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.

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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.

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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.

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

Interview: Chimney

Today we’re joined by Chimney. Chimney is a wonderful poet from Germany. He writes mostly for a hobby and his poetry tends to focus on emotions. Chimney mainly writes in German though he has translated some of his poetry into English. It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer and poet. I write a lot of poems about love and being heartbroken by love, but also other stuff. In my writings I concentrate a lot on the emotional side, like how the characters feel, why they feel that way. I want the reader to understand my characters and feel with them. I really want to have this transparency in my stories and poems.

My poems especially are very personal. And I try to throw as much emotions and pain as possible in them, that’s why it often hurts to read them, because their pure emotions.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by a lot of stuff, actually. Obviously I get inspired by real life experiences, but music is one of those things that inspires and influences me the most. When I listen to songs there are always popping up some lines and ideas in my head. But I also get inspired by other people or artist who achieved something in their life. Seeing them getting from bottom to almost the top inspires me and gives me the courage to try my best. And even if I don’t made it there will be always people who I can inspire and that’s it what keeps me going forward.

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

Honestly at first I hated writing poems, because I never was able to rhyme something good. So I first started with writing stories, because some guy in my class wrote a very funny story and I wanted to write something funny as well xD. But after finally starting to rite I realized how much fun this is to me. I love creating stories, telling  stories and share them with others. Being an artist was never my main goal. It was and unfortunately still is one of my greatest hobbies. But I really hope that it someday will be more than just this little hobby of mine.

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 that I’m aware of. I try to change my still very often and I like to experiment a lot. Especially with my poems. I often change the metre and sometimes even use different languages.

But more like snippets or a few specific words. Other than that all I can say is that my writings are full of emotions.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say: “Have the courage to post your art online!“ Why? Because there will always be at least one person that will like it. Art is very important and it can help people, inspire people etc.

So it doesn’t matter how insecure you feel about your stuff, there will be people who supports you and by sharing it you can grow. Be open-minded accept critique and advice, so that you can grow.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as quoiromantic asexual. And I think more on the sex-repulsed side.

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

Yes I did, from one person actually. Who actually very radical and I don’t want to explain the details. They said horrible things to me. First I tried to have a real in-depth conversation with them about it, but after that didn’t worked I broke contact with them, because in the end it was better for my mental health.

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

From what I’ve heard most people think that asexuality = anti-sexuality. Like that we’re all against sex and everything that has something to do with it. Which is just not right.

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

Seriously, the most important part is that you accept yourself how you are and that you understand that you’re fine, lovable and not broken by being asexual. The sexuality is just one small part of you and what really matters is your personality. I can understand that finding out that you’re ace can be frightening, but when someone really likes or loves, they will do it because of your personality, because you make them smile and give them a reason to stay strong.

You’re all valid.

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

So for my German fellas you can always read my work right here: https://www.fanfiktion.de/u/Chimney

For the others I suggest you to follow me on my Tumblr where I’m planning on releasing little English poems and snippets: megahyperchickenwing.tumblr.com (yes, that is my name)

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

Interview: Sierra

Today we’re joined by Sierra. Sierra is a phenomenal poet and dancer. She uses art as an outlet. When she’s not choreographing dances, Sierra enjoys writing poetry. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with a great amount of enthusiasm, 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 dancer and poet. I write or choreograph what I am feeling and use my art as an outlet for my emotions. I try to address issues and subjects many people deal with such as mental health, grief, etc. I think it is important for everyone to express themselves, and if my art can be used to help someone express themselves, I feel I have reached my goal.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by everything, but my main inspiration is people. When I see someone being purely themselves, I can see the art in them and want to be able to express that to others. I also get a lot of my inspiration from music of all kinds.

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

I have always loved the arts, specifically dancing. I grew up dancing and felt like it was the only thing I could relate to others through. As I got into high school I discovered a love for poetry and began to write. I have not published any of my work, but it is a goal I have for the future. Art has always been something very close to 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?

There isn’t anything special about my work. I just try to capture raw humanity and convey it to others.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love and don’t worry about what others think. You will grow into a uniquely beautiful artist no matter what you do. Not everyone will love your work, but if you reach just one person and help them feel something, you have done the best you can as an artist. Push yourself to your artistic limits and allow your creativity to flow freely.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aromantic-asexual. I consider myself sex-repulsed and between romance-neutral and romance repulsed.

