Interview: Mady O.

Today we’re joined by Mady O. Mady is a wonderful aspiring author who specializes in writing short stories, short novels, and plays. Occasionally she dabbles in poetry, but narrative forms are where her heart lies. When she’s not writing, Mady enjoys doing a number of other creative activities. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a currently unpublished writer. For the most part I like writing short novels / stories and sometimes fanfiction, but recently I’ve been writing plays (because my literature teacher really liked a play of mine and asked me to write more). Sometimes I write poetry, but I never put as much heart into my poems as I do my novels and plays.

I do dabble in other things like cosplay, doodling, and origami. Dancing is also fun, but I am in no way good at it.

What inspires you?

Oh man, a lot of different things, but usually songs and paintings. I love listening to music, and I think lyrics are an important part of the experience. At times I hear a line or two of a song and immediately start thinking of a scenario. The same goes for those beautiful painted fantasy posters. They’re always so intricate and busy, yet flowing and well balanced. It’s fun to think of what might of happened to create such a pretty scene. I also like to take my different scenarios and mix them together to make a story.

Most other things I get inspiration from are other arts like books, movies, shows, comics, podcasts, etc. But I also like to take a bit from real life. Like a couple of my characters are like a couple of my friends in some ways. Or, in one case, an event happened to a family member, which helped inspire me to write a story for them.

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

I don’t know what got me interested, but for as long as I can remember I loved to write.  I’ve been told (but I’m not sure how true it is) that I’ve been writing since I was two. Although those first stories were scribbles on a paper that I would show to my mom. I would then tell her the story by translating the scribbles. Since then I have been slowly improving, and I still have a lot to learn.

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?

Ha ha yes I do. To honor my literature teacher, who has helped me rapidly improve my writing more than any other teacher, I have been putting an Easter egg in all my more professional works. It’s also a little in-joke with my friends.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Read good books and write! Write anything! Anywhere! Grab a notebook and describe your lawn. Or maybe write a poem about the silence of your home. Or the craziness of your grocery store. That one idea that’s been floating around in your head? Go write it! Then go read a good book and write it again. If the book is written well, then you will be learning from the author without fully knowing it. Some of my best teachers have been authors that lived long before I was born.

And never EVER stop writing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteromatic asexual (with some currant suspicions that I could be demiromatic as well).

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

Thankfully no (but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did in the future). That’s probably because I am still in the slow process of coming out to those I’m close to. Also because I am just beginning to be known more professionally in my field.

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

I haven’t personally encountered much misconception. But a couple times I get the “you may not like it at first, but you’ll get used to it” idea. Which is a pretty dumb idea. It’s like trying to force you to like a color that you don’t like. It’s unnecessary and rude.

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

If you’re unsure, then take the time to think about it. There’s no rush, my fellow human. We’re all learning new things about ourselves every day. If you think you’re broken or too weird, you’re not. As you might have seen from this blog alone you are not the only one who feels this way. And if you feel nervous about coming out to everyone, then you and I are on the same boat. You’re not alone either.

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

Sadly I don’t have any official blog or website for my writing as of yet. But I do have a AO3 account for fanfiction. I’m a new member to the site so there’s not much at the moment, and I am still in the process of moving my older fics from the Fanfiction net account to the AO3 account. https://archiveofourown.org/users/JekkieFan/pseuds/JekkieFan

I also have a personal blog here on Tumblr were I reblog mostly a bunch of fandom things. Feel free to look at it if you’d like:  https://jekkiefan.tumblr.com/.

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

Interview: Nessie

Today we’re joined by Nessie. Nessie is a phenomenal playwright from Scotland who is also working on the first draft of her first novel. When she’s not writing, Nessie also acts and directs. Nessie also participates in a medieval re-enactment society as well. It’s very clear that she has an incredible amount of passion and dedication, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a playwright, a writer more generally, an actor, and a director. I also LARP, and I am part of a mediaeval re-enactment society. I have written eight plays so far, three of which have been performed – one of them twice, the second time under a new title, Shakespeare Syndrome, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016 – and one of which had extracts read from it by professional actors at the Traverse Theatre, as part of my MSc Playwriting programme. I will graduate in November this year and recently received my degree award; I will be graduating ‘With Merit’!

