Idris Grey discovered Legacies on Twitter and this is her first physical publication. She has also written for Gigantic and Dappervolk (a shooter-MOBA and a browser-based game, respectively).

Below are the responses from Idris Grey MacChruiteir’s interview with Legacies Staff:

Tell us a little about yourself. Where you were born, how do you identify yourself, and what are some things you enjoy.

I never know what to say when people ask me where I’m from; it’s one of the questions I dread most when it comes to small talk!

I come from a military family, so I was born in Germany, and spent the first part of my life moving between there and Colorado. Eventually the move to the US stuck. I relocated to the Seattle area for college and lived there for about 7 years. That’s the US city I feel the most connected to, so that’s usually my default response if I want to avoid a convoluted answer.

Identity is another aspect I’ve struggled with. I’m biracial, and bisexual, and a whole slew of mixed experiences that make me feel constantly caught between worlds. Being a queer WOC has definitely impacted my worldview, and affected my aspirations, so those labels are important to me.

As far as what I enjoy – I have too many hobbies! I love traveling, and food; making cosplay armor and props; drawing, and writing; singing and taking dance classes; and playing video games and TTRPGs. As a game designer, games take up the vast majority of my time.

How did you get into illustrating or writing?

I’ve used writing to express myself for as long as I can remember. My mom got a lot of handwritten notes from me when I was little, explaining why I was upset about things. Eventually this morphed into creative writing, which I’ve tried to keep up with in adulthood, though I don’t write nearly as much as I’d like to nowadays.

What inspired you to contribute to the project? (Why did you want to contribute to this project?)

I’ve advocated for diversity in media, and for elevating minorities whose voices need to be heard, but I’m often too timid to talk about my personal experiences in those spaces, because I’m afraid someone will tell me I don’t belong. Contributing to this project was a conscious decision to try to stop excluding myself, and acknowledge that I have a relevant, personal perspective on AsAm experiences.

How would you describe, or summarize, your submission?

“The Tiger’s Teeth” is about otherness, sense of belonging, and learning not to need external validation.

What was the hardest things to write/draw about? (I.e. revisiting a trauma, self-realization, etc.) In other words, did you struggle to write/draw a certain aspect?

One of the pieces I worked on during the draft phase was a stream of consciousness about my “otherness”, and that one got real intimate real fast. A lot of the concepts in it were things I’d felt, but never put to words, and trying to put them on paper was both eye-opening and painful.

Why did you choose to write/illustrate your specific submission? (What was the significance of your submission?)

I wanted to write about a struggle I’ve faced, projected onto a semi-fantastical story.

What, in your opinion, were setbacks you had to face, if any, and why? (I.e. time, memory, self-righteousness, etc.)

I developed multiple pieces in tandem before I figured out which one I wanted to submit. I knew the core of the experience that I wanted to share, but wasn’t sure how best to share it. Hopefully I chose the right one!

Was there anything you couldn’t address in your submission? If so, what were they?

I think I touched on the emotions I wanted to convey, but I only hit the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more under the surface that I’ve yet to express.

What were the most important things you wanted to hit on in your submission? (What did you want to highlight?)

In a way, it’s the embodiment of a lesson that I’ve acknowledged, but still need to live by. The only thing excluding me from embracing my heritage is fear – and if I want to reclaim it, the only person I need permission from is me.

What do you hope readers/people will gain from reading/seeing your work? (What do you want people to take away from your work?)

My motivation in storytelling – and life – has always been to make people feel less alone. If even one person reads my work and sees some aspect of themselves represented, if I’ve managed to put some part of their experience to words, then I’d consider that a success. 🙂

What is your definition of being AsAm, if you have one?

I think a lot of us exist in that in-between space, trying to figure out how much of us belongs to our American experiences, and how much belongs to our Asian heritage. But I don’t think there’s a singular definition for AsAm, and it’s up to us as individuals to decide where we fall on the heritage spectrum.

What does writing/illustrating for this anthology mean to you?

Honestly, just getting accepted into the anthology felt so validating. Visually I’m pretty racially ambiguous, and other AsAm folks have either failed to realize or forgotten that I’m Asian. I’ve always been afraid to get involved in AsAm spaces because I feel like I’m trespassing, even though I’ve faced many of the same challenges as other AsAm folks. Having someone acknowledge that I have a story to tell about my heritage, and inviting me to tell it… it means a lot.

What food/drink most reminds you of home/childhood? Why do you think food is so important to Asian American culture?

My mom would sometimes make bakwan jagung (they’re a bit like corn fritters); she’d always make really big batches, and we’d munch on them for breakfast, or snacks. Those, and chocolate chip pancakes, are two foods that really take me back.

In Indonesia, families typically prepare a big serving of rice with several smaller side dishes. Everyone sits together and serves themselves from the side dishes. It feels super communal, like a social event. My mom tried to preserve this when we were growing up, always insisting that we eat together whenever possible. I think it has to do with family and community, and that’s why it’s such a big part of AsAm culture.

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