Interview: Rayah

Today we’re joined by Rayah. Rayah is a wonderful writer who has written a few stories, including one for an anthology that’s soon to be released. Rayah works for a publishing house that specializes in LGBTQIA+ work. She has a great deal of passion and enthusiasm for writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer. I have been published with two short stories so far. One of the anthologies still hasn’t come out yet though. It’ll be out soon.

What inspires you?

My stories inspiration generally comes from real life experiences, and I kind of elaborate and imagination “what ifs” from there. I also draw inspiration from other writers and their works.

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

Well, I have my BA in English, and since a very early age I have been an avid reader. I’ve always been drawn in by stories and devoured them with enthusiasm … and I guess it was only natural after a while to want to write some of my own. Over the past year, I have started managing a small publishing house with my best friend. That’s given me more drive and motivation to pursue more published works.

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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?

Those that know me can usually tell that I have a character that sort of like me within my stories. I can’t help it. I also write furry stuff sometimes. The publishing house that I manage has a large base of furry writers that we publish and work with. It’s by no means all that I do, but it’s what my currently published story falls under.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For aspiring writers, I encourage you to be avid readers of the genres you are interested in. Explore others styles, learn the rules and norms of the writing through reading. It’s really the best way to learn.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteromantic asexual… and I’m also exploring the idea of polyamory.

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

Not so much prejudice. Perhaps a bit of ignorance. There’s a lack of visibility for sure. It’s difficult for people who are not asexual to imagine it, and that also makes it hard to write it. Even as an asexual, I often struggle to know how to write an effective and complex asexual character. It’s definitely something that I feel like writers are still trying to figure out.

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

That I will never have a fulfilled relationship without sex or that I never will have sex. Neither are necessarily true.

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

Try to surround yourself with understanding people and friends if possible. I actually didn’t even realize what I was until a friend pointed out I could be demisexual (upon later research I learn I am actually asexual) … and after that conversation is when I did my research, and I realized that I wasn’t broken like I had always though. That felt liberating. I came out as asexual for the first time to the same best friend who suggested demisexuality. I knew he’d be a safe place to do that, and it really help me just to be open about it with him. It helped me to explore it by doing the research too. I also had the chance to go to a local pride event during this time of figuring out I was asexual, and even though I was too shy to talk to anyone, I saw individuals wearing ace colors and that made me feel less alone.

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

They can find the book I am currently published in here… https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Deadly-Sins-Furry-Confessions/dp/1945247096/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491185017&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+deadly+sins+furry+confessions (This is a pretty dark and rated R book. My piece is not sexually explicit though, but beware if you are sex repulsed or you don’t like dark stuff. Not all of it is sexual in nature, but all of it is dark. This is not a book for everyone….)

For updates about my writing and my work they can follow me on Twitter at rayahbunny. I am working on some stuff that’s not quite as niche as this first work, and I am always editing and managing fun books through our publishing house, thurstonhowlpublications.com, so I am always involved in the writing and creating process.

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

Interview: Cas Fletcher

Today we’re joined by Cas Fletcher. Cas is a wonderful writer who writes in a variety of forms. She writes short fiction, poetry, and fanfiction. Cas is currently working on a longer story, which might become a novel. It’s very apparent that she loves the art of writing, 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 mostly write short stories and poetry, but I also write fanfiction and I am planning something of a longer piece at the moment. Not sure if it’ll be a full length novel, but I suppose I’ll find out when I get there.

What inspires you?

I feel like I have a lot of different stories to tell and I am mostly motivated by my characters demanding that I write them down, however I do feel like another major motivation for me is spite. Ever since Steven Moffat’s lovely ‘asexuals are boring’ comment, my main aim is to include as many asexual characters as possible in my stories, just to prove him wrong. That and his special interest in nonsensical plots and overindulgent twists have set me firmly on the course to prove myself better than him.

