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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
Today we’re joined by Sarah Pickard. Sarah is a phenomenal writer who specializes in genre fiction. She writes a variety of genres and has a wide array of LGBTQ+ characters populating her work. Her passion and enthusiasm shines through in her interview, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
While I’ve been published for poetry, I mostly work writing LGBT+ genre fiction. In my experience as a reader, too much of LGBT+ media is focused on the coming out process, so I try to fill a niche of writing fantasy, steampunk, cyberpunk, etc. novels that has a full LGBT+ cast. There’s none of the angst that comes with the discovery or coming out process. Instead we have a cast with a full range of gender identities and sexualities who are out living their lives, commanding airships or working in underground street-racing teams. When you already had to live through the experience, sometimes you just want to see a lesbian punch a dragon.
(I also have a personal pledge to only ever write one straight character, which to this day I’ve maintained.)
What inspires you?
I think every comment about ‘pandering diversity’ or ‘if you want representation, go out and make it’ fuels me to take these genres that have been traditionally very heteronormative and queer the fuck out of them. For anyone who widely reads fanfiction, the transition back to reading traditional literature is always a jarring one as you remember how white/straight/cis everything really is. And there’s no reason it has to be! Diversity breathes life into plotlines - not stifles them. Why close yourself off to possibilities? I mean, when we add nonbinary people to high fantasy, think of all the curses/prophecies that get foiled. And why deprive yourself of all the puns? Yes, that’s it. I’m inspired by all the pun-possibilities.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve wanted to be a writer…always. Honestly, my first written work was dictated to my grandmother at the age of four. And in some ways it’s terrifying to have no idea who I’d be without writing, but I count myself very lucky that I found my calling at such a young age. There was never any specific moment or event that triggered it. I probably came out of the womb this way.
Yes! So, I basically write my own novel length AU fanfiction. That is, I have a set cast I work with in all my novels and genres, and the fun comes from exploring how they and their relationships grow and change and develop under different circumstances and settings. And most of my readers find comfort knowing that just because their favourite character died in one novel doesn’t mean they won’t survive the next. How many works can boast that?
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
If you really love something, do it. Do it in every free moment you have. If you wait for inspiration, you’ll never be inspired. Writing is hard work (no matter how easy Stephen King makes it seem) and it never gets any easier. Most of the time it gets harder as the years go on! You start worrying about sentence structure repetition and never using the word ‘was’ and staying in the active voice and before you know it you’ve rewritten the same sentence ten times because something’s wrong with it and you can’t figure out what. Yeah, some days words will fly off the keyboard like little fairies with minds of their own, but most of them time you’re going to slog through it one word at a time.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as asexual, and I have no idea what my romantic orientation is.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
While I haven’t personally encountered any writers who are against asexuality, I have run into the old rhetoric of asexual characters being boring to write about. But honestly, if you need sex to move your plot along, you have a pretty terrible plot?
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That we’re all either Childish, Sociopaths, or Geniuses instead of actual people.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Right now, Tumblr is probably the worst place to be if you’re struggling with your asexual identity. Nearly every LGBT+ space I’ve encountered in person has been warm and welcoming and accepting. So just forget all the bullshit about whether or not you’re a part of the community - because you absolutely are - and figure everything out on your own terms. Also aromantic heterosexuals and heteromantic asexuals are 100% queer (no take backs) and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I’m afraid I don’t post any of my work online. I’m soliciting my first novel right now and it can’t be previously published - and some publishing companies consider posting online as ‘previously published’. But if anyone wants to Beta any of my work, they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to get feedback and constructive criticism!
Thank you, Sarah, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.
* Disclaimer: “they” includes me.
Using Tumblr is like renting an apartment and continually asking the landlord to fix the heating, but instead the landlord repaints your living room walls every month.
And you’re like “But I liked the off-white, it went well with my furniture!” but the landlord insists that the hot pink is exactly what the place needs. And the moment you get used to the pink walls and bought things to match them, the landlord comes and paints the room forest green.
Meanwhile, the heating still doesn’t work.
But note how we’re all still renting this apartment anyway
Well it’s quite affordable if nothing else and moving is such a hassle
You lose a lot of friends when you move, even if you say you’ll stay in touch. It definitely happened coming here from Livejournal, where the landlord didn’t fix or repaint much of anything but did evict people based solely on the word of meddling people who had driven through the neighborhood once.
oh, it got better!
so if there’s one single trope i’m always down to fight it’s the animal bride (folklore motif 402??) which a lot of you are probably familiar with as the selkie - the fisherman either falls in love, steals her skin to trap her on land/gain power over her, or they fall in love and THEN he steals her skin to keep her from leaving, and either way she spends a lot of time gazing sadly out to sea and then she or her child finds the skin and never returns again.
and that’s awful on a whole lot of levels - it’s not love, it’s control.
