For NaPoWriMo Day 12, the Prompt is: to “write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. I have to my surprise, never written in this form, so here’s a definition from Haibun– Poets.org:
“Haibun is a poetic form that allows one to answer some of these questions while providing a fresh perspective through a lens that focuses on nature and landscape. Haibun combines a prose poem with a haiku. The haiku usually ends the poem as a sort of whispery and insightful postscript to the prose of the beginning of the poem. Another way of looking at the form is thinking of haibun as . . . a prose poem ending with a meaningful murmur of sorts: a haiku.”
To write about poetry is to believe that there are answers to some of the questions poets ask of their art, or at least that there are reasons for writing it, writes Michael Weigers, editor of the anthology This Art: Poems about Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2003).
Past the ravine, the North Saskatchewan flows; ice on her surface where Spring’s murmuring waters compose. The snow floats, sheets of ice crack, confused, the rivers pull bursts through. Amidst howling winds and bitter nights of chill, Spring waltzes in with lilacs. But old-man winter berates with frost, slippery roads, broken sidewalks. Spring blossoms and explodes, to weave the buds that summon bees. Springs drugged words ignored, no lush greenery bursts. Leaves rot, the ice, the snow, the muck, the refuse mushed, derelict without Spring’s blossoms. She hums her tune, an heals Winter’s hacking cough; she pleads her assurance of poppy fields. The old-man shakes his fist with cantankerous growl — another ‘last’ snowstorm grits. The poet composes in metaphorical bliss, avoiding morn’s beams. The question of, “Why?” No matter. The question of, “How can I not?” Words that enthral.
Welcome to my regularly scheduled bi-weekly interview series. I am pleased to share with you the blog of a talented writer, photographer, and world traveler. I have blogged with Yinglan for a while and am pleased to call her a good friend in the blogging world. Please visit her blog here: This is Another Story – About Life, Fantasy, and Everything In Between.
1. Hi Yinglan, Please tell us About Yourself?
Hi, my name is Yinglan Z. and the name of my blog is This is Another Story because isn’t every day in life another story?
I recently completed my second academic degree in Accounting and am currently spending a brief four months in my hometown of Zhongshan, China to get reacquainted with my relatives as well as the place I lived during the first decade of my life. When I am not in China having an adventure, I lead a pretty boring life in the suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.
At the moment, I am a self-employed translator, working with my mom to update the Chinese version for a software guide widely used by schools around the world. However, my personal goal is to either become a full-time writer or find a job where I’m applying what I’ve learned from my two degrees because isn’t that why I got two degrees?
2. Please Tell Us About Your Writing and Blogging? What do You Hope to Accomplish in Writing?
I began writing in 2013 and the purpose of my blog (at first) was to post the speeches I’d written for Toastmasters, an international club for public speaking. Then, I fell in love with storytelling; thus, my blog for fictional stories began. I wrote fiction and participated in flash fiction challenges during summer of 2014 and discovered fiction writing was a way for me to relax.
Once I began participating in challenges the readership for my blog grew and in 2015, I made the decision to make my blog both a fiction and lifestyle blog to add more variety and so I could write what about whatever I wanted to write about. In late 2015, I made another decision — to change the name to something more fitting: This is Another Story.
“Then, I fell in love with storytelling and, thus, my blog for fictional stories began. I wrote fiction and participated in flash fiction challenges during summer of 2014 and discovered fiction writing was a way for me to relax.” – Yinglan Z
3. When did you really begin writing and blogging? Why is Writing Meaningful for you? Do You Find You Are Able to Help Others Through Your Blogging?
I began writing after I joined Toastmasters in 2011. That’s when I discovered my love for storytelling. Before that, the task of sitting in front of a computer typing and writing an essay or a story seemed daunting to me, although, I don’t know why.
Although I wasn’t diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) until early 2016, I’ve always known I have anxiety issues. I’ve tried various methods to relax – yoga, meditation, music – but none is more relaxing than writing stories.
When I was attending school full-time, working multiple jobs, I would come home to write because it would mean I was able to let my mind drift to another reality even if it was only for a few minutes.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Why is Writing and Blogging Significant to You?
A lot of the inspiration for my stories comes from around me – television shows, movies, current events, (etc). There’s always a story going on in my head and if I let it stay in my head, it’ll drive me insane. Maybe it goes with my stubborn personality? Also, it’s important to record my thoughts and feelings because bottling them up won’t help me or anyone.
