Interview: Jessica

Today we’re joined by Jessica, who also goes by stormleviosa online. Jessica is a wonderful up and coming writer who recently had a short story published in an anthology. She’s currently a student studying English and writes in her free time. Jessica hopes to write longer narrative forms, such as novels and novellas, in the future. She’s clearly a dedicated artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her 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’m a writer when I have time but mostly I’m a student because education is important. I’ve written a few short stories and I’m currently working on longer pieces (novellas or eventually a full-length novel). I also write a lot for my college newspaper which I am also an editor of.

What inspires you?

I don’t really have a specific inspiration for my work. Some of what I write is heavily based on current affairs, particularly those I have an invested interest in such as the refugee crisis. I also write from prompts or based on other author’s works which includes dabbling in fanfiction. For my most recent piece of coursework, I wrote a short story based on 1984 with heavily implied connections to the Brexit situation in the UK.

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

It sounds cliché but I’ve been writing since I was a young child. I read a lot of books (and still do) which helped develop my skills and it escalated from there. I’m also useless at art so being able to express myself with words rather than images was important.

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 like to write about things I am passionate about and problems that need to be resolved. Often, I try to include characters that are marginalized or misrepresented by the media to spread the issue to a wider range of people. It is something that challenges my writing but is very rewarding for me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop writing! If you truly feel passionate about it, write about it and don’t let anyone convince you it’s worthless. If you hit a writer’s block, work around it by writing something else. But at the same time, it’s OK to take a break if you need to. Your writing will only suffer if you work yourself into the ground.

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?

I haven’t encountered any yet although this may be because I’m not out to many people. My sexuality does make it difficult to write romantic subplots between characters because I don’t experience those kinds of feelings.

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

Mainly that asexuality is something you will grow out of. My parents don’t know I’m asexual but whenever I mention that I don’t want a relationship they tell me I’ll change my mind. It’s not a phase to grow out of and that’s perfectly alright.

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

Don’t worry about figuring it all out right this second. You have all the time in the world to sort out what you feel and if you never find a label that fits that fine too. Any feeling you have is valid so don’t worry about categorizing them all right away.

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

I don’t have much published work but my most recent is in the DoveTales anthology (published later this year) which is compiled by Writing for Peace. There is more information on their website or you can ask me questions directly via my blog (stormleviosa.tumblr.com). I sometimes write fan fiction on AO3 under an account with the same name (StormLeviosa).

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

Interview: Mady O.

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

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

And never EVER stop writing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful writer who specializes in poetry and is currently working on a novel. She has also dabbled in short stories and nonfiction. She plays around with different forms and genres of poetry. Amy also enjoys writing in a variety of genres when it comes to prose. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Thanatos Hear Me
Thanatos Hear Me

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I write mostly poems, and I’m working on a novel, which will hopefully be finished in a few years, as well as short stories, and one-off pieces. I write in lots of genres, mainly fantasy, occasionally sci-fi, with some non-fiction thrown in every so often to mix it up. The poetry I write varies between rhyming and not rhyming, and basically wanders across all the poetry structures like iambic pentameter that we all learnt about in school.

What inspires you?

Whenever I read something really good, I sometimes have to stop and let my world shift for a few moments afterwards – I’m sure lots of people have felt the subtle shift in their thinking that happens after reading an amazing piece of work. The idea that that could someday be me – that I could change people just with my words, is mostly what keeps me going.

In more prosaic, day-to-day terms? Anything? Bits of books I’ve read, things I’ve heard or seen, random thoughts that get stuck in my head and won’t leave – all of this gets added to the mixing bowl, and sometimes art comes back out. I mostly draw from my own experiences with poetry, and my prose pieces tend to be more imaginative, drawing on things I’ve read or heard about.

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

I have honestly wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. I’ve still got the first story I ever wrote, in shaky I’ve-just-learnt-how-to-write handwriting (it was about a girl that made friends with a spider, if you’re interested), and I’ve been writing ever since. It feels like something I was made to do – like I’ve always had that urge to tell stories, and I always will. The idea that this was something I could make money from (not that I am yet), and that this was something I could devote my life to, was an epiphany for 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?

