Interview conducted in October of 2010
Cynthia Lynn on Cynthia Lynn:
“Damn she can be a cold-hearted bitch at times, yeah right.”
How did you come to BASE jumping interviews from blogging erotica serials and writing about women’s rights issues?
I had actually ended my daily blog months earlier and was chatting online with comedian Slade Ham, whom I later interviewed. I was nagging at him to get started on writing his book. Slade is one of those adventure seeker/traveler personalities; he mentioned he had skydived while another friend mentioned she was planning a tandem jump to celebrate with her father. I Google searched skydiving and found a skydiving forum, at the bottom of the forum they had a link for BASE jumping. I followed the link and started reading the forum posts and articles.
Within a week of reading from the forum, I had written an erotic story with the two main characters being BASE jumpers who meet on a roof top as they are preparing to jump. It leads to an encounter in the female characters hotel room and left an opening for the story to be continued.
As I said I had written erotica serials, learning from one of the best novice writers I know, so I had that part covered so to speak. I wanted the BASE jumping scene to be as close to the real thing as I could paint with words, I emailed two of the forum members asking if they would check the technical aspects I had written.
I asked one of the moderators of the forum if I could post the story and see what type of reaction it would receive from BASE enthusiasts and participants versus the feedback I was getting from people on another media outlet. The reaction ranged from “outraged that I posted ‘porn’ on their ‘holy’ base forum” to “asking if I had more of those stories”.
I posted a couple more erotic short stories for the fun of it; I do enjoy the “shock and awe” value of it and the interaction it brought with a couple of the forum members. I hadn’t planned on sticking around the forum, but then the same moderator asked me if I had conducted written interviews. I hadn’t, but agreed to give a try with one of the sites more outgoing people, Hank Caylor, who is well-known in the Rock Climbing sport as well as BASE jumping.
The interview went well, Hank was the ideal person to start with and from day one supported the idea of a non-jumpers writing perspective on BASE jumping. I will always be grateful to Hank for giving me a shot and cheerleading through the first interview postings. I as well will always be appreciative to the forum moderators, administrators and a handful of members for their support and opportunity to venture into untested waters.
I am very proud of the pieces that I have done, but I’m not satisfied, as I haven’t written that one piece that encompasses my entire experience in joining the forum and writing the articles.
You received a great deal of negative reaction from the Base jumping community that culminated with public postings on the forum and hate mail about your interviews and in general your participation on the forum. Why stick it out?
First off received is past tense, I’m still receiving “hate mail”, I don’t think that will ever dissipate. Any person that shares their viewpoints on the internet is an open target. I use to get hate messages for the strong opinions I expressed on my blog, nothing has changed really. The majority of the mail I get is from alpha males who have been lead to believe that you can bully a woman into accepting your word as gospel. *said with a big dose of sarcasm* Oddly enough I haven’t had anyone from the Motorsports community or any entertainment professionals write me and tell me that I wasn’t welcome to interview people.
Secondly, I made a promise to myself that I would do twelve interviews in twelve months. The only motivation I needed to “stick it out” and exceed that goal was being told I couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t be able to succeed at it. Telling me what to do or what I can’t do, is similar to poking a rattlesnake, my friends will attest they highly recommend against it where I am concerned.
Lastly, I enjoy it. I have had conversations and shared in the lives of some of the most intriguing, creative, in tuned human beings I have ever met in my lifetime over the past two years. I can honestly state that it’s the person inside that intrigues me, not that they perform on stage before thousands of people, or that they can race a car around a track at blinding speeds, or even their successes in their careers. I have a strong understanding of who I am and it’s lead me to cross paths and encounter experiences that this small town girl never would have dreamed up in any of my childhood stories.
When I start the interview process I tell the interviewees that this is a partnership, together we are going to share the story they want to tell. My perception of them is painted in the interview profile is only as in sync to who they are in reality by the amount of giving of their selves they offer. If I ask a question and they give me an answer they think will sound like the “right thing” to say, then in the end I am passing along that perception. If I speak with someone long enough, I tend to ask the right questions and in return get an honest answer.
