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: Adalyn Caroline

Today we’re joined by Adalyn Caroline. Adalyn is a phenomenal and unique writer who specializes in hint fiction. She dabbles in fantasy, though also does quite a bit of writing in a genre she calls “fictionalized nonfiction.” When she’s not working on fiction, Adalyn also likes to write poetry. She is an incredibly talented writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Am I Perfect Yet
Am I Perfect Yet

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer. I dabble in children’s stories and poetry. Most of my pieces are short story or hint fictions (less than 25 words).  The majority of my pieces are my own personal genre of “fictionalized nonfiction” but I do dabble in some fantasy. Like most writers, I tend to write in third person, however I am working on another piece that is in first person, and is chronicling the journey of discovering my sexuality and orientation.

What inspires you?

Everything, honestly. But I do tend to pull a lot from real life and from other literary pieces that really touch me. To quote Mark Twain, there is no such thing as an original idea.

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

My long term goal is to eventually get into the publishing industry as an editor, but I was always interested in writing. I remember writing these little books when was I was kid that helped me escape the harsh reality that was my life at the time. Although, I didn’t know then that’s what it was. And as I grew older, I focused more on refining my writing skills because of my anxiety.

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Untitled 5 (Hint Fiction)

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 are technically two. The protagonists are always demisexual, even if they don’t straight out identify as it. The other one is that each of my protagonists has an article of clothing, or a trinket or a pillow, etc. that is a turtle.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t feel like your work is subpar. Ever. And if you think your work is too similar to something that’s already out there, remember: There is no such thing as an original idea. We build off everything around us.

We're All Mad Here
We’re All Mad Here

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a biromantic asexual.

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

I tend to keep my sexuality to myself, aside from a few close friends. That being said, I have not experienced any prejudice. I find that those who are truly artistic, are more open-minded and aren’t as judgmental.

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

Well, there are several that I have gotten but the most common one is that asexuality doesn’t exist. Quite frankly, it’s the most heartbreaking thing I hear, especially when it comes from someone whom I’ve grown to trust and feel like I might be able to come out to. Alternatively, I also get a lot of comments that those who identify as asexual can be ‘fixed’ with sex-therapy.

Winter_HintFiction
Winter (Hint Fiction)

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

I struggled with coming to terms of the biromantism portion of my sexuality for a long time. I had a traumatic experience when I was twelve involving a rape accusation and for the longest time I shied away from that part of who I was. I also didn’t realize I identified as asexual until I started to talk to a friend of mine who is extremely active and vocal with the LGBTQ+ community and she pretty much opened my eyes to asexuality.

My advice is this: don’t let anyone tell you you’re broken. You aren’t. Your sexuality and orientation plays a big part of who you are and it’s better to have a small support group of people you can trust than to try to change who you are.

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

I am currently working on uploading my work onto a Wattpad account. However, that is taking me a little while to finish up due to some personal complications. I am hoping to have everything up by the end of the August. I am also in the process of potentially developing a WordPress site.

If you would like to receive an email of when my work is up, you can reach me at Adalyn.Caroline23@gmail.com

Wonderland_HintFiction
Wonderland (Hint Fiction)

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

Interview: Anya

Today we’re joined by Anya. Anya is a phenomenal up and coming writer who is working on her first novel. She has written a variety of forms: short fiction, poetry, and fanfiction. Anya has also written a little non-fiction. She’s an incredibly passionate writer who has a great love for the written word, as you’ll read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an aspiring writer. Or, more accurately, I am a writer aspiring to get published. I used to mainly write short stories, but I am now working on my first novel! I sometimes write fanfiction, and I dabble in poetry and non-fiction occasionally, but my true love is – and probably always will be – fiction. I do various different types of fiction, but I do tend to lean towards the dramatic and fantastical.

What inspires you?

Honestly? A lot of things. I don’t even know what brings it on. The strangest things inspire me. I’ll be reading the newspaper and come across an article that sparks a story within me. Or I’ll be talking to a friend and it will fan an idea I had into a full blown flame. I think what really encourages me to write is the idea of putting myself into other people’s heads. I tend to write about characters that are very different from me (though a lot of them do tend to be acespec) because I like to use writing as a way to explore people, as well as situations I might not generally get to experience.

