Category Archives: passion

Day 13 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month 50K word marathon

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By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- Feeling a little bit relieved that I passed the half-way mark in the 50K word creative project yesterday, I checked in with the Nanocoach for the week author Carolina de Robertis.

I love her advise for today: let the world of your novel unfold as you write. It’s already there for you, in the ether, or in some part of your consciousness, wanting to move through you to the page.

I always have to “feel into” whatever I am writing. This “feeling into” corresponds with the five senses plus intuition. Jeff Besos of Amazon said that he will follow his intuition in deciding about the place for the second headquarters of the company.

I find it amazing that the richest man in the world follows his intuition in business decision-making; why wouldn’t I do the same with my stories? So, I followed my intuition from the get go of #nanowrimo on Nov.1 with the choice of anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

 

I logged in today with 27,417 words with the historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. I came across some really cool things during my brisk research on the Internet like the 1920s play “Parlor, Bedroom and Bath.”

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

“Then, we shall celebrate together,” Doris shrieked with joy. “In a saloon.”

Working class taverns were knows as “saloons” with swing doors and bar-rooms proper that offered games such as: Faro, Poker, Brag, Three-card Monte and dice games. Some saloons even included bowling, can-can girls, theatrical skits or plays to face off increasing competition until the prohibition in 1920.

On Nora’s 21st birthday, the two friends, a single girl and a single matron, went into the local watering through, Frank & Norm’s Tavern. As such, they carved out their own space in the saloons of industrialized America unheard of before the female liberalization.

Even though most customers at the time were men, the tavern had a “Ladies Entrance.” Doris and Nora used it to get in just in time to catch the new theatrical skit “Parlor, Bedroom and Bath.”

The tavern was full of men drinking bourbon. But, the two women knowledgeable of cocktails from big cities, ordered a Mary Pickford with white rum, pineapple juice, Grenadine and a Maraschino cherry.

They happily watched the loud crowd and laughed. This was soon to become their secret; sneaking into Frank & Norm’s through the “Ladies Entrance” and hanging out at the tavern on Saturday nights way past the “Bel’s” curfew at 10 p.m.

“Have you heard from Harry?” Doris usually asked sipping on her Mary Pickford.

“Well, I mostly read his war stories syndicated in the Banner,” said Nora sadly.

“But, certainly, he writes to you or not?” asked Doris.

Nora pulled a letter out of her pocket, folded several times and re-read a million times.

 

 

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

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Day 10 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI -It’s the second weekend of the National Novel Writing Month. It’s a dreary day out there, a perfect one for writing. However, I have to tend to my family too. So, I broke up my morning writing routine to spend some time with our son Jake and the kids, Josephine and Dominic. Luckily my husband Ludek made dinner: brussel sprouts, ham and gnocci. I don’t want to be a starving writer all the time.

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I continued to write in the afternoon logging in with 21,900 words, a lot less than I wanted to. I was hoping to reach the half-way mark tomorrow in the 50K word marathon. I talked with mom Ella a little bit. We usually chat on Sundays, but my parents are going to a Vereran’s Day concert at Ferris State University.

Since, I am working on a historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova as part of the new anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, I had to do some research. Normally, I wouldn’t mind if the clock wasn’t ticking. Still, I was delighted to find out some facts from the 1920s: pastry pigs as desserts, cordials for cocktails, the cloche hat, and the increased use of the radio and the phonograph.

I looked up the menu for the 1920s on the Internet and this immediately came up on inliterature.net Book Inspired: “Throwing a 1920s Great Gatsby party; the Menu from the Book.”

In a way the 1920s era reminds of what’s going on right now as we approach 2019: increased independence of women, new devices with streaming, Tesla’s “Starman” in space and overall progress in every field.