Nothing in particular. My work tends to include a lot of me in it – a lot of what I think and feel gets included, so someone who knows me pretty well could probably pinpoint what was my work, but there’s nothing specific. Greek and Roman mythology sometimes gets a mention, just because I’m really interested in it, but nothing that I would say is consistent across all my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you not to do it. If you want to create something, create it. It doesn’t matter if you never show it to anyone, or if everyone you show it to thinks it’s terrible – you’re still an artist. And also, you’ve got to love it. Even if my writing never gets any recognition – if I never get published – I won’t ever stop writing, because I couldn’t imagine not doing it. If you want your art to take you somewhere, if you want to make money, or a career, from it, you’ve got to put a lot of hours into it, and trust me, that is so much easier when you can enjoy it.

This
This

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as completely asexual, although not aromantic. Absolutely no sexual attraction to anyone, but I would like a romantic relationship.

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

I wouldn’t say I encounter a lot of prejudice. I do get a lot of ignorance from people around me, and I have a very sarcastic sense of humour, so a lot of people would probably think I was joking if I mentioned it. I haven’t talked to many other writers about it, as I’m a kind of private person, but it does seem to me that asexuality is not widely known at all, or represented in novels, which could be caused by ignorance or prejudice, really.

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

That it precludes a romantic relationship, and also that an asexual person would have to have been traumatized by something, or that they would be completely cold-hearted. People think it’s caused by something, not that it’s just part of who a person is.

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

I would say that you can choose what to label yourself. And that you don’t have to decide instantly. It took me ages to realise that I was asexual, and even longer to be comfortable using the term – and that was just in my head. I’m still cautious of telling people about it.

Also that it’s no one’s business how you identify yourself as. You’re not hurting anyone, you’re not doing something wrong – if they don’t like it, that’s their problem. Be okay with yourself as you are. You’ve discovered something new about yourself that is hard to discover (how do you figure out if you lack something? Took me ages). Be proud of yourself!

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

I do have a Tumblr blog – ifthisislifewheresthemanual – and an AO3 account Coruscant, but I do post infrequently, I’m afraid. Hopefully, in about a year, I’ll have a book published that you can all rush to read!

To Be Afraid
To be Afraid

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

Interview: Angelique Nguyen

Today we’re joined by Angélique Nguyễn. Angélique is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories, mostly in English and she’s soon going to start writing in French as well. When she’s not writing, Angélique does some visual art, mostly drawing and painting. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 will draw and paint visuals from time to time, but my current works mostly consist of writing. I like writing poetry and short stories, and I’m currently working one long-term piece of work.

My mother language is English but French is my up-and-coming second language; I have plenty of poetry written in either language.

What inspires you?

There are many things out there and within that inspire me. Often times it is a mix of my current/remembered emotions, my life experiences or other’s life experiences, the aesthetics of my world, and the lessons I’ve learned from life and others. I like taking in what happened in my world and taking it apart, mixing it up, and reconstructing it again to tell stories. The influences can be big or small. Such influences can be as large as my mother’s presence in life or as small as the way the white markings fall on my rabbits coat. Culture is also a very grand influence in my life. I always loved learning something about my own culture’s or another culture’s stories and imagining how they would fit together in the grand scheme of storytelling and human life.

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

Throughout my life, I always knew I wanted to do something to express my artsy heart, even when society seems to demand me to focus more on mathematics and science. I’m pretty good at math and science but I find I will always be more appealed by art and emotion. At the beginning of sophomore year of high school, my English teacher assigned everyone to write a short story. As I was writing my short story, I realized that not every good story needed to be long like a novel. Before, I always had this idea that good writing takes a very long time and needed to fill a lot of pages. But now I know that this is not always true.

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’m relatively new to my creative writing so I still need to explore what makes my writing unique from others. However, I find myself attempting to just the pen or fingers write and type away without thinking too much. Sometimes, it just makes sense to follow your gut feeling and see what comes out of it. This is especially true for my poetry.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you find there are no big themes or events you want to base your writing off of, then look for the small things. Even the small things could have a story behind it. You could make the story behind it. Write what you want to write and write how you want to write it. Inspiration always exists; it is up to you to find it. That will lead to you finding your comfort in writing.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

For the most part, I identify as a demi-sexual and bi. However, the truth is that my actual identity is very complicated. Even I don’t know all the answers to who I am.

