vesselcollective

Lynn’s Words

In Interview on December 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

lynn photo

Lynn Casper is my official friend and unofficial cousin. My aunt, who nicely tries to understand the projects I work on, mentioned a while back that she had a niece who worked on things too, and gave her email address to me. And here we are. Here, I ask her about success, doubt and the wonderful, helpful thing that is inner strength. Lynn is incredibly driven and I look forward to seeing her projects continue to develop.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An architect, a pharmacist, a musician, a professional soccer player, doing something in the music industry. 

What kinds of projects did you work on before Homoground? Were they predecessors to Homoground? 

I’ve worked on A LOT of different projects. but the ones most crucial leading up to Homoground, were Be Yr Own Hero (& its counter part Be Yr Own Queero) and NINJATRONICS. BYOH started in 2007 when some friends came together to throw a DIY (Do It Yrself) festival. It was a combination of radical workshops, music, activism and community building. We threw the fest for 3 years and organized other projects throughout the year. We were all very active with Food Not Bombs and also ran a ‘Really Really Free Market’ every month. In December of 2008, I got a scholarship to attend the Gay and Lesbian Bloggers Summit and decided to shift my focus more on LGBTQ issues, thus Be Yr Own Queero was born. BYOQ mostly ran its course in early 2009. On the side of all this, I was very active in the music scene, playing in a band called Doly Toro from 2007-2009. And then getting into DJing more after that, which spurred NINJATRONICS, a music blog and DJ duo that I did with my friend, TEKNACOLORNINJA. We DJ’d parties and made podcasts. Then things died down for a bit when Teknacolorninja moved away….  (And I was mostly busy taking photos of umbrellas.) 

Design by Andrea Georgas

Design by Andrea Georgas

How did Homoground culminate? 

The fall after the Ninja moved, my friend Bambi who runs OutImpact.com invited me to do a radio show on her new site: OutImpactRadio.com that she was launching in January 2011. I agreed and combined my passion for queer activism with music. Plus, I was tired of listening to the same bands I had been listening to for the past 5 years. It gave me a reason to dig up some rad stuff I’d never heard about. 

When I was little I used to pretend I was hosting radio shows in my bedroom with my dad’s cassette tapes. Classic rock. Hahah. And then as technology changed, I found other ways to share music. Mix tapes, mix cds, mp3 forums, podcasts. 

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome related to working on Homoground?

SO MANY! I’m good at all the behind the scenes organizing and pushing information out onto the internet, but I’m naturally an extremely introverted person. So it takes a lot out of me to put on the public side of Homoground and get into “character” as scantron (my DJ name). I’m not particularly good at striking up conversations with strangers and interacting socially with strangers in general, so it has prevented me from really letting people know about Homoground and what it’s all about. I’d rather put stickers on things and take photos. But Homoground has really pushed me to go outside of that comfort zone, to go to events alone or give someone a sticker/flyer. But it’s still really hard for me. The podcast is easy, because I pre-record that and can edit and re-record when I mess up. Live radio terrifies me. So I guess just getting in the right mindsets for things has been my biggest obstacle. Balancing everything that is going on. Keeping up with shit. Not letting myself go crazy or discouraged and focusing on the things that I can do rather stress over the things I can’t. It’s all a lot of work and exhausting when I can’t afford to hire staff to take care of different aspects. And I hate asking for help. 

lynn homoground stickers

What are some ideas you’ve scrapped because you couldn’t get them to work or they weren’t right for the project?

A lot of ideas. I love thinking and coming up with ideas. Not all of them are good and sometimes they fail, but that’s okay, because I’ve learned that I come up with probably 100% more ideas than the average person, so my output is high, and it’s only logical that not every single idea I come up with is good. So it’s all about knowing which ones are good and which ones aren’t. I used to get really discouraged and annoyed by some people when I would tell them about an idea, realize after much thought that it won’t work and then they ask me about it later and when I say I’m not doing it and they roll their eyes at me. I have a few ideas in the back of my head that I haven’t let go of yet, but aren’t priorities right now. But one day, once the timing and resources are right, I will want to make them realities. 

