Interview - Go-a-Green-a, November 26, 2011

MC: Howdy again, everyone. Welcome back to our open ended series of artist/writer interviews. I'm pulling a double double whammy on this one. The first double whammy is I'm here in Noyes, Minnesota for work, so what better oppertunity to get an interview done with a Canadian than when I'm right on the border? Today's interview subject is the other double whammy, fanfic author and artist, Go-a Green-a, hereafter occasionally referred to as Greenie, just because it's easier. Now, why did I choose to interview here here instead of, say, Calgary, which is closer to where she lives than Winnepeg? I don't have a passport, and this way, I can do the work, and do this, too. Greenie, thank you for doing this.

Greena: Yeah, how's it goin', eh?

MC: It's goin' great. Uh, did the Madhouse lawyer call you?

G: Yeah. You know, $10 is $10, eh... Ugh, can I stop with this stupid stereotypical accent and take this tuque off, too? I know you people from south of the border think that Canada is snow covered all year long...

MC: Yeah, I was kind of expecting to see snow right up to the border fence...

G: But it's just like the border states on your side. This part of Manitoba is pretty much the same as that part of Minnesota or North Dakota, for that matter. Just like you in Chicago, we've got two seasons here: Winter and Construction. Just like most of the rest of this part of North America, too.

MC: Sorry. Just trying to get the readers in the mood, what with us being on an international border and all. Let’s get this going, because I'm not sure how long the US Border Patrol is going to let me stand here. What first got you interested in writing?

G: Not a clue. I've always loved writing, I guess. It was one of my many obsessions. My first short story was two pages long, I wrote it in grade one about a purple dog with wings named Schnoz. I don't know why I started, only that my ambition was always to be good enough to get published one day. Also, I've determined that I am completely and utterly nuts, and I suppose all writers are. You'd have to be. Where are your ideas going to come from? Real life? Pfft. The best ideas come from dreams, which would explain why I've slept with a pencil and paper under my pillow since I started writing. They’re my partners in crime.

MC: What types of stories do you like to read? Are there any particular authors you like?

G: Hmm, I guess I love science fiction and, to some extent, historical fiction. Though I do enjoy stories about characters who are in fact human and nothing else, but when I read those, I tend to pick up the ones with crime and real conflicts, not romance or the usual books that get sold these days. I like different books, ones that aren't afraid of what they're saying, authors with the guts to tell the truth. Like Patrick Ness and his Chaos Walking trilogy. There was so much truth about the real tricky topics in those books such as war, racism, torture, love (real love not just "I like you" crap and also not to be confused with lust), feminism, dictatorship, there's so much and everything said about it is true. Also the books are sci-fi, so that's awesome too.

I've also got a thing for old poetry like Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, all the good crazy folk of olde. Basically, I like authors who don't try to make you think like the rest of the drones around here, authors that actually speak up.

MC: How did you get into Futurama?

G: Ah, Futurama, my beloved. I think it all started when I was in grade four and watching this "awesome new show I found" and my mom (who has let me watch The Simpsons since I was two) told me it was written by Matt Groening. Knowing who he was, I started watching it more, feeding my blossoming obsession. One day in class, my French teacher told us we'd all been so good, he was going to let us watch Futurama in class. Everyone cheered. He brought in a season and let us watch, asking those who weren't allowed to watch to leave the room. No one left. So we ended up seeing Branigan Begin Again. I loved that French teacher. So badda boom-baddabing, I was hooked and watching Futurama more than I'd watched the Simpsons which was my previous favourite show.

MC: Futurama at that age? I’m jealous. All I got in school at that age was a bad TV mini-series based on a bad series of romance novels based on the American Civil War. What got you interesting in writing fan fiction?

G: *Shrugs* I just loved Futurama so much (still do) that I started getting my own "episode" ideas, I'd write them all out on my hand (sometimes needed to fill up my arm as well) and then wrote them down at midnight as drafts on my email. Really professional, I know, but that's what worked for me. So long as I had ideas, I kept writing. They just sorta came to me. God, I love writing fan-fics, (NOT by any means pathetic) I need to go find my marker! I think there's still "idea-writing-space" left on my elbow....

MC: Do you write any other types of fan fiction?

G: No, actually... though, I've thought about it. I've got a ton of ideas.... Where's that damned marker? I've got so many ideas right now, I could sell light-bulbs to the queen of England!

MC: What type of stories do you like to write?

G: Oh! All sorts. Whatever pops into my head and in whatever format that appeals to me in that moment, script, regular or that weird Greena-original style I used for "It Never Lasts" and some upcoming fics. I write what I feel like and I've never planned anything out other than in my head. The best writing comes from the moment. Even if in that moment you are in the shower or half-asleep. Believe me. When I get an idea, I HAVE to write it or no one will ever see it and that's no fun.

