Category Archives: festivals

Czech Harvest Festival

Summer  brings  heritage festivals and fairs

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI  -I am really looking forward to this weekend. First of all, it’s going to be hot again, and I love that.

Contrary to what the promoters of “Back to School” pump out, summer is not over. For me summer is over when I have to swap my flip-flops for closed-toed shoes, usually with the first snow.

Summer always stays in my heart year-long.

Other than my author event at the LowellArts gallery tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. during the Captured photo exhibit, I can’t wait to go to the Czech Harvest Festival “Dozinky” in Bannister this Sunday.

This is our annual treat and a tribute to our Czech heritage. Every year, I get my hopes high that I will run into a Czech-speaking person at the festival in the middle of nowhere.

Over the years of going to Bannister, I’ve met probably a total of eight people who knew some Czech. The fun part about this event is that I get to sing three anthems that I know: American, Czech & Slovak.

The third-generation organizers Tom & Diane Bradley of Czech origin have done a fantastic job of preserving the “Dozinky” event as it truly happens in the Moravian and Slovakian villages in the old country. The dancers wear original costumes, the band of accordions plays Czech polka and the singers sing Czech songs.

I marvel at this effort, because the festival passes the Czech heritage onto the younger generation. The dance troupe involves kids ages three to unlimited. The festivities open with the shortest parade in the world; it’s even shorter than the parade in Hubbardston on St. Pat’s Day.

The parade route is past the ZCBJ Lodge to the small field with a concrete platform for the dancers. The dancers and singers march in the parade with rakes and scythes, symbolizing the original harvest of wheat.

Usually, a polka band plays inside the hall after the dance troupe is done outside. I’ve never been to that part, because it runs later in the afternoon when we have to head back home for a long drive through the fields.

The best part of the event is the original Czech food. For ten bucks, you get to eat like in a fancy Czech restaurant without leaving USA. The buffet features, ham, chicken, dumplings, sauerkraut, cucumber salad, mashed potatoes, biscuits and a dessert.

Czech “kolache”

However, one thing you will not get here, is the traditional Czech “kolache” pastry. One of the editors of the Fraternity Herald asked me to share the origins of this festive pastry.

So, I asked my mother Ella, while she was still in Venice. Growing up in Moravian small town of Vizovice, she could trace the humble origins to the villagers.

“They used all the ingredients available to them in their households,” she said. “This included the cottage cheese they made themselves, butter or lard and eggs. The only thing they bought was sugar and flour. They had everything else including the plum butter.”

The popularity of “kolache” as a signature pastry at all events and festivities, skyrocketed over the years, as the city folks discovered them while touring villages.

“Kolaches” are to Czechs what pizza is to the Italians,” mom said. “They too use the ingredients available to them; olives, pasta sauce and such.”

There are hundreds of recipes for traditional “kolache” varying according to the region.

However, they all have in common the following: golden crust topped with plum butter with sugary crumbling and filled with cottage cheese mixed with raisins.

For one of the many kolache recipes visit the

Mazac Family Genealogy blog:

https://mazacgenalogy.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/czech-moravian-kolache-recipe/

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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FFW 2018

Festival of Faith & Writing attracts speakers and panelists from all genres

“I need the rigor and radicalism of friendship to be a poet, to be anything, really.”

-Natalie Diaz-

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Grand Rapids, MI – The three-day Festival of Faith & Writing was jam-packed with speakers, workshops, book signings and exhibitors. It started under the blue skies and ended with freezing rain on Saturday at the Prince Conference Center.

I had trouble picking workshops due to conflicting times and variety. Of course, I didn’t want to miss anything. Some sessions required pre-registration, and those were full three weeks ahead of the conference.

On Thursday, I attended “Self-Editing to Take Your Writing to the Next Level” with Erin Bartels. The lecture room was filled to the last seat.

“Schedule writing time and protect it,” she said. “Find an accountability partner. You owe it to people to get that done. Get involved in writing groups.”

Suggested reading: “The First Five Pages: A  Writer’s Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile” by Noah Lukeman.