I do a lot of experimenting also with projects. I am constantly tweaking the Homoground website and other cogs in the wheel to see what works and what doesn’t. It all takes a lot of learning and is frustrating at times.
 

What do you think has been the most successful aspect and what are you most proud of?

Consistency has been a large factor to Homoground’s success. That and lots of passion and dedication. The stickers really help in terms of getting the name out there and having others spread the word for me. 

Homoground won best website in Wilmington in 2011. That was pretty awesome, Homoground was on the front cover. We were also nominated in the People’s Choice Podcast Awards in 2011 and 2012 (We haven’t gotten the results for the winner this year yet, so we still might have a chance). 

And just knowing that people really love what I’m doing keeps me motivated to keep doing it. Sometimes this work is extremely isolating and I spend a lot of time on my computer, alone in my room recording myself talking, which seems pretty weird. But I would have LOVED to have a giant resource of independent queer musicians when I was a teenager, so that’s where being consistent comes into play.  

Also, I think moving to NYC is going to be the best decision I’ve ever made. 🙂 We’ll see what happens… 

How have the feminist playing cards been received? 

Pretty well! Honestly, I have been dreading the day when I receive opposition to Feminist Playing Cards and Homoground, but surprisingly, I haven’t had that much negativity regarding the projects. Which is a huge relief! Because I guess some of the stuff I do can be considered controversial or at least make people feel uncomfortable. But whateves, I’ve felt uncomfortable my whole life growing up in a world that is so sexist and homophobic. And that’s not really like a ‘Fuck You’ to anyone, its just a “I want to be happy, and if that makes you uncomfortable, THEN… fuck you.” Hah! 

But yeah, the Fem. Cards have been getting awesome feedback! From the beginning, people were really intrigued by the project and once it was tangible, people loved how the cards came out! Going back, I think hitting our Kickstarter goal was my proudest/most successful moment. 

[The cards have received attention from Huffington Post, Bust Magazine and Bitch Magazine to name a few!]

Were you working solo on that project?

There were 14 artists involved in the project. (http://feministcards.tumblr.com/artists)
My role was essential “project director” or whatever fancy term. I took care of all the logistics, the Kickstarter, the promotional material, the legal shit, finding the manufacturer, etc. 
 

What was recruiting artists like?
 
For the feminist cards, I asked a few friends who are graphic designers / illustrators if they thought it was a good idea. They jumped on board and recommended other artists to me. It was rad because some really amazing artists that I’ve respected for a while joined the project. They are all super talented people with a million other projects going on, too. So I was very honored to have them all be a part of this project. 
 

Tell me about filling envelopes with bubble-wrap in your apartment.

A PAIN IN THE BUTT!! Actually, that was probably the biggest obstacle I’ve faced all year. Figuring out the best way to package and mail all the rewards gave me a headache. But now I know a lot more than I did before and if I ever do something like it again, I can do it better. I’m almost done mailing everything out, so that’s a relief!
 

What would you like to accomplish with Homoground by next year?

In a year from now, I would hope to have a successful monthly party or at least just more events. I would like to be generating enough income through Homoground for it to pay for itself and to start paying myself for all the work I’ve done on it. I would like to see our numbers double (or triple!) by the end of the year. I’d like to amp up our video channel: homoground.TV 
 

What would you like to be doing in five years? 

In 5 years, I hope I’d be working for myself and be able to have a core Homoground team that was compensated for their work. I’d like for Homoground to expand to more cities. I’m not exactly sure what all the details would look like, but I am hopeful about the next 5 years and who knows, Homoground might transform into something else, or an unexpected opportunity might come out of it. I’m excited to see what happens. 
 

What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?

I have a few things that I tell myself. If I’m getting too distracted I’ll repeat “focus” in my mind and write it down and put it somewhere visible. If I’m feeling unproductive, I’ll chant “GET SHIT DONE” put on some upbeat music and get my body moving (Even if I’m doing work at my computer, I’ll stand in front of it and stretch a bit). When I start to get discouraged or frustrated, I’ll remind myself that my hard work will pay off and karma will reward me when the time is right and that I just need to be patient. When I get overwhelmed or anxious, I’ll take a shower and stretch. I think a lot (if you haven’t noticed. Hahah.) So, when I go on walks, I always have pep talks happening in my head. Same with showers. I usually come out with a solution to whatever has been bothering me and a renewed sense of motivation. 

