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 🙂
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to ” take your inspiration, like our featured interviewee did in the chapbook she co-authored with Ross Gay, from the act of letter-writing. Your poem can be in the form of a letter to a person, place, or thing, or in the form of a back-and-forth correspondence.” The A to Z Challenge letter is O for GoodRead’s quotes and I’m combing these prompts with Roger Shipp’s FFftPP.
“These bits of paper are covered with lies. They poison your minds. And so long as they exist, you cannot hope to see the world as it truly is.(…)You turn to them for answers and salvation. (…) You rely more upon them than upon yourselves. This makes you weak and stupid. You trust in words. Drops of ink. Do you ever stop to think of who put them there? Or why? No. You simply accept their words without question. And what if those words speak falsely, as they often do? This is dangerous.”
― Oliver Bowden, Assassin’s Creed: The Secret Crusade
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is poem type called an elegy – a poem that mourns or honors someone dead or something gone by. Center the elegy on an unusual fact about the person or thing being mourned. ” An elegy generally combines three stages of loss: first there is grief, then praise of the dead one, and finally consolation.” Please see Literary Devices for more information.
I’ve paired this prompt with The A to Z Challenge quote, having the author/quoter’s name begin with the letter C.
——— “We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.” ― CassandraClare, City of Heavenly Fire
Here we gather, today it finally hit —
Me, you won’t be coming back; such grit —
You displayed, at the crux, as death grew near.
There was no “going gently” for you dear.
I always admired that you were strong,
At the finish you groaned your last song.
The pain was so great, it hurt us to see,
A candle flame who flared, flickering free.
Death was not easy, nor was your young life.
But you always shouldered through the strife.
A kind, giving person — philanthropist,
With death, you became a minimalist.
Objects hold memories, the Stone’s song we know —
well: “You Can’t Take It With You When You Go.”
As we remember, we wonder why —
Three-years ago you left, disappeared wide —
Across the world, sending postcards to —
Us all, as you adventured across through —
Every country you could see with no —
Face Time, Skype; we were scared you wouldn’t come —
Cinderella could feel her back begin to ache as she washed the floors by hand. The mansion she now cleaned had been her father’s mansion before her stepmother poisoned his tea. Her stepmother had convinced her father’ s old solicitors that Cinderella was too young to take care of the mansion when she was twelve-years-old. The vile woman had claimed Cinderella’s home for herself and her two spoiled daughters Giselle and Monique.
Cinderella wouldn’t legally be able to have the mansion back until she was married or twenty-five-years-old. She knew her stepmother wouldn’t allow either to occur. Her only hope was to be able to have enough money to afford the solicitor her stepmother had offended.
Her stepmother had refused to marry a well-known solicitor after Cinderella’s father had passed. She knew he was the only one who would take a servant’s case to get back at the stepmother. Until then, Cinderella’s jailor would keep the house and Cinderella as a slave working in it.
She finished washing the floor pleased as they shined. Then, her homely stepsisters walked across it with muddy shoes. When one tripped, both Giselle and Monique began to hit Cinderella. She pushed them away and they kept walking, calling her names. She had to rewash some spots on the floor but she didn’t care. Cinderella had a secret and it was going to free her from the tyranny of her stepmother and stepsisters.
A lonely beggar wandering past the front gate had seen Cinderella crying last night. She had
wanted to attend the ball and with the beggar’s surprising magic powers, he had granted Cinderella’s wish. She realized, however, the beggar wouldn’t be granting this wish without thinking about his own well-being. She could see he was a crafty man and wondered what he was up to, why he would grant her such a request.
He’d created a beautiful frothy blue gown for Cinderella to wear with the most stunning diamond high heels she’d ever seen; Cinderella had a thing for gorgeous shoes. They were so wonderful Cinderella asked if she could keep them after the night ended. The beggar had agreed with a mischevious smile.
Cinderella had a purpose in keeping her diamond heels. She had planned to sneak out of the house in one of her mother’s old dresses and sell her priceless heels to higher the solicitor who so despised her stepmother. She wanted the mansion and what was left of her father’s fortune, especially her sizable dowry, which her stepmother couldn’t get at no matter how hard she tried.
Moreover, Cinderella’s stepmother didn’t know about the money her father had illegally acquired on the black market. It was hidden away in offshore accounts only Cinderella knew about. She couldn’t access them until the day after the ball which was her twenty-fifth birthday.
Cinderella had attended the ball and knew the prince liked her as soon as he saw her. There was a glint in his blue eyes and he had this charming lopsided grin. She hadn’t meant to let him go so far with her — but then they did.
“I really like you,” he told Cinderella, “You’re much more fun those other girls who want to be my wife but won’t put out. Plus, you’re intelligent and make me laugh. Most of the other girls are too scared they will appear unladylike.” She’d giggled surprised at his comment and Cinderella found herself liking him.
She gave the prince a playful punch. He was entertaining but she knew she’d never see him again. Cinderella gazed up at him and said, “Look, this is a one-time thing and that’s all you’re about all going to get from me because I have a curfew. I’m not allowed out often.”