I feel privileged to be a part of the inevitable progress in humanity by participating in #nanowrimo and its nobel goals of spreading the power of words around the globe. I have a clear intention of publishing “Secrets”, a sequel to my debut book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

Dressed up to the nines, they walked to Hotel Belding where everything was set up to start as soon as the town clock struck 8 p.m. Nora and Mathilda were in awe since they have never been in the Rose Ballroom reserved for special occasions.

This was a very special occasion since the Belding brothers, Hiram and Alvah were expected to attend the benefit ball for Red Cross. The World War I had broken in Europe, and there was no end to it.

The Rose Ballroom was decked out in fall colors of orange, yellow, brown and green.

Doris after all was coming since it was a ball for the Red Cross. The stately matron was coming with the crew from the hospital.

They were all  seated at the same round table for 12. Nora kept watching the door nervously, if Harry was going to show up. He was supposed to cover the event for the Belding Banner. Nora was shocked when Doris entered through the main door to the ballroom sporting a short bob hiding under cloche hat.

“Doris, you look absolutely ravishing,” said Nora as she stood up the greet the matron and the team.

“I couldn’t resist, dear,” she said jovially. “How do you like it?”

“It’s absolutely adorable,” said Nora, “and your dress, it’s lovely.”

Doris had the dress made for last year’s New Year’s Eve ball but didn’t end up going because of an emergency at the hospital.

Seamstress Lulu with her Lulu’s Fashions was located on Main Street next to the Millinery Shop. At the time, women were expected to wear hats. To go outside without a hat was considered not just unfashionable, but rude and a display of bad manners. Compared to dresses, hats were fairly expensive. Women spent between 20 cents and $7 on a hat. To have two hats look alike was unheard of. The milliner sewed each hat by hand and made it unique to the owner. Being a milliner, was one of the few occupations women were allowed to work along with the seamstress profession.

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

Winter arrives on Day 9 of #nanowrimo

TGIF, Daily insights from #nanowrimo

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – It’s Day 9 for the National Novel Writing Month participants, and it’s Friday. I couldn’t be happier. I logged in a total of 20, 242 words with “Silk Nora.” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. The story is taking on a nice historical spin that I will carry on into the weekend.

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Thanks to the characters, both old and new. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. And of course the lovely historical setting of Belding on the banks of the Flat River makes everything flow.

At the daily rate of 1,667 words, you really don’t take a break on the weekends, because you wouldn’t make up for it, unless you’re a writing machine. It reminds me of the studying sprints before the exams at the University of Brno.

But, writing daily is also the only way to get a novel or any piece of literature to print. The next badge is set at 25,000 words, which will mark the half-way point of the 50K creative project.

It is my clear intention to see the new collection of short stories “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to “Shifting Sands: Short Stories,” to print.

Insights

The project keeps you accountable and helps you move forward. You have to find your optimum writing window during the day or night.

If you can do any prep work outside of writing time, do it. Revise later. Keep track of revisions. I do it on one note. Rome wasn’t built in one day either. Stay motivated and focused. There isn’t really much time to fight with your inner editor, just keep on writing. Get up hourly for five to ten minute breaks.

Excerpts

Nora unpacked her petticoats, camisoles, bloomers, black stockings and an extra nightgown and went down to the main lobby. She could smell the dinner from the kitchen downstairs by the main dining room. Nora was waiting patiently to get connected.

“Mother, thank you very much for the dresses and the furniture,” she said. “It arrived today on the afternoon train.”

“How are you and how is your new home,” mom as always wanted to know everything at once and immediately.

“I love it here, mother,” Nora said. “I’ve already made friends, and there are only good people here.”

“My dear, there are good people wherever you go,” said mom. “But, I did fear for you. It must have been a long journey, was it not.”

“Yes, it was,” said Nora.

“But, mainly how is the work, Nora?” asked mom. “Do they treat you well?”

“It’s nice to have my own money, but I do spend a lot of time at the mill,” said Nora. “I’ve made friends there and at the dormitory.”

