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 🙂
Welcome to another biweekly interview on Mandibelle16. I’m hoping where ever you are the weather is nice and spring is on its way or summer isn’t too hot. This week I interviewed the impressive and talented writer Jasminder Bainsfrom the United States. You can check out her blog here: Confessions Of A Reborn Girl
1. Hi Jasminder. Please Tell Us About Yourself?
Where to begin…I live to write because it’s my form of therapy and I love weaving words into stories. I’m a full-time dream chaser with a knack for crafting things and philosophizing and overthinking when I can.
I’m two years clean and keeping it that way.Psychology fascinates me; hence, I’m majoring in it. You’ll find there is a lot of psychology based posts on my blog. I love to sing and dance to KPOP when nobody’s around, or at least when I think nobody’s around. I had to run up three flights of stairs because I got caught once.
Also, I’m obsessed with green tea and I like to meditate because it clears my mind. I prefer video games and Doc Martens to dresses ( I only own one dress) and makeup. The only makeup I wear is eyeliner and it’s about as good as my sense of direction. I get lost even with a GPS to help me find my way. I’m an aggressive middle-class minimalist who pillages anything I can get my hands on; this is why I have a ring of rocks sitting on my dresser.
I have moments where I’m incredibly with the times and others I’m not. I set up a Twitter account recently. I have no idea what half the buttons mean. But I can give you Excel pointers and talk about ‘markdown formatting;’ I can’t tell you much about Facebook.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? What motivates and inspires you?
I started blogging last July, but I’ve been writing since I was in fifth grade. Poetry and blogging are how I vent as well as defeat stereotypes. I write because I want to heal other people and because I love doing it.
I find inspiration from my life because I’m an avid people-watcher and I overthink everything. I find new material is as simple as walking into the middle of a cafeteria and sitting down. I learned so much about human interaction by doing this. I make time for writing whenever I can.
“I live to write because it’s my form of therapy and I love weaving words into stories. I’m a full-time dream chaser with a knack for crafting things and philosophizing and overthinking when I can.” – Jasminder Bains
3. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Any Future Projects You Have In Mind?
I’m planning on participating in the2017 Kindness Challenge!The link to sign up ishere if you’re interested. I’m also hosting my own blogging challenge, it’s called the ‘BoundlessChallenge.’ The premise of the challenge is to share a #boundlessmomentfrom the past week where you did something that you thought you weren’t actually capable of doing.
I started the challenge not too long ago so it’s relatively new. My goal is to inspire people through this prompt. Maybe they will believe they are capable of doing much more than they think they can do. Check out the sixth #boudlessmoment challenge on my blog HERE.
4. Can You Tell Us More About Your Blog and Why You Started Blogging?
When I founded @Confessions (Confessions Of A Reborn Girl) I had one goal and one goal alone:to teach others about human potential. Too many times I’ve heard stories of people who gave up on their dreams because they didn’t think they had it in them or someone discouraged them from their path. I’m here to tell you thatyou are good enoughand that nobody can tell you otherwise.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
That being said, [my blog] would qualify as a lifestyle blog, though I focus more on mentality and mindset rather than fashion or food. My blog categories are different takes on that ‘boundless lifestyle’ if you will.
Life, as the catagory name states, revolves around my everyday thoughts and experiences. [As I noted above] you can also find my ownblogging challenge, the Boundless Challenge, which is devoted to inspiring the WordPress community to achieve their full potential. At the end of each week, I share #boundlessmoments of my own and from across the internet. . . Who knows? Maybe next week you’ll be featured!
Writer’s Corner is [a segment on my blog] where I analyze social norms and American culture along with occasional philosophizing.DIYis exactly as the name states. I have this category because crafting opened up my thinking in a way nothing else could. I believe that it can do the same for you. [Lastly, my] meditation journal [catagory]stems from my adoration for — well — meditation. [Since I] over-think, meditation is the perfect counter to my habit and it helps me analyze my emotions and inner conflict.