My plays so far have most been quite dark, and often historically inspired. My two most recent scripts were inspired by the lives of mediaeval queens (Margaret of Anjou and Mary of Guelders, the wife of James II of Scotland), while my first ever script, This Breathing World, was heavily influences by Shakespeare’s Richard III and was set in space; I actually have a short lived Tumblr blog about my experience directing the show if you’re interested (http://thisbreathingworld-play.tumblr.com). Funnily enough, my play that has been performed twice, and at the Fringe no less, was my first foray into comedy; Antic Disposition, later retitled Shakespeare Syndrome, is a play in which several of Shakespeare’s characters visit a psychiatrist, and things go about as well as one might expect.

What inspires you?

Shakespeare’s History plays, actual history, books I read, people and events in my life and, more recently, situations and characters from the shared universe my friends and I have in LARP. My first book, which I plan to start working on as part of NaNoWriMo, is inspired by one of my characters and his family, but this character was in turn inspired by a number of different historical figures and events, from Pope Alexander VI to the Spanish Inquisition. He’s… he’s a bit of a mess. Although he is asexual, so he has that going for him, haha!

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

I have always wanted to be a writer, since I was seven years old and ‘wrote’ my first ‘book’; basically I copied out Rapunzel and drew illustrations for it, and I specifically remember her having a triangular orange dress! I briefly swapped from wanting to be a writer to wanting to be an actor when I was in high school, but I’ve always been a writer, really; whether through writing reviews for an online publication (Broadway Baby), doing one of my degrees in English and the other in Playwriting, or making up stories with my friends when I was younger (and I still do that, to be honest)! I wrote fanfiction for a while in high school – for CATS: The Musical and Dickens books mostly, because I was, and am, a person of very niche interests. For a long time my magnum opus was a fifty-three chapter fanfic called Bill Sykes detailing the backstory of the violent thug from Oliver Twist! I started writing plays during my second year of undergrad and playwriting has been my jam ever since.

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?

Honestly, my characters die a lot, but I wouldn’t say that’s a signature, more a worryingly frequent feature! A lot of them also tend to be quite wordy, and that’s a problem I have as a self proclaimed ‘word nerd’, having done two degrees with creative and analytical slants; my characters and I tend to use several words were only a few would do. One of the exceptions to this rule is Frank Lovell, my version of Shakespeare’s Francis Lovell, who was himself a historical figure; he tends to say very little and, when he does speak, it’s monosyllabic.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know it’s a cliché but I would say never give up on your art, you will only get better with practice. I look back on my older scripts now and I realise how far I’ve come, especially since I was lucky enough to be able to pursue a degree in Playwriting to better understand how scripts are written and how they work. I would also say be ruthless when it comes to editing, if you’re a writer; I had a first draft of a play once that was around eighty pages long, and it was only meant to be around an hour long in performance. If it had stayed eighty pages it would have taken around two hours! I would also say, again for writers, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite; your first draft is not perfect – and don’t worry, it’s not meant to be! It doesn’t have to be, it just has to exist. As my playwriting tutor used to say, a first draft is a pile of shit with occasional nuggets of gold. She was a very unusual woman.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a biromantic asexual. It took me a long time to get to this point, from questioning my sexuality, to thinking I was bisexual; I didn’t even know what asexuality was until very recently! I am now pretty comfortable calling myself asexual, and my friend recently bought me a shirt for my birthday that says ‘Asexual pirate isn’t interested in your booty’ (Look Human is an incredible website and has a huge range of ace themed shirts, accessories and so on. They’re not paying me to say that, I just adore this website!), which I hope to debut in public sometime soon, as it’s my first piece of clothing/accessory or anything that displays pride colours.

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

I’ve honestly been very quiet about my sexuality in public, as I feel it’s on a need to know basis, though a lot of my friends know. My family sort of knows (long story) and my Dad will sometimes make jokes about me needing to find the right person, but I know he’s joking so it’s OK. I have encountered a lot of ignorance online though, but as I haven’t encountered it personally, the ignorance being directly at the orientation and not me specifically, I can’t really say how I have handled it. I am more open about my sexuality online, and feel I’m able to be more proud of it there, as I have encountered a very loving and supportive community; in the real world, I’m not sure, and in fact I know, not everyone I know would be so understanding, sadly including some members of my immediate family.

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

Oh gosh, in my quest for discovering who I was/what asexuality was I encountered so many misconceptions; humans aren’t plants, that’s not a real orientation, you’re an emotionless robot, how can you not be interested in sex?, what’s wrong with you?, who hurt you? etc. No one hurt me, nothing’s wrong with me, I’m ace and that’s a-OK!