“Is it nice; is the “Bel” nice?” asked mom, who even knew that the dormitory was called the “Bel.”

“Oh, it’s absolutely exquisite and Doris is fabulous,” said Nora immediately feeling guilty about her friendship with Doris.

“Who is Doris, my dear?” asked mom.

“Doris is the matron at the dormitory and the main nurse at the hospital,” Nora said.

Then, the phone went dead as it got disconnected.

That evening at the main dining room, a lively chatter warmed up the space between the white walls. Mathilda was back from her trip to Alpena. The two girls chatted about Mathilda’s trip and family.

 

 

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

Day 5 #nanowrimo

Happy Monday Wrimos,

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We rolled into the first full week of the National Novel Writing Month at full speed with pep talks from author Andy Weir:

“First off, you have to accept that you’re not going to be blazing away in a creative euphoria all the time,” he wrote. “Next, you have to accept that your story will change as you write it.”

Now, that I consider solid and decent advice as I forge ahead with “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” from the new anthology Shifting Sands: Secrets (c) 2018 Emma Palova. I have a clear intention to publish this sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

The characters have changed their roles and their names as they continue to evolve with the plot. This is my third day plugging away and it has taken young Zita from her disappointed world into a different one.

I struggled a little bit with the changes, but as Weir writes about the “rough patches” during the writing process: “When you read the pages later, you won’t be able to tell which ones you wrote in a good flow and which ones were hard.”

That’s something to keep us going through the inevitable “rough patches.”

I validated my word count at 10,016 words on http://www.nanowrimo.org

Yay!

The next writing badge is set at 25,000 words, but I will divide that chunk into smaller pieces to make it palatable.

Here is an excerpt:

As weeks went by, Dona grew accustomed to the feeling of emptiness. She stopped the numerous attempts to reach her daughter. Zita’s phone number did not exist anymore. She could wait for letters or messages; none ever came.

Summers turned into fall and winters, and these turned into years.

Kurt called Dona several times inquiring about Zita, if she had changed her mind. He was already back home from the college overseas, but he hadn’t forgotten his high school girlfriend.

“How is she doing, Dona?” he asked occasionally. “Is she okay?”

Kurt was the only lifeline from the past to Zita, so Dona always answered unlike other phone calls. She stopped talking to Wilsa, since she was the messenger of the bad news.

“I don’t know, Kurt,” Dona said. “We haven’t heard from her in five years.”

As winter arrived with first snow, Dona finally received an ornate envelope with the insignia of the Dominican Sisters order.

It was an invitation to Zita’s final vows at the convent. Dona was shocked to read the signature: Sister Theophane. That was Zita’s new name forever.

“This is the last time, we will see our daughter,” said Dona.

“No, you don’t know anything about it,” said Mike, “These Sisters can come out into the public.”

“I don’t want to see her anymore after this,” said Dona.

Veni Sancte Spiritus played in the background of the chapel with huge organ pipes in the front. Then, the Sisters sang psalms. Mike and Dona sat in the back of the chapel. Dona noticed  Kurt standing on the side by the stained glass windows.

Their beautiful daughter dressed in a white bride’s gown with a wreath of yellow roses on her head, now Sister Theophane, walked alongside Mother Karla to profess the final vows. Mother Karla stepped aside to make room for new blood. Sister Theophane prostrated on the wooden floor in front of the priest and then recited the vows and received a ring. As such, she was the “Bride of Christ.”

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

Day 4 #nanowrimo

Time change favors productivity of Wrimos with excerpts

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Lowell, MI -The time change favored the brave Wrimo writers of the National Novel Writing Month falling back an hour.

I started writing probably somewhere around 5:30 a.m. of the new time. The first signs of a new day came around 8:30 a.m. I logged in a total of  8,590 words with the short story “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” from the new collection “Secrets” (c) copyright Emma Palova.

