Interview: Nessie

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

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Diana

Today we’re joined by Diana. Diana is a phenomenal artist who does a little bit of everything. She’s a theater performer who has acted in a few plays. She’s also dedicated to music, playing the viola in an orchestra. Diana also does quite a bit of writing. She’s writing for a videogame demo and she also writes a lot of fanfiction. Diana has a wonderful enthusiasm for her craft, 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 an artist in several arts, I suppose. I did theatre training for about 6 years in my local theatre, performed in my school plays and such. I also belong to a small community orchestra in which I play the viola (do not worry if you haven’t heard of it – I hadn’t, either). Finally, I write. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the past 4 years, I’m a co-writer in an upcoming demo of an indie video game, and I also write and post fanfiction.

What inspires you?

In music, what often inspires me is the sense of community in orchestra, the joy of playing together, and the beauty of the music. One just longs to hear music. Performing in theatre is something that I just enjoy immensely, and simply having so much fun makes me want to keep doing it. When writing, though, what often inspires me is the books I read, and the people I want to see in stories.

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

I’ve loved stories since I was a kid, and especially telling them. My younger cousins were the unlucky recipients of my made-up bedtime stories, and I loved performing as a storyteller. Later on, that translated into theatre and writing. I’d always wanted to dedicate myself to it, yes. Dreamed of being a professional author for a long time, if you can believe it.  For music, my mom signed me up, lame as it might sound.

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?

Diverse characters in writing, I’d like to think. I also simply love fantastical elements, no matter the genre – I think it makes everything glow. As for theatre, I often make my characters very flamboyant.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop doing what you love. It may sound cheesy and cliché, but even if it leads nowhere, financially speaking, it can brighten your day. At the worst times for me, emotionally, art was a breath of fresh air. And don’t get discouraged, hard as it is – we all start somewhere.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a sex-repulsed asexual! This might be TMI, but I usually have no problem with sex with my partner as long as I’m not the one being touched. However, I dislike NSFW art, writing, and talking about sex regularly.

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

It’s hard in music and theatre, because you mostly play others’ works, and that’s usually very detached from my asexual identity. In writing…yes, definitely. Romance novels, especially, tend to have a very, very literal climax; an upwards progression to a definite sex scene the reader is looking for. There is very little asexual inclusion in literature, so often times there is a definite ignorance. Whenever I write romance, I feel almost pressured to include a sex scene, which I’m not very comfortable with. Especially in the fanfiction and fandom community, so sex-focused and ship-centered, being asexual or aromantic isn’t popular, and you’re accused of being “ill” or discriminatory.

I usually deal with it by blocking and ignoring people whose arguments are watered down prejudice and insults, and trying to educate and speak with those who are more confused. And, in the end, the gratitude of aces who read my work is always more than worth it.

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

The plant dilemma (and, let me tell you, as a biochem student this is hilarious, since most plants are sexual). The misconception that celibacy and asexuality are the same thing, or that no ace people ever want to have sex/masturbate/have a libido.

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

Find aces, especially older ones. In my experience, having that support is always the best thing you can get. Get into ace forums, surround yourself with positivity, and don’t be too hard on yourself on whether you are or not asexual. Orientation takes time to figure out.

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

My Tumblr and Twitter are usually the place!
http://i-read-good-books.tumblr.com/
https://twitter.com/gomadelpelorota

You can also check out my fanfiction on Archive of Our Own: http://archiveofourown.org/users/thankyouforexisting

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

Interview: Erika

Today we’re joined by Erika, who also goes by one-true-houselight online. Erika is an awesomely versatile artist who dabbles in a few different fields. They do a lot of writing. Erika specializes in poetry, much of it focusing on mental health and their experiences. They’re currently working on an original story, which features three main characters who are ace and the fourth is a dragon. When they’re not writing, Erika dabbles in fanart and has written a few comics. They have also been in the theater too. It’s very clear they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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D&D Comic

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have a couple of thing I do. For a while, the only thing I did was write poetry because when I tried to write other things, I never liked what I started and never finished. So I wrote poems on many things, gravitating towards my struggle and life with mental illness. It became a coping mechanism for me. I started drawing for the first time in a long while because again, I felt like I couldn’t. But I drew a comic of a moment in the D&D campaign I am a part of because I wanted to, and I recently sent in a comic as fan mail to Rhett and Link. I also have been getting into more narrative fiction! I’ve written two fanfics: a tiny one about Rhett and Link as children, and one Psych one where I explore Shawn being aro-spec. I’m also working on an original story with three ace main characters, one of whom is non-binary. So that’s fun. I’ve also been doing theatre for years, and I’d like to think I’ve created some art there as well.

What inspires you?