BUT. but the thing is. you how selkies/seal women was a pretty common variation of this? another really popular one was swans.
i just want you to think about that for a moment. swans. like…I get it, they’re pretty, graceful birds, certainly it’s easy to imagine them magically becoming pretty graceful ladies? but have you ever fought a swan. swans are awful. swans are the devil’s geese. imagine seeing a pretty magic lady and being absolutely enchanted by her, and stealing her magic feather cloak, and then you go up and say ‘hey i’m in love with you, let me make you my queen, it will be great, we’ll be so happy’ and she just looks at you for a moment and…
you know i was going to say maybe she just shouts for her sisters and suddenly you’re realizing you’ve made a terrible terrible mistake bc you’re surrounded by big fucking birds who are all hissing. but honestly if this swan lady is as aggressively down to brawl as any other generally unhappy swan, then she’d straight up fuck you up on her own. she’d just deck you roundhouse, honestly. you don’t fuck with swans. why does this trope exist
okay but consider this: a woman walks to the park every day and feeds the swans and watches them paddle gracefully around the lake, sighing to see how beautifully they swim.
finally one day, a swan comes up to her and says ‘why don’t you come and swim with us? you always sigh so wistfully to see us on the water, and you would be most welcome to join our company, for you have always been a true friend to our kind’
and the woman says, ‘i can’t swim’
and the swan says, ‘we’ll teach you’
and the woman says, ‘literally i can’t swim, my husband stole my sealskin and should i venture into deep water i would surely drown’
and the swan says ‘your husband fucking WHAT’
the next morning the woman’s front yard looks like this.
and neither the woman nor her husband are ever heard from again, though for very different reasons.
tagged for imaginary swans doing the lord’s work
A++, two thumbs up.
It may also interest someone to know that swans can projectile poop.
I know a real-world mama swan who got shot in the wing and walked four miles overland to get back to her babies and dad swan, with her broken wing bleeding and dragging the whole way. She just kept going. Don’t mess with lady swans.
Also? Swans don’t have a lot of obvious physical markings that divide the males from females. So some idiot might be like, “damn, that’s a sexy bird, I wanna marry her” and then like. It’s a dude swan. You just transformed thirty pounds of angry aggressive bird into 200+ pounds of angry aggressive adult man, who will totally kick your butt. (Also I’m pretty sure that if you turned a lady swan into a human, you would not get a willowy little 5′0″ girl. You’d probably have a 6-foot amazon with biceps the size of your head. Swans are heavy birds and it takes a LOT of muscle to get them into the air. They are among the baddest bitches in the bird kingdom)
And when a swan decides to beat you up, it is not with fancy martial arts. Swans are brawlers. They have bone clubs built into their wing joints specifically for beating people up. A human swan is gonna come at you screaming and spitting and just keep punching you in the face until you regret every decision you have made ever in your life and also some of the ones your parents made too.
I want a movie where the swan is either played by The Rock or Gwendoline Christie and the screaming brawls are the centerpiece.
The sorcerer’s eyes scan the lake greedily. He’s been coming here for months, dreaming. Waiting.
And now it’s time.
“That one,” he tells the two men he hired earlier this morning, pointing one long, ring-adorned finger at the most beautiful swan. “Bring her to me.”
The henchmen don’t ask questions. He paid them specifically so they wouldn’t ask questions.
Even so, henchmen A glances at henchman B from the corner of his eye.
“Dude,” he says when they’re far enough way from the cackling sorcerer that they won’t be overheard, “why the hell does he want a swan?”
Henchman B shrugs. “What do these sorcerer types ever want?”
They near the water’s edge. “Okay, but,” Henchman A says, “he’s not going to try and fuck it, right? Because I’m sort of uncomfortable with beastiality–”
“Oh my god,” henchman B groans. “Just grab the swan.”
It takes a bit of cursing, flailing, and begrudging team work to grab the swan. When they finally manage to tuck her wings against her sides and grab hold of her neck to prevent her from biting she goes limp, making the strangest, saddest sound that the henchmen have ever heard.
“It’s okay,” Henchman A tells her bracingly, feet squelching as they haul her from the muddy lake’s edge to the sorcerer. “He’s probably not into beastiality. Very few people are.”
Henchmen B coughs and averts his eyes. “Uh, yeah. Right. Hey, you don’t think this was too easy? I mean, the other swans are just…watching. Us.”
Henchman A glances over his shoulder. Sure enough, floating on the lake are about two dozen swans, all curving their elegant necks so they can watch the fate of the swan hanging in between them. Rather than seeming alarmed, they seem…amused?
Henchman A looks away. “Nah, I’m sure it’s fine.”
The sorcerer jumps from foot to foot when they approach, clapping his hands together. “Good, good! Now just hold her there, hold her!”