There is a saying that I learned around junior high graduation that I have held to: “There are three people to every person. The person you believe yourself to be, the person others believe you to be and the person you truly are.” My goal with each interview is to paint a portrait of the person for the reader that is as close to “the person they truly are” as I can.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about you by online readers?
That I am like the characters I create in my stories or that I am like the online persona I create as a writer. I truly believe that in the last relationship I had, he lost sight of me the person he knew and what I put down on-screen. So, if someone who supposedly loves and knows you can become confused, then it’s no wonder casual readers blur the line between fiction and reality.
I think my readers would be surprised to know that I have no want to skydive, BASE jump, rock climb, ski, dive with sharks, sing or tell jokes on stage. However, I do enjoy my Camaro and driving it like I stole it.
What do you consider your biggest life changing moment?
Ten years ago set off a series of life changing moments for me that seen one of my brothers inflicted with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, myself diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I left my corporate retail career after spending 13 years of “climbing the corporate ladder”, my mother passed away after a period of suffering during the last months of her life, the big 4-0 had come and gone for me and the kids were heading off to university. I looked around and thought, “now what?” There was an overwhelming deafening silence as if I was sucked into a black hole.
The one thing I missed in leaving my career wasn’t the nice office, the money, or the designer clothes, but rather the opportunity to help people. Whether it was mentoring employees or heading up the community giving program, I enjoy interacting with people. I was able to use the corporate name and dollars to help improve the lives of children in the local battered women’s shelter as well as boy’s ages 7-12 who were wards of the state due to abuse at the hands of their families.
In all that deafening silence I did find a medium to advocate and help others. When you write an opinion piece and you receive messages or comments from people saying “thank you that helped me, comforted me, and gave me the courage to change”, then it makes all the “hate mail” into what it really is, “the small stuff”.
What has been the biggest challenge in life?
My health, there are periods of time that the Fibromyalgia beats me down. The syndrome itself will not kill you, but the joint health issues it brings with it and the learning to live with chronic pain is a marathon event; as is life itself.
From the National Fibromyalgia Association: “Fibromyalgia affects between 2-6 million Americans. It is a neurological condition stemming from the central nervous system that produces a sensation of severe body pain, stiffness, cognitive impairment, fatigue & insomnia. Fibromyalgia patients frequently suffer from other symptoms and complex medical conditions as well. It is believed to be caused by a cluster of factors working together; genetic mutation susceptibility, infections and a specific trauma or injury. There is no cure and prescription treatments offer limited relief with high-incidents of side-effects. It is a lifelong, non-degenerative condition that can be managed using a holistic, total body approach to wellness but the quality of life of a Fibromyalgia patient is forever altered as basic life functioning diminishes.”
If you have a family member, friend or associate living with Fibromyalgia you really do them a disservice in not learning about the illness. Patients with the illness cannot survive without the support, compassion and understanding. Losing your friends, your career and having family members turn their backs on you while adjusting to the changes your body is undergoing and the emotional stress plaguing your mind is just plain cruel. Loving someone should be for the duration of the good and bad times. Period.
Living with the illness itself and the various complications has been a challenge. I didn’t give myself much of a chance at maintaining my sanity, but as I have reached the 10 year mark; I have proven I’m a much stronger person than I thought myself to be. Within the last month I have been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, which gratefully was detected in Stage 1. I will need to make dietary and medication changes, which leaves me in less than a sunny mood as I am not a big fan of change. My brother teases me, “If you were a prized race horse they would have put you down already”; I tell him, “Good thing I’m not a horse.”
“How do you know you are alive if you have never tasted death?” Anyone who battles chronic illness or disease and finds themselves out there on the edge of that invisible darkness, clawing to stay alive, you truly appreciate all the beauty and good in humanity. I have an incredible family and an amazing circle of friends that on my darkest days when I think I can’t face another battery of tests, medication change, physician or hospital visit, they don’t allow me to give up.
My friend Rob would tell you that my biggest challenge is to not ask so many questions. As he so politely told me during a conversation, “Cynthia, there is such a thing as too many questions and not all of them need answers.”
Who was the greatest influence in your life?
