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Center Stage with Thavien Yliaster

A creators in the limelight series

By Heather HublerPublished 2 months ago 20 min read
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Welcome back! I'm here with another amazing interview with creator, Thavien Yliaster. If you're new to the series, please let me take a quick moment to explain the vision.

My aim with each mini-interview is to give a small glimpse into what makes up these amazing creators through a fun and informative format. I've left the interview method up to them, either through facebook messenger chat, audio call or video call. I've also asked creators to come up with a question or two for themselves as this is to aim the spotlight on them.

My prolific guest in this fourth episode has such a natural talent for creating poetry on the spot and pulling references from thin air. His pieces get you thinking and his comments are tough to beat. He's not afraid to tackle difficult topics, and loves engaging with creators about their writing and his own, often leaving works of art in response.

Thavien's great sense of humor and keen attention to detail give all his interactions, through conversation or writing, a great personal flare. His short stories are epic in their undertaking and his poetry flows masterfully. His works often feature moral questions that leave a lot of room for introspection and thoughtful discussion, and some are just a thrill-ride of fun.

He also loves to play around with audio and video versions of his pieces, and has a youtube channel and tiktok account where you can catch him reading aloud (links to both are on his profile page).

I hope you enjoy this deep dive into Thavien's brilliant mind and check out his profile for the over 480+ works he has on Vocal.

~

For this interview, we were supposed to do a video call, but technical difficulties struck. Instead we did a sort of hybrid form where we each made our comments and then immediately recorded ourselves in a voice clip reading what we typed. It's not exactly how we planned, but it really was a great time.

Unfortunately, I have had incompability issues with the software needed to complete this project, so the video is not available at present. (If I ever get it to work, please note that I can't be held responsible for sounding like a robot, lol. I really have to give voice actors and narrators props. It is not easy!!)

____________________________________________________

H: Hi Thavien! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. I hope it's an enjoyable and positive experience for you. Let's start with the first question. Do you have a writing routine or atmosphere that works best for you?

T: No, and I really wish that I would have both of those things already set and firm.

When I write I tend to write sporadically. When I first started to write a lot it was as a little kid. I always liked stories and books, and as I grew into my nerdy geekiness that also included manga and anime.

The most consistent amount of writing I ever did was when I went to school. I started journaling in my last semester in the evening after I completed all of my homework and studying. It was a great time for self-reflection that allowed me to empty my mind.

However, that began to gradually die off as I started to write more fiction especially for my own stories. I would go to work, workout immediately afterwards, and then sit down on my couch typing on my laptop. Somedays it would be two pages, other days it would be ten.

I don't really have a best atmosphere, but I am an extroverted person. So, I'll tend to go to a library, book store, or even a local bar.

So, as much as there isn't a routine, the method to the madness is to "get out there and to make something happen."

H: That sounds like more of a routine than you might think! Or at least a set of conditions you appreciate, like being out and about. So, does the public setting act as background or do you gain inspiration from the goings on?

T: The public setting is part of me getting in my social interactions for the day. Sure, I talk and joke with my coworkers and even higher-ups, but I still need my own relationships outside of work. For instance, when I go to the gym I like to know the names of the staff that are there. It's part of not just establishing a good connection, and hopefully making their day feel a little better (cause they've probably dealt with at least one ungrateful client that's tainted their day), but it's also part of social networking or social proof.

Less I digress, my dad likes to call it "people watching." Like how when a person will go to the park to watch the birds. I like to go outside and be around people. I've been such a regular at so many different places that people even begin to recognize me even when I show up with different haircuts. Hahahaha!

Sometimes inspiration for a story does often come from real life. Like stories from other people or one's that we've lived ourselves, personally. Typically though, when I'm writing a fiction story I have a scene in my mind that I want to type, but I have to make it occur as rationally and naturally as possible within that fictional world's constraints.

H: That was some really great insight into how your mind works. I love seeing the differences in everyone's choice of 'workplace'. Is there anything else you'd like to add for this question?

T: Ahhhhhhh, hmmm... Well, another thing is that it takes time and energy to be out in public. Introverts know what I'm talking about, but what I'm more referring to here is that it takes literal time and calories spent going from point A to point B just to head back to point A at the end of the day.