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

Not specifically in my field have I encountered prejudice or ignorance, but in life in general I find a lot of ignorance. So many people can’t understand how something so engrained in their minds can be non-existent in ours, and therefore ridicule us for it. I think as long as you can stand tall and ignore that hate that comes towards you, you can be whoever you want to be. Anyone and everyone is valid.

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

I’ve found the most common misconception of asexuality is what it actually means and that it is different for everyone. Many people don’t understand asexuality and try to decide for themselves what it is. They then have an incorrect idea and/or opinion of asexual people which can be hard to change.

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

If you embrace who you are, you will feel amazing. Its okay if you don’t know what that is yet, you will figure it all out in due time. If you don’t feel like coming out yet, then don’t. Just know that the ace community is such a loving family that is always looking for new members.

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

You can find out more about my work on my Tumblr, at poeticaceinspace. P.S. I’m pretty bad about keeping up with my blog but I’m trying to get better.

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

Interview: n.a.

Today we’re joined by n.a.. n.a. is a wonderful poet from Canada who publishes his work on his Tumblr blog. His poems play with language and use strong visuals. It’s clear he’s a talented and dedicated poet, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is poetry, so I guess you could say that I’m a poet – though I would never admit it in public. Currently I post one poem a day to my Tumblr blog, but I have hopes to publish a poetry collection in the future. There isn’t really any set theme of my poems and I’m a firm believer in subjectivity, so every poem means something different.

What inspires you?

This will sound cheesy, but everything inspires me. I would say music and books are what inspires me the most – I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up so, they became my friends at an early age and ever since then I think they’ve always been there to guide me as I progress with writing. Other aspec artists inspire me as well – especially Roanna Sylver whose books I’ve recently fallen in love with!!

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

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even before I knew how hard writing actually is. I remember when I was younger I used to write little stories and poems that didn’t really make sense, but I found myself loving them and dreaming about what I would do if they were published. Reading sparked my interest a lot as well, I’ve always enjoyed analyzing characters and I think poetry has allowed me to do that a little bit.

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 think I have one, unless my alias counts. I think having one would be super cool though, I just haven’t put much thought into one yet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to create your art, even if you don’t think it’s good enough. Everyone starts somewhere and everyone lives a different life, but not everyone can create what you can.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual, I also like to describe myself as queer. I first found out about asexuality after an ex-boyfriend of mine came out to me, I had heard about asexuality before (from prior experience with queer Instagram pages), but didn’t know much about it. When I read up on it I realized that I was, and always had been, very aroace. Funnily enough, he broke up with me the day after I figured it out – for reasons that didn’t have anything to do with my recent discovery.

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

I’m lucky enough to say that I haven’t had any encountered any ignorance based on my asexuality, but I have seen many people outside of the poetry community and on twitter get a fair bit of hatred. I’m very grateful that my friends outside the internet are accepting individuals and always let me know that I’m important and valid, even if I don’t always feel it.

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

There are so many that I could talk about, but the one that bothers me the most is that asexuals are straight and don’t belong in the community. Being a trans asexual guy, I often don’t fall into that category because I am trans, but I know that if I wasn’t trans that I would probably be shunned from the community in the blink of an eye. Another misconception that I really hate is that asexuality is a medical or health issue, I think I hate this one specifically because it could lead to a misdiagnosis if an asexual person is accessing healthcare.

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

I believe the biggest advice I could give, and the advice I wish I had gotten, is that it’s 100% okay to be confused or unhappy about your orientation – just like it’s 100% okay to be content or happy with your orientation. If an asexual individual is feeling unhappy or just generally down about their asexuality I recommend they read some books or comics with asexual characters like themselves, it always helps me when I am feeling down and reaffirms that representation really is important!!

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

As of right now my work can only be viewed on my Tumblr, which is apollota.

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

Interview: Shelby Eileen

Today we’re joined by Shelby Eileen. Shelby is a phenomenal poet who has recently released a book of poetry entitled Soft in the Middle. She uses poetry to express herself and has an amazing dedication to her art. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with an incredibly bright future, 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.

My art, currently, is poetry. I have one self-published poetry collection titled Soft in the Middle and almost all of my WIPs are also poetry. Writing is something I’ve always, always done and poetry has long been my preferred way to express myself in writing. I think my art has always had a lot to do with communication even if I didn’t always know it; trying to communicate better not only with others but also with myself. Picking the right words and putting them together in such a way that I feel I’ve finally made sense of something is the best thing about what I do.

