Flumes Vol. 5: Issue 1, Summer 2020 | Page 113

Reed, Arien

Bio: Arien Reed, a queer, trans troublemaker, holds an MFA from National University, lives with his husband, and works at Fresno City College, where he co-founded the LGBTQ Allied Staff and Faculty Association on which he currently serves as president. His poetry and art has appeared, or is forthcoming, in What Rough Beast, TulipTree Review, La Piccioletta Barca, Beyond Words, Infinity Room, and others. His troublemaking can be followed on instagram @arienreed or on facebook at facebook.com/arienareed

Statement: Art and writing is about connection. It’s about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings, and experiences with the viewer, and the viewer gleaning their own in turn. It’s about all of us coming away different and changed by this connection. I learn more about the world and about myself as I create my own writing and artwork, and I do the same as I experience those of others. My favorite pieces are those that surprise me, teach me something unexpected, or take something I knew and show it to me from an unfamiliar angle, opening up to me a chamber of the world I didn’t know existed. Connection, I think, has never been more important than right now, during the global pandemic of COVID-19. It is what provides me solace. Through especially captivating works, I can almost imagine I am within 6 feet of someone else, or—better yet—I forget I even exist at all.

Rodriguez, Oscar

Bio: I graduated from the University of Texas with a BA in English in 1996, the first in my family to earn a degree. Twelve years later, after missing a Michener Fellowship by one spot, I moved to San Miguel de Allende with my second and present wife to write of my own volition. These years later, I am back in Austin, helping raise one Theodore Roosevelt Rodriguez and shopping my stories and screenplays whenever I get the chance.

Statement: As the offspring of an immigrant and a first generation Mexican-American, my personal history serves as an apt reflection of the “American experience,” which is to say the trauma of anyone who has had to either reconcile or completely forego their family’s past so that they might assimilate into a culture that seems squarely focused on some ethereal future, be it the kingdom of heaven or the dream of democracy.

Incorporating that process to my stories and characters helps me keep my footing in this ever-shifting landscape. And I would hope that my writings, like those of my favorite authors and filmmakers, might act as some sort of