The way the story unraveled itself surprised even me as I was writing and the characters began to lead me into their lives. Thank you main characters Zita, mom Dona, boyfriend Kurt and Mother Karla.

I have a clear intention of publishing “Secrets” upon the completion of the 50K word goal of the National Novel Writing Month.

After the morning writing marathon, the day became quite a challenge with the regular Sunday routine broken not only by writing, but also by a visit to the Belrockton museum in search of inspiration. That’s where I discovered the poster for the cover of the new book, and a million ideas for a new story.

Another day of #nanowrimo is on the horizon, and I don’t have the luxury to run out of story fuel.

My parents Ella and Vaclav came over with brother Vas for an unusual Sunday afternoon visit. The rut of the Sunday visits from the old country of Czechoslovakia came back. Vas and mom were fighting.

I am grateful that we live close enough to visit, plus we had fun with my husband’s newly acquired fame thanks to his shining U.S. citizenship. Ludek even got a letter from one of his fans, Dave.

Here is an excerpt from “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener

Dona drove through the long alley of beautiful crab apple and oak trees. The crab apple trees were now in their late pink and white blossoms, so the petals were all over the dirt road leading to the Dominican campus. Dona passed the small red barn on the right with the apple orchard also in full blossom. The labyrinth of dirt roads took her to the main building. She knocked on the big heavy door again.

Mother Karla opened the door and welcomed the woman into her quarters. Sitting at a big desk with a cross behind her, Karla folded her hands and looked up at Dona. A rosary was intertwined between her fingers and wrapped around her right wrist.

This time, Dona was more composed. She dressed appropriately for a battle with what should become the new mother of her only child. Dona put on her best suit, a striped navy-blue jacket and skirt, and a white silk blouse. Golden bracelets were dangling from her left wrist, and Dona made sure she put the diamond ring on the correct finger of the left hand even though it was a little big.

An hour before Dona’s arrival, Mother Karla went through a different ritual of preparing for a dangerous guest. She prayed for a successful outcome. Karla too put on her best foot forward in her white garb.

“Speak about what brings you here,” Mother Karla said watching Dona closely.

Without wincing or fidgeting, Dona went straight to the point looking directly into the Mother’s eyes.

“I will not let my only child become a nun,” said Dona firmly. “There is no way, my child will be a nun; not while I am alive. It will happen only over my dead body. I will fight this. You lured her to this. She would have never done this on her own.”

Dona leaned back into the leather armchair crossing her slender legs. Mother Karla leaned forward over her desk toward Dona playing with the beads of the lavender-colored rosary. She inched her fingers toward the cross on the rosary.

“Why would I lure your child to the order?” asked Karla strictly.

Dona stood up and walked closer to the big desk breathing heavily into Karla’s face.

“You coaxed her into this with your lies and deceptions,” she attacked Karla.

Dona slammed her small fist in front of Karla’s face on the big desk. Karla stood up too and walked around the desk to stand face to face with Dona. Karla put her hands against her wide hips:

“First of all, I am a woman of cloth. I do not deceive or lie,” she said. “It is my highest duty to tell the truth to anyone who is seeking it.”

Dona was sobbing out loud now. She was trying to catch her breath before speaking again. Then, she collapsed back into the leather armchair.

“You’re stealing my daughter from me,” she wept. “You’re a thief.”

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

Day 3 #nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month gets off to a great start

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Excerpts from “Secrets”- The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener

Lowell, MI – It’s already day three of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Today’s target goal is 5,000 words. With half of my third chapter or story done, I have passed that goal logging in 5,480 words.

Although stretching a bit beyond the target, some heavy hitters logged in 20k. I am happy with my progress since this is my first time participating in NaNoWriMo with the clear intention to get “Secrets”, sequel to my debut “Shifting Sands Short Stories” published.

