At first I wasn’t too sure I’d have time to attend the Maia Kobabe workshop event because I had an assignment to finish and turn in only about an hour after the event, but I ended up watching and listening on the side as I worked and I’m kind of glad I decided to.
Before the event, only being aware that it was an event in which they would discuss the process of making their graphic memoir Gender Queer, I had the assumption that I would not have much to relate to or wouldn’t fully comprehend any struggles—given that I’m a straight cis woman. However, I was surprised when, although I can’t relate or 100% comprehend the emotional process, there was a lot on the “technical” process of writing their memoir that I felt connected with Maia. They mentioned using a wacom tablet and I was instantaneously taken back to my “artist phase” in which I saved up to buy a small wacom intuos tablet because I wanted to get into digital art in like the 7th grade. My biggest shocks, however, came upon Maia saying they get inspiration from fanart, fanfiction and music, from which a large portion was Kpop. Back in middle school when I was a full-time One Direction fan, I definitely read quite a few fanfictions—it was a crazy time, at one point I even tried writing my own but gave up after 2 chapters—so hearing Maia, as a professional author—compared to fanfiction authors which from my experience are usually teens—mention fanfiction it was so odd, yet it felt relatable. Same thing when they mentioned fanfiction; these works created by fans have always seemed to me to be only presented within fan communities on social media—being presented in anyway or mentioned to the “normal” audience groups is not taken well because of the stigma around internet stan culture—so for Maia to openly talk about how writing fanfiction has helped and inspired them made me happy in a way. At the moment in which Maia talked about the music that inspires them, I felt the biggest connection of them all when I saw lots of EXO’s music spread throughout their music gallery since they’re one of the Kpop groups I listen to a lot. When they mentioned they’ve done Kpop fanart, it made me wonder what if I have probably already come across their work without knowing so?
Overall, I enjoyed listening in on the Maia Kobabe event, I got to learn about a new author and add a new book to my future reading list hehe.