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

I would say that it’s perfectly valid to struggle with your orientation, especially when sex and sexual attraction seem to be regarded as the key to all happiness these days! No matter where you are on the spectrum and no matter your struggle, you are valid and you are loved. You don’t have to have it all figured out, now or in the future, and there is nothing wrong with you! You are not broken, or weird, or going through a phase. You are who you are and you should be proud of yourself. ❤

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

I am in the process of trying to put together a website but it’s very slow going. Occasionally – very occasionally – I will say something about my work on Tumblr, so that’d be the best place to hear about my work for now. For more about some of my plays, if you Google ‘Shakespeare Syndrome Edinburgh Fringe’ you may be able to find some reviews of the last play I had performed, and I think if you search ‘This Breathing World play review’, you may come across some reviews for my first ever play, from 2014!

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

Interview: Nicole C.

Today we’re joined by Nicole C. Nicole is a wonderful young up and coming artist who does a lot of acting. She also professionally models. For acting, Nicole does a number of theater arts: musicals, plays, one acts, and improv. She’s clearly a very 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 am a part of my theater group in my high school, this is my 7th year being in theater, I’ve been in countless productions including, Musicals, Full plays, One acts and Improv Shows. I recently won an award from my County event for directing a short skit. I am working with a talent agency that has allowed me to book modeling gigs and auditions in LA/Hollywood

What inspires you?

When I’m on stage I get to be someone else, I become this character that gives people the opportunity to feel things they may not feel in their day-to-day lives. When an audience member comes up to you after a show and tells you that they were laughing so hard they were in tears or that they cried because something touched them, a warm feeling bubbles into your stomach just to know that you did something amazing, that not everyone can do. It’s the relief of looking around after a long day of building sets and arguing with cast members about props and saying, we did good. That is inspiring.

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

I was placed in drama at a young age because I was shy and scared; I was stuck in my shell. I didn’t want to be in front of people until I realized I liked talking to a crowd knowing someone out there is understanding what I’m saying. Drama got me out of my shell and boosted my confidence.

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?

Before a show, I always pray. Not even as a religious Dear God don’t let me screw up kinda way, more so of, please, to the good spirits around, aid us in this journey and help us out.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would tell them it’s okay to be scared, that fear is there for a reason- to push you forward and help you feel calmer and more accomplished afterwards.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a panromantic Demisexual.

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

I have not

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

That we aren’t real, it’s all an act, or we have trust issues

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

Who cares? You date who you want to date not whom other people want you to. If you’re scared talk to someone, be open with yourself, explore if necessary. You are valid and real and wonderful. You will be okay.

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

My Instagram at raincloudingg or Tumblr at raincloudingg.

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

Interview: Ben

Today we’re joined by Ben. Ben is a phenomenal theater actor who is also a playwright. He has mostly written tragic plays, but is currently working on an absurdist play. Aside from acting and writing, Ben is also a writer of a homebrew D&D campaign. He’s also currently taking voice lessons in order to get into musical theater. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Headshot(Fall 2016)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Primarily I am a stage actor and a playwright. I am also the writer of a homebrew (made from scratch) D&D campaign and world. As far as acting goes I am more versed in acting in straight plays than in musicals, I am not quite that skilled in singing. But I am in the process of taking voice lessons to solve that issue. With playwriting I have at this point written mainly tragic plays and am currently working on an absurdist play. I also dabble in graphic design for a YouTube channel I am involved in.

What inspires you?

I am primarily inspired by passionate people. Seeing somebody overflowing with joy and enthusiasm about something they are doing or are interested in just gets me hyped up and raring to do something myself. I am also inspired often by the people around me and current events, both of which are commonly reflected in my works. With my writing style I am also greatly inspired by the works of Tennessee Williams and other 20th century playwrights.

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

I have always wanted to do something in the arts. I started with orchestra in middle school playing the violin and when my second high school didn’t offer it I started looking for other things to get involved with. In freshman year I saw my (first) high school’s performance of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. It was my first time seeing a live show of anything and I was utterly enamored by how much more real it felt than seeing films. It wasn’t until junior year of high school when I took my first drama class, and then a second year drama class my senior year. In my senior year I took the full dive into acting and got involved in every theatre related thing that went on at the school. I’ve been hooked ever since and am currently studying for a Theatre degree in college.