It is also a double-donate Saturday to the creative project supported by major sponsors such as The National Endowment for the Arts. Here are some stats of participation:

  • Nearly 500,00 writers, including 100,000 kids and teens in our Young Writers Program.
  • More than 1,200 libraries and community spaces in our Come Write In program.
  • Nearly 1,000 Municipal Liaisons who organize in-person writing events in communities around the world.

For mor info how to donate go to: http://www.nanowrimo.org

I am delighted to share the following excerpt:

The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener

Zita touched her left cheek and ran her finger on a newly-formed pimple overnight. It will soon flare into a nasty red bump that may get infected. She smoothed her jean skirt tightly hugging her thighs covered by floral tights. Her straight brown hair was long. She always sat by the windows in any class to tame her phobias. She looked outside the window at the falling leaves. The harsh winter would come soon, and as always, she wasn’t prepared for it.

Gossip
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

Teacher Bob was going over it again; the reproductive organs and sexual functionalities or dysfunctionalities. She had just turned down a date, and Bob was having too much fun in his sex education class.

The only reason Zita took the class was her mother Dona, who insisted on it.

“You will soon be dating, you need to know some things about your body,” Dona said.

“But, why can’t you explain it to me?” asked Zita at the suburban home in Green Heights.

When Kurt asked her out again, Zita snapped, “I am not dating yet. I am not ready.”

Kurt didn’t live far from her in the middle- class neighborhood. When they were kids, they played together, since she was the only child in the family.

“Go and play with Kurt,” Dona said.

Kurt, too, had pimples and a lot of them. He had dirty blond hair, straight nose and blue eyes. He was tall and well-built, so he was on the football team.

In the boredom of winter, Kurt asked Zita out to go to the movies. This time, Zita couldn’t resist as the days were getting shorter and shorter; she had read all the books she could.

It was busy inside the movie theater. Most people were suffering from the lack of sun like Zita was. Kurt bought popcorn and looked at her pretty figure with pleasure.

“I can buy some chocolate too, if you want me to,” he said tempting her.

“Yeah, right, you want me to be fat or what?” Zita snapped.

Ever since her hormones kicked in, Zita had trouble with weight. The constant dieting cycled with overeating.

“We can run around the hood together,” he said.

The thought of running around the neighborhood in Green Heights startled her. The people loved to gossip about each other’s diseases and faulty relationships; who had sex with whom and let’s not forget that dry drunk next door, who beats his wife.

“You want to stir the soup, ha?” she laughed.

“It will be good for your figure,” Kurt leaned toward Zita and put his arm around her shoulders.

 

Thanks to some of the sponsors of #nanowrimo. For a complete list go to nanowrimo.org

 

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

November: National Writing Month

It’s time to write

 

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – This month was made for writing: no sun, no grilling, no walks to the Franciscan Sisters and no more kayaking. The temperatures have dipped below acceptable and the overall weather is not conducive to anything but writing.

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So, the designation as the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and its adopted sister National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) by BlogHer, is very appropriate.

I participated in the NaBloPoMo post a day challenge in November of 2015.

By searching for NaBloPoMo details, I actually found out about the

Face of gossip
Book cover to “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova

novel-writing project that was first. The goal is to write literature of any genre in 50,000 words by the end of November.

Considering that it’s nasty outside and I have to drive twice a week far out into the fields, why not use that time to record speech notes on my phone. The app transcribes speech to script, so I can talk forever.

At the basis, stands the fact, that I love a new challenge and I need to put a project together. Today I put together the long time in the making short story “Chief” and uploaded it to my Novel Writing account tallying in at 1,907 words.

What any writing challenge does is that it keeps you accountable.

You have to write every day and that way you get it done.

 

For more info go to: https://nanowrimo.org

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

40th Wedding Anniversary

As Ludek and I celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary on Oct. 7th, I  think about all those years spent with one man. We were both born in former Czechoslovakia.

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In 1978,  that seemed unimaginable to an 18-year-old girl still in the Zlin Gymnasium Prep School with university years of studying ahead of me.

