Interview: Rhys

Today we’re joined by Rhys. Rhys is a wonderful young writer who enjoys writing stories that she enjoys reading. It’s very obvious that writing is a great joy in her life, which always makes for a great interview (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’ve been writing/not finishing stories since I was 12. They have all been fictional/always just what I want to read: a crazy girl trapped in a school during the zombie apocalypse after being bullied/locked in a locker, a person who will burn down entire buildings only when asked to, etc. I’ve been trying to type up the ChoiceScript computer code necessary to make my online interactive novels, too, but it’s so much harder with everything you have to do to make it work. I think the farthest I’ve ever gotten on anything was about 64,000 words and I haven’t touched that story in 4 years. I love them all, though. Every last one, no matter how horrible they might be compared to what I do now: they were made for me to be read by me. (I am actually working on a story for others to read, but I only have a page of it written so far. It’s my pride and joy right now, after my one about the sentient handprint that punches people.)

What inspires you?

I never really thought about it. I guess my co-writer. We found each other online and she’s been a great source of positivity for the last 9 months or so. We’re both horrible procrastinators and we both love psychological stories. When she gets inspired to write it her stories, it rubs off on me and I get excited to continue. 🙂 My family as well (I’m the youngest of 3 girls): my middle sister has read/edited my stories in the past, my oldest sister draws art of my characters for me sometimes (including the art of my pseudonym), and my mother lets me talk for hours about my ideas. They are all amazing and it makes me feel like my writing is important.

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

When I started writing at age 12, I remember finishing the book The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and thinking about how I liked it, BUT, I also really wanted to read a similar story with such-and-such a main character and the plot happening such-and-such a specific way. I even knew how I wanted it to end. So, I got on my family computer, went to Google, and asked myself “How do I search for this book I want? I can’t? Why not? Meh, I’ll just write it myself, then.” And I wrote it myself.

For some reason I took a break from writing after age 12 until my first year of high school. (I had completely stopped reading books altogether for those 2 years.) I then picked up Stephen King’s The Dark Half and suddenly I wanted to write about evil twins. But not JUST evil twins: a person who split into two people who were both equally horrible and unlikeable. Because who needs likable characters? Nobody! And I haven’t stopped writing since. (Though I have taken up interactive ‘choose your own adventure’-app storytelling. That’s what most of my reading amounts to nowadays. –whispers- www.choiceofgames.com)

In conclusion: no, I haven’t always wanted to write, but it’s become a major part of my private life. I was born to write and I’ll die writing. If I lose my hands someday, I’ll write with a pen between my teeth. (Actually, I won’t because I’m a digital writer all the way. ‘A digi-pen between my teeth.’)

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?

Let’s see…in all I’ve ever written in these years, I’ve only ever written 2 romances into my stories. Both were lesbians. Neither involved sex.

I also tend to do/not do quite a few things when I write: I either over-describe or under-describe, I don’t care about settings much (not much background description), I hate the terms ‘he said’ and ‘she said’, and I never describe a person’s facial features. The last one might just be a touch of prosopagnosia on my part. (The inability to distinguish between one human face and another.)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I have a friend who broke down in tears when someone looked at her writing: don’t do that. Not everyone is going to like/appreciate what you do, and that’s okay. Don’t write just to get people to accept you, but a stranger’s opinion doesn’t matter. What matters is what you want to write and how you feel about your writing. Fanfiction, short stories, poetry-it’s all about YOU. Everyone else comes second.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as pan-romantic asexual.

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

Not personally? No one really knows me enough to be prejudice against me in real life, but there is a lot of ignorance about asexuality on the internet/in entertainment like books and movies. I don’t appreciate the ace stereotypes (loner, unloved, serial killer, immature, repressed, SAD) one bit, but I also know of a lot of harmful stereotypes for other orientations that also need to end. Stereotypes are so stupid. I ignore them in media and I am working to add more positive examples into circulation with a story I’m writing now. For the internet, some people are just not going to listen and need to be left alone. I’ve been called a lot of things anonymously online when I defend asexuality, and I just let it go. They don’t know me and history will prove them wrong. (Hamilton)

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

Well, for one: people don’t know what it is. Then, it’s people being confused on how it’s possible to not feel sexual attraction because ‘everyone feels it’. After that, it’s them either verbally assuming you’ll die sad and alone without sex to guide you or questioning any relationship you’ve ever been in or are in at that moment.

The misconception: romance only happens under soiled bedsheets.

Who cares what you think? Don’t treat that person badly just because you think relationships can’t be real without sex. Who died and made you the king of romance? Nobody? Then shut up.

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

There’s nothing to stress over: labels aren’t for stressing, they’re for confidence. We make them to help like-minded people find each other, and asexuality is just something that will help you learn more about yourself. If you feel that it means something to you, embrace that part of yourself and continue on with your life with it by your side.

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

In the year 2057, I might have a book out? I don’t really post anything online. I’m not a social person, either….I have 1 follower on Tumblr that’s not a porn spammer. I don’t use Twitter or anything else. If you want to be friends, then I guess you can hang out with me on Tumblr? (at) rhysgraves or however you find accounts. I don’t talk much. Or post, since I never finish anything. Interacting with society online or otherwise is not my strong suit, but I do like having writer friends to talk to. I have one so far. 🙂

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

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