Today we’re joined by Zak. Zak is a wonderfully talented poet from Saskatchewan. He writes both fiction and nonfiction as well as modern poetry. When he’s not writing, Zak works with high needs students and runs a creative writing club after school. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and help run a high school drama program. I write various forms of fiction, but the majority of my work has an edge of fantasy. I enjoy science fiction, but I’m never satisfied with my own. My poetry is very modern — meaning I don’t worry about rhyme scheme and other “rules”.
What inspires you?
My inspirations. Hmm. That’s a hard one. For my fiction, honestly ideas just pop into my head and I run with it. Hopefully not straight into a wall! I take inspiration for my poetry from my surroundings and what’s going on in my life. Sure makes reading a collection of my poems interesting!
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always loved reading, but it wasn’t until a grade 6 English assignment that I became interested in writing. Poetry is another story. I used to hate it. Loathe it. Until I read a poem by Pablo Neruda in grade 12. “Tonight I can write the saddest lines” changed my life. I fell in love with poetry and the way words can make you feel. I hope that someday my words can evoke the same emotions for others.
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?
I’ve never really thought about that. I don’t really think so? I’ll let other people figure that out.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep going. Don’t give up on your passions. It’s so easy to get depressed when you’re starting out in the arts, but don’t give into it! Someone out there appreciates what you’re doing, even when you don’t feel it.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a demipanromantic asexual. Genderwise, I self identify as non-binary.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Most people have been pretty good with my asexuality. I’ve had to explain what it means to a lot of people, but after the explanation it’s been good. The worst I’ve experienced has been from my mother. Tons of insensitive questions, and she was worried about what people would think of her. She even asked me if my friends were worried that people would think they were “like me”. So that was fun. Suffice to say, I have not come out about my gender to her.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
A bisexual friend of mine asked me if we were like plants. That’s it really.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You are not broken. You are beautiful and whole and loved. There will always be nay sayers, but their opinions do not matter. All that matters is you. And you are amazing. I love each and everyone of you.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I have some of work on my tumblr: shran100.tumblr.com. I have another blog that has a bunch of my older poetry on it (don’t remember the url though). You can follow me on Twitter, MrZak25, for updates and links in the future, or check my instagram, shran1001, for the same! Feel free to email me with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much, Zak, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.