“Too many times, I’ve heard stories of people who gave up on their dreams because they just didn’t think they had it in them or someone discouraged them from their path. I’m here to tell you that you are good enough and that nobody can tell you otherwise” – Jasminder Bains
5. How Does Your Blog Tie-In With Your Stance on Mental Health?
I continue to challenge thestigmas and negative stereotypes surrounding the field of mental health. There’s so much more to psychology than depression or schizophrenia or bipolar disease; [these are] only a small branch of [what is called] abnormalpsychology. In order to understand the abnormal, we must first understand the normal.
I hope that by being open about my own experiences with mental health challengesand triumphs, I can give others the strength to do the same.There’s nothing wrong with having a bad day, month, or year. There’s nothing wrong with having things that keep you up at night. There’s nothing wrong with being broken.
6. Do You Have Any Other Projects On The Go? What Is Your Writing Process Like? Do You Have Any Genres of Writing or Reading that You Prefer?
I’m planning on writing a fiction book called Project Rebirth. I’ve no details other than that because I hardly know what the book is about myself. 😛 For me, writing is painful.Writing is life. WHAT WAS I THINKING WRITING THAT?!! Editing is painful. Editing is life. Rinse and repeat.
Fantasy is my FAVORITE genre. None of this 21st-century teen smut fantasy romance. I mean classy fantasy like Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series or Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling or The Ranger’sApprentice books. I prefer these types of books so much more than teen romance novels.
“I hope that by being open about my own experiences with mental health challengesand triumphs, I can give others the strength to do the same.There’s nothing wrong with having a bad day, month, or year. There’s nothing wrong with having things that keep you up at night. There’s nothing wrong with being broken.” – Jasminder Bains
7. Do You Have Any Helpful Tips for Other Writers? Is There Anything Else You’d Like to Share Pertinent to this Interview?
Keep writing. It’s the only way you get better (and shameless). Also, I want to fight the negative stigmas and stereotypes around mental health because it’s vastly misunderstood and generalized which is dangerous for everyone.
8. What Are Your Three Favorite Blogs You Follow Of Any Kind?
What’s this? My insides feel like they’re tearing apart.
Something’s wrong, I should take some medication.
Something’s wrong, it’s 3 A.M. and I’m awake again. Did I ever fall asleep? I feel like I’m dying.
I’m frozen, I feel like screaming, is this really real?
Maybe this is the dream I have to wake up from, I don’t remember falling asleep so maybe I never woke up.
Something’s wrong, it’s 4 A.M. and I’m still here. I should just close my eyes, I wouldn’t be able to sleep if it was appendicitis….would I?
Something’s wrong, it’s only 7 A.M. and I’m already awake. No, mum, don’t leave for work just yet. There’s a patient lying here in bed who needs to be seen.
Mum is gone. My brother needs my phone for school. It’s low on battery because I stared blankly at music videos and funny vines for half the night unable to react thanks to the burning sensation in my stomach.
Dad wants to know what’s going on so I spill my guts on him. It’s time to try another medication, stay hydrated, and ride things out.
Mum says book an appointment if it doesn’t get better. I wonder if it will get better.
I’m a statue, unmoving and emotionless. I thought today was yesterday. Guess my brain didn’t register that I ever went to sleep.
Should I feel crooked that this pain is now who I am? I don’t want to do anything let alone go the hospital. It could be nothing. Just like me.
Dad wants me to make him lunch if I’m able. Fine. The pain is mostly gone and I can wait 10 minutes to pass out.
There are two types of naps: the kind that make you feel worse than before, but you know you had no choice, and the kind that make you feel energized. Mine was the latter. Maybe it’s because I slept two hours instead of 20 minutes. Oh well. At least the pain’s almost gone.
All I’ve had to eat today is half a bagel and a tin of Chobani yogurt. I should eat something else. A salad sounds divine only I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to eat the croutons and leaves yet. Only one way to find out. Verdict: I can chew a crouton. I can’t chew a spinach leaf. I’ll just have a burrito.
