Today we’re joined by Abe. Abe is an up and coming writer. They have dabbled in poetry but mostly work in fiction. Their work is very character driven and sounds quite interesting. My thanks to them for participating in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a writer, to start with. I’ve been writing for as long as I could read, which makes it about twelve or thirteen years, now. My main focus, though, shifted from poetry to fiction somewhere about four years ago, and while I’ll still do the odd bit of poetry, I definitely don’t regret the change.
I write my fiction pieces mostly as character-driven pieces. That is to say that I create the character(s) first, and then start tossing them into situations. As a rule, I don’t write cis-het people and I try to limit the number of white characters involved in my stories. By and large, though, my writing centers around queer issues in the POC community, and that means a lot of research. A lot of hours spent reading the stories of queer POC and learning how they adapt to their communities.
What inspires you?
The resilience of the queer youth. The determination to build something better that I feel in myself, and that I see in so many other people who, like me, know that the world could be so much better. What inspires me is the persistence of MOGAI people to be positive people and to create positivity and change with their own hands.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Like I said, I’ve been writing since I could read. It was bad at first—really, really bad. And then, only really bad. And I like to think that I’ve maybe come past bad and gotten to kind of okay with a lot of room still to grow. What matters to me, though, is that I remember what my message is: that queer people exist. That we live. That we go on adventures and fight or befriend dragons, and we overthrow empires and captain spaceships and duel space pirates. And that we go to Walmart and get the hiccups and get really embarrassed when we do that thing where you choke on your own spit and then spend ten minutes coughing and wondering when you suddenly became ninety.
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?
Not so much a symbol or signature, but you won’t ever read any writing of mine with a cis-het character in the main cast. I just don’t write them, because every cis-het story has been told.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Write shitty stuff. Write stuff so bad you physically cringe. Write it, and keep writing it, and don’t stop writing it because you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your triumphs. And when you know what’s bad, you can spot it a mile off in good writing and avoid it.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I ID as asexual aroflux, meaning that I don’t experience sexual attraction of any kind, and my romantic attraction exists on an ever-moving swing back and forth from “I like you” to “no but I love you” to “nah, bro, I like you.”
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Yes. A lot of it seems to be centered around the idea that a character like me — an aro-ace — can’t be a dynamic and fantastic character. Especially not in modern fiction. And it hurts to have so few examples of people like me anywhere in the field.
What’s more, people question my understanding of romantic love. I love writing romance plots, and I like writing sex, and there’s this thought line that goes “well, if you’re ace, how do you even know what good sex looks like?” That one goes right alongside the “well, if you’re aroflux, how do you even know what a healthy relationship looks like?” And it’s absurd. It’s genuinely absurd, because I’ve never been a pirate and I can write one of those pretty damn well. I’ve never lived in New York, and I’ve never been a sluagh, and I’ve never lived in Palestine, but research allows me to write these things knowingly and delve into them.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That asexual people want nothing to do with anything sexual. And while that’s true for some aces — and is totally and completely valid — it’s not true for all. I guess my big issue is that a single version of asexuality has been left to represent the whole of asexuality.
For me, personally, I’m a part of the BDSM community as well, and it’s the same story. A lack of real representation has led to a hyper-narrow public image of what BDSM looks like, and it’s not good for anyone. I generally include aspects of BDSM in many of my romance-based plots, but not ever without doing my research and making sure I understand how a healthy scene works.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Statistics only apply to groups. You are an individual. If you feel like mixing and matching words to find the label that fits you, do just that. Language exists for clarification, and anyone who starts pulling that “you’ve reached your diversity quota” crap on you obviously missed this key point.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Right now I’m a bit in flux, but my tumblr is daddyabethings.tumblr.com, and once I set up shop somewhere more permanent that will be the first place you’ll hear about it.
Thank you so much, Abe, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.