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

So far, there is no aphobia I have encountered in my field. If I do encounter it, then I would simply continue living my peaceful a-spec existence.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I have encountered is that asexuality is all out being repulsed by sex, which is simply not true. When I first heard of asexuality, even I thought I qualified because I was repulsed by sexual activity. Now I know it is simply about lacking full attraction to any particular person, which is also true of me. Also, my *favorite* misconception of demi-sexuality is that it is “practical”- therefore, not a separate orientation. That is also not true because a demi-sexual actually lacks any attraction to a particular person until they get to know and bond with them as much as it takes. Whereas a typical allosexual may instantly feel attraction to this person but still take their time to get to know them before jumping into any sexual activities. That is the main difference.

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

It is okay to be or not to be asexual. Sometimes, asexuality may be permanent for one individual, but not for others. That is okay and totally valid. Maybe you know your reason to identify as asexual but maybe you don’t. That’s all right! Exploring my orientation has been a struggle for me, and it might be one for you too. However, you are never alone. All I suggest is that you simply move forward and embrace whatever identity you feel is best for you. If you don’t want any labels then that is okay, too.

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

My work is currently all over the place. But here are some common spots for posting my work:

Tumblr: 17angelsprings.tumblr.com (search “my post” or “my poems” and you will certainly find some of my poems and other works posted there)

DeviantArt: 17angelsprings.deviantart.com (you can find some written works as well as some visual art stuff)

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/17angelsprings (my current long-term writing project, Speaking My Language, is posted there, and that is where I’m compiling poems into anthologies)

Instagram: 17angelsprings (mainly reserved for my visual art)

I also hope I can eventually start a YouTube channel about mainly centered around my writing and being a writer.

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

Interview: Holly

Today we’re joined by Holly. Holly is a wonderful writer who is currently working towards a biochem degree. In her free time, she runs a D&D campaign that involves a lot of writing and worldbuilding. They’re also working on a story podcast project, which she hopes to bring to fruition in the future. Holly is clearly a dedicated and talented hobbyist, 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.

It’s something I use to distract a little bit from the real world, nothing too professional. I’m mostly interested in writing short stories, and I’m currently working on a fictional podcast series with one of my favourite people, and while we do have some scripts written up, it is going to take a while to put into production. While I’m making my way through university for a biochemistry B.Sc, most of my creative energy goes towards a lore-rich D&D campaign in a homebrew setting that I run for my very best friends. It’s difficult and long-form but it’s increased my social confidence, I’ve created some wonderful characters that I feel able to apply to different forms of writing, and it’s definitely given me more experience with storybuilding.

What inspires you?

Generally, looking at fictional stories and seeing what hasn’t been included, rather than what has. It’s satisfying to fill a gap and tell the stories of people who aren’t often looked at in popular media, i.e. neurodivergent characters, people with underrepresented gender identities and sexualities, people with disabilities, people of varying ethnic backgrounds. I’m aware that I can’t personally relate to some of the characters I write, so I do try and stay respectful and do a ton of research, ask people who know better than me, etc. Sometimes I do make characters that correspond to my own experiences with depression and severe social anxiety, and even the speech impediment I still have to manage – and the personal catharsis I get from that can be reward enough, even if I don’t do anything with the characters or works I create.

For the most part though, I tend to like interspersing mundane reality with absurd high fantasy or scifi concepts. Like a time traveler who uses their ability to cut in line before it forms, or a particularly finicky pit fiend who wants you to remove your shoes before entering its lair.

On another level, I’d say my friends inspire me on a day to day basis. Especially the person I’m working on this project with, whom I’ll call T. T has a fascinating mind and boundless creativity, and with her and K’s support, I can have days where I feel indestructible. My mum also tends to listen to whatever crazy plotlines I’ve come up with that day too, so I’d say she also plays a big part in my support network.