Something’s wrong, it’s been 18 hours since I laid awake in bed screaming in my head and I’m doing it again. Except this time in a chair with a plate of food in front of me. Forget it. I’m not eating if it’s gonna sting this bad. Time to take some more medication.
I don’t want to be a physical embodiment of pain, I want my life back. I want to feel joy again, I want to listen to music that lifts me up again, I want to write a blog post ahead of time again, I want to have faith again, I want to feel healthy again, I want to have both feet planted firmly on the ground again, I want to be me again.
The last prompt for Writing 101 is a wrap up post.
To tell you the truth, I’ve taken writing 101 many times now and writing 201, so I don’t have a lot to say as a wrap up. Initially taking it, I met many new blogger friends and saw my writing improve. At that point, I was maybe posting once or twice a week and the initial course taught me to blog everyday. I thought maintaining a post a day would be a challenge, but these days I post when I’m inspired, or when I receive a prompt email for a particular challenge. I hope it improves my writing still.
If anything I think the WordPress writing courses, stretch your comfort zone for kinds of posts you can write. I hope you newbies out there found it helpful. Although, I do miss the discussion boards where we could easily find other’s work and meet new bloggers through the board. Although, it’s probably much easier for WordPress to host the courses in this new format.
My blogging schedule through the summer will hopefully, appear roughly like this:
Monday – Moral Monday’s 100 Word Stories with Nortina
Tuesday – Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer with Priceless Joy
Wednesday – Literary Lion (once a month) with Laura and Sonya’s Three Line Tales (weekly).
Thursday – Le Duchesse D’erat List Prompts with Le Duchesse
Friday – Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner with Roger Shipp
Saturday – Free
Sunday – Sunday Photo Fiction with Alistair Forbes.
Not to mention, I will continue my journey through new and old poetry forms, often using The Daily Prompt words in my poems. I would like to do some reading of books and spend time editing the novel so, that will take up time. Not sure, each post will be on schedule. That’s my wrap up for Writing 101.
Ever since I left hospital, I have felt as if I’m navigating completely new territory that I have no experience with. I don’t know if what is affecting me is the new medication I’m on or a lack of the old ones I went off. So, my health and getting through each day has become a challenge.
Each day it is extremely difficult to get out of bed and start my day. The best description I can come up with is that there is this giant wall and I have to climb over it inch by inch to reach a point in the morning when I feel okay. It is difficult to get out of bed, shower, and do my hair and makeup. I sleep to 11:00 am almost and that is too long, but it takes me to 1:00 pm to feel somewhat myself. But still everything feels so much harder to do. Maybe I’m overmedicated I don’t know. But struggling through each day is difficult. I try to remember to take things day by day and not to worry.
But my stomach always feels upset and I’m getting aching muscles as side effects. Not to mention I learned from my dentist since about a year after I started taking medication (became ill) the enamel on my teeth has rapidly been decaying until I have none left on my lower teeth and we don’t know the exact cause. I have always taken care of my teeth well. I only ever had one cavity so this is disappointing and troublesome on top of the rest of my health problems.
Still, I have tried to plan things and go out and do things despite feeling not so up to it. This week it was just my weekly blood test and the dentist but atleast I walked a bit around downtown and the weather was a beautiful twenty-three degrees celsius. Next week I will have my blood test and my Uncle’s funeral. I will hopefully see my friend on Wednesday night for a couple hours and then on Friday I am getting my nails done at The Beauty Lounge. I hope I can do everything I need to do.
I have to find sometime this week to go to the Shoppers near our house to pick up some parcels, get medication, and some other things. Either tomorrow or Saturday I will do that. And sometime I need to see A. We saw Jurassic World on the weekend. It was very good. I really liked the storyline and of course the newest genetically modified (for modern time) dinosaurs. It did justice to the original Jurassic Park too, one of my favourite movies as a child.