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

I read a lot of books as a child and I came across a book that had been written by a girl who was fourteen at the time, and my little girl brain thought ‘well I’m nine, I’ve got plenty of time to write a book’ (I haven’t and I’m twenty-one now, but oh well, I’ll get there) and I’ve been writing since then.

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?

Nothing particularly special, I don’t think. The strongest aspect of my writing is often the dialogue, so you’ll find a lot of that in the longer pieces.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be, don’t be discouraged if you read back a first draft and it’s not exactly the way you want it to be. Editing and redrafting is the majority of the process and if you keep at it, it’ll get there eventually. Also try not to compare yourself to other authors’ published work. When you read a book, it’s been extensively polished and edited, and what you’re looking at is the result of month-years of hard work, arguing with editors and a lot of wasted ink. Finally, let your characters drive the plot, otherwise the plot just comes across as empty and forced. They are the core of the story.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, bi-romantic.

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

Nothing especially in my field, but perhaps an abundance of forced, explicit sexual scenes. Once my scriptwriting tutor told me that my relationship is meaningless because I don’t have sex (not that she even knows this) and that was quite hurtful.

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

When I first got together with my boyfriend, people kept asking me ‘so does that mean you’re not asexual anymore?’ It’s like they think that it just goes away as soon as you get a partner.

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

My advice would be to find as much information as you can. Definitely check out AVEN. It helps a lot to know that you aren’t the only one that feels this way. I’m only just discovering the community myself and I’ve felt very welcomed.

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

My original works can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/casfletcherwriting/ WordPress: https://casfletcher.wordpress.com/ and Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/casfletcherwriting, whichever you’d prefer, and my fanfiction can be found on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Nurmengardx/pseuds/Nurmengardx

I’m working on my dissertation right now, but I hope to post a lot more once I graduate.

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

Interview: Danae

Today we’re joined by Danae, who also goes by halfcrazedauthor. Danae is an incredibly versatile artist who hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like. She’s mostly a writer, though she also dabbles in digital art and has made comic strips about asexuality. Danae also enjoys crafts and does a bit of knitting and sewing. She’s a very passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Matt Murdock

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I do quite a bit of different types of art- I like to consider myself an author primarily, but I also do some drawing, knitting, sewing, and other crafty things (as well as music, singing, a bit of acting and other fun artsy things)! I love to write fantasy above most other things, but I also enjoy poems and short stories. One day I hope to make money from my craft, but until then, it’s just something I do for fun. I have written one full novel, and have two in the works along with many short stories and tons of poems. I also love to draw and paint, especially digital art. I’ve been working on illustrating my poems and making asexual themed comics, but I also love to draw other things.

What inspires you?

Sooooooooooo many things inspire me. Honestly, a random comment can send my brain into a creative spiral. My poem “Frozen Bubbles” resulted from a classroom discussion on a man who blows bubbles from his window. When I’m actively looking for inspiration though, I usually go to music. Music is an incredible tool that touches souls and minds in a glorious chorus. I can “tap into” music to find the emotions I need for my writing, or to separate myself enough from reality. It is one of my greatest tools.

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

I remember the moment I realized that writing was for me. I was young, probably about eight or so, riding in a car with my mother. I made some sort of comment about the closing of a store I liked, bemoaning the end of my favorite place to shop. My mom told me, “You can write about it being open. You can do anything you want when you write.” She had no idea how much that simple idea affected me. Writing became my control, my way to keep hold of my world. Now, years later, I love writing. I’ve learned that I have certain gifts that allow me to write well. It’s more than just an escape for me- it’s a world that lives in me and wants to be shared.

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 don’t really have a specific signature, although I do have an odd fascination with eyes and eye color. I’ve used eye color as a kind of motif in more than one book.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Cheesy as it is, my advice is to keep going no matter what. Quite often, art is better than the artist believes. At least, that’s what I’ve found. You will always see all the mistakes in whatever art you create, but that’s not what viewers see. Keep going. Always keep creating, because you have something no one else does.

