Interview: Linz Vandermeer

Today we’re joined by Linz Vandermeer. Linz is a phenomenal writer who has recently gotten into cosplay. They mostly write fanfiction, but they started out writing poetry and stories. For the cosplay, they’ve only recently started dabbling in it and enjoys it. It’s clear they’re a passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I have been writing for as long as I can remember, it’s
almost a compulsion with me. I started with poetry, some bad, some even worse,
and then branched out into stories. Eventually, through my love of comics and
movies, I ended up in the realm of fanfiction, and that’s where I’ve focused
most of my attention for the last 3 or 4 years. The other thing I have really
started to get into is cosplay, and though my sewing skills are not the
greatest, I have a great group of friends to turn to where my abilities are
lacking.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of my inspiration from daily life. I take a
situation that I’ve encountered, and wondered ‘what would such-and-such a
character do in my place’, and ‘how could this have gone worse’? It’s like a
little mental exercise, and then before I know it I have 1200 words on a page.
When I am cosplaying, I try to find a character that really calls out to me,
someone that I can see a bit of myself in.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

Even from a very young age I wanted to be a writer. I used
to write stories with my friends about the adventures we would go on if we
didn’t have to be in school, or if our parents were actually super spies, and
things like that. As I got older I realized that I didn’t want writing to be my
job, it was my mental escape from life and to put pressure or deadlines killed
my creativity. Cosplay naturally evolved from my love of roleplaying games like
D&D. I took part in a LARP (live action role play) for almost a decade
before health issues made it too difficult, and that’s where I really started
to learn to build costumes.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I like to use British cuss words, they’ve always entertained
me and I grew up watching shows like Monty
Python
and Red Dwarf, so that
coloured my view of humour. More than that I like to take one scene and add
more description than necessary, really make it the centerpiece of my work. I
also rarely have sexual content in my fanfiction, which makes it a bit of an
oddity.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

When you are writing, write for you. That way any person who
likes what you have done, that’s just a bonus. Art should come from inside of
us, and serve us, the rest of the world is a distant second. Do it to make
yourself happy, that’s where the best art comes form.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a panromantic asexual and agender individual.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

There’s a lot of pressure towards sexualization and
romanticism in writing, and fanfiction in particular. I occasionally get
pressure to add sex scenes, and I will the odd time concede and add them, but
it always feels wrong to me. I have no interest in sexual actions, so I’m not
certain that I can really build them appropriately or accurately.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I find that for the most part I encounter a lot of confusion
over the fact that my partner and I have been together for almost six years.
We’re both asexual, and though we live together we have separate bedrooms
because I am an extremely restless sleeper. When people hear that we have never
even kissed (I’m touch-averse), they assume we are more like friends that live
together, but it’s not that at all. I love and adore my partner, and being with
her is very different than being with even my best friend.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Struggle is natural. I grew up in a world where asexuality
didn’t exist, and where even more standard queer identities like gay and
lesbian were barely discussed. I tried on a lot of hats when I was trying to
figure out who I was, but it wasn’t until I found asexuality that I felt
comfortable and that it was ‘just right’. Don’t be afraid to change your
identifiers when they don’t suit you anymore. Sexuality is not only a spectrum,
but it flows and changes as your identity and personality develop.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I have some of my old poetry up on Deviantart at https://www.deviantart.com/cavannarose
and my fanfiction is up on AO3 at https://archiveofourown.org/users/CavannaRose

Thank you, Linz, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.