I love that I get to create things in ways I feel comfortable doing so, and I love that doing so can help me understand things better. Like, when I would write a poem about my anxiety, I could use interesting turns of phrase to define what before was just unintelligible screaming in my head. Drawing my and my friends D&D characters made the game feel more present. I explored my fear of heights and the demiromantic part of myself in my fics. I had just recently figured out I was non-binary when I started my original piece, so I got to write a character going through similar things. And my time in theatre has let me see the human condition in so many ways.

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

Most of the time, I started by just fooling around with the field until I realized I really liked 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 have a weird symbol I draw that combines my first and last initials. You can see it in the last panel of the comic attached. That’s just for the small amount of drawing I do, though. Beyond that… I don’t think so?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Hello young artist! I will repeat the advice you often get: keep practicing, you are good enough, don’t give up. All that. And also: do the art that makes you happy. Do the art that makes you feel things, that means something to you. Yes, if/when it becomes a career, that isn’t always possible. But understand what you want to do, what makes you feel whole. Then, even when you don’t have a ‘dream’ project, you know why you are where you are. If that makes sense.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and akoi-demi-bi romantic. I know. I don’t find it any easier to understand than you do.

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

Um. I mean, there is the ever-present ‘entertainment must have sex to be good/wanted by a lot of people’, but since I am a hobbyist at best, I don’t get too much problem with it? And obviously my coworkers sometimes don’t understand everything, but I have been so lucky to have people who do their best and listen to me.

Handling it for me is either just explaining or sarcasm. Again, I am in a position of privilege where I can do that without fear from most people I encounter.

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

Probably just ‘how’. A lot of people can’t wrap their heads around how it is possible. I also get people assuming it means someone just doesn’t like sex, but since I am sex repulsed I generally try to explain that while I might be like that, not everyone is.

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

Hello friends! Guess what? I love you in the least creepy way possible. And for real, you are fine. It’s hard. I felt so amazing when I figured out I was ace, and I still sometimes get crippling self-doubt and fear. We live in a world where our identities are erased, ignored, joked about, misinterpreted, and so many other things. But we are who we are, and we will be ok. If you want to find someone, you can. If you don’t want to, you will be fine. You deserve to be happy and loved in a way that you are OK with. Don’t let people tell you that you deserve less of anything.

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

You can find me on Tumblr and AO3 at one-true-houselight. I tagged everything about my RandL comic as ‘comic’ (I know), and some D&D stuff fell in there as well. My writing tag is ‘I write sometimes’. Ask me theatre stories if you want a fun time. Have a lovely day!

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

Interview: Leon

Today we’re joined by Leon. Leon is a wonderful writer and dabbles in crafts. They are an eclectic artist who has done a bit of everything. They have worked in theater (acting, tech, stage management, directing) and do quite a bit of writing. When they’re not writing, they also do a lot of knitting as well as coloring. It’s very clear they’re a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’d consider myself something of a ‘jack of many (creative) trades’. I have a short attention span, the constant need to be busy, a long-standing habit of having whimsical trains of thoughts I can hardly keep track of myself and I grew up with the internet where any number of basic skill sets are a quick Google search away. I collect funny little ideas and random hobbies and nifty bits of information that eventually I figure I will find use for (like book binding … haven’t gotten around to using that info quite yet but some day)

I’ve been a storyteller practically my whole life and a writer for most of that. My dad was a writer, so I picked that up from him. I got involved with theater during middle and high school. First acting, then various back stage and tech theater works. I lived in a small town a few years ago where I was the designated ’emergency backup’ person for the local theater company, always available for lighting, sound, props, painting, costumes, whatever they needed. I picked up knitting in my early teens, played around with that, taught myself how to knit plush animals and dolls and such. I’ve made several based on some of my favorite video game characters. I also like just experimenting and messing around with various creative projects.

I got really taken in by the adult coloring book trend, which has been exciting for me. I don’t really have much of a talent for drawing and that kind of visual art, and not enough patience to really develop it. But I love coloring. I love messing around with my colored pencils and my gel pens and figuring out how to make nifty little effects with glitter. I can work on multiple different pages from multiple different books as the mood suits me. Plus, I am so absolutely a crafter. So I get to think of fun ways to use the pretty colored in pages when I’m done. (I am in a ‘modge podge the heck out of everything’ phase right now) and then I get to figure out how to do those things and pick up a bunch of little crafting skills. It’s been tons of fun.

bat box3
Bat Box

What inspires you?

So many things. I have a real habit of latching on to little ideas or tropes and just trying to figure all the possible ways I could express them and in what medium and why. And then latching onto random ideas that come up when I think about this stuff.

Example: I got stuck on this nifty idea of inverting the ‘The Dead Have Names’ trope and giving a related speech to the villain. Because it’s such a ‘hero’ thing, giving it to the villain gets really chilling and strange. So then I think about the general idea of inverting tropes along those lines. Since I’ve been coloring a lot lately I start thinking about color inversions. And now I have two dragon pictures, one of which is a ‘water dragon’ which I’m going to coloring in various shades of red and orange and the other is a ‘fire dragon’ I’m going to be coloring in shades of blue.