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 have a tendency to include a lot of subtle duality in my works between character personalities and motivations. Other than that I can’t really think of much else.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice for aspiring artists is to first find others as passionate as you about the kind of art you are interested in, and second to not let anyone dissuade you with how much more difficult life is going to be. Yes work might be harder to find and you’ll absolutely receive less pay, but the ability to be doing what you love is more than worth it.

Horrible People Productions

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. As for romantic orientation it took seemingly forever to narrow it down but sapioromantic seems the most accurate for me.

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

Luckily I haven’t encountered any prejudice or ignorance. Theatre is a generally progressive field in the first place, so you don’t really find much prejudice aside from the occasional diva.

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

The most common misconception I’ve come across is people assuming I just haven’t met the “one” yet. Or that I had one bad experience and need to try things with other people. It gets rather tedious hearing diagnoses from people about what happened/what I should do when there is really nothing in need of diagnosing.

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

My advice for those struggling is to take your time figuring out the specifics of your orientation. There’s no need to rush because at the end of the day the main person who needs to know is you. No matter what the specifics may be, your identity is valid and you as a person are appreciated. And I know it’s easier said than done but don’t let the people who will give you crap about being you get into your head, if they need to stoop low enough to attack your identity, you already have the moral high ground in telling them to bug off.

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

If you are in the Midwest area you can see the shows at the college I go to, Missouri Western State University. I don’t always act but I usually am involved in some way.

And if you go to Horrible People Productions at YouTube.com, you can learn about my D&D world. It is a group channel that I have with some friends at my college. There is currently only one episode of the current campaign posted but the rest will be coming out closer to fall.

Individual 4

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

Interview: Zachary

Today we’re joined by Zachary. Zachary is a young writer who has an incredibly passion for the theater. They’re a playwright and they’ve recently written a play about a girl coming to terms with her asexuality. Zachary also aspires to act one day. It’s very clear they have a 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.

I have been an aspiring thespian and writer for a very long time, and recently have started combining these passions: I’ve started to write plays, the first of which is about a teenage girl coming to terms with her own Asexuality.

What inspires you?

I’ve always drawn inspiration from several different sources, but for all my Asexuality related work, it’s been from a sense of wanting to reach out to people and assure them that they might not be alone. That’s what pushes me to keep working on projects like these.

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

I’ve always been interested in literature since I was born, as my parents would often read to me as a child. It wasn’t until my high school drama teacher read some of my writing and suggested I try scripts that I got into playwriting, however.

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?

Every play I’ve written, especially Unbreakable, uses the idea of the title in a surface way, but it also persists as a unique symbol, where I use it on as many layers as I can. The word unbreakable, in particular, not only applies to the main character, but every character in the play.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find something or someone who makes you want to keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll never finish your larger projects unless you have something to work for.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

When it comes to sexuality, I am Asexual. However, I am also Biromantic.

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

I have not encountered much, if any prejudice, but oftentimes, when I encounter ignorance, I find the best solution is gentle education. Most people will respond well to learning, so long as you keep yourself from condescension.

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

That we don’t ever have or want sex. I personally do not, but anytime I encounter that assumption, I do my best to dispel that notion.

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

It takes time. There’s no need to rush, and no one is forcing you to figure it out. Even if you’re certain that you’ve settled on how you identify, it might take time to feel completely comfortable with it. And that’s ok. Don’t force yourself to do anything.

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

At the moment, my work isn’t really anywhere public. If someone is interested enough, though I have no idea why they would be, they could contact me at zwt.wynen@gmail.com. My plays are all currently private so far, but a few are currently going through the publication process. With any luck, you might be able to see the scripts with affiliation with Samuel French Inc.

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

Interview: Daria

Today we’re joined by Daria. Daria is a phenomenal up and coming playwright. Her first one-act, Marriage Suite, has just premiered and it sounds like it went quite well (Congratulations, Daria!). It’s very apparent from her interview that Daria is incredibly passionate about the theater. It’s clear that this artist has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m the proud playwright of a recently finished one act play, Marriage Suite, and a short, ten-minute play. Although I write rather absurdist situations and futuristic settings, my characters and dialogue are written in a style of realism. Sexuality has so far been a large theme of my work, particularly asexuality.

