Interview: Gemma Irene

Today we’re joined by Gemma Irene. Gemma is a phenomenal writer who writes a variety of things. She’s written a few novels and hundreds of poems, as well as some fanfiction. When she’s not writing, she enjoys visual art. Gemma draws, paints, sews, and takes photographs. She even plays the violin. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate individual who loves to create, 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.

I’m primarily a writer, though I’ve been known to draw, paint, sew, take pictures, and play violin. Anything to keep my hands busy! As far as writing goes, I stick to fiction, with occasional detours for poetry, and a song on the very rare occasion. I haven’t published anything yet, but I’ve got about three original novels and around a hundred poems under my belt. I’ve also been pretty immersed in fan fiction the past few years, writing for The Phantom of the Opera, The Boondock Saints, The Walking Dead, and Supernatural.

What inspires you?

I hate to say it, it sounds cliché, but inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. I wrote my first novel after a daydream I had when I was bored at the mall and trying to entertain myself. I’ve drawn things I’ve seen in dreams. I’ve photographed things that happened to catch my eye. One of my favorite poems I ever wrote came about while I was sitting outside listening to the creek flow. I try to stay alert to anything that feeds the muse, which means either living very much in the moment, or hiding out in my own little world.

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

I’ve always loved stories and storytelling. One of my earliest memories is of sitting in my grandpa’s lap with a book, with me reading to him as much as he read to me. I remember telling stories to my mother and her writing them down in a blank journal. I relate a lot to Anne Shirley, or Sara Crewe in A Little Princess like that; my stories always started as a game of pretend, and realizing I could share them with people was a game changer. With the Internet, I could share with even more people. And in the case of fan fiction, connecting with people who were as passionate about the same characters as I was helped me get even more joy out of it. So, long answer to a short question, I’ve always wanted to do this!

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?

In my writing, I notice a lot of alliteration, and a lot of fire imagery. I like getting down into the deep, personal aspects of storytelling, so I’m very concerned with the soulful and intimate. I don’t know if there’s any specific thing that watermarks my writing as mine…if any readers would like to point something out?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Experiment. Let yourself suck. That first novel I wrote? As is, nobody is reading that, if I have anything to say about it. There’s a lot of hang-ups about being trite or cringey, but that’s the only way you grow and evolve. And it’s cool if you want to pursue more interests than one, or if you’re only so-so at something else but do it for the joy of it. I’ve worked for years at my writing, but only ever turned to drawing when I needed the release it gave me. Consequently, it’s not one of my strongest skills. Same deal with the violin. I’ll never be the next Van Gogh, or play in an orchestra, but that’s fine. I draw and play for love of both, and that’s enough for me.

The inverse is true, as well. If you’re passionate about your art, don’t be afraid to invest yourself in it. Any way you feel called to. I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second and say how glad I am that fan fic is slowly getting positive traction, because if I hadn’t started writing fic, I would never have found an audience, much less one willing to give feedback and help me grow as a writer. That’s the thing about finding someone genuinely interested in what you’re sharing, they want more, and they’ll often help you in the process. Whether it’s encouragement, advice, or simple enthusiasm, it’s out there. Hold it up to your ear and give it a listen, then decide if it will help you develop your art. Keep what does, discard what doesn’t. That’s what fan fiction did for me, is help me find my voice a lot sooner than I might have without it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a panromantic demisexual, which is at once very broad and very specific. To me, they go hand-in-hand. I don’t develop sexual attraction without an emotional bond, and if I’ve gotten close enough to someone to form that bond, I’m unlikely to care about gender. It’s the person I’ve developed feelings for.

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

In my field? No. In my life? A bit. I was discussing sexuality and orientation with a group of ordinarily open-minded individuals and casually mentioned I identify as demi. I explained it was similar to being asexual, and they were on board with the ace part but casually dismissed the demi part. “Some people just want to be special.” It took a while to get past that, and I’ve presented myself since then a little differently. On social media, I proudly post all the ace, aro, demi, bi, pan, gay, trans, nb, everything, supporting positivity that I want to see in the world. In person, I’ll comment on my aesthetic attractions, regardless of gender, I’ll express support of representation, and shut down discourse when I hear it. I do what I can to be an ally and a safe space, and hopefully send a message that I won’t stand for any prejudice.

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

That we’re prudes, afraid of sex, damaged, or “waiting for the right person.” Yeah, some of us are, but so are some allosexuals. Sexuality is such a complex, complicated subject, and I don’t understand the aphobia and ace discourse I’ve seen. The thing is, we’ve always been here, it’s just that now we’re willing to claim our space, and hopefully we can spread more knowledge to put an end to the misconceptions.