“You’re going to spend  the rest of your life with one man?” classmate Zdenek asked me. “I can’t even fathom that.”

Yes, indeed. I spent all those years with one man.

“Boring,” said an acquaintance jokingly some time ago. She herself had been married to one man for a long time.

Just like in everything, there were some great times and some rough times over the four decades. Some of them, I consider historical moments.

Following are some highlights that really stand out:

The birth of our daughter Emma in April of 1979, my graduation from the University of Brno in 1986, the birth of our son Jake in 1987 and  the move to the United States of America in 1989. My book Shifting Sands Short Stories came out in 2017. I became an American citizen in 1999. Ludek will have his naturalization ceremony this year.

In between were big, medium and little things; all those elements that make up marriage.

“For better or for worse,” as we said our wows.

Among the big things were:  Weddings of our kids. Emma got married in Montrachet, Burgundy, France and Jake in Parnell, MI.

Another big shebang , I consider our celebration of the millennium at Stafford’s Perry Hotel, where Hemingway  once stayed. Since, I love history, I love to stay on historical properties.

To celebrate our 40th anniversary, we will be staying in the historical Murray Hotel on Mackinac Island.  I find inspiration in history, because it has  a tendency to repeat itself. You can predict things based on the past.

We were surfing rough waters when the  recession hit in 2007 through 2009, and Ludek lost his job. Ludek had to leave the state of Michigan to work in Prarie-du-Chien, Wisconsin. I stayed in Lowell because we didn’t want to lose the house. Our friends have lost theirs.

He commuted 500 miles to work and  he came home for the weekends. When I wrote about it back at the peak of  the depression in 2008, I got a response from a publication:

“That’s normal, that’s not a story.”

Yes, maybe for them it wasn’t. But for us it was a big story, as well as for millions of other Americans. I compensated the horror of separation and living by myself with a dog in the country by writing a screenplay. I bought Final Draft software and wrote about the assassination on liberal candidates.

We got through it with scars and hurts. Sometimes, it still hurts.

We still adhere to Czech traditions and customs, but we also have taken on new American traditions. It makes life interesting sharing two different cultures.

People ask me what do I miss the most about the old country?

“Definitely friends, since most of the family members have passed,” I answer.

But, always having a positive outlook, writing and  innovation helped us through the  good and the bad. Of course there was more good than the bad. It depends on the perspective and interpretation.

The good prevailed in love, passion and belief in each other.

And like  talk show host Ripa said on TV, “It  always boils down to respect of each other.”

The values we have established have carried us through; first comes  our family, then passion for our work and innovation. This philosophy has always worked well throughout the years.

With well wishes for many more years.

Love always, Emma.

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

Case: Freedom

Exercising voting and speaking rights

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I feel privileged that I can vote for any party or candidate that I want to. It wasn’t like that before the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989. There was one party ticket only: The Communist Party.

I realized that earlier this morning as I voted in Vergennes Township Precinct 1. I cast the 82nd ballot, soon after dropping off Ella at St. Pat’s summer care program around 9 a.m. I got the sticker, “I voted.”

I convinced my parents to vote only a few years ago. My husband Ludek and our son Jake will be voting in the November general election for the first time. By then, they will be naturalized American citizens.

As the church bells rang, I knew they were also the bells of freedom: the freedom to vote and the freedom of speech.

I exercised that freedom last night at the “Emerging Artists” event organized by the new LowellWrites group. Back in my Czech homeland before the fall of the regime, we could never ever give any speeches about anything. Unlike the “right to work”, freedom of speech wasn’t one of the rights we had.

That’s why late president Vaclav Havel was jailed so many times, because he spoke openly against the regime. I talked about him being my role model and my personal hero during the event.

“He was also a playwright,” I told my friends last night. “He spent a lot of time in jail.”

I am always amazed at how much one man or woman can accomplish in a lifetime.

“And then, they go out and do more,” states one commercial.

