AN INTERVIEW WITH MOON TEMPLE
Moon Temple is a 20 year old living in Brooklyn who dropped out of high school to pursue her dream of becoming a satellite orbiting Earth. We are currently unsure whether she is dead or alive as the new iOS update has caused a ~300 trillion year delay on iMessages sent to space. The last message received by earth from the Moon Temple satellite included a scrambled message. Once decoded it read “moon temple sucks” in all lower case letters.
Elizabeth Foster: How long have you been writing for?
Moon Temple: I think I started writing… It’s hard to say. I think I started writing a lot of poetry when I was 11? It was pretty “depressing” stuff, because I was going through a lot of like, “pre-teen angst”. I think I started writing more seriously when I was maybe 14 or 15.
EF: What are the biggest influences on your writing?
MT: I think I get a lot of overwhelming explosive emotions sometimes and that tends to go into my writing a lot. I dunno, I am always trying to get something big. I dunno how to explain that any better, but something big. Bigger than I have experienced before.
EF: Do you have any sort of ritual you follow when you want to write something?
MT: No, I’m bad about that. I’m really bad.
EF: Do you feel that your writing style has changed or progressed much since you started gaining more notoriety?
MT: I think so, I think I have found more of my own voice. Not entirely, of course, I still have a long way to go… but I think I have gone from sounding a lot more directly influenced by other people towards actually finding something that actually sounds like me.
EF: Some say that literature is a more male dominated field. How do you feel about this? do you agree?
MT: I think it’s true, it’s true of most arts, and I’m not really sure what to do about it. There’s a lot of women writers that have been grouped under the umbrella of feminist writers and I think while feminist writing is important it’s also kind of… I don’t know how to explain this exactly, other than that I want my writing to somehow transcend the barrier of writing for, or within, a movement.
EF: Have you received much criticism from your male audience or peers? How do you react to it if you do?
MT: I’ve definitely gotten the criticism of not really being an artist, that I only get attention for being an attractive female. The only thing I can think to do is to try to laugh it off, because there is no other thing that makes any sense. It definitely hurts me on some level, especially because I have an intuitive desire to be found attractive by others but also know I don’t want to be just that. It gets confusing. But if I get caught up in thinking about it too much, letting it hurt me, i feel it will negatively impact my ability to write. If I ignore it and keep writing, I’ll be happier. And I can prove it, you know, that I am an artist and not just a pretty girl.
EF: Have you received any weird anonymous messages? I’ve noticed this more prevalent among female artists. Can you tell me the oddest one you remember?
MT: I can’t remember anything specific, but I have gotten a lot. I have gotten things where people *gasp* Oh! I do remember the weirdest one! Someone said that “I imagine that i would ‘love’ you and ‘care’ for you and [Editor’s note: omitted due to trigger warning and inappropriateness].” It was just completely out of the blue, I dunno. I dunno what inspires people to write those types of messages at all, because it’s just completely inappropriate. Again, all I can do is just ignore it or laugh at it because if I think about it too hard it’s just going to hurt me.
EF: Do you think the internet has made it easier for our generation to find a platform for their art?
MT: Absolutely, I think in the past maybe 40 years or so most of writing has been really academic from what I’ve read and seen. Now people don’t have to go to college, they don’t have to get an MFA, they don’t have to be a teacher, they don’t have to have anything to do with academia to be an artist, be a writer, or have an influence in the world because of the internet and I think that’s awesome.
EF: Do you have any words for young writers you wish someone would have told you when you were starting out?
MT: I think not to feel overwhelmed or intimidated by other people who have more exposure than you. Uhm, and also not to worry about how far you have gotten compared to others your same age. Because sometimes, especially with the internet, something gets seen by the right person and then it can take off and become a snowball. It feels great when it happens to you, but sometimes you’ll see it happen to other people and you’ll feel bad about yourself and it doesn’t necessarily mean they are more talented that you, it just means that you need to keep trying. I feel like I would have had a lot less self doubt if I had fully understood that.
EF: Do you feel there are any substantial differences between reading your work in person and reading over webcam? Which do you prefer?
MT: I think I like reading in person more because it feels more real to me. When I’m reading over webcam I feel a lot less nervous because I can just close out the entire tab that it’s happening in and look at my writing and that’s all I’m looking at. When I’m in front of people I have all these people in front of me, but it makes me feel like I am actually connecting to them. When I am on webcam I feel like I am in my own little space and I can just go away as fast as I want to.
EF: You discontinued publishing Now That’s What I Call Alt Lit a while ago, any plans for reviving it?
MT: I’ve been considering reviving it, I always felt satisfied when I finished an issue, but I also felt really stressed out having to make judgment calls on what writing is good and bad. As much as it’s really fun to promote people whose writing you feel really confident about it’s also really hard to tell people you’re not interested in what they’re writing. I don’t know, it made me feel horrible. I’ve been going back and forth on starting it up again, it’s been hard for me to get up the courage to actually look at people’s writing and decide if that’s what I want to put out there or not.
EF: Do you ever think you are going to grow out of writing?
MT: I fucking hope not. I don’t have any other talents, so if I grow out of writing I’m just going to be another person, like, subscribing to the status quo of working and paying rent and just doing the same old boring thing. I think writing is my only chance at having a little bit more than that and I want a little bit more than that.
You can find Moon Temple’s blog here.
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