Comic Book Curious

Divergent Creators Spotlight: An Introduction

September 30, 2022

Everyone knows a creative. Someone that spends their time taking something average or ordinary and making it into something unique or making it into an experience. It could be someone who takes wire, beads, and natural things to create jewelry. Perhaps a normally quiet individual who hams it up on camera while playing their favorite video games. Someone that hears music in the silence, so they recreate it for others to experience. A writer that share the stories of those that can’t find themselves in books.

Among these is an often overlooked group, divergent creatives. There are creatives that differ from the norm. A mix of those that are neurodiverse and/or disabled. They often work twice as hard, for less pay, or less notice. This new series we are bringing to Comic Book Curious is for and about them. To feature and uplift their hard work in order to help the world at large see these unique perspectives and stories. I wanted to do this as a member of this group myself. Finding art, music, writing, or videos from people in similar situations makes my day. A lot of those who are disabled have to create their own communities online as they don’t have the ability to meet easily in person, even more so since the pandemic happened. I wanted to share my own passion for seeking these creators out and introducing others to the vibrant worlds they create.

An image of the books by authors Markie will focus on for the Divergent Creators Spotlight

Credit: Markie Rustad

In the middle of this month, I was lucky enough to attend the Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association Fall conference. This is a yearly event that brings together publishers, authors, indie booksellers, librarians, and teachers to spend a weekend looking through the upcoming fall/winter releases, see new products available, as well as getting a chance to network with other stores and smaller publishers to plan out events for the coming months. I’ve always loved this event because I get the chance to meet new people, and expand more of my book knowledge. This year though, I went on a mission. A handful of divergent authors were being featured, and I wanted to link up with them to showcase their work, their voices.

One such author is Annie Carl, who owns an independent bookstore in Washington State called The Neverending Bookshop that focuses on disabled, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and female authors, who has her debut novella releasing this fall. Titled Nebula Vibrations, it tells the story of Mari, who’s idea of going to space stayed in her library until she wakes up one morning on a spaceship and centuries in the future. So far it has been said to be “a thought-provoking meditation on manifest destiny, obligations, and one person’s attempts at understanding their disabilities in unexpected new ways.

Another is Zaji Cox, who is releasing a memoir titled Plums for Months about living with nature when you are neurodivergent. She has released poetry pieces for her own books and other anthologies. Set to release in the Spring of 2023, it goes over her life growing up as a neurodivergent child in a 100-year-old house, as a mixed race child and the complexities of living low-income with a single mom.

Then there was Jordan Scott, who is a poet releasing his second children’s book My Baba’s Garden, in which he talks about life with his grandmother when he was younger as he dealt with a stutter and she barely spoke English. Previously he released a book titled I Talk Like A River, where he explains what living with a stutter is like, and what it takes to overcome that.

This is only a sampling of what is to come. I have interviews lined up with activists, streamers, traditional artisits, musicians, and more! Every person sharing a unique story about their lives, or a point of view you may not have considered before about the world we all live in and love. So stay tuned for future postings in this new series: Divergent Creators Spotlight.

About the author: Markie Rustad is a life long bookworm and nerd living in the Pacific Northwest. She lives in an undisclosed location with her cat, boyfriend, and more books than she will ever manage to read.

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