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

Hang in there. It’s a process. I remember that I was elated at first to realize I was demi, then I had to process what that meant to me, evaluate my relationships with people in light of my new understanding of my identity, decide whether this was something I wanted to keep to myself or make known to others. Then on down the line, after I felt reasonably secure in my identity, I realized I was panromantic and had to start all over again. I’ve found my writing is a very good way to explore my sexuality and my orientation, and I’m working on more aspec characters to reflect how I feel about my identity.

My biggest ongoing struggle is feeling ace enough to identify on the spectrum. I’m very sex positive, and I lean towards the, let’s say, colorful side of sexual expression, which is far removed from the misconception about asexuals and how we’re all prudes afraid of sex. That’s where the ignorance hurts us the most, in my opinion. We measure ourselves by the stereotypes and assumptions, which are often incorrect, and we cut ourselves down when we don’t fit. Thing is, I’m still aspec whether I like sex or hate it, whether I’m kinky or vanilla, because it’s about attraction, not action.

Aces, grays, and demis, you do you. Own your identity. Share it if you want, or keep it secret. It’s who you are, and it’s as much about discovery as the rest of you.

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

Tumblr is my primary hang out. My URL is at risingphoenix761, and my blog is a giant mess of fandom, writing, music, humor, and positivity. I’m also on Fanfiction.Net as AngelxPhoenix, and Archive of Our Own as RisingPhoenix761. For anyone interested in my visual art (I consider myself a passionate amateur), my Instagram is at risingphoenix_761. Come say hi to me!

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

Interview: Chloe

Today we’re joined by Chloe. Chloe is a wonderful young artist who is just starting out. She’s a writer and visual artist. She does both digital and traditional art. For writing, she writes fanfiction, poetry, and occasionally original fiction. 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.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am both a writer and an artist. I do digital and traditional works as well as writing fanfiction, poems, and the occasional original fiction piece. I’ve always been pretty creative, finding enjoyment in expressing myself through the hobbies I love. My artwork and writing certainly aren’t of any professional quality, but I believe they’re good enough to qualify me as an artist of sorts, even if no art has any real qualifications.

What inspires you?

Often times, I find inspiration in other works. It might be an idea, a color, a theme: if it catches my eye, I try to incorporate it in a creative way. On top of that, I also find inspiration in lyrics and sometimes even in everyday experiences!

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

When I was younger, I drew occasionally, but I never really felt like it was something for me. By the time I was 10 years old, though, I was writing stories often and trying to teach myself to draw! There wasn’t anything that really brought it on – I just thought that art was cool and I loved reading stories made by other people. On top of that, I was (and still am) an anime fan, so the art style inspired me. I just thought it was pretty, and I went off of that to develop my own artistic style. Well, its not complete in any means, but it’s something.

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?

Well, I have a literal signature, which you’ll see on nearly all of my drawings. Other than that, though, I don’t believe there’s anything unique in my art or writing that tells it apart from another’s. I wish I could say it’s unique to me. I excessively use adverbs (a habit I’m trying to break) and I draw in an anime-influenced style, but my work is hardly the only type of it’s kind, unfortunately.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do not give up. If it’s your dream, go for it. Power through. Learn. Create. Your art is your art, whatever that may be. The world is cruel – people are cruel! – don’t let that change you. Your life is your life: pursue it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demisexual. Sort of in the middle, I guess.

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

Yeah. I’m a part of a lot of communities, but prejudice is especially present on Tumblr. Asexuals are definitely discriminated against, but it almost seems worse for demisexuals. I’ve seen many people – artists – say that demisexuality is not real, that it’s just a preference. It really gets me upset sometimes because it makes me feel unwelcome and ‘wrong.’ People are so unaccepting of what they don’t understand. I’m afraid that if I express myself completely that I’ll only end up hurt. Often, I’m afraid to even mention that I am demisexual. Most of the time, I just say I’m heterosexual for fear of backlash.

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

I’ve heard people assume that asexual people do not have a sex drive and such, but that isn’t always the case. Though, as for demisexuality, many people assume that we only have intercourse with people we get to know, or as they describe: “are not a hoe.” They assume that our sexuality is the norm for everyone, so it must not really exist. However, that’s a misunderstanding. Demisexuality is the lack of sexual attraction unless a close emotional bond is formed. In other words, I won’t find an attractive celebrity ‘hot’ because I don’t know them well or even at all. People aren’t aware of this.