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

I’ve been a total bookworm since I was a little child, so the desire to be a writer happened very organically. I had to write a diary for school, and that diary turned into a book full of short stories, and I never stopped writing since then. I think I’ve always had that need to be a writer within me. I don’t think I’m a writer because I want to be one, I just think I never really had another choice. Throughout my life whenever I strayed from writing, there were always things that brought me right back to it.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t really know if I do. I think my writing style has developed and now reflects my voice, in a sense, but I’m not sure if I do anything unique. I know I tend to be kind of indulgent, and so sometimes there are certain tropes that appear in a lot of my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Writing sucks. It may seem easy, but you will spend hours hating yourself and hating your work, and thinking you’re never going to make it big. You’re going to be stuck on a word for hours, and even days sometimes. People are going to think what you do is a hobby and treat you like you don’t know anything about the real world. Knowing all of this, if you still want to be a writer, then my friend, I promise you have it within you to succeed.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m still figuring it out, in a sense. I go back and forth between demiromantic demisexual and grayromantic graysexual. Or some mix of the two… I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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

All the damn time. I’ve always sort of fancied the idea of writing for TV, and I think part of it is because sex and romance are such a staple on TV. I want to prove that you can have characters that are openly proudly asexual and acespec and interesting in TV shows. I want to show that you don’t necessarily need sex for a story to be interesting. I don’t know if I will ever get into television, but I know I will write my book one day, and I currently have an asexual main character and a demisexual supporting character. I hope exposing people to characters like them will teach them about this sexuality. I don’t quite know how else to handle it. While aro-spec, I am heteroromantic and grew up in a culture where we were not exposed to the LGBT community as much. It was through TV shows that I learned I had a skewed view of the community. I want to use my books in order to do the same thing with asexuality.

That is another factor too, actually. I’m from India, and I remember once reading an advice column, and there was a boy who’d written in. He was describing how he wasn’t interested in girls so… maybe he was gay? But he also wasn’t interested in boys. He asked the person writing the advice column if there was a name for what he was. The man wrote back “The name is ‘cute’.”

That really pissed me off. I know asexual awareness isn’t going to happen anytime soon in India where the LGBT community is treated appallingly. So I think this is my way of sort of reaching out, helping people like that boy. I know he’s probably not going to pick up my book and see the ace protag and realise holy shit, I’m not broken, but I hope it will help people like him. Also, I sometimes like to believe he will too. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

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

That we just haven’t met the right one. People keep telling me that I’m wrong about myself, or that if I keep going on dates with whichever guy I’m seeing that I will develop feelings and want to have sex with him. That I’m just making up labels.

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

You’re not broken. Sometimes it’ll feel like it. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re all alone, but you’re not. There are tons of acespec people out there, and a lot of people just don’t talk about it, but we’re out there, and it’s normal, and it’s OK.

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

You can find my fanfiction here, but there isn’t much explicit ace representation in it unfortunately. A lot of my fanfiction actually has acespec characters, but since most of my longer pieces were written before I knew the terms and before I fully understood that what I was writing were demi characters, there’s some badly phrased explanations of sexual identities. My newer ones are all one-shots. Though if you want fluffy pieces where characters don’t have sex, and tend to fall in love only after knowing the other person for a while, then check it out!

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

Interview: Cat

Today we’re joined by Cat. Cat is a young and incredibly versatile artist. She does a bit of everything, from visual arts to performance art. Cat has a wide range of talents and seems to enjoy just the act of creating. Judging from her enthusiasm, this is an artist we’ll be seeing a lot of in the future. 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 do a lot of different types of art. I paint and draw, I write stories (fanfiction and short stories) and poetry, I compose and arrange music, I sing and play multiple instruments, and I’m an actress (mostly voice acting). And I’m a photographer. I do all of these, but I’m no expert. I just do what I love.

What inspires you?

Music, people, places, and events.

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

Well, I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember. I started writing somewhere around first grade and I never stopped thanks to a really great teacher. I started composing music in 2014, but I don’t remember why. I’ve sung forever and been in band for almost three years. I started taking theater last year but I think I’ve been acting for i-dont-know-how-many years. I started taking pictures back in … Oh, 2013? Probably. I just love capturing the beauty of the world in a moment and being able to let everyone else see it the way I do.p

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 art, I have a really cool way I sign my name. I don’t always use the same name, but the ‘C’ always looks the same.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Considering I’m also a young aspiring artist, I’d say “If its something you want to do, don’t let anyone stop you. It could be great, but even if its not, as long as you enjoy it, then it’s worth it to you.”