There's some planning that also goes into that. If I want to go to the bookstore, I have to make sure that I'm clean and not smelly at all (freshly showered preferred), that I've eaten so my hunger doesn't distract me from my writing (also because I tend to be cheap, I've started treating myself a lot more, recently) that my teeth are brushed and my breath is fresh (since I like talking to people I don't want to send them running for the hills), and how much time do I have to spend there before my other obligations take over (such as if I still need to workout, buy groceries, meal prep, get the proper amount of sleep for work tomorrow, etc.).

Getting out in the real world, let alone being active in it, takes some preparation for some people. I know that I want to be courteous and that first impressions matter. Regardless if You see me in sweats with workout clothes underneath or in a three piece suit, I need to have the bare minimal essentials set.

H: Well, I'm gong to speak for everyone out there and say we all can appreciate someone that plans ahead and values personal hygiene. I know I do!! It sounds like you've found a system that works well for you. That's pretty great actually :) Thank you for finishing up your thoughts on that one.

Let's move on to the next question: I've noticed you write poetry with such rhythm. Has music played a large influence in your writing?

T: Yes, music has influenced my life pretty heavily. I myself am a musician. I learned to play two instruments. Though my proficiency in the 1st instrument is much better than the 2nd. I'm still lacking in practice when it comes to the later as to the former.

Instruments aside, I do like to listen to music, especially rap. Rap music, if not all lyrical music is some form of poetry. Well, at least that's what I've come to believe. I remember a joke a friend told me a while back. "When rap artists are making diss tracks about one another, it's really just two dudes sitting in a room giving poetry to each other." Kind of romantic when You think about it like that, am I right?

So, there are times when I'll be listening to music like a specific beat or a song and it just fills my head with such vivid imagery that all I want to do is wish for there to be scenes upon scenes crafted to match the acoustic appeal. It can be something that has lyrics in it such as the song "Mercy" which already has a music video or something from Two Steps from Hell such as "Protectors of the Earth" or "Strength of a Thousand Men."

H: First, I am absolutely in love with a rap battle being described that way! And second, much of your poetry has that performance feel, so it's not hard to see that rap has been a huge influence on you or that you're musically inclined. Two instruments is pretty impressive :)

Do you ever perform your poetry musically? Any songs you want to include for the final write-up?

(long moments of silence, hehe)

Have I scared you away? lol

T: Give me a moment. I'm thinking and writing up about a few songs.

HmmmMMMmmm...

Well, one time at a karaoke bar I typed something up quickly in my cellphone and texted it to my homies. When it was my turn to perform my song for karaoke (song I performed was "Feel Good Inc." by Gorillaz) I spit my little bit of lyrics into the mic before they dropped the beat. Sure, I don't always wow the crowd, but I tend to get more people hyped than I like to admit. For instance I sang "Hotel Room Service" by Pitbull and when the whole crowd is singing the chorus along with You- that's a skyrocket to Your self-confidence even if You're bombing the lyrics.

So yeah, I have performed some of my own stuff before out in public. However, I'm nowhere near to being capable to producing music let alone complete lyrics.

When it comes to songs to include, it should be a nice menagerie. Give me just a second.

"The Story of O.J." and not just because it's Black history month. As a mixed race man I don't like the N-word. However, having it coming out of somebody's mouth as a label presently is one thing, but having it used in art and media is another. I believe that people don't have to use the word when it comes to addressing one another, whether they mean to do so with compassion or maliciousness. However, when it comes to music and tv shows, it's already been recorded and put out there. So, I see as what's done is done. It's their work. Not mine.

H: I'm picturing you (a blurry one like they do on crime shows and stuff) just having a blast up on a karaoke stage. Love it!! It's wonderfully apparent that you're an fun-loving extrovert :)

If people are wondering what I meant by that, I'm referring to the fact that I don't know what he looks like.

T: And let's keep it that way. Not just for You, but for everybody too.

"The Vengeful One" by Disturbed is so Disturbingly good especially with the drums and electric guitars in there. Just hearing that song makes me feel like I have power flowing into me from another worldly force. Especially with that guitar riff in there. Oh, it is amazing.

"Hopes and Dreams" by Toby Fox comes from a video game Undertale, and seeing the amount of work that the creator did for the game let alone the music composition really displays the capability of "Hope and Dreams" when they are attained. Plus, it makes me that much more hopeful in chasing after my own dreams as well.

