling it would depend on the prejudice or ignorance itself and who it’s coming from. Some instances can be a good teaching moment, but other times, life is too short to argue with people who won’t see reason.

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

The thing that really fucked me up when I was questioning my sexuality was this widespread idea that asexuality is only a complete lack of sexual desire–that asexual people don’t have a sex drive at all.

That idea was pretty rampant for a while and it made me think, “oh, well, that’s not me.” I do have a sex drive, but I have a distinct lack of desire to share that sexual drive with…well, I would say most people. I can think of exactly one person I’ve met in my almost-29 years of existence on this planet that I wanted to fuck. That seems, to me, like a fluke more than anything.

The fact that that misconception was so common caused me some undue angst for a number of years before I found out it wasn’t actually the case. I found my way eventually, but I’d like to save other people said angst if I can.

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

Listen. Your truth is not going to be someone else’s truth. Someone else’s truth is not going to be your truth.

Figuring out your sexuality–especially when it’s messy and complicated the way sexualities often are–is a bit like one of those treasure hunts where people leave little clues/notes in random places and you have to decipher the riddle to figure out where to go next. You have to sift through someone else’s dirty laundry in hopes that you’re going to find something useful. You might find a scrap of paper in a pair of jeans, but it’s up to you to figure out whether or not it’s the clue you needed to unlock the next step or if it’s just a faded receipt from Walmart because someone doesn’t know how to clean out their pockets before they wash laundry.

Take the stories of other experiences with a grain of salt. Your experience doesn’t have to fit perfectly, it only has to fit enough that you can find some comfort in the fact that you’re not broken like you thought you were. (I’m projecting with that last bit, in case you hadn’t noticed.)

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

I am both greenbergsays and greenbergwrites on Tumblr and greenbergsays on AO3.

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