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

I always wanted to be an actress when I was growing up, but did a big ol’ switcharoo around college (not university, the British meaning of college), where I found an interest in biochemistry. I’d begun to feel directing and writing was more my thing by that point anyway, but didn’t have enough belief in myself to do it. I think what drew me back to creative writing alongside my STEM studies was the freedom I felt when I began this D&D campaign. Building the world, building the story, adapting to the unexpected antics of my players, it felt like when I was a kid throwing blankets and pretending they were fireballs, or picking up a stick and pretending it was a greatsword, having intricate sociopolitical plotlines with my Barbies, and all that grand stuff. I’d been doubting for a while the value of that kind of imagination, but gradually it became necessary to keep me sane during university. Now I appreciate silliness and the Rule of Cool way more than I do grimdark, gritty, realistic scenarios.

I write more often than not to just have fun. Sometimes it’s a scenario that I can’t stop thinking about and I have to write it down or it’ll keep bouncing around in my head, and other times it’s building a character that can help me feel less alone when I’m winding myself into a spiral about the simplest social situation. I write so that any potential readers can have fun too – and, if I’m lucky, find a character that they can carry about with them like I do.

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 include at least one of my NPCs from my campaign in almost everything I write – with a different name and/or species. This isn’t obvious unless you’re part of that group, though.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I have struggled with finding my voice because I thought I needed someone to address – like an audience or someone who wouldn’t reject me. But to hell with it. This isn’t a marketing strategy meeting, go ahead and shout into the void with your art until someone shouts back, if that’s what you’re after. Make the art for yourself. What’s actually stopping you?

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am ace demi-aro. I think. The ace part I’m certain about, but I’m still figuring out my romantic orientation. Demi fits for now.

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

Not in my field particularly, but I’ve been given the ‘you’re young’ and ‘you’ll find someone’ or ‘how can you not be attracted to anyone, is there something wrong with you?’ talk quite a few times by well-meaning friends or relatives. Usually this is met with an eyeroll, but it hasn’t held me back anywhere. I’ve experienced some anxiety about going to LGBTQIA events because of the whole ace inclusion debate I saw floating around at the time, but I’m fairly confident aces are more universally accepted than not, these days.

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

The idea that it means having no sex drive. Even people who are familiar with asexuality seem to fall into this trap a lot. Many non-ace people seem to have trouble separating the idea of having a libido or enjoying sex with sexual attraction. I guess I can understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t know how many times I’ve said the sentence: “Asexuality is literally just a lack of sexual attraction. It means I don’t look at a person and want to have sex with them. That’s it.”

Some people seem to get it after that explanation. Others don’t. Whaddya gonna do except raise awareness?

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

Finding out that you’re ace can be a confusing and deceptive road, simply because it’s harder to characterize a lack of something than it is to characterize a different something. I thought I was bi or pan for a long time in high school because I felt the same way about all genders (turns out? Not an uncommon experience for ace/aros), and many people still don’t even believe being ace is a thing. Protip: don’t listen to those people.

What I would say? If you don’t feel you fit neatly into the ace label, firstly remember that there is a wide spectrum of asexuality, and includes identities such as gray-ace or demi-ace, but secondly remember that you don’t have to assume it. Same goes for knowing your romantic orientation. This is not required of you. Honestly, this applies to any LGBTQIA identities – you are not required to know what label you are. Just listen to yourself and trust what yourself is saying, because you know better than everyone who you are.

You are still a ‘proper ace’ if you’re not sure what labels fit you, and you’re still a ‘proper ace’ if your orientation was due to past events, or if you think it might be temporary. It is not a life sentence. It is simply what fits you the most at the time, and sexuality can be fluid as heck.

Most importantly – you are welcome here. You are welcome in LGBTQIA. You’re always free to find one of us in the ace community and ask questions if you’re not sure where you fit or how you feel about your orientation.

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

Nowhere yet as I’ve still gotta get this degree under my belt before I take on any projects, but soon. Soon.