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

You’re not broken. You’re not wrong. You are who you are and some people may mock you. Some won’t accept you. It’ll be hard sometimes, but we’re here. Your identity is valid. Your feelings are valid. People are cruel, but I promise you that what you’re feeling is so, so okay. What you feel is your business and it is perfectly okay. You’re doing just fine – amazing, even. Nothing you feel is wrong. Don’t let people convince you otherwise. They don’t know how you feel; people can’t understand what they don’t feel. It’s okay. I promise.

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

You can check my Tumblr or DeviantArt page! I’m more active on Tumblr, but I still post all complete artwork on DeviantArt. My DeviantArt username is cofstars, as well as my Tumblr url. They’re my most active platforms. Though, my Tumblr page had a lot more info than the latter!

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

Interview: Jenny Prater

Today we’re joined by Jenny Prater. Jenny is a phenomenal author who writes a bit of everything. She writes novels, short stories, poetry, and even fairy tale analysis blogs. She has recently released a poetry book about being ace this past Valentine’s Day. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an author; I write novels, short stories, poems, picture books, and fairy tale analysis blogs, though mostly only the poetry and blogs have been made available to read. I’m currently working on starting my own small press, so I want to wait to release most of my work until I have that going. I have two larger poetry books published through Amazon, and two chapbooks that I hand-bind and sell on Etsy. My last one just came out on Valentine’s Day; it’s called “Dear Somebody,” and it’s a collection of 12 poems about being asexual.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired mostly by folklore—not just the traditional stories, but their history. I love the idea of all of these very similar patterns being followed in so many places and time periods. Folk tales are a great example of collective storytelling. You can never attribute them to any author, because everyone who’s heard a story like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, over thousands of years, has heard it and told it slightly differently. When I write a poem about Sleeping Beauty or a short story based on The Little Mermaid, I’m participating in an ancient conversation. Story as a reflection of community is something I just think is really beautiful and inspiring.

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

Always. My parents have videos of me, age 3, wandering around the house telling stories out loud about princesses and dinosaurs. I’ve never not had a story running in the back of my head; at some point it just seemed natural to start writing them down.

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 really don’t! I do so many different kinds of writing, there’s not really one key feature that would carry through well in all of them. Though I guess I’ve never really gotten through an entire book without making some reference to folk or fairy tales, now that I’m thinking about it. I just don’t really do it on purpose.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Focus on making things before you focus on making good things. It’s so easy to get caught up in making something perfect and never actually finish. Finish first. Fix later.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and, like, a tiny bit heteromantic, sometimes, depending on the day. Sometimes dating sounds fun, but mostly boys just seem gross.

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

Not in my field, no. But it’s only been a couple weeks since I released my first project that deals really directly with asexuality, so time will tell, I guess.

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

That I’m a late bloomer or haven’t met the right guy yet. You know, at 25, I’m pretty sure I’m done blooming.

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

You’re not broken. I remember being just so confused about what was wrong with me, in middle school when all the other girls were starting to feel things that I wasn’t. It took a long time to figure things out, and that time was…not pleasant. But everything is fine! You’re not falling behind and nothing is wrong with you!

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

I’m kind of all over the place. You can find me on most social media sites under the username “konglindorm,” which is the name of my favorite fairy tale, but I think the best places to find out about my work are my fairy tale blog, http://konglindorm.blogspot.com/, and this page here that has links to all my published books: http://konglindorm.tumblr.com/books.

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

Interview: Leah

Today we’re joined by Leah. Leah is a wonderful and talented artist who does a bit of everything. She does visual art and works with a variety of mediums. When she’s not doing visual art, she also plays a number of musical instruments. The main instrument she plays is the clarinet and she’s started learning the mandolin. As if that weren’t impressive enough, she also writes poetry. It’s clear Leah is a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, 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.

I am a visual artist, as well as a musician and a poet. For my visual art I tend to work with whatever medium seems to fit my topic the best, and I enjoy creating things intuitively. Music wise, my main instrument is the clarinet, but I also know how to play the piano, flute, tenor saxophone, and ukulele, and I am learning the mandolin. My poetry is more random and for myself. I like writing whatever comes to mind and using poetry as a way to funnel my emotions.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is nature and other works of art. A lot of times I’ll see something in nature and my first thought is “I’d love to paint that” so I like doing a lot of nature based pieces. The work of other artists is also inspiring to me because it gives me the inspiration to work more on honing my own craft so I can someday reach the level of skill and expertise I see in the works of others. Musically I am inspired by my friends who are also musicians. Watching them and their love of music, and passion for their instruments inspires me to spend more time with my own instrument.