“Although I wasn’t diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) until early 2016, I’ve always known I have anxiety issues. I’ve tried various methods to relax – yoga, meditation, music – but none is more relaxing than writing stories.” – Yinglan Z
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Have You Ever Had Any Writing Published?
I am currently finishing a few short stories for my collection called: A Light in the Dark. I am also in the process of expanding a short story into a novel. Both of those things are progressing slowly due to the number of events I am attending in China but they are coming along.
I published a story in an online newsletter for NLSC – National Language Service Corp – a few years ago about the Mid-Autumn Festival and that was the only piece I have ever published other than blog posts. My future are noted above, to publish a collection of short stories and a novel. Who knows, maybe I’ll submit a piece to a magazine or something when I have time.
6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Do You Prefer Certain Areas if Writing and Reading Genres?
I’m still trying to figure out my writing process. I write whenever a story pops into my head which is usually night time. I’m not sure why, but my imagination feels blank during the day. Maybe it’s the fact I’m tired and my mind is getting ready to dream?
I am also a huge fan of the suspense and thriller genres because those are the stories that keep me at the edge of my seat. I also enjoy investigative and crime-solving stories. I used to like to read Young Adult fiction and the supernatural genre but lately, not so much. Maybe I’m growing up?
“I am currently finishing a few short stories for my collection called: A Light in the Dark. I am also in the process of expanding a short story into a novel.” – Yinglan Z.
7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers?
My advice for new writers and bloggers would be to don’t give up. Keep writing! Most people do not become famous with their first story. Keep trying. Also I encourage you to visit other blogs and comment on other bloggers’ posts. Participate in challenges and sooner or later, other bloggers will pay you a visit and almost always this starts a chain reaction. You discover new blogs and bloggers and their followers may also follow you in return. As well, leave your link and some information at blogging parties and learn to network through and with other bloggers. Be willing to look at other blogs and learn from them as well.
8. For fun, do you have any particular blogs you follow? What Do You Like About Them?
Oh wow, that is difficult to choose since I follow thousands of blogs. I will say my favorite kinds of blogs are photography, travel, and flash fiction. I like these kinds of blogs because I can often learn a thing or two from them.
“My advice for new writers would be to don’t give up. Keep writing! Most people do not become famous with their first story. Keep trying.” – Yinglan Z
9. Can You Please Share With us a Few Favorite Links from Your Blog?
I wrote this poem a long time ago (about 14 or 15 years old) and decided to share it about two years ago. It was written during the phase when I wanted to be a singer-songwriter.
By Yinglan Z.
Your yesterday is gone But your today is here sooner than you think You wish you haven’t gotten everything wrong And you wish you can make all the bad go away And you say
Tomorrow Things are going to be okay Tomorrow It will all change
Your today is gone And you have made no commitment To bring changes Oh and you just kept on saying that
Tomorrow Things are going be all right Tomorrow It will all be bright
Day and day went by You just sat behind your table Waiting for changes to come to you You say, “It’ll be okay” And I say “it’ll be okay when you start making changes for yourself” And you say starting tomorrow
Things are going to be all right Tomorrow It will all be right It will all be bright It will be the day when I set thing right
Thank you to Yinglan for agreeing to be interviewed and for sharing about her writing and her life.
Just to note: Yinglan has returned from her relatives in China and has been visiting my home country of Canada in Alberta checking out The Rocky Mountains in Banff and around Lake Louise. She was recently in Yellow Stone National Park in the U.S. and if you follow her blog, Yinglan’s photographs of her travels are also a huge highlight when you read her posts. She is talented at taking beautiful shots of scenery while traveling and finding interesting places abroad and from around her home.
If you would like to be a part of my bi-weekly interview series please let me know via my Contact Page. See you in two weeks with another exciting interview 🙂
For Perogies: I’m one-quarter Ukrainian and we always have perogies at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and every now and then. The secret is to boil the perogies, fry up some bacon and onions, let the perogies warm in the crock pot on low with some becel, and toss in the bacon and onions. The perogies are extremely soft and delicious using this method. Make sure you allow the perogies to warm a good half hour to an hour in the crock pot. Or, you can visit a local restaurant near us in Edmonton, AB, called Uncle Ed’s, which is a genuine Ukrainian restaurant that has all the Ukrainian food you could ever desire at a reasonable price, with a too reasonable amount of food on each plate.
