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doubts & desires

doubts & desires

 Linjen Neogi

  1. Your name is unique. I see that it has two different forms of spelling. With a ‘y’ and with a ‘j’. Why is that and where is it from?

I have been asked about my name since my first day of kindergarten. My name is an amalgamation of my parents’ names. Lin from my father’s name Lincoln, Jen from my mother’s name Jennie. And I absolutely loathe it, especially when people say, “well…at least it’s unique.” They do realize that they have added salt to the wound, right? The story is that my father (who created my name by the way) misspelled it on my birth certificate. How crazy is this getting for you at this point? Therefore legally, I’m “LinYen,” but pronounced, “LinJen.” It sounds like a script straight out of “Seinfeld.”

  1. When did you start blogging?

I began blogging in 2012, several months after I met my husband. He admired my  passion for writing but questioned why I didn’t share it, why I didn’t have an outlet. It was through his encouragement, support and guidance that I started to share my words with the world. He’s the creator of our site’s old domain name soulconalas.

  1. I’m sure you get this a lot too, but how did you and your husband meet?

People always seem fascinated (at least they pretend to be) about two cultures marrying. And we have become a special interest, as we are literally from opposite sides of the world. We met at work. He’s the cliche. Tall, dark and handsome. And I was the assistant. We used to take cigarette breaks together (I went through a three month smoking period. It was pretty disgusting); I still remember what made me take a second look at him: his laugh. I heard it one day while typing up an e-mail at work, and it was endearing. And I thought, that’s the kind of laugh I want to have a drink with.

  1. How do you balance between writing and being a full time mom?

Truthfully, I don’t. I’m still trying to find that balance. Will I ever? I write when I can. Usually in the mornings, and I’m a Mom 120% of the time. It’s hard to do both with equal fervor, when I’m perpetually tired. Ha ha ha. The life of a Mom. Am I right? My thing is that when you have two loves, one is the endless and ever growing passion I feel towards my son, and the other is this romantic affair I have with writing, how do I do both at a level that makes me feel accomplished and good about myself? Without sacrificing one or the other? Not sure…still working on it.

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doubts & desires

5.    You seem comfortable sharing a lot of your personal life, how do you find the balance between what you share and what you keep private?

Stephen King believes that all great writers, at least if you aspire to be great should write the truth. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. I’m not afraid to be an open book. But I share my life with others whose privacy I respect (my husband’s and my son’s); therefore, I have to find a way not to cross that line, it’s important to me, yet at the same time not have those boundaries control my freedom to write my thoughts. It’s also something I’m trying to figure out.

  1. When you aren’t being Mami, and you aren’t writing, what else do you do?

Well…I never stop being Mami. Not even when he’s napping. Ha ha ha! But I do take time to myself. I practice yoga daily, I read every night before falling asleep, and other times I movie binge.

  1. How did you and Josie meet?

We have been friends for over 20 years. We go way back. Though we lost touch for a while and  reconnected several years ago. She’s the friend who contributes positive vibes to my life. And god do I need positive energy! She’s also one of the few friends who understands my writing, understands my love for the art and respects it, too. She believes in me. And that’s a tremendous thing. What more can you ask for? It’s refreshing to be on this journey with her. She has given me my groove back and has brought life to the blog. I’m so excited to see her shine. I truly love working with her, and I feel lucky to be working alongside someone who I admire as a writer and love as a friend.

Josie Urbistondo

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doubts & desires

  1. What are your motivations for collaborating on the blog?

For me, working on this blog is a means to pause and reflect. My goal is to provide a space for Linjen, myself and our readers a moment to be active participants in our lives. It seems like our day-to-day is fraught with an insurmountable to-do list, and it feels too easy to look down, check off tasks from the proverbial list and miss out on the splendor that is our life. In its ideal form, the blog will be a marketplace to exchange ideas and cultural commentary shaping our identities.

I have tended to be a pretty private person online, so beginning this new venture is a cautious attempt to share a bit more of myself in hopes to learn and connect. I do have a lingering hang up with the notion that generally millennials have this unfounded expectation that we all have something to say worth other people’s time. I don’t feel I neatly fit the millennial framework; however, my efforts on this digital space is a humble venture to hopefully examine truths which will be of some personal and cultural significance to our readers. So please do read on, we may have something to say…maybe I am a millennial after all!

  1. What is your take on your friendship with Linjen turned professional endeavor?

This is a very exciting venture. It is a manner in which to archive our lives in a way which is so much of what friendship is…to be there…to pay witness to one another’s milestones. Therefore, the two categories are intertwined for me. This is a friendship we share and are extending to our readers.

  1. In hopes of sharing a bit more of yourself, tell me about your love of movies.

I do love movies. Also, I know my tribe. I know a handful of people where we can go back and forth just quoting movies. Most rom coms with Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock are golden. I am doing the “Ramon” dance in my head as I type this (Two Weeks Notice). Then there are Bird Cage, the Austin Powers series and in high school it was Clueless…I may know someone who like me knows the entire script to Clueless…you know who you are. I love The Lost City which captures a Cuba I have heard about for decades and also really enjoyed Chef as it represents Miami and Latinidad in a non-uniform fashion.

My feminist academic upbringing understands the insidious limitations of most of these films and their reinforcement of heteronormativitiy, even Starina and Agador Spartacus (and I am back to Bird Cage). However, I can’t help it. I absolutely love movies and directly connect it with such wonderful childhood memories of walking into a movie theatre and the smell of popcorn invading the fibers of my clothes. Leaving the movies, I felt I smelled of popcorn for the rest of the day. Similar to how my sweater smells of Starbucks all day after a caffeine fix. Then there are the Holiday non-classic classics – Elf, Love Actually, The Preacher’s Wife and Just Friends. Finally, there are those movies that teach you something…maybe it is a new way of seeing the world or history or even what we consider mundane – hello Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, Inception, The Place Beyond the Pines.

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doubts & desires

We would love to learn more about our readers. Would you like to share any thoughts on yourself, your ambitions and love…on anything pertaining to the blog? We welcome lively discussion and celebrate multiple, differing opinions, but any destructive or spiteful comment will be deleted. This is a space for thoughtful engagement and solidarity. Boom boom boom!