I live by these 4 words: live, learn, create, share and I often reflect on which cycle I am in at that point of time. When I incorporate those 4 things, love grows within myself. I feel confident and happy with myself. 
 
What do you think your greatest strength is?

My mind. But it is also my least greatest strength when not used correctly.
 
What do you wish you could tell your 17-year-old self?

To not let other people’s opinions discourage me. I was very sensitive (maybe I still am) as a kid and people’s negativity really affected me. In return, I was often a negative person who always thought I would never be good enough, so why bother trying? I actually wrote a letter to my 17-year-old self a few months ago for a gathering with some friends. I’ll attach it. It’s a lot of the same things I’ve said above. 

Lynn’s Letter to Her 17-year-old Self:

Hey you, I see you staring out the window, dreaming about a fantasy world where you can truly be yourself. The teacher who sat you in the back of the room for being too hyper is teaching, your parents who evaluate every single thing you do grounded you for being rebellious once again, and the preacher who keeps spouting out all the things you can’t do is being attentively adorn by a room full of people. And all you can think is what the fuck is the point to all of this if you can’t be happy. Because I know for a fact, that you are not.

Right now, I bet you’re dreaming up a storyline in your head where you can act on the crush you have on the girl sitting next to you in class. In your story, you cast yourself as an outgoing boy who gets the girl. Let me tell you: you will grow up and realize that you don’t have to be that outgoing boy in order to have crushes on girls. And you don’t have to feel guilty about having those feelings towards your gender either. You can simply be yourself.

Although, these words may seem absurd, know that you are growing up in a place that is way behind everything else. It’s a place where you will never feel that you truly belong, but this is a test in life for you. Instead of fleeing this place, you need to change the parts that you don’t like as much as you can. Not just for yourself, but for humanity. Everything you do is going to be one cog in a larger picture to make things better for other people. For the community you live in who feels just as isolated as you do. Its a large task at hand, but that is just how your heart thinks. But before you try to attempt to save the world, most importantly, You need to save yourself first. Not in the same way the preacher describes. Your heart is going to take you places that most of society is terrified of. And because of their own insecurities, they will retaliate, they will hate you, they will call you names, they will tell you that everything you do is wrong. It’s a tough world. But trust your gut & don’t doubt yourself. You must learn fast that YOU are the only person who will always be with you. For the rest of your life. So you can’t care what they think or say. you must learn to love yourself, feel comfortable with yourself, and change or work on the things that you dislike about yourself and whatever situation you find yourself in. It’s a life long process, but the sooner you learn to be your best friend, the easier it will be to get through really tough shit. Life can get really overwhelming and outright depressing, no matter what. So its important to learn these essential tools now so that you can handle whatever the Universe throws at you. Things will always change, no matter what. Its beyond your control. But you can control how you react, and this will speak volumes of your character. You will frequently visit a place called Depression. It’s a place of bad memories and negative feelings and total discomfort. You will hate going to this place but you will go there alot, trust me. Eventually you will learn how to distract yourself from this place. You might go there, but you will start to develop tools to overcome all of its demons. When you feel yourself slipping into that place, you must remember all the things you love, all the dreams you want to come true, all the goals you want to accomplish. These are the things that will carry you over the pit of Depression and will stick with you for the rest of your life. You must embrace your mind and your ideas and you MUST create. Making your ideas happen is the best distraction you have in order to avoid the nasty parts of your brain. You are a very passionate person. That scares people, even yourself. Because you are going to feel every feeling in the world 10 times more than the average person. So you must learn to use that passion for good. To give yourself fuel to live, learn, create and share. To help generations of kids that are also staring out the window, dreaming about a better world.

  1. […] was recently interviewed by the Vessel Collective about my projects, mostly Homoground & Feminist Playing Cards, as well as insight into my […]

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