What inspires you?

The thought that there is really nothing that has already been created that is exactly like what I have the potential to create. I don’t know if it’s naïve or self-centered to think, but my own individuality inspires me. Other asexual artists inspire me. Self-published poets inspire the absolute heck out of me. There’s something so pure and immeasurable about their success- they are literally the embodiment of that “she believed she could so she did” sentiment and I think that’s so badass.

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

Yep, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even before that though, I’ve always wanted to be an editor. Reading got me into this whole world and I’ve never felt like I was meant to do anything else but work with authors and be an author myself.

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 think I do, or at least, not yet. I haven’t been at this long enough to figure that out. I would almost prefer to have readers pick up on a “unique signature” on their own, whatever that could be, without me actively trying to tie all of my works together. I find myself focusing a lot more on the differences between my projects than on the similarities anyway.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make friends with people who are already doing what you want to do! Social media is a great way to do that.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual. Since figuring out that I’m ace I’ve grown to absolutely love that part of myself. The label brings me a lot of comfort and peace. I also identify as queer, bi, and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum.

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

Online and in the poetry/writing community, no. I have yet to see anyone criticize my work specifically for reflecting my asexuality. My family and many of my irl friends haven’t ever commented on my asexuality though, and seeing as I explicitly state that I am asexual in my work, it definitely feels like they avoid it because they’re confused or made uncomfortable by it. Silence and passivity on the matter can hurt just as much as outright objection or disapproval. That doesn’t feel nice but it’s not the absolute worst reaction I could get, I suppose. I handle it by constantly reminding myself that my work is first and foremost for me and no one else. Even if I don’t show it or admit to it often, no one is more proud of me than me for what I’ve accomplished so far- as long as I feel pride in what I do, negative reception is easier to deal with.

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

Oh god. That asexuality and the mere concepts of sex and intimacy can’t overlap at all. That asexuals are just straight people weaseling their way into the LGBTQIAP+ community. Asexuality as a sexual/mental health issue. Asexuals are broken. Asexuality isn’t real. Everyone is demisexual. Asexuals can’t have relationships. It’s disgusting how common it all is.

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

It’s REALLY okay to question stuff and be unsure or even unhappy with where you’re at in regards to your orientation. You’ve come this far on your own and that’s something to be proud of. You should never hesitate to investigate, dissect, confront, and share all of the feelings you have. I dealt with orientation struggles/ general unhappiness by seeking out a bunch of books with asexual characters. A lot of them made me feel so much better about myself- quite frankly, it made me feel like less of a freak. Getting swept up in stories with characters that you can relate to that get a happy ending is great medicine.

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

Amazon buy link for soft in the middle! http://a.co/fLDIzIw

Goodreads page! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36812982-soft-in-the-middle

My Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are all at briseisbooks. My social medias are not exclusively for my writing, they do contain a good amount of personal content as well!

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

Interview: Janice Worthen

Today we’re joined by Janice Worthen. Janice is a phenomenal poet and writer from Idaho. They’ve been published by The Rectangle, on a shirt for Backwords Press, and had a poem included in bags of coffee for Nomadic Grounds. Janice also edits Night Music Journal and is always looking to publish work by asexual writers (if any of you out there are interested). When they’re not writing or editing, Janice also does photography. They’re clearly a very dedicated artist. 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 work is a way to share my internal world, my thinking through the internal and external, in a format that is more comfortable to me than speech. It’s my way of communing, of sharing things that move me, shatter me, anger me, transform me. It’s me extending a hand—a vulnerable act, a gesture of trust. I spend a lot of time with my head in the clouds—thinking about systems, webs of connection, history and its repercussions, the future, the present, the joy and agony of the moment as it’s passing, and myself in relation to all these things—and my work is my way of grounding those thoughts. With each poem, each photo, each sketch, I think I’m really just asking, “Are you there?” I think my work is waiting for an echo. I guess I’m twanging a thread, waiting for the vibration of return.

What inspires you?