So, true. People who do great things go out and do more great things. I’ve learned that in meditations; to detach from the outcome. You can’t influence the result of anything, but you can be an integral part of it.

Havel knew he would go back to jail, but he never ceased to fight for freedom. As I watch the Facebook news feed, I do not understand why a lot of Czech people do not like Havel.

Once, I posted: “He was in prison also for your freedom.”

You should have seen the outpour of anger.

“He had it better in prison, than you have it in your living room,” was one comment that I will never forget.

The person missed the whole point that Havel fought for freedom for all Czechs and Slovaks, and ended up in prison for that like Nelson Mandela. But the comment went further to qualify that Havel maybe had a TV to watch and a typewriter to write, plus implying that I might not have either one of these tools.

Since I do have a laptop and the freedom of expression, I am sharing my Aug. 6th the speech during the “Emerging Artists” event at the LowellArts Gallery.

 

Good evening,

Thank you for having me, Lowell Arts and Deb.

Most of you probably know me as the roving reporter for the Lowell Ledger running around and chasing after stories, day or night, sweating during the Kent County Youth Fair, that is going on right now.

Tonight, I am here on a different venture presenting my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories,” which is a collection of 13 short stories based on my immigration, retail and journalistic experiences spanning more than two decades. Based on this, I divide the stories into three circles.

Although, I’ve always wanted to hold my own book in my hands and see it on the shelves of local bookstores, it wasn’t until 2017 that I made it happen. I realized if I didn’t put the short stories together, into a published collection, they would get lost.

That’s why I call it also a historic preservation project. I wrote the first story “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” in 1990 on a Smith-Corona Word Processor and the last one “Orange Nights” in 2017, partly on my tablet in my favorite hair salon.

My entire writing and publishing journey has been inspired by our family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia. My father professor Vaclav Konecny has been my role model all along. I based the character Martin Duggan on him.

I fictionalized the character, the university town of Rocky Rapids and the crazy “actions” of the professor. This one could be easily billed as the wildly popular “historical fiction” category.

The professor was perfect except for one incident……….

That brings me to the circle of stories based on my journalistic experience. These too could fit the “historical fiction” category. In “Iron Horse,” while covering hometown politics, I was inspired by a story of a township supervisor who got recalled in a special election by his own people. And the reason for recall: a pig farmer with the stench from the operation reaching the supervisor’s resort.

A herdsman’s wife Deb organized the revolt.

I captured the recall process in a series of articles.

These were the back up questions, we never got around to, because the audience was actively participating in the discussion moderated by poet Ian Haight of Germany.

People often ask me, why do I write and what are my goals?

Purpose of an artist; why do I write?

  • For me writing is a passion that I cannot get rid of. I tried unsuccessfully several times. It never worked. I’ve always returned to writing in some shape or form.
  • Goals

To continue writing to provide a respite from the real world that is to entertain people.

Growing as an author

  • With the publication of my book, I have grown a lot as a writer. People look up to me for writing and publishing advise; how to get their writing projects done. Being an author means sharing information.
  • The process of art:

Why did I create it?

So, the stories don’t get lost.

Where did the inspiration or motivation come from?

From our immigration saga; that my father had to overcome many obstacles to get where he is now. By that, I mean both physically and emotionally. One of the obstacles was my own mother who did not want to emigrate, leave Czechoslovakia. My other role model is the late president Vaclav Havel.

I even find inspiration in politics. That’s where the historical fiction category kicks in.

Was it hard to create this piece of art from start to finish?

Yes, it was. In the beginning I did not know where I was going with it. I had no idea that the stories would end up in a book.

Why share this piece?

Because they are part of the human experience, with struggles, obstacles and victories along the way.

And as I was quoted in the Grand Rapids Magazine:

“I know that it might sound cheesy, but even though not all the stories have happy endings, that doesn’t mean that everything that happens to us is either good or bad. It isn’t always that clear.”