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Self Pity

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as demisexual, although I’m not entirely sure I’m not completely ace. It’s irritatingly complicated. I am sure I’m somewhere on the spectrum, it’s just a question of where exactly I fall.

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

I haven’t really encountered any ace prejudice, but I also haven’t been very “out” about it before now. I’ve had this knowledge about being “different” for years, and even started to explore labels at one point, but I hadn’t been very open about it until recently.

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

I think I would say that the most common misconception I’ve encountered revolves around demisexuality. So many times, I have heard people say “isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?” Even one of my friends, who is definitely not asexual, didn’t understand until we had a detailed talk about what asexuality really is. I’m sure I’ll come across more misconceptions as I live in this label.

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

I guess I’ll give the advice I wish I had when I was younger.

You aren’t broken. You are different, and it’s alright to be different. You actually do see things differently. The other people you are around feel different things, experience different things. You are wonderful the way you are and there is nothing you need to fix. There is a whole community around you, one you are a part of because of how you were made. Accept it, enjoy it, believe it.

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

I post my work on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and WordPress under the names halfcrazedauthor and artofapoet. I love to interact with my readers/viewers, so feel free to message me!

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Asexual Issues Plant Ending

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

Interview: Justine

Today we’re joined by Justine. Justine is a fantastic young writer who enjoys writing poetry and short stories. She’s also working on a novel and hopes to make a living through writing one day. Judging from her enthusiasm, she has a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write poetry and short stories, and am currently writing a book. I’m in the business for making more stories with ace characters 🙂

What inspires you?

Many things inspire me, but it’s mostly my past and things I have been through. Most of my poems are pain based.

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

I’m super into just… words. Literature. The idea of putting things down on paper.

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 don’t yet, but I’m working on developing one.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

As Nike would say… Just do it.

As I would say… write it like you mean it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m heteromantic Asexual

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

As a white, straight, young (16) ace, I have received many “opinions” that were more than just hurtful. I have always just brushed it off, educated the person to the best of my own knowledge, and left them with that. The truth.

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

“You’ll change your mind later” or my favorite: “you’ll want the D on the honeymoon”

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

You are 100% valid, and there is nothing wrong with you. There is power in the word “Ace”.

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

On my side Tumblr: spaceyscrawls.

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

Interview: Laura

Today we’re joined by Laura. Laura is a wonderful artist from France who does a lot of traditional drawing and also writing. She publishes both original work and fanfiction online, both in French and English. Laura recently started getting into drawing and her work shows an artist with an incredible eye. She’s obviously an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I struggle with considering myself an artist, I think I just dabble, but I’ve been writing for… ten years now? Both Fanfictions and original works, short stories. And I draw, although I really started this year to get seriously into it (I did a “one drawing a day” challenge and held up to it pretty good). I draw traditional drawing, mostly black and white, but I’d like to get more into painting when I have the time.

What inspires you?

For fanfictions, my ships haha, and what I want to read in fanfic and can’t find. For short stories I mostly write for contest, so I follow the theme! I write fantastic and sci-fi and I’d like to write for a living some day. I think I put a lot of myself into it too.

For drawing, it can be anything, what happened during the day, an event, the places I visited or the people I met. I do fanart too, portraits, landscapes, typography… anything really. Life inspires me, music too, the world in general.

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

When I was maybe ten I started writing the stories I imagined about my favourite characters and show, and when I discovered fandom later I fond out it was called fanfiction. I’ve wanted to be a writer for a very long time, even if I admit it only just now. Writing makes me happy.

I’ve been drawing for even longer I think, back when I was a little girl, but I gave up on it on the way. Then I went to architecture school and it made me want to go back to it. I never wanted to be an architect though, it kind of… happened. I didn’t plan on doing anything with my drawing either but now I don’t know, maybe?

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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?