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

What got me interested in my field was probably my grandmother. She was an elementary school art teacher, so when I was little she always did lots of crafts and art projects with me. She would also take me to art museums and show me famous works of art which really helped me fall in love with art. When I was little I really wanted to be an artist, but then I got older and realized I was not good enough to be able to make a living off of my artwork, and I’m always too attached to my pieces to give them away to someone else. Now I want to be an art teacher, so hopefully that’s where my life will take me. My mom was the one who helped encourage my interest in music. She played the clarinet in middle school and high school, which is what inspired me to play the clarinet. And she has always supported me and my musical talents.

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 really have a specific thing included in all my works. Because I love exploring different mediums, I don’t really have something specific that’s included in all my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing your art. The more you do it, the better at it you’ll become. It’s okay if art is just something you do for fun, you need things to enjoy in life so don’t worry about trying to make a career out of your art if you don’t want to. If you do want to make a career out of your art, I know you might hit some low points, but don’t give up and keep creating things, inspiration will come and you will be successful.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a panromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t really encountered much prejudice or ignorance in my field just because that’s not really anything that’s come up yet, but I’ve experienced plenty of it in general everyday life. Mostly I handle it by either ignoring it, or trying to explain my sexuality, it depends on the situation.

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

The most common misconception I’ve heard is that we’re emotionless, or that we just don’t feel anything.

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

Don’t worry about feeling out of place or broken. I thought for the longest time that I was perfectly normal and that there was no way the rest of the world just thought about sex all the time, and that’s still a really strange concept to me. If you’re struggling to figure out your sexuality, don’t discredit that you might be ace, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being ace and there are people who will have no problem accepting you for who you are.

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

I don’t really have a specific place where I post all my work, but I will sometimes sporadically post on my Instagram at hpandthegobletofsass or on my Tumblr at wxtchmxbxrn.tumblr.com or if you want to find any of my Harry Potter fanart whenever I feel like getting around to it you can find it at hpandthegobletofsass.tumblr.com.

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

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.

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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: thetruthhurts1

Today we’re joined by thetruthhurts1. thetruthhurts1 is a wonderful young poet and songwriter. She has written mostly poetry but has recently started work on a novel. When she’s not writing poetry or prose, thetruthhurts1 is writing ballads for the piano. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, 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.

It started out with me writing short lines in the margins of my notebooks. Sometimes it was just funny phrases. Other times it was witty stanzas. Eventually, I bought a composition book and started writing out all the things I couldn’t seem to say out loud eloquently. Then one Christmas my mom bought me this cheap piano…and I felt all my thoughts and emotions slide down my brain to my fingertips and I can’t imagine going back to a time before piano.

What inspires you?

Well I would say that there are two stages currently in my inspiration department. The first stage was me trying to figure out who I was through words and songs (gave a try at drawing, painting, etc. and let’s just say if finger painting becomes vintage ever I may switch careers). After that I met someone who made me think about deeper things within me. I went from writing about philosophical things like “Why am I here?” to “Why do I get excited to just hold your hand?” My songs went from angst to love ballads.

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

I have always wanted to help people. My favorite super person is Spidey, I hope to one day become a therapist, and I’m not one to shy away from volunteer work. I sadly can’t say I’ve always liked writing. In fact, I was more of a reader growing up. I think, that it was my love of reading that led me to become so enamored with words. I fell in love with fictional characters and felt what they felt and went where they went and one day I wanted to do that too. I wanted people to feel what I felt and go where I’ve been to. I grew up a minority and then slowly realized I was Ace so writing and music is where I found a lot of comfort

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 friends that do get to see my work notice how I never target one specific group in my work. I use neutral pronouns, I speak to all socioeconomic groups, and when I’m disappointed in humanity it’s as a whole. The only other fun feature is that I try to slip the title into the work somewhere. It doesn’t always happen though because I’m not as crafty as I’d like to be lol.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t do what I did for the first 4 years of this. Don’t keep all of your writing in a torn Spidey folder you grabbed from Wal-Mart back in the day. Get your work out there. Your words might be what makes the difference in someone’s life.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am Ace or Asexual in the sense that I find the idea of having sex about as fun as sliding down a razor blade slide into a tub of alcohol.