Hands down, the underdog. Anyone (or anything) who looks into the face of their own destruction and doesn’t give in. Anyone who, even in defeat, holds on to who or what they are, their joy, their right to be. It’s so easy to give in to fear, to sell out, to back down. But it’s so beautiful when someone stands their ground, turns the tide, shakes the foundation of the powerful. I hope that, in the face of all I fear, I rise.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer because writing made me feel real, feel valid. I was a shy, quiet, fat kid who spent most of their time in the library. A kid who clearly didn’t fit the gender binary. I think because of these things it was easy for others to dismiss me, and because difference is so often seen as threatening, to bully and try to break me. But when my voice was a whisper and easy to ignore or speak over, I found my writing was harder to dismiss. My self was harder to ignore and deny. My writing forced others to see me as human. Through my writing, I existed.

But writing was also a way for me to have a conversation, to become a part of all those books that gave me comfort, that fueled my imagination. It sounds weird, but writing felt like a way to give back, to say I hear you. I hear you.

Only recently have I focused more time on photography. I wouldn’t call myself a photographer. I don’t have any fancy equipment. My degrees are in writing, not photography. But capturing a moment and sharing that moment with those I care about is something that gives me great joy.

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’ve noticed that mirrors pop up often in my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Sometimes the work that you get the most pushback on will make the most difference. Seek out and listen to feedback but always ask yourself what the motivation behind that feedback is. Sometimes people will criticize/dismiss/mock your work when they really want to criticize/dismiss/mock you. And sometimes the work you feel like throwing away will be treasured by someone else who might live in the same moment, the same thought, and the same place as you, even if they come after you. You can be a friend, ally, or even hero to that person. Be open, but also be assertive and bold and confident in your work, your experience, your perspective. Even when it’s hard, keep making your art.

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?

Oh, yes. I’m an asexual in a very sexual field. I’m constantly aware of this. I’m constantly reminded of this. Many in my field consider sex or desire as essential to art, liberation, and even revolution. They simply can’t comprehend and are sometimes hostile towards someone who doesn’t feel or think the same way they do about something they’ve put at the center of their art.

As an asexual, I often feel like I exist outside my own field. Since I’m not willing to participate in the secret handshake, I’m not allowed in the club, a club that is often abuzz and fueled by gossip surrounding sex and desire. Because I’m an asexual, I feel like I’m not allowed to have an opinion on work or artists in my field, and any opinion I voice is invalid. Not only that, but anything I say that goes against the dominant narrative of sex and desire is seen as an attack, not only on the writers and work that value sex and desire, but an attack against liberal or progressive values or even the sexual liberation movement itself. I find this odd because I’ve been accused of being too progressive and consider myself more progressive than many of the liberal people I know. And I see the growing acceptance of asexuality as a victory of sexual liberation, not something at odds with it.

My orientation is virtually invisible in my field. I was once excited to come across a published poem about asexuality for only the second time in my life only to learn the writer is not asexual but felt at liberty to write with authority about my orientation. The 2016 VIDA Count found that The Times Literary Supplement was “one of the few publications to publish asexual people this year.”

Prejudice and ignorance are often expressed through microaggressions, which are common and remind me how invisible my orientation is. A poet I know once said that a way to express disapproval of certain voters is for “us” to stop sleeping with them, as if “we” as writers are sexual gatekeepers, a single unified sexual force that rewards or punishes behavior with our shared sexual prowess, the primary implication being that everyone is allosexual. With each casual comment like this I become unwelcome, not part of the community, invisible.

I came out because I realized it was important to counter the all-too-common assumption that people like me don’t exist in my field. After I came out, it felt like I’d actually been erased (no pun intended) completely. Perhaps this is just perception, perhaps it’s a reflection of my work, but it seemed like people suddenly weren’t interested in reading anything by me, published or not, or having discussions with me about others’ work, etc. I had placed myself on the outside. I could observe but not participate. I often feel like I’m throwing my work at a wall now, but I don’t regret my decision to come out. Others will find me, and I will find others, and we’ll make new, more inclusive communities. That’s how I handle all this: reaching out, standing up, speaking out.

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

Phew, the most common. I guess in my field, among members of my community, the misconception I most encounter about asexuality is that all asexuals are hostile towards, afraid of, or somehow consider themselves above sex or allosexuals. I myself am sex positive. Sex is great for other people who want and get fulfillment from it, and I think sexual freedom is vital. Sex just doesn’t interest me in the slightest, and I wish others felt as positive toward my orientation as I do toward theirs. It’s funny because many of the people who are afraid I’m judging their orientations and lifestyles don’t realize they’re actually the ones judging and afraid of mine.