The keynote speaker Kwame Alexander, poet and educator, first showed a picture of his tour bus. Yes, Alexander uses a bus to promote his books, wherever he goes, including at Farmer’s Markets. He received the 2015 Newberry Medal for novel “The Crossover

In his speech “Saying Yes to the Writerly Life”, Alexander said yes many times in his life, including to building a library and a health center in Ghana.

Historical fiction is huge and authors Natashia Deon and Suzanne Wolfe spoke to that in “Walking the Line between Fact and Fiction in Historical Novels.”

Deon is an attorney by day, and a novelist at night.

“I want to rescue people from history,” she said. “I write the story first, and then fill in the gaps with history research.”

Wolfe said she treats characters like they never died.

“You write what you know. I am alive and I am human. My character is alive. Augustine is not dead, Shakespeare is alive. They arepart of the conversation. I bawled over Augustine,” she said.

Deon’s novel “Grace” won the 2017 First Novel Prize. Wolfe is the author of “Unveiling: A Novel and Confessions of X.”

The #Me Too movement came up for discussion during several sessions including: “Silence and Beauty” in the Sister Books of Shusaku Endo and Makoto Fujimura.

“Insight and goodwill will heal us,” said Shann Ray, instructor.

The festival goers were not afraid to discuss Toxic  relationships.

To be continued with “Daughters Writing about Mothers, ” “Writing the Wrinkles in Time” and film at the festival.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Taurus on edge before Easter

As my horoscope states, I am quite on the edge today.

I am trying to sort through tons of information; everything from Bell’s Oberon summer release, Facebook mess, First & Second amendment demonstrations, “Stormy” interview with Anderson Cooper, stormy weather in Michigan, Kim’s message about China, and Easter Triduum preparations.

Amidst all of that, I am getting ready for the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing from April 12 through April 14 in Grand Rapids.

I am waffling back and forth between two manuscripts to submit to the Festival. Only one is allowed via the Submittable app. It’s a good thing that I have manuscripts to choose from for publication.

Most of the workshops and festival circles have filled up already. The roster of speakers is so huge that I just don’t know who to pick.

“It can be an overwhelming conference,” wrote my fellow writer and friend Tamela. “I heard Anne Lamont a few years ago…she was awesome.”

The iPad calendar is showing me that I have a webinar in one minute, and a meeting at noon.

I already missed the “blessing of the oils” @St.Andrews Cathedral yesterday.

My facebook friend warned me that he is shutting down his account, because he doesn’t believe FB provides a net-positive contribution to the world.

“We all have a finite amount of time to invest,” he wrote. “The return on investment of my time on Fb, other than the connection with my immediate family, is not worth it.”

Oh, yes; Facebook and fear. I have yet to write about that. I promised that to my fellow writer Sheryl.

“What’s up with that fear?” she asked.

We’re picking up my brother Vas on Good Friday in Paris, MI. That is, if he decides to come and spend the Easter with us.

My parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny are staying in Venice, Fl for Easter.

Stay tuned for full post about Czech & Slovak Easter traditions right here on EW Emma’s Writings.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, the great Russian playwright and short-story writer, said that you must first incubate your story idea for at least two days, so it comes out right.

I must Incubate all this.

 

http://www.tarot.com/daily-horoscope/taurus

 

 

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Novel Writing Festival

I just missed the Jan. 15 deadline. I plan to submit one of my short stories from Shifting Sands to the festival for February.

The festival aims to give exposure to writers whether the submission makes it into a movie or not.

I dub my short stories lovingly “A Moveable Feast.” I borrowed the nickname from Hemingway’s memoir of Paris in the 1920s.

The reason I call them moveable is because they can easily transfer into a movie script due to vivid dialogues and scenes. Thus, they are screen friendly.

”Your book is very visual,” wrote an agent to me in response to the submission of the first chapter of my first book, “Fire on Water.” (c) Emma Palova

I am really excited about exploring this avenue of exposure for my new book.

The submission is $35 for the first chapter of the novel. You get a feedback and a longline listing on the Writing Festival site.

 

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

via 1st CHAPTER and FULL NOVEL FESTIVAL. Deadline January 15th