With all the coloring I’ve been doing lately I tend to get inspired by the pages themselves. I know I want to color this or that page in with only metallic gel pens. And I’ve been working so much in color lately I’ll get color schemes stuck in my head even if I don’t know where I want to utilize them yet.

And in a more abstract sense… my dad taught me to look at creative ‘problems’ (in the loosest sense of the word) like riddles, to apply whatever creative skills/knowledge I did have to fill the rest in. So I tend to have a ‘make it up as I go’ approach to all my art/creative stuff. And that inspires me too, just trying to work out a ‘problem’, the constant thinking and wondering and ruminating.

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

I guess I always sort of wanted to be an artist, but I never really had a specific idea of what that meant. I liked writing so I figured I’d just … write stuff. Which I did. I liked theater so I did that too. I liked knitting and coloring and wood shop and cooking and so on.

I got the writing and storytelling thing from my dad. And everything else just sort of blossomed from that in a weird organic kind of way that I can’t really pin down, even looking back on it. A lot of the stuff I’ve learned to do was to facilitate a vague idea of storytelling. I got into tech theater, into lighting and sound design, so I could figure out how to make the best use of that to facilitate a stage show. I started knitting plush dolls of video game characters to be able to bring those characters and ideas into another aspect of my life, off the screen (also the reasoning for why I write fanfic). I love looking at the different ways people color the same coloring page because of how drastically different the end results of coloring the same image can be. I over analyze the crap out narrative heavy video games because I like seeing how different narrative tools can slot together and all of the ways video games making story telling weird or strange or unique.

Untitled

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?

When I do visual type art (in the broadest sense) I very often end up using various pride flag colors (which makes me chuckle to myself) just because I can

I also have a serious love of inverting various tropes, just turning basic common assumptions on their head. Not so much a signature as a ‘reoccurring theme’.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

Not just for the experience or for the opportunity to get better either. But because it’s fun, it makes you happy, it’s something to stave off the boredom, it keeps you busy, it just something you want to do. It’s worth doing because it’s worth doing.

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Flower Lantern

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a bi/pan ace.

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

Yeah, typically of the general, non-malicious ignorance variety, which usually results in me just offering some basic 101-type information.

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

The ‘attraction = behavior’ thing. Like the assumption that celibacy and asexually are the same thing

And because the fact that I’m trans often comes up around the same time as the fact that I’m ace comes up, I also get the ‘hey do you think maybe you’re ace because you’re trans’ thing a lot personally, usually with the implication that if this is the case it means one of those IDs is therefore less valid. Which usually results in me just going flat ‘no’ because I often don’t have the time (or emotional energy) for a long nuanced discussion.

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Metallic Bookmarks

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

It’s okay to not totally have your orientation strictly defined. It’s okay to take time to figure it out. It’s okay if you never figure it out completely and if whatever labels you use are basically ‘as accurate as I can be right now’. It’s okay to be as specific or as nonspecific as you want, you have no obligation to define your orientation to any arbitrary degree of specification. It’s fine if your ace-ness is/was influenced by some external factor. It’s okay if you weren’t ace before but are now. It’s okay if you stop IDing as ace later. It’s okay if you only ID as ace with no other labels.

You don’t have to justify your orientation to anyone. You don’t even have to explain any more than you want. It’s fine if you can’t explain. It’s fine if you just don’t want to.

Just… you do you.

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

Some older tags on my blog have some of my knitting stuff.
http://i-sauntered-vaguely-downwards.tumblr.com/tagged/leon-the-ace-knitter
http://i-sauntered-vaguely-downwards.tumblr.com/tagged/leon-knits-things

I have an Etsy shop up that has the results of my ‘what can I do with these pretty colored in coloring book pages’ adventures.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColorToTheMoon

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Metallic Cat Purple

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

Interview: Nicole C.

Today we’re joined by Nicole C. Nicole is a wonderful young up and coming artist who does a lot of acting. She also professionally models. For acting, Nicole does a number of theater arts: musicals, plays, one acts, and improv. She’s clearly a very passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a part of my theater group in my high school, this is my 7th year being in theater, I’ve been in countless productions including, Musicals, Full plays, One acts and Improv Shows. I recently won an award from my County event for directing a short skit. I am working with a talent agency that has allowed me to book modeling gigs and auditions in LA/Hollywood

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a panromantic Demisexual.

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

I have not

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

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

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

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

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

My Instagram at raincloudingg or Tumblr at raincloudingg.

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

Interview: Ben

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

Headshot(Fall 2016)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

Horrible People Productions

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Individual 4

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

Interview: Zachary

Today we’re joined by Zachary. Zachary is a young writer who has an incredibly passion for the theater. They’re a playwright and they’ve recently written a play about a girl coming to terms with her asexuality. Zachary also aspires to act one day. It’s very clear they have a bright future ahead of them. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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