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

Find or plug in to your community. Even if you’re an introvert like me, it helps to see other asexuals being their asexy selves and to know you aren’t alone. Join asexual groups and follow asexual artists on social media. Read and watch anything by and about asexual people. Don’t be afraid to find a support system and to cut toxic people out of your life that break you down instead of build you up. Embrace the struggle. You don’t have to have all the answers right now. You don’t have to be certain of anything right now. Don’t be afraid of the present or the future. Just by existing, you are shaping that future. Don’t be afraid of you. This might be easier said than done, but repeat it like a mantra: I am not alone, I am part of a community, I am valid, my experience is valid, my voice is important, I matter, my art matters, I am paving the way for others like me.

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

I’m on Instagram (at impossibleblossom). I’m also on Tumblr (janiceworthen.tumblr.com), and you can find links to some of my poetry there. I’m also the editor of Night Music Journal (nightmusicjournal.com), and I’m always accepting submissions of poetry, essays, and hybrid work. I really encourage fellow asexuals to send me work and pass along the invite to your LGBTQIA friends!

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

Interview: Sachin Babu

Today we’re joined by Sachin Babu. Sachin is a phenomenal author from Southern India. He writes a variety of things including poems, short stories, anecdotes, and quotes. Sachin is also a fellow fan of Edgar Allan Poe (YAY!) as well as a number of other authors. He has a site where he posts a lot of his poetry. It’s clear that Sachin is a dedicated and talented writer, as you’ll soon read. 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 am a writer. I write poems, short stories, quotes, anecdotes and many more. Writing has always been my passion; it inspires me to be a better human being than I was yesterday. I usually write stuff I feel at that particular point of time, for example, if I am feeling happy, I write a happy poem, if I am feeling sad, I write a sad one. I also love to read stuff that others have written; it helps me gain a new perspective on that particular aspect. To be honest I feel my day is incomplete if I don’t write anything at the end of the day. For me writing is like a drug ecstasy and I am addicted to it.

What inspires you?

Basically, my feelings inspire me the most. I am an introvert and writing is just a way to express what I actually am. In fact, the randomness of life is what inspires me the most. We all have highs and lows in the life, happy moments and sad moments, we have days where we are full of energy and positive aura and few days we just feel tired, what I believe is we should embrace all of that because that is what makes life adventurous. Finally I have only one thing to say, embrace your feelings, they will inspire you to achieve miracles.

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

Before writing poetry I used to read a lot of books. Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe were one of my favorites, they got me interested in writing poetry. J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King etc got me interested in writing stories. As a kid I had a very good imagination, and once I was into my teens I decided to write and since then I never looked back. I also feel my family and my teachers had a great influence on me. My family appreciated art since the beginning and my teachers guided me in the right path.

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 usually follow a strict rhyme pattern in my poems unlike the modern poetry where people love free-styling. I also add my name ‘Sachin B’ at the end of poems and stories I write.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is very simple, ‘go with your gut.’ Nothing and no one should stop you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, just believe yourself, work hard, love what you do and most importantly do not think of the outcome, everything will fall in its place eventually. Try to live an adventurous life.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify myself as a demisexual.

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

I don’t consider it as a prejudice but people are definitely ignorant about aces in every field. They just don’t seem to accept what we are for some reason. In my field whenever I have written something about asexuality, people just take offence, as if it’s some sort of sin but that didn’t stop me from doing so, I have written a poem on asexuality recently and I’ll keep writing, no matter what people have to say, I just don’t care, I ignore them.

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

Asexuality is no stranger to misconceptions; I’ve encountered many misconceptions about it. The most common ones are that asexuality is just a phase or is a sin. People even think that person who identify as asexual can’t be in relationships. Asexual are prudes and are afraid of sex is one misconception. The funniest one by far is asexual can reproduce themselves.

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

I only say our orientation is valid. Asexuality is not a phase, not a sin, and you are definitely not confused. Stay true to what you are, they are many people like you, there’s nothing wrong with it. And most importantly do not afraid to fall in love, have a relationship, if sex without love is valid then love without sex is too. Be proud to be an asexual.

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

You can find out more about my work on Tumblr, I have a blog where is post almost everything I write. The blog is called at iam-pentastic.

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