2. Pizza – I learned to make this from my Mom, it’s fantastic pizza and much better than take-out. The most important part is the dough:
To make yummy homemade pizza for a treat:
– 2 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
– 2 tsp sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp fast-acting active yeast
– 1 cup hot water
– 1/4 cup olive oil
Mix 1 cup flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
Combine hot water and oil. Add to dry ingredients and beat diligently until smooth.
Gradually stir in more flour to make a soft dough.
Put out onto a floured counter and knead four to five minutes.
Form dough into a ball, place into a bowl with a bit of olive oil in the bottom, so the dough doesn’t stick.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand on your ‘warming’ burner on your stove, for 45 minutes or until the dough is double the size.
Punch dough down. Recipe makes two – 12″ (30 cm) pizzas or one large one.
Next, you get to make your pizza!
-We usually make one big round pizza and spray the pan with cooking oil lightly, before spreading the dough out onto the pan pushing it up to make a small rim.
– spread 1/4 cup or desired amount of Tomato Sauce on pizza dough, except at the rim. Sprinkle with oregano, this step is so vital for good flavour!
– cover pizza with grated mozzarella cheese about 1 and 1/2 cups or, however, much you like.
– add your toppings: – I like diced pineapple, thinly cut ham sausage, diced mushrooms, and diced red pepper.
– Sprinkle entire pizza with Parmesan cheese (2 tbsp or more).
Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for about 20 minutes. You may want to put your broiler on the last few minutes to brown the cheese a little.
Let pizza stand for 20 minutes. Cut into desired size of slices with a pizza cutter. This pizza is excellent and simple!
3. Spinach Dip
I chose all low calorie options for food, obviously. Here’s my family’s Spinach Dip recipe. It’s amazing!
– chopped fried bacon- 6 slices chopped into small pieces
– finely chopped onion – 1/4 cup
– Dill Weed – 2 tsp
– Garlic Powder – 1/4 tsp or one clove minced.
– sour dough round loaf and additional baguette.
Beat mayonnaise and cream cheese together in small bowl until smooth.
Stir in next six ingredients.
Cut top off of round bread loaf. Hollow out loaf with knife leaving a shell 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Put spinach dip inside loaf.
Wrap loaf in foil and heat in oven at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) for 2 hours.
Cut up inside of road loaf and pieces of baguette as needed to use as dippers. As dippers disappear, break off sides of loaf for more dippers. Enjoy, this is heavenly and a tasty treat!
4. French Toast
Easy French Toast – healthy and yummy!
– 2/3 cup 1 percent milk.
– 2 eggs
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp nutmeg
– 4 slices whole grain bread
– cooking spray
– berries or apple slices
– 2 tbsp each maple syrup (per two slices)
Combine ingredients in a bowl large enough to dip your bread into but don’t add all your spices at once, distribute with every two slices of bread as the spices have a tendency to end up on the first two slices alone if added all at once.
Dip a bread slice into the batter and let it stand 30 seconds on each side.
Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and cook your first two slices of battered bread at a low temperature, flipping your battered bread slices when the first side is browned to your liking.
Continue with your other two slices of bread, spraying the pan with cooking spray again before adding your next two battered bread slices to your frying pan.
Divide French Toast onto 2 plates and add fruit or apple slices. Fry up some bacon if you’re ambitious, as an add-on. Add 2 tbsp of syrup to each plate of French Toast. Voila!
5. Pineapple Beans
A health(ish) combination of ingredients for Pineapple Beans, wonderful for a potluck, a party, game day, (etc.)
– Bacon Slices – 6
– Chopped Onion – 1 and 1/2 cups
– Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce – 2 – 14 oz. (398 ml) tins
– Chili Sauce – 1 tbsp
– Mustard – 1 tsp
– Crushed Pineapple, drained – 1 tin (14 oz. or 398 ml)
– pepper – 1/8 tsp
In a large sauce pan, sauté bacon and onions together until cooked. Drain and discard fat.
Add remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a boil.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or more. You can do this on a stove alone, or on the stove then set on the edge of a BBQ grill, or if you are skilled with the BBQ you can cook the entire mixture on the BBQ.
Serves 8 people.
Thank you for reading my easy list of cooking delicacies. I hope you found a recipe you can use! And to note, I’m not eating any of this right now I’m on a diet 🙂