Today we’re joined by Alex L. Alex is an amazingly talented and versatile writer. They have dabbled in a number of other arts, but writing is where their true passion lies. Judging from their enthusiasm, Alex is a writer with a very bright future ahead of them. That’s an incredibly exciting prospect as the world will always need more ace writers. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m primarily a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and fanfiction. Although I’ve dabbled in drawing, acting, photo manipulation, and even pottery, I always come back to writing. It’s what I do best and what I’m most comfortable with.
What inspires you?
That’s always the question, isn’t it? I can’t pin down what exactly inspires me with 100% certainty. An idea can crop up from something large like another artist’s work or even something as trivial as a random question from a friend. I suppose, if I’m being entirely honest, the people I see and the struggles they face often crop up in my stories through analogy and symbolism.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was what got me into fiction to begin with. Much of what started my interest in writing grew from my love of reading stories. What really pushed me to actually open up a notebook and start working was actually finding out that Christopher Paolini (author of The Inheritance Cycle and one of my favorite authors at the time) was a teenager when he wrote his first novel. It got me thinking and if he could do it, why couldn’t I?
As to whether or not I’ve always wanted to be an artist, I’m not entirely sure. I’ve always been drawn to art of all forms, but my memory is unreliable when it comes to when I was little.
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?
Nothing really comes to mind as far as signatures or symbols. I do tend to write a lot of stories revolving around strong, well-developed (at least, I try to develop them to the best of my abilities) women/feminine-presenting people, but I think that’s more because so little media actually has characters along those lines. Grey morality and the idea of fate (whether or not our actions can change it/if it even exists) pop up a lot, too.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
In general: don’t let yourself discouraged when your art turns out lower than your expectations. Everyone starts out with mediocre work and gradually grow from there, some slower than others. Take a step back and don’t worry yourself over losing inspiration or not having very much feedback. It will come to you eventually.
To other authors: it’s okay not to plan everything out entirely. It’s okay to plan everything out entirely and end up throwing out half of it anyway. It’s okay to let some stories get away from you and write themselves, but also to leave some stories unfinished in your files forever. Those little ideas that remain unwritten everywhere but in your head are just as important as those that you finish entirely.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a panromantic, non-binary asexual who lies somewhere between sex-neutral and sex-repulsed. I don’t like to be touched unless I’m completely comfortable around you, but I’m also a helpless romantic at heart.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve had a few people ask me how I can write romance when I’m missing “the most important part of a relationship” in real life, which lies in the vein of “write what you know”. I usually reply with a) that if we all wrote what we knew, science fiction and fantasy would not exist and b) if your relationship relies mostly on sex to function properly, and you’re not an aromantic who isn’t romance-positive, you really need to reevaluate your relationship because that’s kind of depressing.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Much of the misconceptions I’ve faced about asexuality go hand-in-hand with my race. But the one unrelated misconception I’ve found most annoying is that asexuals are automatically considered the same as aromantics. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to explain the difference. The runner up would be that people inherently want sex. I can’t even begin to explain everything that is wrong with that idea.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Never let anyone’s opinion invalidate what you believe about yourself. I know it’s difficult, particularly if you’re surrounded by acephobia, but please try. You will feel ten times better about yourself with the mindset that the people around you can’t say what you are/aren’t because they aren’t you. And always be comfortable with yourself. You are beautiful and deserve to be happy, and sometimes you have to be the one to bring yourself happiness. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise just because they’re uncomfortable with your orientation. You were never broken.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
All of my fanfictions can be found on Fanfiction.net and Wattpad. I’m slowly moving to Archive of Our Own, as well, but it’s slow going. Sometimes I post excerpts from both my original and fan works on my Tumblr page (http://sevenshadesofa.tumblr.com/). All four are under the same username (Seven Shades of A, often with underscores or dashes instead of spaces).
Thank you, Alex, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.