I’m looking forward to feeling better and doing more things. I would like to do some catch up on some beauty blogs, do some work on my novel, and read some books so I can tell you about some of those. Things will be fine I just have some kinks to work out. In medicine, nothing is ever as good as it seems. So of course, a drug that makes me sleep is going to have some consequences for my energy in the day. But things will get better, I’m positive that I can with my doctors help find solutions. Thanks, for reading.
Today I am wondering about the future.There a lot of things I am planning for but everyone knows we cannot tell the future and things work out how they do. We may wish for our lives to take a certain path but the best paths are often the paths we wouldn’t exactly choose to take looking forward, but looking back are glad we did. As the aptly titled song by Rascal Flat’s goes ” . . . and God bless the broken road that led me straight to you.” We choose directions to take our lives in and find that where ever we go we make mistakes. But who would have thought the brokenness in our lives could actually be leading somewhere and that there is a reason for the mistakes we make. I don’t know about you but in my life I hope I make the right decisions and the wrong decisions that lead me to where I am supposed to go.
The worst thing about looking forward at the future I think is considering all the steps we will need to take to get there. Sometimes the worst issue with future is wondering if we will ever get where we want to go. Is the future we have in mind possible? Or if it’s possible that I can I ever complete everything I need to complete to get to that future? Will I have the strength? Will I have the endurance? Will I have my health? We take so many things for granted in our quests towards the goals in our life. Just being able to be alive and healthy and able to move where we need to go is something so vital to completing our goals. Having the skills to be able to complete our goals is also important. Not to mention, functioning with whatever inner and outer strength you possess despite the fact that others may possess better skills and strengths is something in itself. Nobody is perfect and we must use whatever qualities we have to complete our goals towards the future.
I always think the future looks bright, but it is when I am in particular facing challenges, that I think the future can be bleak. It is easy to move ahead when the situation is manageable and looks good. But when the situation looks bad and is hard to manage then I wonder how I will ever get through anything in my life, much less the movements I make towards future goals. Challenges make us stronger, they build character. But life is such as the saying goes, teaching you the lesson first and giving you the experience last. Or to be more cliché – hind sight is 20/20. I believe the worst thing about learning experience is not being able to share that experience with other people because often people have to experience things for themselves, to learn a lesson. They say ‘oh yeah” and ‘uh huh’ when you tell them the same thing beforehand and when they experience some difficult situation that they learn something important from they say to ‘know I understand’ or you see in their work that they now truly get what you were saying to them.
But if we could make ourselves see the truth before it hits us in the face, maybe we wouldn’t actually get the necessary experience needed to complete our future goals. Maybe it takes pain and suffering to teach a lesson. Maybe it takes the ability to figure something out and torture ourselves over the details to learn how to do something right the next time. Or maybe you have to make a mistake a few times to learn something about yourself or what you are trying to do. I don’t know. I know for me that’s how things work out sometimes. I say to myself ‘ I will never do that again’ and then I go and do it again. Drinking, for example, is like that. You drink so many shots of rum until you make yourself sick and the next morning you say ‘ I will never drink rum again.’ Then two months later, having forgotten the taste of the rum you are back doing shots with rum and drinking rum and cokes until you get sick again and again until you drink the bottle one time and finally, you very much mean ‘ I will not drink rum again, ever, ever!’
This is what learning hard lessons are like. It takes a lot of stupidity to get things right but if your lucky you do something wrong one
time and never again. Once I ordered letterhead for the company I was an administrative assistant for. I reversed two letters on the phone number and cost the company $300.00. For a company that made millions of dollars it probably wasn’t that big of a deal but I still felt bad and I never made that mistake again. I triple checked my letterhead from then on. So sometimes you can learn from one mistake one time.
I guess all I hope is that of all the ideas I have in my head for the future that some of those ideas, the right ideas come true. I don’t want to end up regretting my plans even though some of them I probably will. In my heart I want to look back on my life and have used all the talent God has given me up. I want to know I did the best I could even when I couldn’t do my best work. The future is daunting but I still believe in being an optimist about it if you know what I mean. Great things are surely ahead even if bad things are too.