My parents without question shaped who I am as a woman and foremost as an individual. They engrained in my siblings and I, to be a leader and not a follower, think outside the box, and never compromise on honesty or your faith; to live by the golden rule. My mother poured her heart, soul and sweat into raising five children, along with our stray friends when necessary. She was a no-nonsense person with a huge capacity to love and guide people. Mom didn’t allow the word “hate” and one of Mom’s rules was: “Never lie to me and if you did something wrong I had better hear about it from your mouth and not someone else’s.” The bond between my parents and the love my father expressed for my mother amazes me to this day still. Mom would tell me, “You’ll never find a man as good as your father and don’t ever settle for less.” This fit in nicely with my own thoughts that “death, marriage and taxes should be avoided at all costs.”
What do you see as your future challenges?
Continuing to develop my own unique voice in my writing style and see my work expand. The illness stripped me of my past career; I whole heartedly believe that it prove to be a blessing in the end. The trick being to live a quality life despite the health challenges and create a balance in my life that suits my professional and personal aspirations.
A quote I recently discovered from Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, “Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” Fate of late has brought amazing people and opportunities into my life and I know deep down in my core that I love more than I hate in this world and in my life.
The greatest thing about hitting age 40 is that you really do feel that you don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about you. I embraced this “fuck you” attitude to all those that doubted me, a self-confidence to express myself and stand by convictions, along with a deeper understanding of my connection to the universe and faith.
What would be your lead in paragraph on a profile of yourself?
Aristotle’s law of no contradiction states that “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.” Aristotle never met Ms. Cynthia Lynn.
A small town Catholic girl who loves the colors of the stain glass windows and architecture of the local churches as much as the bright lights and hustle of downtown Chicago. She is a woman who enjoys the company of sinners as well as saints and values the love of family and friendships above all else. At first glance she may seem black and white, but further investigation will lead you to a wide array of color.
A dozen random facts, statements, which could be considered weird, strange or different:
- I was raised by wonderful loving parents, in a beautiful home with three brothers and my “little” sister. We never wanted for anything and were each other’s playmates. Today we live no more than 10 minutes apart from each other and continue to be in each other’s strength. I refuse to apologize for being raised to strive for a higher good or that I had an “I had a Catholic, Wonder bread, Flintstone vitamin, and Colgate toothpaste” childhood. If you didn’t, I do not judge you for it; so don’t judge me and mine.
- I am quiet in social settings. I am reserved and often find myself in deep thought taking in the moment. This has in the past lead to people perceiving me to be sad, embittered and cold or stuck up. If you pass judgment, before getting to know me, consider that your loss.
- I am passionate, intense, aggressive, honest, and sincere; very open about life in general, forthcoming with opinions on many topics, and what I believe to be injustices of the world. If you don’t want to know what I honestly think, then don’t ask me; because I will tell you.
- I have a very sarcastic sense of humor. My true friends know this and dish it out as well as they take it from me.
- I sleep very little, so when I am asleep “leave me alone”. I am a very picky eater…vegetables, sauces, foods that look like they could walk off the plate frighten me, I am a “clean freak”, and bleach is my friend. I also have a place for everything and everything is in its place, so don’t touch it.
- I coached boy’s baseball for four years starting when I was 19 years old. Yes, I can teach you how to throw a curveball and anything else that involves the basics of baseball. We were 84-4 during that time. My father was my mentor in coaching. Mom taught me the curveball.I love the heat of Chicago summers. However, I detest insects and if you see me “shrieking, dancing about and pointing”, that means I need whoever is next to me, to “kill it” or “remove it from my sight.”
- I DO NOT take photographs. No, I don’t mean that I don’t know how to use a camera, I mean, paparazzi take note: unless you have a waiver of consent from my manager, then cap those shutters.
- I have had my future read by the leader of the Buddhist Church of Thailand in 1993. He shared his scrapbook with me afterwards displaying photos of himself with President and Mrs. Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and other dignitaries around the world.
- My only pet as a child was a locust, his name was Luke. He had a short life span; I had my father give him a proper burial in our backyard.
- I wanted to be a Catholic nun or school teacher as a child and use to practice mass in the backyard with my friends in a mock set-up of church pews.
- I have only fallen in love once and although romantics might find that sad, I find it poetic.