Marriage Suite is set in a dystopian future where, in the wake of a dwindling population, the government controls a very sterile system of coupling. Forced into a situation neither of them ever wanted, a young couple decides to break the rules and faces the subsequent consequences.

What inspires you?

I admit to having a great fondness of the dystopian genre, especially Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, which served as a great jumping-off point for my writing. There’s such a lack of representation in the media regarding the asexual community and I wanted to change that when I set out to write this one act. I’m also very invested in exploring aspects of platonic love and the quaint sort of domesticity that harbors affection. The characters in Marriage Suite, who both have their own reasons for deliberately disobeying the rules of their world, have a unique relationship that grows out of that close proximity and accidental intimacy.

Additionally, I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by a group of very supportive teachers and talented friends who do a lot to enforce my love for storytelling. I have a great circle of friends who will happily read through my drafts and help me through edits. Or they’ll just put up with me talking about my play and that’s just as generous.

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

Since as long as I can remember (or as long as I’ve had access to Microsoft Word), I’ve been writing narrative stories. I was a ravenous reader at an early age and really wanted to try to create the magic of reading a story for other people. Still, despite my best efforts, I was never able to finish a piece of my work, despite getting up to 98 pages on a modern sci-fi fantasy piece laden with too much passive voice. At the same time, I had always been interested in theatre. I began my performance career as Dorothy in my elementary school production of the Wizard of Oz and continued from there, interning in professional shows and serving as my high school assistant director. Playwriting was a great way to combine these two passions. Unlike with narrative, I don’t get lost in the flowery descriptions. The media lends itself to reinterpretation which is very exciting to me. I love the idea of creating a set of plans for builders to interpret and refurbish–while also knowing that my writing is the whole reason the play exists once it’s onstage.

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 comes to mind beyond writing asexual characters and perhaps the figurative language I so love to use in my stage directions.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Create the art that you wish existed in the world. Create the art you want to see. Being an artist gives you so much autonomy. No longer do you have to simply receive the art that others manifest, you aren’t a passive consumer anymore.

Get out of your comfort zone. Throw yourself into competitions, public readings, open mic nights, etc. Research and familiarize yourself with the event first, naturally, but these things can really push you as an artist. It’s exhilarating, terrifying, and is overwhelmingly reinforcing as an artist. Working in a bubble can get lonely, so it’s a good way to escape that too.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual. My romantic desire fluctuates indirectly with my sex-repulsion. Some days it’s very high, others I’m unbothered.

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

Not yet, thankfully. I talk about my asexuality openly but rarely bring it up on my own. Further down the road, I worry that any romantic relationships or sexual relationships I write might be called into question because I “don’t know what those are like.” I’m ready for it, though. Love is multifaceted and is hardly just of a romantic or sexual nature. Everyone tends to forget familial love and love between friends, for example. We all have enough experience to write about, asexual or not.

To face day-to-day asexual prejudice, I just made myself a nifty asexual rubber band bracelet and ring. Is it a little cheesy? Do I feel like a middle school girl? Yes. But it’s very empowering. I highly suggest making-buying Ace Pride memorabilia.

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

I hate being asked if I’m a plant or if I can perform mitosis. Those aren’t misconceptions necessarily, but I get those questions way too much. People also tend to pity me when they hear of my “condition” which is tied to the misconception that asexuality is like having a missing piece inside you, that we’re broken.

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

Reach out to other aces. AVEN is a great community full of people who share so many of your experiences. Hanging out in the chat room or forums helps me realize that I’m far from the only one. We’re widely dispersed throughout the world, but there’s a great online community that’s more than happy to accept you with open arms. Things always seem worse when you suffer through them alone, and in terms of struggling with your asexuality, you just don’t have to be alone.

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

If you’re interested in performing Marriage Suite (runtime of 70 minutes, cast of one female, one male, both between 18-22), please get in touch with me. I will happily send you an in-depth synopsis as well as samples of the script. We can talk about licensing too. As an unpublished startup, I assure you I have excellent rates. There ends my shameless self-plug.

If you’re interested in reading some of my musings, I occasionally use a nifty little WordPress. I’ve written a little bit about playwriting there in addition to fun topics like online dating while ace. I also have a Tumblr account where I wrote one very popular post about the (disturbing) Asexual Discourse™ and then never reached that peak success again.

To contact me, send a PM to sardonicsymphonic on Tumblr. (You can also probably contact the fine mastermind behind Asexual Artists but only use this as a last resort.)

