Wondering what Aether Beyond the Binary is and why you should care? It’s Duck Prints Press’s latest anthology, currently crowdfunding: 17 stories, modern aetherpunk settings, outside-the-binary main characters! Help us reach our funding goals by checking out the campaign now!
About ilgaksu: Full-time fandom cryptid, Furby enthusiast, and the human embodiment of that one gif of Elmo on fire, ilgaksu was born and raised in an undisclosed location, living in several others, and now currently residing in [REDACTED]. Their interests include collecting haunted toys, using their artistic practice as an excuse to forget to do their laundry, and playing with fictional men like Bratz dolls. They have not unclenched their jaw yet today, but they do remember to drink lots of water.
Link: personal webpage
This is ilgaksu’s first publication with Duck Prints Press.
An Interview with ilgaksu
What is your “dream project” – the thing you’d see as the culmination of your work as a creator?
I have a list of dream projects – a big queer space opera trilogy, a series of detective serials, I want to pastiche all of the genres I adored growing up – but I think I’m never going to find the culmination of my work. I’m going to have to make do with whatever I do while I’m alive, and other people can argue about that for me or something. The work is the work. It has to speak for itself without me defending it.
When you look at your “career” as a creator, what achievement would you most like to reach – what, if it happened or has already happened, would/did make you go “now – now I’m a success!”?
Does any writer actually get to the point where they fully believe they’re a success, and the feeling lasts forever? This is a genuine question. Where are they hiding? I want their advice.
What are your favorite snacks and/or drinks to consume while creating?
I have to have at least three emotional support beverages, and one of those will always be a form of iced coffee, then usually bubble tea, and then usually water. These are because I clearly run on three separate hydration systems. Snack-wise, I don’t tend to eat while I’m actually making things, but I like churros and loaded fries and ramen and salmon on bagels and, listen, I just really love food.
Describe your ideal creation space.
I like writing somewhere near a window, ideally when it’s raining outside, with three emotional support beverages and my favourite headphones and the very specific song that works as white noise in that moment on repeat. Possibly for the next five hours.
Do you like having background noise when you create? What do you listen to? Does it vary depending on the project, and if so, how?
I have to have background noise or I can’t focus to write, and it’s usually music with lyrics. I tend to have a mix of current songs I’m fixated on in a huge Everything playlist, and then I often have a smaller playlist for the project itself. Like I said before, I can also easily listen to the same song on repeat for as long as it takes to finish the necessary section, even if it that takes hours, because after a while I stop hearing the music itself – it functions as white noise.
Share five of your favorite books. (You can include why, if you want!)
- Wolf Hall Trilogy (Hilary Mantel, technically 3 but)
- The Dream Thieves (Maggie Stiefvater)
- Evensong’s Heir (L. S. Baird)
- Daughter of Fortune (Isabel Allende)
- The Magpie Lord (KJ Charles)
Share five of your favorite (blanks).
Five favourite current bubble tea flavours: Earl Grey, Snow White, Rose, Lavender, Honeydew
If you could give one piece of advice to a new creator who came to you for help, what would that advice be?
You don’t want to write like me.
That probably sounds incredibly arrogant, but let me explain: the most common thing I’ve had said to me by a new creator, or a fan of my work, is “I want to write like you.” And I get where people are coming from, and I get it’s from a place of admiration – which is very very flattering, of course – because early on in my writing career that used to be a desire that consumed me to. But my point is this. I realised that it was futile to want something like that, because I would never be that creator, with their experiences in life and reading that had informed how they view the world and filter it into their own work. Even if I tried to mimic it, and maybe if I managed it on a superficial level, it wouldn’t be animated by the same mind moving through it, and so I’d be doing us both a disservice. So, I no longer want to write like other people. I want to write more and more like myself. And because of that, I try and advise people to redirect how they’re verbalising that desire. What is it about my work, or anyone’s work, that speaks to you? What parts of it don’t work for you? What is it you want that’s similar – the assurance of their authorial voice, their breadth of lexis or grammar, the themes they focus, how they make you feel as a reader in that relationship with them through the text? Identify those things. Start from there, and think about who you are and take these little ingredients from everyone you’ve read and loved, and everything you love in the world outside writing. Do that instead. Not only will it help you identify more concretely the goals you’re working towards in your craft, but you deserve a voice as a writer that’s solely your own.
What would you say to a demoralized creator to inspire them?
The same thing I said earlier but reappropriated: nobody can write like you.
ilgaksu’s Contribution to Aether Beyond the Binary
Title: chameleon trick
Tags: be gay do crimes, be gay solve crimes, established relationship, heist, manchester, non-binary, past tense, present tense, suicidal ideation (mentions of), united kingdom, third person limited pov, trans man
Sasha turns on him; gleeful, sparking with it. It’s less a dropping of a mask and more of a perfect, total illumination as they ask, “How did I do?”
You would think they were an amateur at this, looking at their borderline puppyish excitement. They even tilt their face up, less in expectation of a kiss and more in certainty of one. But they are both working. Martha has read the codes of conduct at this factory: no fraternisation during work hours. And so:
“I don’t have time for your praise kink right now,” Martha says, and sidesteps them.