Hm, I don’t think so. But my pseudo have been Inrainbowz for almost as long as I’ve been on the internet and I’d like to keep that as a symbol, be it in a signature or a penname. I’m thinking about it!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Not too look too much around, at least not for comparison. Of course it’s great to be inspired by others, but you’ll always find someone better than you. It doesn’t matter. It’s actually an advice I try to apply to myself, because I always look at those who do better than me, have more comments, more feedback… The internet can be tricky with this, can make you feel like you don’t get recognition because you’re not good enough, but the truth is it’s mostly luck. And if there is just one person who likes what you do, just one who felt something, who was moved by your art, for whom it changed something, then it’s worth it. It’s enough. Even if this person is you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and I identify as panromantic, but I’m thinking more and more that I might be aromantic too, it’s a work in progress.

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

Yeah, of course. I’ve had people, acquaintances and friends, thinking I (or ace people in general) just “hadn’t met the right person” and that “when you fall in love you’ll want sex then”. I don’t think I’m very good at handling it, usually I just shrug, because what do they know? Truth is I used to have those opinions too, so I know where they’re coming from and why they say that. I rarely feel like educating people and I don’t come out that often.

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

That it will pass, it’s not real. And also that it dooms me to a life of celibacy. It’s actually a little sad how people think a relationship absolutely can’t work out if you don’t have sex regularly. Once again I used to think so when I was younger, but even out of the ace spectrum, relationships are way more complicated than that. And there are people understanding and cool about it still, they exist.

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

Don’t deny yourself. I know it’s scary and you might think that it’s something bad, that you don’t want it, but you have to be at peace with yourself, and you can’t do that if you force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, and if you lie to yourself. It will only hurt you. And it’s a bit cliché, but you’re not alone. Find others like you. I can’t say how much Tumblr helped me on that matter, what a relief it was to find blogs and people who shared similar experiences. When you read enough you can finally be convinced that there’s nothing wrong with you, just like there’s nothing wrong with all those people you get to interact with. There’s more to life than sex and romance, there’s plenty left to discover and experience.

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

I write fanfic in English on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Inrainbowz, and in French on fanfiction.net: https://www.fanfiction.net/~inrainbowz. Both my short stories (http://l-ecriture-des-choses.blogspot.fr/) and poems (http://l-ecriture-des-choses.tumblr.com/) are in French only. And my drawings are here: http://inraindrawz.tumblr.com.

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

Interview: Daniel DeLion

Today we’re joined by Daniel DeLion. Daniel is a wonderfully talented death metal vocalist who also writes quite a lot. He is obviously very passionate about his art, which tends to be rather dark and some would consider it disturbing. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Warning: this interview touches on some pretty heavy subject matter (probably much heavier than any other interview)

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and death metal vocalist. I sometimes draw as well but nothing spectacular. My focus is sadness. I write mostly poems but have a few short stories. This is actually the first time I’ve ever attached any image of myself or my name to my poetry blog. This is sorta a coming out. Perhaps my biggest goal of my writing would be to produce a graphic novel (or series) or TV series about an asexual anti-hero, a fantastically gory dark comedy. For now, my art is mostly about myself and my internal struggles.

What inspires you?

Irony. Contrarianism. Depression. Suicide. Self-harm. Anxiety. Realism. I’ve known for a long time that there was something different with how I see words and performing and other people. Since coming to terms with myself, I definitely cite my aro-asexuality as a reason. Since I’ve always had a hard time understanding love, sex, relationships, and everything else that American culture attaches, I don’t share certain solidarities as most others. I see a poem or Facebook post describing love and I say, “You’re wrong. Don’t tell me how I experience the world.” One common recurring theme is color. I’ve heard dozens of times that falling in love is like seeing a new color. So… I wrote a poem about “falling in love” and the world turning black and white titled “Too Good For This Universe.”

When it comes to singing and performing, it’s all about the performance. It’s all about giving people something to remember. Death metal is such boring scene. For years, I was typical and wore my most brutal shirt and casual jeans with Converse or Vans. Then one show, I decided to go with a kimono instead of a shirt. Then a flower crown. Then purple Sketchers. It was liberating. I was on stage, crying. I was screaming, confronting my depression, suicide ideation, anxiety, loneliness, and bodily insecurities. I never felt more alive.