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex repulsed asexual, panromantic

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

There was once. I was drawing some ace-pride themed picture and my friend asked what asexuality was. I (and my other ace friend) tried to explain. They just said something like “but you know one day when you’re married…” and it hurt more than it should. Actually, maybe that happened a few times. I don’t get a lot of hate yet, considering I’m mostly still in the deck and I have supportive friends, so when I get it, I don’t do very well. I try to leave the room and cool down emotionally instead of starting an argument.

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

“But one day when you’re married, you’re going to have sex.” or “But god made us to be fruitful, you’re going to have kids and sex some day. Its just how it is.” I get those a lot.

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

If you’re ace, you’re ace. And sometimes that sucks, because people don’t get it. However, its not going to change, or rather, it might, and that’s okay too, but you should treat it like it won’t in the moment. Like, when someone says its just a phase; in this moment, you’re ace, and it isn’t a phase. You can’t predict the future. Neither can those who try and tell you you’ll change.

I hope that’s good advice…

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

I just made a new Tumblr for stuff I’ve done! ace-of-all-trades.tumblr.com
Also, I have fanfics on Ao3 at ThatNerdyCat15 and poems and short stories and the like on Wattpad at ThatNerdyCat15

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

Interview: Darcie Little Badger

Today we’re joined by Darcie Little Badger.  Darcie is a wonderfully talented Apache writer who writes short fiction in the the horror and dark fantasy genres.  Her work has recently appeared in Strange Horizons, Vignettes from the End of the World, and Dark Eclipse.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Profile

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write speculative fiction, stories from my daydreams and nightmares. Favorite genres include horror, dark fantasy, and fantasy. Though my published work is all short-form (< 10,000 words per story), I’ve been planning a humor/mystery/horror novel for several years; that project will begin in earnest after I complete my scientific dissertation. By day, I study phytoplankton genes.

What inspires you?

Besides those pesky daydreams and nightmares, my greatest inspirations are other authors. I read horror fiction nightly – haunting lullabies! When something really frightens me, my eyes sting and well up with tears. It’s an unconscious reaction, much like the tingly foot sensation some people experience on roller coasters. Anyway, teary-eye-resonant stories and the people who write them are definitely inspirational. My favorite horror is subtle, thoughtful, and beautiful. Diverse characters are a plus. Stuff containing stereotypes and/or edgy-to-be-edgy material won’t impress.

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

I’ve wanted to be a writer since the day I picked up a crayon and scrawled my first word, “love,” across a piece of construction paper. You can thank (or blame – your choice) my mother for that aspiration. Every night, when I was a toddler, she read nursery rhymes from thick, illustrated books, and when we ran out of rhymes, she invented new ones. Mom is also a Lipan Apache storyteller. During my childhood, she regaled school classes, scout troops, and library groups with the adventures of Trickster Coyote. While listening to my mother, I fell in love with language, especially its power to spread imagination.

My interest in dark fantasy/horror fiction emerged early, courtesy of two popular horror series. As a kid, I enjoyed R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, with the original illustrations by Stephen Gammell. If you haven’t seen Gammell’s work, be forewarned: it’s scary.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Most of my speculative fiction occurs in the same alternate reality world, an Earth that’s similar to ours but stranger. While reading my stories, look for references to a mysterious woman named Maria …

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Here’s my advice to aspiring writers: read and write voraciously, and remember that editing is an important part of writing. Very few people can create a nearly perfect piece before revisions. Above all, don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Abide by the old saying: if at first you don’t succeed, try and try (and try and try and try times infinity) again. You’re embarking on a difficult journey, but if you love to write, the trials are well worth the triumphs.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual

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

I have not experienced ace prejudice in my field. Hope I never do!

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

The “just a phase” misconception was common during my early twenties. I’ve also heard some people say that asexuality doesn’t really exist, and I’m not referring to “nothing exists” existential philosophers.

Well, my sexuality is not a phase, and I definitely exist inasmuch as anybody exists – whether or not we’re all figments of a really long dream is a discussion for another, stranger interview!

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

Polonius (from Hamlet) had a point when he said, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

You aren’t unnatural. You aren’t broken. You are part of a wonderfully diverse spectrum of people. And most importantly, you are not alone.

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

For an updated bibliography and sporadic posts, please visit my blog at https://darcielittlebadger.wordpress.com/ I have a new stories on the horizon, so stay tuned!

I’m also on Twitter @ShiningComic

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