MC: Concerning your own stories, what do you think of your material? How has it changed from when you started? Do you have any favorites? Has that opinion changed over time? Anything, looking back, that’s particularly cringe-worthy?

G: Oy, I sucked noodles at spelling when I first started writing fics. I never was able to get down exactly what I wanted to say and.... Oh, God, the spelling. Drives me nuts.

Anyway, my writing has changed considerably: it's tolerable to my self-critiques now, but I always find things to pick at. I'm not all that fond of my earlier works (ha, look at me sounding so professional) but the stories and ideas were always okay (ideas, aye, how many times have I used that word?).

MC: Got anything new, story-wise, in the works?

G: Oh yes. Many. Still working on finishing a "sequel" (related to, but can be read alone) to It Never Lasts, a story called "The Green Spore-Net" and one written in three parts, based on some classic Twilight Zone episodes. There's many ideas floating around in my head.

MC: Do you have any advice for prospective writers?

G: My advice to writers would be to get spell-check and also to write in the moment, don't think too hard. Trust me, when you have a story in your head, all you want to do is get it down on paper (on the computer) but when you plan it, there is that possibility of getting bored. We don't want that! Write in the moment, that way, you're never bored. Just don't confuse the storyline or make it too random, we're not Family Guy writers (okay, cheap shot, I apologize). Just write what you want to and remember, your worst critic is yourself, so be nice to you.

MC: Let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about your artwork. How long have you been drawing?

G: Personally, I think I was born with a pencil in hand. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. And wasting class time working on drawings for as long as I can remember, too.

MC: Have you ever taken any drawing classes, or is it all natural talent?

G: All natural, baby! I don't like art classes because they tell you what to do. I don't fly that way. I HATE being told what to do, so I just draw whatever's on my mind. So far that's worked well for me.

MC: All natural, huh. I hate you. Like I told Frosty, I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. Back to you, though.What tools to you use, both physical and on the computer?

G: For colouring, I use GIMP on my PC but I hate colouring on my PC so I usually just draw with my trusty black pens. I LOVE ink-art!

MC: Do you consider yourself an art perfectionist?

G: Oooooh yeah. Big time. I often end up using way more paper than I'd like to because I'd end up ruining it with lines that can't be erased or I'll end up with an amazing drawing, but with one small mistake that (to me) ruins the whole picture. I'm almost never happy with the final outcome of the drawing, but whatever. That's just me.

MC: Is feedback important to helping you grow as an artist?

G: YES! Massively! I love feedback! Positive, negative, anything at all! I feed off of feedback (haha), I need it. Feedback is HUGE for artists! Or at least for me, I always like to know what other people think, whether I agree with them or not.

MC: What other artists out there do you appreciate the work of?Which other Futuramafanartists do you like?

G: Anyone at all who draws fan-art is fine by me. I've got respect for all forms and styles. I don't think I really can signal out one person. I just overall like fan-art and the artists that come with it.

MC: What makes you decide what kind of style to do for a picture?

G: *Shrugs* Not a clue. Whatever I think of first, I guess. Usually I just know what style to do by picturing the finished work in my head. Or I'll just draw a certain style just for the heck of it.

MC: Got any pics in the works?

G: Tons. Currently, though, I'm still working on a comic. I'm mysterious, though, so I won't give anything away about my other drawings.

MC: What made you venture into the field of Futurama fanart?

G: *Shrugs again* I love Futurama, I love art, I love fan-stuff, it just seemed logical that I'd like drawing Futurama. Turns out I wasn't half-bad at it. I also just got bored one day and felt like drawing Fry.And so it began.

MC: What inspirations do you use for your fanarts?

G: My mind and my sight. That's it. If I see something that makes me think of Futurama, I'll get an idea, and I'll get the urge to draw it out. Simple. Whatever triggers my Nerdlinger senses, I'll end up drawing. It's how I roll.

MC: Do you have any advice for the budding artist out there?

G: Yep. There is no such thing as talent, only skill. The more you like to draw, the more you draw and the more you draw, the better you get. My only advice is simple, if you like to draw, then draw. You will get better at it, that's guaranteed.

MC: I think we're going to need to wrap this up, Greenie. Those US Border Patrol guys are looking antsy, and I think I see Mounties coming. Greenie, thank you for your time with this. Any last words you want to leave the readers with?

G: Yep. Do not -I repeat- DO NOT procrastinate. Whenever I decide to do it later, I end up being busy for the rest of the week and I never get done. If you have an idea, write it down right away. (Sorry for all the late fics, people!)