Arin Andrews is a transgender advocate, mountain-climbing extraordinaire, and student at Oklahoma State University. He’s also the author of Some Assembly Required, a memoir that expounds upon his experience as a transgender youth. On his Facebook page, you may find pictures of his climbing adventures, road trips, and loved ones.
His courageous and free spirit was apparent during our interview. Knowing he wrote a memoir, and myself majoring in English, I wanted to ask him about his own experience with literature and its influence in his life.
Andrews’ first experience with literature in relation to his transition opened his mother’s mind.
“I got online and found accredited information, put it in a binder, and gave it to my mom. I was pretty analytical about it,” he said.
Andrews said in that moment, he hoped to convince his mom of the significance and realness of his feelings. Soon after, his mom would encourage him to take advantage of a particular opportunity– composing his memoir, Some Assembly Required.
Andrews admitted his struggle writing and showed appreciation for his ghostwriter. He spoke of the significance of writing and sharing his memoir.
“I now have a lot of respect for people who write … and personally, I think [literature] has a lot of impact. It’s one thing that doesn’t go away.”
Andrews’ memoir was published in 2014, but I wanted to understand the impact literature and writing has created on his life three years later.
“I prefer nonfiction over fiction … and poetry over prose,” said Andrews, explaining the reasons behind his current reading list, which includes a few mountain-climbing guides and Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey.
At the present, Andrews studies Recreational Management and Adventure Studies, stemmed from his mountaineering passion. He does not only read literature about these topics, but he writes about them, too.
Andrews said he’s inspired to write “after big events or big trips,” which mainly includes his trips to mountaintops.
Andrews said these trips allow him to introspect, “I try to be a better person than I was yesterday, and it’s nice to have a written timeline to go back and appreciate and learn from and see how far I’ve come.”
As evidenced by Andrews’ life, literature and the written word opens our minds and allows us to share, connect, attain important information, and better ourselves. And thank you, Arin, for reminding us that these ideas exist not only as important themes for authors to discuss or audiences to read, but for us, as humans part of a bigger whole, to live by.