The henchmen watch as the sorcerer visibly reigns himself in, breathing deeply. He begins to mutter in tongues for a very long time, an awkwardly long time. The henchmen glance at each other with their eyebrows raised. Sorcerers, man.
Suddenly the sorcerer’s head snaps up, eyes glowing a blazing black. He points his bejeweled finger at the swan who has remained suspiciously limp between them and hisses a short, ominous phrase.
Henchman A fights not to scream as a bolt of blue lightning flies at them. Henchman B drops his side of the swan and Henchman A follows suit just in time. The bolt strikes the swan and there’s a blinding flash as the sorcerer begins to cackle again.
“Behold!” he screams to the sky. “My bride!”
The spots clear from the henchmen’s eyes and they gape at the swan. Or rather where the swan should be. Instead there’s a woman there, crumpled on the ground, in a white, soft dress that’s already muddy.
She slowly lifts her head, her face pointed towards Henchman A. Her eyes snap open to reveal a swan’s eyes, a deep unending black that looks… not right on a human.
“Oh what the fuck,” Henchman A says.
The swan woman levers herself up. And up. And up. And up until she towers over them. There are thick cords of muscle at eye level, thick arms and a broad chest that lead to a very strong neck . Most of her body is hidden by her dress, but it doesn’t take a genius to guess that she’s built like a fucking tank.
She is very, very swan-like, henchman A realizes.
“Oh what the fuck,” henchman B says.
The woman smiles, showing off white, small teeth. “Welcome to the thunderdome, gentleman.”
Her fist feels like steel when it connects with Henchman A’s face and he thinks he hears his cheek break. He falls to the ground hard and doesn’t even try to stay conscious after a hit like that. The last thing he hears is what sounds like laughter from the direction of the lake.
Henchman B tries to run, but the swan woman is fast. She grabs the back of his collar and slings him to the ground, hissing and spitting. She hikes up her dress, showing built calves, and brings her heel slicing down onto his stomach. He reaches and chokes at the same time, moving belatedly to cover his head.
He needn’t bother. The swan woman seems to be done with him.
The sorcerer’s still standing in the spot from which he cast the spell, mouth agape. “B-but, you– you’re a swan? Wha–”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” the swan woman says. Her voice is scratchy and growls like she’s swallowed glass. It sounds a bit like the hissing merriment happening on the lake. “I’m not a swan. I’m your wife.” She cracks her knuckles. “And it’s time for our honeymoon.”
The sorcerer picks up his robes and flees into the forest. The swan woman is fine with that. The swan who’d had to deal with this last week said that its more fun when they run.
She’s not surprised to find that he’s right.
i actually don’t shut up about this but, Steve, he didn’t even know if Bucky was still alive, all he had was a gut feeling and hope. And was going to walk to Austria from Italy to either save him or find his body. He was going to walk alone, through active war zones, to another country to either save Bucky from death or his body from being left alone and unfound. Like no offence but that shit ain’t platonic man, that’s fucking love, real and true and deep and pure.
I’m so sorry you don’t have such terrible examples of friendship that you actually believe this relationship hierarchy BS.
Thought of some plot points that I might make into a sequel post sometime:
Teenager goes to his mom like “Mom I need to talk to you.”
Of course she starts picturing all the worst case scenarios because who doesn’t when they hear “I need to talk to you”? So she’s like “…yeah?”
Teem tells her, “I didn’t want to tell you this, but I can’t keep hiding it and living a lie. I’m a changeling.”
Mom sits there a minute like, “Okay?”
Teen: “Hello? I’m a changeling?”
Mom: “Uhhhhh-huh.” (Vaguely vacant stare)
Teen: “As in, I’m not the real Jamie, fairies and imps stole the real Jamie 17 years ago and I just remembered who I used to be last year.”
Mom: “Holy crud I have two sons.”
Teen: “I - wait, what?”
Mom asks Changeling if he wants to keep the name Jamie, or if he’d be more comfortable with a different name. She asks him whether he plans on looking for the imps who decided to switch him with the human baby, if he needs help, etc.
Teen: “Wow. This is the part where most humans kick the changeling out. Are you sure you’re okay?”
Mom: “Next time you want to talk about something like this, can you not say ‘I need to talk to you’? I thought you were gonna tell me you were running off to join a dolphin training troupe in Miami or something.”
Teen: “What the-?! No! Mom! Just because that’s what you did when you were 17, it doesn’t mean I plan on doing the same thing!”
Mom: “What? So I thought of the worst case scenario, so sue me! I’m a mom, I worry!”
Teen is still surprised that the mom is taking his non-human origins so calmly. Mom is like “Okay, you have exams tomorrow. So you go get some rest, and we can talk about this more after school.”
Teen goes to bed thinking, “That went way better than I thought it would.”