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

I’ve only had a few occurrences of more…abrasive?….harsh people. It was mostly of the sort where they told me that you can’t say being repulsed to sex is a sexuality and invalidating the identity. I am lucky enough to have found people in my life to love me so the hurt souls of the internet don’t phase me as much as they could in the past. I usually just report them and go on about my day.

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

For some odd reason, people think Aces can’t enjoy sex jokes. I was an avid user of the phrase “that’s what she said” and as I matured I was able to gain a better arsenal to male my friends choke on their drinks. Aces can make sex jokes folks. We just don’t all partake in the action.

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

I went over half my life just calling myself an Alien (I’m 22yo to give some reference). Not everyone knows right out the gate how to identify. Everything is constantly flowing and moving like the ocean so when your water craft lands to shore there’s no guarantee you won’t get back out there and land somewhere else. Life’s supposed to be about something more. Don’t get anchored down trying to rush the process. Live and Love friends.

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

I post a lot of my poems on an App called Poet’s Corner under the name healthepain. I post poems, quotes, and just mind farts on Tumblr under thetruthhurts1. I haven’t posted my songs anywhere (mainly because I’m the noob that writes the lyrics and music separately and they never coordinate and it’s just a hot mess).

Thank you, thetruthhurts1, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: R.M.K.

Today we’re joined by R.M.K.. R.M.K. is a phenomenal poet who has just released their first poetry collection recently. It delves into topics like mental illness and recovery. They’re currently working on another collection about enbies, aces, and aros, which will be out this October. R.M.K. writes modern poetry and is extraordinarily talented. It’s clear they’re dedicated to their craft, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write what I refer to as “modern poetry.” It is in the same style as Rupi Kaur’s. It isn’t like “classical poetry” which I see as sometimes really dense and hard to comprehend. My poetry focuses less on imagery and more on just getting your thoughts down on paper. Sometimes on Tumblr you see it looking like “is this poetry if I just write prose and put a bunch of spaces?” Yes!

My poetry ranges from mental illness, recovery, letters, nonbinary, asexual, and aromantic themes. I talk about a lot of different stuff in my work. My first collection focuses on mental illness and recovery, while my upcoming collection will focus on enbies, asexuals, and aromantics.

The goal of my poetry collections is to inspire people to share their own stories.

What inspires you?

Rupi Kaur inspired my first book. She is the author of Milk And Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers. I am also inspired by Courtney Peppernell, who writes lesbian poetry, and r.h. Sin, who writes about various subjects.

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

I got interested in poetry only about two years ago. Before then I was an aspiring novelist, and still am, but poetry is a lot easier for me to write. I’m not really sure what got me interested in poetry. It might’ve been when I found Rupi’s first book. Since then I’ve bought around fifteen different poetry books and have consumed them with fervor.

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?

In my poetry I never use capitalization and show speaking or quotes as italics. It’s part of my style but is in no way unique. Anyone out there could use this style if they so wanted.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Write boldly and unapologetically and also, don’t turn your nose up at self-publishing. This is the route I am going by now. If you want to write about a nonbinary character who uses they/them pronouns, do it! Write about whatever subject you want in whatever format you feel suits it best and don’t pull any punches! Tell the story you want to tell and don’t compromise on a thing!

If anyone is looking for self-publishing, look no further than CreateSpace, an Amazon company, which will print-per-order your books and also stock in stores. You can do everything you need to with the site, even make a cover.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and also aromantic and nonbinary. I use they/them pronouns.

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

When I submitted to publishers I used my pronouns and chosen name on all my correspondences and never heard anything back. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or if it was directly related, but I have since gone forward with self-publishing.

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

That it’s the same as celibacy, which it definitely isn’t. People are celibate for religious reasons, usually. We are asexual because we are born that way, or because of trauma. Both are valid.

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

If you find the label no longer fits, then you can drop it! There’s no shame in that! Before this I thought I was just a skittish pansexual. Before that I was totally convinced I was homosexual. It’s okay to explore.

Also, you don’t really owe anyone an explanation. If you’re asexual, you’re asexual. That’s it. They should be responsible for educating themselves if they can’t understand you.

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

On my Tumblr at rmk-poetry and my Instagram r.m.k.poetry!

The first book, entitled Days, will be available by the time you read this. The second collection, entitled Queer, (I’m on the side of reclaiming this slur, I’m sorry if you are not and I have offended you), will be coming out October 11th to coincide with National Coming Out Day.

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