I can name a couple dozen heroes that helped me embrace being myself, but in the end, I owe it to my need to rebel.

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

I have no clue when I started to like writing. I’m still not entirely sure if I do. I didn’t know I was any good at it until senior year, 2011. I hate reading. I could rant for a while of how the school system failed at making me comfortable doing art. I joined my former band in 2012. I had only been practicing death metal growls for a few months. The band The Project Hate MCMXCIX got me into death metal. I didn’t expect my band to last the almost 5 years it did. But, it was having to write lyrics that made me write outside of schoolwork. It was stupid. It still took almost two years for me to really start thinking of myself as a writer. School really hindered my confidence in myself. I was always being told that I was wrong. That’s what made me think of myself as an artist. Artists don’t follow rules.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Trigger Warning: Ridiculous Pretension Imminent.

Pursuing art is awful. Like, I don’t believe I’ll ever be a traditionally successful writer because I don’t ever want to make money from it. I write because it’s the only thing I have control over. I can control my artistic expression.

My advice would be to expect to hate art. Expect to hate what you create. My father always told me, “People always hate what they create.” That’s how he signed one of my birthday cards. I still don’t know what he created though… I’m sorry to be a downer but that’s my place in the “community.” I’m a tortured artist. I beat myself on stage. I bleed on paper.

“Artist” is a heavy word to me. I don’t know if I believe in “aspiring artists.” You’re either an artist or you’re not. If this was, “What advice would you give aspiring writers?” Then I could say, “Read the dictionary,” or whatever. But art is different. Over the years, I’ve met hundreds of musicians, writers, illustrators, composers, and plenty of others. You can tell an artist apart from the others. There’s a passion in them. Most people I met were just trying to make money from a hobby. Bands with more shirt designs than songs. They just wanted attention. If you’re that person, I don’t have much more to say. Enjoy your hobby.

But if you think you’re an artist, Be Prepared For Suffering. Know that you’ll lose sleep. You’ll lose friends. You’ll lose or gain weight from skipping meals or comfort eating. Know that you’ll question everything. You’ll wonder why you’re working so hard. You’ll wonder why it’s worth it. You’ll finish something after months or years and still be dissatisfied. But in the end, it’ll be worth it because it’s yours.

Bonus Tip: Drink tea, eat Swedish Fish.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I sometimes call myself Demisexual but usually stick to Asexual because it’s easier to explain. I also consider myself Aromantic. More specifically I’d be a Quoiromantic but don’t really consider that a label, more of a superlative. I only started thinking of myself as asexual last year and publically came out in June. It’s been an awful journey of self-discovery. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve hurt people I care about. But I’m still learning. Being asexual is tough. I think being male compounds the problems. Still learning. Always learning.

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

I don’t think so. Interestingly enough, sexualities and various nuances don’t come up too often at metal shows. Before my band broke up, I was working on a novel/collection of poems/anti-love story about an asexual and pansexual that would be a full album. It would’ve been cool to see some reactions but that’ll have to be put off until further notice. As a writer, I don’t know if I’ve ever faced anything explicit. It would take a lot for me to consider it “prejudice.” At my day job, I’ve dealt with some ignorance and rude questions.

Handling it is easy. I simply remember that it’s hard for people to understand. Most people never think of not having sexual interests. Most people are curious and don’t mean to be unbecoming. When I have had actual arguments, I do my best to be as easy to understand as possible. Not everybody wants to be educated, so to say. As long as they’re not being physically intrusive, I ignore it. I would advise the same to anybody reading. We don’t need bad vibes.