The mom decides that this is a lot of information to process at one time, and goes to a trunk in the basement. She pulls out a sealskin, puts it on, and waddles down to the beach for a swim.
She was a Selkie the whole time.
She swims around for a while like “So glad it wasn’t about the dolphin training troupe in Miami. That place was awful. Bad bad memories. “
•Lola (the mom) calls her ex and let’s him know that “Jamie” is a changeling. He has a hard time accepting it at first because he’d figured that as a selkie, Lola would’ve been able to sense something like that. Harold is a teeny bit clueless about the Gentry.
•"Jamie" decides he wants to change his name, partly because when they get Other Jamie back, he doesn’t want confusion, and partly because he’s never felt like a Jamie anyway.
•Lola comes home with like ten baby name books for her changeling son to look through. He is slightly unnerved by how supportive she is, given the experiences of other changelings he’s been talking to in chatrooms. (Lola gets super mad whenever he mentions that other changelings get dragged back to the Gentry while demands are made for the Other Kid, or else faced with angry parents brandishing salt and iron. Harold has ended up placing a lot of phone calls to friends with spare rooms as a result)
•"Jamie" changes his name to Ricardo, and Lola introduces him to her old selkie troupe. Ricardo didn’t realize that his six aunties were all selkies.
•Ricardo’s aunties plan an invasion into the Other Place to get Ricardo’s “little brother” back. Harold follows along, confused but good intentioned, in a motorboat with horseshoes painted on the sides.
•The “battle” was a bit of a fiasco, and Ricardo definitely missed school the next day. Since time passes differently in the Other Place, Lola is glad she never threw out any of her son’s outgrown clothes, because he came home with ten year old Jamie in tow, and that kid was wearing nothing but a tunic made of autumn leaves.
•They will have a lot to work through, of course, because Jamie is used to running wild with no supervision at all and he doesn’t remember his parents, and despite reassurances Ricardo is still a little unsure about where he fits in the family. But since Lola is a selkie, it’s not like they have no idea who to talk to or how to handle things. It’s just…a process.
•And Harold’s dad jokes aren’t helping.
If you’re awake between 3 AM and 6 AM you’re appropriating lycanthrope culture and you need to go to sleep and check your privilege
This is blatant vampire erasure.
Go write a sad poem about it
My name is Vlad
and wen its nite
or wen the wolves
art pohsting shite
and all discourse
haf gon to dogs -
i stay up late.
i clik ‘reblog’
@SaraSoueidan: Dear men, This is how you greet a veiled Muslim woman (a Hijabi). Hand on your chest, not offering to shake hers. 🙋
so prominent BLM activist deray mckesson just retweeted this which i think is super cool for various reasons :)))
I did not know this. Is it OK for a non Muslim woman to shake hands with a Hijabi? Or do we do the hand on chest thing too?@popcanpoli
hey so i don’t wear a hijab and i’m not muslim so i definitely don’t have the authority to answer this question (or any other questions i’ve been getting abt this) (i’m just a lil canadian politics blog i didn’t expect this to blow up lol)
BUT here are some tweets by the original tweeter (who wears a hijab) that clarify some things
The Blessing of the Six Cats is upon you, human. All shall be well in time.
“ Can I tell you a secret? You don’t have to be in a relationship.— Single serving size // r.i.d (via inkskinned)
I mean it. I know they force it down your throat until you choke on it. Girls aren’t pretty unless they’re wanted. Boys aren’t men unless they’re having sex with someone. People aren’t lovable until they’re dating someone.
But a relationship won’t always make you happy, and as wonderful as romance is, it isn’t the only love that exists. I have seen friendships that are deeper and more pure than couples who swear it’s forever - and yet the friendship is the one people ignore.
I have heard so often “nobody loves me” out of the mouths of people who are single. And it kills me because if you ask them: where are your parents, your teachers, your classmates, your pets - they say, yes, okay, but it doesn’t count. Of course it counts, love doesn’t diminish just because someone doesn’t want to have sex with you. In fact, doesn’t it sort of make that love more real that they want nothing - not even a date - out of you?
It is pretty to be in love. It’s magical, I’m sure. But it’s also wonderful to stop for ice cream in your prom dress with six other girls. It’s also wonderful to go visit the world with nothing but a bunch of buddies who are really excited about learning.
The problem is: we’ve made everything about “the one”. But maybe “the one” is just you, loving yourself, having fun, and being happy. Maybe instead of looking for our other halves, we should be piecing ourselves together.
Maybe I wasn’t born unfinished. Maybe I am the one who makes myself better. ”
Changing Hair Dye That Reacts To Your Surroundings
This is the world’s first colour-changing hair dye called FIRE. The dye changes colour depending on the temperature of the surroundings. It is available in multiple colour ranges from bright red to more subtle colours. The application of the dye is said to be semi-permanent, lasting over a few washes.
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)