Since I'm an anime fan, Hiroyuki Sawano has made tons of wonderful music for the animes such as "The Seven Deadly Sins" and a favorite of mine "Attack on Titan." Matter of fact, the song "Attack on Titan" would be a personal pump up song of mine for racing, wrestling, and all things athletic. It really does give You a sense of fighting, and that the battles are truly larger than life.

"Beethoven" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a wonderful instrumental masterpiece. Whenever I listened to their songs, especially songs like these I always imagine a machine that is designed for a gymnast to use. Somebody swinging from guitar strings, another person jumping up and down on giant piano keys, somebody shaking their head back and forth to the drum beat, as the person from guitar strings plucks each string as they swing their momentum onwards and upwards from the giant metallic string. There's a reason why it's a musical performance.

H: Thank you for sharing these! What a fantastic time hearing about what these songs mean to you and why. There are certain songs I hear that will always trigger a response in some form.

T: No problem, it's what I do.

H: Is there anything more you'd like to add to this question?

T: Oh, before I loose my train of thought, when it comes to "The Story of O.J." I enjoy that song since it's about escaping poverty and the rat race. Every person at every socioeconomic level has some form of "keeping up with the Jones's." Listening to that song makes me think about my financial future. There's a lot of important messages in that song that go above and beyond what I can interpret.

I've seen Young Black men around my age get kicked out from the school we attended due to drug use. I've witnessed people complaining about "how do You have that much money in Your bank account," then when I show up at a party I see that they've spent all of their money on alcohol and fast food. I remember tutoring a Young Black man, such as myself, in a class, helping him on his paper so he wouldn't lose his athletic scholarship due to a drop in his GPA, but watch him get kicked out due to having alcohol in his room, and he was underaged. The one truth remaining no matter how broad the success spectrum is, we're all still Black and Brown, yet it's hard to lift each other up when some of us put one another down.

~

[Intermission! - Please hum The Girl from Ipanema]

H: Sorry, had to run to get my son. Be back in like 15 minutes. Get a drunk and a snack, lol. Drink! I meant drink!

T: I gotta go buy some jalapeños, onions, and lemons. I'll keep my phone on me.

H: That is a random list lol. Watcha makin?

T: Marinating chicken.

H: Ok, I'm back

T: Bringing in groceries.

[We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. You can stop humming now, ha!]

~

H: Those are some very thoughtful observations and great life-lesson take aways from that song. I'm pretty impressed! I'll have to take a deep listen while I'm getting your interview piece ready for inspiration :)

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM7lw0Ovzq0)

H: Ok, let's do a quick fun question! What's your favorite color and why?

T: If I recall correctly my favorite color is indigo. Why? Well, it's blue, and it's a different variation of it. It's just a blue that appeals to me a bit more, even though I do like red things.

Like, when I was a little kid there was always this model red sports car that sat on top of our fridge underneath a glass case. Since, it was out of reach, it was like forbidden fruit. When I had saved up enough money one day I went to the bookstore and bought a book of exotic cars and I saw that same car in blue.

Yet, when it comes to indigo, there's this calm, cool, inspiring feeling that just relaxes my brain and fills me with invigoration.

One memory in particular was that of a children's book about snakes. Yes, yes, I know how much You hate snakes, and I'm dreadfully sorry about that Heather. Please, bear with me. It was a children's book, and as I was flipping the pages I read about several species ranging from the Brahminy blind snake to the sea krait to the green anaconda. One page in particular had a crayon box and it was snakes that were all different colors of the rainbow. There was just something about the indigo colored snake that stuck out to me. It was so beautiful in comparison to the rest. Even though it was a drawn picture and not a photograph, it's beauty was still amazing.

I guess I would say the same thing about the basilisk from "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." It's design and color seemed to be beautiful to me. Which is rather odd when it comes to a creature that can kill You just by meeting its gaze. Most people would call such a beast ugly, but whenever that movie pops up, I watch it specifically for the monster scene. What can I say? I'm a monster movie fan.

Besides that, I don't really know why I like the color indigo besides I just think that it's really beautiful and strong. It's like if You were to ever see somebody performing a feat of strength. The human body is recognized for being beautiful and amazingly capable at the same time. I think that's what indigo means to me. Strength that resides inside beauty. Take a look at the ocean and lakes. Water is one of the strongest forces of nature on earth.