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

Interview: Jordan

Today we’re joined by Jordan. Jordan is a fantastic author who currently has a short story out in the world, in the collection entitled Athena’s Daughters. When she’s not writing, Jordan does various crafts and even enjoys singing in a local LGBTQIA+ affirming chorus. Jordan is obviously an incredibly dedicated and passionate 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’m a writer who dabbles in art and various and sundry forms of crafting. I mainly write curriculum material these days (I’m a high school English teacher), but I’m a Published Author (all-caps, so official, yes yes) with a short story out in the world. I enjoy making costumes, knitting, doing cross-stitch, writing fan-fiction, and baking. Oh! I sing, too. I’m a member of an LGBT-affirming chorus in my hometown.

What inspires you?

My family and friends, and often, my students. And books! Good lord, books. I read voraciously, and nothing is more inspiring than encountering a book that you can get yourself completely lost in for a few hours. I read a lot of historical fiction, and I’ve been diving into LGBT+ YA quite a bit since I started teaching. Glorious stuff, all.

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

I’ve always been interested in the arts. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been writing stories. I remember a “series” I wrote when I was in first or second grade all about my favorite teddy bear. It was called “Cinnamon: Bear of the World,” and it chronicled the adventures of my teddy as he saved lives and spread love across the globe. I fell in love with anime in middle school and started drawing then — I’ve never stopped, really, although my anime obsession has fallen to the wayside (probably for the best). I was introduced to Broadway pretty early by my parents who recognized a drama student when they saw one, and after seeing “Beauty & the Beast” when I was 7, I’ve never looked back.

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 necessarily include them in my “official” work, but I like to sneak opossums in whenever I can. I always draw opossums when I sign yearbooks, and I’ve gotten very good at drawing one on the spot in less than 10 seconds.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your craft. If you’re an aspiring writer, WRITE! Love art but not sure if you’re good enough to make it in the real world? Who cares! Draw! Paint! Sew! Bake! Even if you think your stuff is awful, you’ll never get better unless you keep getting your work out there and practicing like it’s your job (and maybe it will be). I look back at things I wrote even five years ago and I shudder. We’re always developing and growing, learning, as artists, and that’s OK!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aro-ace.

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

Not necessarily in my field (although there is plenty of ace-phobia out there on the Internet, and Tumblr is no exception), but in my personal life, I struggle to get myself recognized. I’m not “out” to most of my family, but when I express my desire to remain single and my apathy towards romance, the most common response is confusion or even exasperation. My parents are afraid that I’ll end up alone, and it’s difficult to convince them that having a partner and/or getting married are not the end-all-be-all. I try to explain asexuality, usually without using the actual word, as simple and logically as I can. It’s a work in progress.

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

That you’ll “find the right person,” or that you should get into counseling. I take medicine for my OCD, and my parents have suggested that I talk to my doctor to get my prescription changed, as if that would alter my views on romance and sex.

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

You are valid, you are not a freak, you are are not unlovable or unloved. Just like gender is a spectrum, so too is sexuality. Some people like girls; some people like guys; some people like both; some people like everybody; and yes, some people don’t “like” anyone, and that doesn’t mean you’re broken. Your life can be as full and rewarding as you want it to be: your worth is NOT measured by your libido. Be strong, loves, and surround yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are.

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

My short story “As Far as Death This Way” is in the Athena’s Daughter’s 2 Anthology published by Silence in the Library and can be purchased in hard-copy or eBook form on Amazon at http://a.co/3fx7mPK

I’m on Tumblr at dozmuffinxc, Instagram at extermiteach, and I have a fledgling travel blog at http://www.anopossumabroad.wordpress.com.

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

Interview: Beth

Today we’re joined by Beth. Beth is a wonderful young actor and writer. For writing, they write a mix of fanfiction and short stories. They studied English Literature in college and have had a passion for writing for most of their life. As for acting, Beth is part of an amateur acting group and loves the theater. They have an incredible passion and enthusiasm, 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’m 19 so I’m not mega experienced but I have been writing and acting since I was a child.

Acting

I’m studying drama and theatre studies at college. I’m a part of ‘Hessle Theatre Company,’ I’ve performed at Hull Truck theatre, Hull New Theatre. More notably I performed in an amateur acting course on Shakespeare’s Globe. I’m a City of Culture 2017 volunteer so I’ve done a lot of small performances through that. I performed in ‘into the light’ a dance for UK pride, choreographed by Gary Clarke.