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

  1. Contextualize everything. Most people aren’t bigots. They just don’t understand. You have to be better and choose to understand their misunderstanding. This also means that you can sever sex from anything and everything. Recently, I’ve gotten interested in rope art. Bondage art. It took effort but I learned that I could enjoy various BDSM aesthetics without being aroused by them. It’s all about context. This is a dense thing that’s hard to unpack.
  2. Never compromise or force anyone else to. This one is really tough. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t. You need to exist for yourself. If someone wants you in their life but rejects your identity, move on. Do your best to educate but never force anyone to think anything. This also goes for struggling with representation. Don’t ever sign a petition to get asexual characters in a movie or whatever. That’s pandering. That’s dishonest. That’s fake art. You want asexuals in fiction, you write it. If someone says you can’t, write more. Never Compromise.
  3. Remember we care. The ace community is super rad. Without the online presence, I don’t know if I’d ever come to terms with myself. For reals. The Ace community is always here. You can try your luck with other LGBT groups but I say to stick with us. Maybe not me specifically because I’m a terrible listener, but the group.

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

My poetry: nothingbutaspaceman-writings.tumblr.com
My music from my first, and now defunct, band: deserteclipse.bandcamp.com #DefendDepressiveMetal
My new musical project: facebook.com/redruminthewheatfield

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

Interview: Kirsteen Anne

Today we’re joined by Kirsteen Anne. Kirsteen Anne is a phenomenal hobbyist who hasn’t met a medium she doesn’t like. She writes a lot, mostly short stories and poetry. Aside from writing, she also enjoys doing scenic photography. It’s very clear Kirsteen Anne is an incredibly passionate artist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve done a lot of types of art over the years. I used to write songs, as well as dance and sketch. Nowadays I mainly write short stories or poetry, and I act. I even make YouTube videos and take scenic photography on occasion. I do almost everything really.

What inspires you?

I’m often inspired by my surroundings and circumstances, for example I’ll see something or someone will say something and an idea will just pop into my head. When it comes to photography, I tend to look for a contrast in light and dark or colour elements, or just anything in nature that looks appealing. Also my dreams often give me inspiration for writing; I mean don’t the most crazy and exciting things happen in dreams?

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

This sounds kind of cheesy, but it was my teachers at school that got me into art. During middle school I had an amazing art teacher who inspired me to draw often and improve my art skills. And in my final year of high school, I had two great teachers, English and theatre, who encouraged me to create and show my individuality through my work.

I’ve always had a large imagination and creating my own world where I can live out my fantasies is something I still find appealing. So in that respect yeah, I’ve always wanted to be an artist.

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 definitely have a style when it comes to photography. I love taking photos of trees, so often my photos will include trees or nature in general contrasted with something else. When it comes to everything else I don’t think I do, but whenever I draw I usually use geometric shapes, so I guess that? Also I love the words “flopped” and “probably”. I use those words a lot in my writing. Probably more than I should. (SEE?!)

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try not to compare your art to someone else’s. You’re not that person, so why do you have to draw like them? Try to focus on yourself and not other people. I’ve spent too much time worrying about that and it’s put me off creating art multiple times.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a pan-romantic asexual.

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

I haven’t experienced any prejudice online, but once when I was showing a piece of writing to a few friends one of them commented something along the lines of: “Did you do this seriously? With no innuendos? Oh wait, never mind. You’ll get what I mean eventually.” I remember it really rubbing me the wrong way, but I just ignored it.

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

That all asexuals are just broken and/or naive. I’ve heard the naive one a lot, way before I knew what asexuality was. So many people were talking about sex in high school, and I just wasn’t interested and I was asked a lot about it. That wasn’t very pleasant.

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

Don’t let anyone tell you what you are. If you say that you’re asexual and people don’t respect that, you don’t have to change for them. In the end how you categorise yourself or how you perceive yourself is all that matters.

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

Well I can’t put up any of my acting up, but my YouTube channel is voKals, if you want to search it up. My photography Tumblr is (at) frontfacephotography, and I’m not sure if I’m ever gonna post any of my art or original writing online but if I do it’ll be on my main Tumblr (at kgrl7). I’ve also got an account on AO3, if you want to find my singular published fanfic just search up Writer156. Thank you!

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