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

Interview: James Wylder

Today we’re joined by James Wylder.  James is an incredibly talented and versatile writer who I met at this year’s Indy PopCon (it’s always wonderful to run into a fellow ace at conventions).  He has written in a variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays.  He’s definitely a writer we’ll be seeing more of in the future.  My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write, and I write in a ton of different mediums. I’ve had published fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays, as well as several produced plays such as “Cryptos” and “Rex Stout Rings Again!” and a free RPG module from Shotgun Angel Games. I’m always open to trying new things, experimenting, and pushing my writing into areas I’ve never explored before. Some of my best works have come from the act of pushing myself into emotional areas I was uncomfortable exploring, as well as formats and styles I wasn’t sure about. That willingness to try anything thrown at me has characterized me as a writer more than anything. I’ve produced extremely serious works, such as my play “Paper Gods”, but also very lighthearted books like my book of poetry about the TV show Doctor Who “An Eloquence of Time and Space.”

Right now I’m working on a giant project called 10,000 Dawns, which is a serialized story that releases a chapter every week furthering the adventure, and also features an audio book version of the chapter and unique art to accompany it by Annie Zhu. It’s been crazy trying to co-ordinate and balance everything, but the response has been great so far!

What inspires you?

I’ve always found this question difficult, because the answer changes so often. My fluttering between genres, styles, and tones has benefited from my many inspirations, but it does mean I’m often at a loss on how to inspire myself when I find myself hitting a road block in my work.

I suppose variety itself inspires me, the vastness of the world and the many differences between people and places large and small fascinate me!

Music is a constant inspiration and motivator for me. I always am listening to something while I write, usually a playlist with a David Bowie song on it.

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

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. My dad used to read me Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars novels by my bedside, and I wanted to grow up to tell stories like that! I made books as a kid before I could even write, asking other people to write the worlds I wanted written down on the page and doing the (messy) illustrations myself. I’ve wanted to tell stories my whole life, it’s my honor to have that chance 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 didn’t realize it till it was pointed out to me, but every single major work I’ve written contains at least one Doctor Who reference. It was my favorite TV show since I was, oh, three years old or so and its had a deep impact on me.

On a more personal level, I love having a symbol within a work that contains half of one thing, and half of another. Sometimes it’s literally, like the half-sun/half-moon symbol that crops up in 10,000 Dawns, but sometimes it’s more subtle. Things in our lives are never so simple as one thing, and I like seeing the shades between them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’d give three fold advice: 1. Don’t give up. 2. Don’t reject your own vision for being too “out there”. 3. Be realistic about your own work.

Perseverance is key, as is having a unique way of seeing the world and expressing it, but also you have to recognize that some things might not have a market worth selling to, and that an editor wanting to help improve your work isn’t ‘corrupting’ your vision.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m hetero-demisexual, heteroromantic cisgender male. In a lot of ways this made me feel very uncomfortable coming out to my friends in the LGBTQIA+/MOGAI community because I didn’t feel like I was “not-straight enough”. I still struggle with being open about my identity with people. I have choked up more than once and just said I’m straight, or that “my friend is on the ace spectrum…” I’m not proud of that, but not everyone has always been accepting.

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

I’ve had a few instances of ignorance from fellow creators, namely a person who told me that I wasn’t really on the ace-spectrum because I should have known I was already, and shouldn’t have had to discover it, as well as some other minor bits and bobbles.

I have to work with a lot of ignorant people in my field, so I’ve developed a polite distance from many. I’ve learned to separate people I can work with on a business level from people I can trust on a personal level. Those people who overlap are truly special to me!

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

That it’s not real, and that I just want fancy words for myself so I can feel “special”.

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

That it’s okay to be who you are, even when other people don’t get it, and that it’s okay to struggle with it and feel uncomfortable. You have so much baggage from how society has told you to think about sex, and your own sexuality to unpack, and there is no shame in not being okay while you work through it. Just don’t be alone in it, and don’t do anything you’ll regret. There are people who will love and support you, even if you haven’t found them yet!

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

The best place is my website, jameswylder.com where I post up all sorts of fantastic things!
I’m also on twitter as @arcbeatle,
On Facebook as: James Wylder, Writer
And you can find me on Tumblr at tardistogongen.tumblr.com, but fair warning that its mostly just things I really like that I find and reblog.

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