Writing

I also study English literature at college. I’ve been writing my entire life really. When I was given crayons in a restaurant I’d write stories while other kids would draw. I’ve posted a fanfiction about an ace character on Archive of Our Own (pink_haired_hunter). I haven’t shown my work to most people. The fan fictions I post are always drabbles and I usually delete them pretty soon after they’re published. I’ve shown my English teacher my work and she loves it, she was really impressed with my poetry but I can’t see myself doing that. My stories are good but I struggle to finish them without getting angry and throwing them out.

What inspires you?

Acting

I use method acting, I have even before I knew it was a thing. I really feel my role so my inspiration comes from my character and my own life experiences which I can relate them to I guess.

Writing

I don’t even know. I have thousands of ideas squashed into my head so I normally write just to get them out and on to paper. I have insomnia because all the story’s that won’t shut up and let me sleep ahaha I take inspiration from what I see in everyday life. I’ll see a person on the bus and think you’d make a brilliant character and then just let my imagination take me where it wants. I can literally be inspired by anything, litter on the floor, a car, a wall, there isn’t many particular things.

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

I have always wanted to be an artist of some kind, though I’ve frequently fluctuated on what type of artist I want to be. I’ve always been a very emotional, creative, individual and socially observant person. (Not being arrogant or anything, they’re just my best traits :/) I’ve constantly been called weird but who wants to be normal anyway? But really I’ve always been an artist at heart, there was never one moment or a trigger where I decided that.

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?

No not really. I’m not really the planning type so every idea is always completely new and different from the other.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Go for it. The worst thing I think is when people don’t try and achieve their dreams because they’re ‘unrealistic.’ The amount of people who have told me to aim for something more achievable or to utilise my talents because I’m academic is ridiculous. Somebody gets to be an actor or a novelist, why can’t it be me? There is no reason why we can’t all achieve what we want to be, just don’t let other people restrict you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

No sexual or romantic attraction whatsoever

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

Definitely ignorance. I mean, I’ve had quite a few people try to flirt with me and I’ll tell them: “I’m sorry, I’m not interested. I’m asexual and aromantic.” And then of course I have to explain what it is, which I don’t mind doing, I know not everyone knows about it and that’s fine. (It is a bit annoying the amount of people who’ve asked if I was a plant though!) And most people are you know, shocked. A lot of them don’t understand it, which I think is weird because it’s a pretty simple concept. Most people accept it though and leave me alone. A few, of course, don’t. I get the people who think “I just haven’t met the right person” or that “I don’t know until I try” wink wink. Which is uncomfortable, especially when they know I’m clearly not interested and still continue to try and flirt with me. Luckily I’ve never felt threatened in these circumstances, as they eventually leave but the issue is that I always have this fear that one time it will turn.

Prejudice wise the most I get is probably that same ignorance, sexual pressure and just the lack of acknowledgement (in terms of media or social awareness). My parents completely dismiss my sexuality and still continue to presume that I will end up married in a heterosexual relationship with kids. And on top of that dismissal I have accepting friends who don’t think acephobia is a thing and people in the LGBTQ+ community who don’t welcome or accept me. I feel as though everyone is always trying to pressure me into having sexual relations and I really hate that.

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

That it’s not real. That’s it’s a side effect of my medication. That I’ll grow out of it.

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

At the end of the day, I wear my label loose. I identify as asexual and aromantic but if those feelings change then they change. As much as I love labels to feel like a part of a group, to feel understood and validated… I also don’t want to feel trapped in my label. I might develop romantic or sexual feelings and that’s okay but for now I haven’t and that’s also okay. My main advice would be to not let it worry you so much. Tell people about it if you feel confident enough to but don’t feel like you have to because it often isn’t relevant. I don’t think anyone should have to ‘come out’ but at the same time I don’t think you should hide what you are either.

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

I’m performing in ‘The Producers’ at Hull New Theatre

My Tumblr is: iconic-ironic-insomnic
My archiveofourown is: pink_haired_hunter

There are videos of ‘into the light’ on YouTube and a documentary coming up soon. Think that’s it 🙂

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