H: "If you recall correctly" hahaha, you crack me up. But I can absolutely see the appeal as my favorite color is blue and therefore I will forgive you for bringing the 's' word. In all seriousness, I agree with you that blue things stand out to me. Indigo is a gorgeous shade.

By David Clode on Unsplash

H: Alright, I have two more questions unless you have ones that you came up with?

T: I must apologize. I haven't been able to come up with any questions for this interview at all. My mind was filled with so many things that I just couldn't be decisive enough. You choose, please.

H: No worries at all :) So, what's the dream? How does success look to you?

T: Oooo, that is a tricky question. I suppose it would mean that I would reach the very top, if not the pinnacle in my field of study. Being so highly skilled at what I do that companies from countries all over the world would be vying to hire or contract with me left-and-right.

However, success would also mean having more than one form of stable income. My parents have raised me well enough and taught me about that from an early age. I've learned not just from watching them, but by also helping in what they did. Sometimes it was fixing houses, other times it was selling off extra food that we had from our own backyard garden. From small acorns do mighty oaks grow. Hence, why I'd love to have a fruit tree farm. Also, the more You make, the more You also have to give back as well.

Success doesn't stop at career. It also extends into my own life. Fitness, family, and finances are pretty important to me. I have to stay mentally and physically sharp. When my body does well so does my mind. The body is more than just a vessel for the mind. It's the first environment that the mind interacts with. If You're not treating Your body properly, Your mind will suffer.

Family includes the loved ones that I have now and the ones that I will have in the future. That especially means having my own children with a lovely, respectful, intelligent, woman.

The financial portion means that I'll be able to help provide for my immediate family even if some misfortune were to happen to me, leaving me incapable of working for a living anymore, or whether it means being alive at all. That means that they'll always have a roof over their heads, fresh water to drink and clean with, nutritious food in their bellies, warm clothes on their backs, and a sound education in their minds that'll hopefully bestow some wisdom onto them. People can tell me that I'm always focused on money, but I'm not focused on money. I'm focused on our freedom.

Apologies for leaving that openly vague, but what can I say? I'm not trying to divulge too much about me and "who I am," but still trying to give an insight of "who I am."

H: I hope you let your parents read this interview, because I guarantee they'd love to see these words in print. You have a wonderful head on your shoulders as those are some very admirable and relatable goals. Thank you for sharing that part of yourself :)

Last question then. What would you like readers to most know about you as an author?

T: That as an author, I'm still struggling to write, and even to enjoy what I write at times. There are times that a story will speak to me, and I just roll with it. So, I'm not always going to enjoy everything that I write. Some of my own writings have broken my heart quite a bit here and there. Yet, I'm still human. My heart beats, blood courses through my veins, I'm as free thinking as I believe that I am. I'm only trapped when I start thinking of myself as trapped. That goes for writing, my career, my current living arrangements, etc.

As an author, I'm still a person and I'm going to still grow. That includes my opinions, beliefs, what I do know, and what I don't know. My journey of growing into the person that I'm destined to become is much like many others. The pathway of good intentions is paved through hell.

I know I'm not going to be everybody's cup of tea. That being written, I think people should find what they enjoy to read, and if they enjoy the author too, more power to them. "If You like me, You like me. If You don't, You don't." Find Your enjoyment.

H: I can appreciate your sentiments on this one and agree that you should be continuing to improve and change and evolve in your personal life which will then ultimately carry over into your writing. I've heard the expression often and try to remember in my own writing career that if you write it, there'll be someone out there that wants to read it. You just have to connect.

I'd like to thank you again for doing this interview and for being willing to answer with so much honesty and thoughtfulness :) Is there anything else you'd like to say to readers before we finish?

T: Ah, I really don't know. I will say this though. I don't want anybody to read my content out of obligation. I don't want people to feel forced that they have to see what I've made, written, posted, recorded, etc. I want genuine engagement. I want to bring genuine joy along with a whole array of other emotions that my works may elicit.

Besides that, everybody's got their own life to deal with. I still have to tend to mine. I want people to make sure that they tend to theirs. Make something, do something, be someone that nobody else can be. Be You.

As always, when it comes to reading, Thank You.

Sincerely, T.Y.

H: What a beautiful way to end. I'll just leave it at that.