“I’m ‘the prince,’ I can overrule your curfew or any other rules your father has.”
Cinderella sighed, “Sorry, you can’t. I mean it, I have to leave.” Cinderella ran off
before her gown disintegrated and she was left in rags. She swore when she realized only one of her diamond heels had been lost. She’d left one behind while running from the prince but she needed both of them to afford the solicitor. Frustrated she went home and cried herself to sleep.
Then, the prince announced the following day, every young woman in the kingdom needed to try on the diamond heel left behind by the girl he desired above all others.
Cinderella rolled her eyes because she thought the prince was daft. Many women in the kingdom could have the same size feet. She thought about her missing shoe and the beggar, how she was sure he’d been up to something when he granted her wish. She thought the shoes might only fit her feet due to the beggars magic.
The beggar knew Cinderella valued the shoes above all and that’s why he let her keep them. It was strange she would lose track of such beautiful shoes because she loved them so much and had never had shoes this nice before. She knew the crafty beggar had to be responsible for her lost shoe. He probably made the prince fall for her and so that she wouldn’t be able to return to her plan, to sell the shoes and retain her birthright. The beggar had seen the shrewd woman beneath her simple wish.
Cinderella had only been interested in going to the ball because as she was cleaning outside, she recognized the beggar was a powerful wizard in hiding, who had the power to grant wishes. She hadn’t sought to meet the prince but to be provided with a beautiful dress and shoes she could sell to escape. She was upset about ending up with only one diamond heel.
The following week the prince and his servants arrived at the mansion. Her stepmother tried to lock her in a closet but Cinderella had hated her stepmother for many years. She’d had enough of her tyranny and punched the old bat, knocking her out then stuffing her in the closet.
Cinderella hurried down the stairs in one of her mother’s old day dresses. She interrupted Giselle and Monique trying with all their might to jam the shoe on their chubby feet. Cinderella feared her beloved shoe would shatter.
“Careful that’s a diamond shoe,” she cried bringing out the shoe’s twin, slipping both shoes on, doing up the straps, and parading around in them both for the prince to see. He was confused a moment because Cinderella appeared out of place in her outdated dress but he had her brought closer to him by a servant.
The prince gazed into her face and then moved her long hair out of the way to find the tattoo of a bluebird on her upper back. He declared she was the girl from the ball and she would be his new mistress.
“I’m delighted to see you again,” he said to her with a flirtatious raise of his brows. “You’d be the perfect bride but I’m guessing you have little wealth or dowry to go along with your shoes. On the other hand, you’re much less maintenance than any other girl who nearly fit your shoe.”
Cinderella huffed and being as polite as she could, asked to speak to the prince in private. She explained her entire situation to him concerning her stepmother. She told him how priceless her shoes were, that the mansion was legally hers, and that she had a large dowry along with whatever money her stepmother hadn’t used from her father’s wealth; it turned out to be a lot, more than her stepmother had ever realized. Cinderella smirked, it was so like her father to hide more of his money.
Consulting his advisors, the prince decided Cinderella would make a fantastic bride who would add considerable wealth to his kingdom. He sent for the bishop and they were married immediately. A large public wedding followed months later and the stepmother was forced to retire to the countryside.
The prince was generous and gave Cinderella her father’s mansion (with the
deed in her own name) as a wedding present. He married her sisters Gisele and Monique off to two of his dullest cousins but kept their dowries for himself.
He didn’t know about the money hidden in offshore accounts by Cinderella’s father and she decided not to tell him. She was no idiot and decided that every woman, even a princess, needed ‘get away’ money.
The prince was pleased with Cinderella and was happy to have found a princess who was fun and learned quickly. She was smart and helped him increase the value of his kingdom by increasing taxation on the peasants and middle class. Unfortunately, a revolution broke out in the country around the same time, disturbing their happiness. The king and queen were beheaded along with many other nobles.
Cinderella had grown fond of the prince, she was certain she loved him. They
had two twin girls together and it was lucky Cinderella had kept secret the money in her father’s offshore accounts. She used the money to escape to the US and start a new life with her family. The prince wasn’t upset Cinderella had hidden the money. He praised her for being shrewd and prepared for an emergency situation he hadn’t foreseen.
Life was rougher in the US but the money Cinderella had kept hidden allowed the prince to become the owner of several factories and make his way in business, mass-producing expensive shoes of all kinds for woman and men. Cinderella helped him design shoes woman paid hundreds and thousands of dollars to own.
Their twin daughters married well and a century later the Prince’s ancestors would bring out Cinderella’s diamond heels, showing them off as precious heirlooms. In the end, she hadn’t had to sell her diamond heels. Cinderella was allowed to keep them before they married in public. She’d told the prince, “Promise me we never have to sell my diamond heels. If we do I’ll disappear and you’ll never see me again.”
The prince knew Cinderella was a savvy woman who could easily slip away and by then he loved her more than he wanted to admit; he granted her request. He learned that day and later taught his grandsons in America, “Nothing comes between a woman and her shoes.” And that’s how Cinderella and her prince lived happily ever after.