 That’s why the sequel.

What does it mean to me?

To me it is the product of many years of hard work; kind of like when you get a degree after years of work. But, I think it goes deeper than that.

It’s more like a solo creation for others to enjoy.

What do you hope people will take away from it?

Definitely, a deeper understanding of human character, and why people do what they do.

 

 

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Interview with WGVU Shelley Irwin

Renaissance of the written word

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- While finalizing my interview draft for the WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin in downtown Grand Rapids, I was able to come up with a common theme; renaissance of the written word and literature overall.

That was my final takeaway message for the audience.

“We’re in a renaissance era of the written word,” I said. “Write every day, put together what you have written and send it out. Don’t let dust settle on your manuscripts. If you can’t find an agent or a publishing house, do it yourself. Find a self-publishing platform.”

Over the last two decades, people have been getting increasingly sick of technology and trying to figure everything out on devices, and the ever-changing algorithms.

On the other hand, the renaissance is partly thanks to Google’s keywords, business and product reviews and captioning on TV.

I’ve noticed an explosion of literature on my author’s adventures since I’ve penned “Shifting Sands Short Stories.” Poets are popping up, as well as memoirists and there is a huge demand for historical fiction.

As a true lover of history and artifacts, I brought in with me to the WGVU Studio at the Eberhard Center a remnant of a word processor; a font reel or wheel with my favorite script font 10/12. That’s all I have left of the word processor that had a screen for  three sentences at the max. I bought it in 1990 at, the close to being extinct, Kmart.

“The millennials don’t know what it is, but I used the Smith- Corona word processor to write my first stories,” I said.

Irwin looked at the reel wheel with the script font puzzled.

“I am not a millennial, but I can’t figure this out either,” as she looked at the artifact.

We talked about the “Riddleyville Clown” short story, that is pure fiction. Based on the story, I wrote the screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns” © Emma Palova.

“It was inspired by a hometown parade to the 175th anniversary of fictive Riddleyville, organized by one of the town characters,” I said. “It is about the assassination on the liberal presidential candidates.”

When Irwin asked about my favorite stories out of the collection of 13 short stories, I said: “If I had to choose it would be a toss between “The Death Song” and “The Temptation of Martin Duggan.”

“Why?”

“Because the characters stay with you long after you’re done reading,” I said. “My daughter-in-law Maranda asked me what was wrong with the guys.”

That’s exactly what I want; that resonation with the characters and questions left hanging in the air. That’s why I am writing a sequel to Shifting Sand Short Stories, as well as the Greenwich Meridian memoir.

“iIt’s a balancing act,” I said.

The main character in “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” is a math professor, perfectionist by nature.

By pure coincidence, and with “Back to School” looming in the air, there was also a mathematical conference going on at the Eberhard Center. A girl offered me an AlgebraNation pencil and a flag.

I have to check if it is pencil no.2, that professor Duggan used in the story. It’s got to be just right, not too soft, not too hard.

“Obviously, you have a passion for writing,” said Irwin.

It was a great experience being in the same studio with Irwin and the intern, and other adventurers like  the Iron  Fish Distilleries.

I heard their story driving back to Lowell on WGVU 88.5 FM.

Thank you, Shelley, until we meet again on my next venture.

Books and events

Shifting Sands Short Stories is available locally at Schuler Books in GR and in Lansing, Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, KDL libraries and it is coming to “Epilogue Books” in Rockford. It is on Amazon.

 

Author events @LowellArts

 

July 28 & Aug. 4, 1- 3 p.m. Book signing & discussion

Aug. 6, 7 to 9 p.m. panel discussion with poet Ian Haight

 

To join LowellArts Writer’s Group contact Debra Duiven Dunning at 897-8545

For more info go to https://www.lowellarts.mi.org

 

WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin

 

http://www.tinyurl.com/ycp9cx5k

Copyright © 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.