____________________________________________________

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Thavien's writing life. I highly encourage everyone to check out his prolific and diverse work. Here is one of his fiction pieces that I personally enjoyed reading:

~

I'd also like to share this deeply personal and emotional poem:

~

Note: I was given permission to use the full chat string and voice recordings and change any misspellings. Hybrid chat/audio interview conducted on February 21, 2023.

____________________________________________________

Catch up on the last three interviews in the series and stay tuned for the next one, coming soon!

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Comments (22)

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  • Thavien Yliaster2 months ago

    Thank You for the interview and all of Your hard work, Heather.

  • Numan Afzal2 months ago

    Amazing

  • And yet another delightful, fun and punchy interview by the lovely Heather Hubler!. I enjoyed getting to know more about T.Y. even if he thought he wasn't divulging too much. Love his musical range of anime OP to classical (since that's my range as well!). Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Wonderful interview!!! Loved ir!!!💕💖

  • Thavien, you and I are polar opposites. I'm an introvert. When I see a human, I try my best to avoid eye contact and hope it goes away 🤣 But I always stop and say hi to any animal that I meet, even if it's just a small spider! And whoaaa you're a musician, I never knew that! So wonder your poems always tend to have that beat! Oooo, you like indigo. I've never had anyone say to me that they like this or any particular shade of blue. Fascinating! Wow, your take on success left me speechless! Good speechless! I'll be cheering for you all the way! Totally agree with you that we will never be everyone's cup of tea. Bliss comes when we learn to accept that. I loved your exit speech! Mic drop! Heather, thank you so much for putting this interview together! You're such a wonderful host and I enjoyed reading this!

  • Loryne Andawey2 months ago

    Ah, this was such an excellent interview. The mantra of Fitness, Family and Finances resonates with me. Financial freedom for not just oneself but for one's family is a worthy goal. Thank you for sharing this and congratulations Heather and Thavien for this Top Story!

  • Gina C.2 months ago

    Another incredible interview, my friend!! 😍😍 I enjoyed learning even more abut Thavien! I was laughing at the part about his random grocery list 😅 Thavien, I also find it so interesting and impressive that you perform some of your work! Congrats to both of you on Top Story!! 😍😍

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    Great work! Both of you!

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Oh, this is fantastic. Kudos to both of you for such and interesting and free-flowing interview...even with the intermission. Really well done.

  • Donna Renee2 months ago

    This was another amazing one!! Great work, you two!! 😁😁❤️❤️

  • Numan Afzal2 months ago

    Amazing

  • Dana Stewart2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Naomi Gold2 months ago

    Wow, I enjoyed this interview so much! It’s always a special treat to get a comment from Thavien, especially when it is delivered in spontaneous haiku. I was honored to be his inspiration for “Nothing at All” which turned out so good! I related to a lot of aspects of this interview. I’m introvert, and mostly like to write at home, but sometimes it gets lonely. I have a favorite coffee shop where they greet me by first name… but it takes effort to get presentable and walk there. I also relate to being a mixed race person with cognitive dissonance around hip hop—I love the art form, but hate the “n word.” I believe words are spells, and derogatory language cannot be reclaimed. Heather, you are great at these interviews, please keep them coming!

  • Dana Stewart2 months ago

    I love these 'peek behind the curtain' interviews into fellow creator's minds and their creative processes. Interesting and entertaining - very good interview. 'Make something, do something, be you' is great advice!

  • Gerald Holmes2 months ago

    Make something, do something, be someone that nobody else can be. Be You. This one line says a lot about the person! Excellent interview.

  • Melissa Ingoldsby2 months ago

    Loved this funny and amusing part: "When rap artists are making diss tracks about one another, it's really just two dudes sitting in a room giving poetry to each other." Kind of romantic when You think about it like that, am I right? Lol So good! Great interview as always. Congratulations on top story!!!!

  • Congratulations on your Top Story

  • KJ Aartila2 months ago

    Excellent interview! (And I lol'd at the reference to you getting a "drunk") 🤣🤪

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Yay! Congrats on Top Story! So thoroughly deserved!

  • JBaz2 months ago

    Once again an honest open interview. Normally I find most interviews planned and not real.yours are authentic.

  • Wow, that was Awesome 👍 Thavien is Such an Intelligent individual❗

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Awesome interview, Thavien and Heather! So many things I could pick out, but just loved learning about you, Thavien and as usual, great handling of the interview, Heather! Fin.

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