Fueling the passion of the Storyteller 2017 with book excerpts, part IV
I have named my book campaign Storyteller 2017 because I am so excited about this epic year full of big changes.
Follow me on my journey from writer journalist to author of Shifting Sands Short Stories to be released on June 30 on Amazon.
This is the fourth part of the Storyteller 2017 series following the introduction on June 20, the Beginnings on June 21 and the Impermanence of characters in the Shifting Sands Short Stories on June 22.
As I have mentioned in the previous installments, I have divided the 13 stories in the Shifting Sands Short Stories collection thematically and chronologically into three circles.
The first circle of stories draws on the early years of immigration experience of learning French in Montreal, and taking creative short story writing at the International Correspondence Schools, ICS.
Those were the transformative years or impermanence for me and the characters like Danillo in Danillo, Vanessa in Honey Azrael and the couple Martin and Ellen in the Temptation of Martin Duggan.
The second circle of stories reflects the time for assimilation into the American culture. These include: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.
The characters in the second circle suffer from the boredom of a daily routine in a store, but they fear change. The setting is rural Midwest America. I created the town of Riddleyville with its secrets and vices. The Riddleyville characters range from robust Big Irma, Shorty, philosophical Ula, pretty Rachel, boxcutter Amy, sick Therese to deceitful Vadim in the Death Song.
Here is an excerpt from Orange Nights:
The store kept its secrets in the backrooms where the employees gathered for breaks and meetings. Things not said on the floor, were exaggerated here freely over nasty coffee and lunches brought from home in plastic containers.
The kid who extended his stay at the store instead of going to college usually cleaned the backrooms and the public restrooms. Sometimes he worked in the smelly bottle room. Customers and employees called him “Shorty.”
It just caught on.
“Hey, people, do you have to make such a mess or what?” he asked.
If Shorty was in a bad mood, he’d complain, and mop the floor under your feet, and knock down your lunchbox.
He wasn’t a typical loser, he just acted like one.
The second shift already faced the remnants of the day, including the bad attitudes and unfulfilled dreams of yesterday.
The saying around the town of Riddleyville was that at one point in time, everyone has worked at the store for a million different reasons.
My passion for writing continued to grow as I took journalism classes at the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in the mid-1990s. At that time I wrote feature stories for the GRCC paper the “Collegiate.”
I wrote a chunk of the short stories, while taking these classes and working at the store.
The passion continues in the next part V of the Storyteller 2017 series.
The book Shifting Sands Short Stories is now available for pre-order on Amazon at:
Lowell, MI -I am working on a big project through May. That is transferring my short stories from more than two decades to digital platforms , because I cannot stand unfinished things. I am doing this because I also think I might drop dead, before the short stories see the light of the world.
I’ve been lying to myself that I cannot get my fiction published because I don’t have the time and I have to make money, and more lies. Then, finally my eyes and heart opened, along with other denials about breaking stereotypes and much more.
The good old “what if it is not good enough” question kept resurfacing.
“Good enough for what?” I ask.
“Of course I can get these published,” I realized. “Now, is the best time ever with everything going digital.
“The world is changing and I have to change with it.”
“But, wait a minute,” I say, “I have been changing, only in a different way beyond the known margins.”
“Hey!Isn’t that part of the definition of an “outlier?”
The “outlier” word sounds so ugly. I admit, I had to look it up.
And of course the search rendered among others, on Amazon Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers: The Story of Success.”
What the heck, now I got to buy Malcolm’s book. And I finally caught myself in action. Wait a minute, Palova. Stop. That is how you constantly get sidetracked from your goals; searching for more information.
“Get back on track, woman.”
“Thank you, my inner voice.”
I just got trapped in a labyrinth of other people’s thoughts and actions, much like the heroes of my short stories in “Glass Flowers” get entangled in a web of doing other things; like marketing, promoting and enterprising.
By getting the scripts on digital platforms, I will finally break the deadly cycle of denial that I cannot get my fiction published.
Have I lived like an Emu with my head in the sand or an “outlier?”
This was written in response to the Daily Post prompts @Denial and @Outlier, as well as an inspiration to the daily Taurus horoscope.
Lowell, MI- It’s 5:53 a.m. EST on a regular Thursday morning. Husband Ludek just left for work coughing, and I am recovering from a bout of cold that kept me inside yesterday. It’s still dark outside, and I light some candles, so I can meditate before writing with a cup of coffee, and a cup of nettle tea.
But, something else kept me indoors yesterday, as well as in my own shell. I was dealing with a red fury, called anger that topped off with an apple that my husband didn’t take to work with him. I always get an apple ready for him thinking about his health in the morning.
When the apple was still there yesterday, I thought he was angry at me.
I felt the anger building up in me since Monday, as I watched the disturbing evening NBC newscast on “Tonight at 7.”
“I’ll never forget this one,” I said disgusted to Ludek. “I won’t sleep again.”
It was a slew of everything from my 1970s teen idol David Cassidy’s announcement of dementia, to the one year anniversary of the Uber shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that left six dead and two wounded.
“We don’t want Kalamazoo to be remembered for this,” said the speaker at the Monday night vigil held at the K-Wings Stadium teary eyed.
The newscast showed Laurie Smith, wife and a mother, who’s loved ones where shot on that dreadful night at a car dealership, shopping for a truck. The daughter was supposed to go too. She didn’t. That saved her life.
Laurie held little urns with ashes as dreadful charms tied to a necklace in her fingers, crying.
“I carry their ashes around my neck,” she sobbed.
How can you not remember this? I would have to be a piece of stone.
Kalamazoo is home to one of the best universities in the country, the Western University Michigan (WMU). Other than being the home of the Broncos, it is the alma mater of many and an intellectual oasis in Midwest America.
My son Jake went to Western. He graduated in winter of 2010 in an auditorium decked out with red and white Poinsettia plants in pots with glittery wrap around Christmas time.
Early on when we settled down in the Grand Rapids area in the 1990s, I took online classes in psychology from WMU. I love the entire university environment along with the culture, the libraries, the ethnic restaurants, the university cafeterias and the sports. My parents worked at Ferris State University in Big Rapids until retirement in the 2000s. I studied at the Technical University of Brno, my dauther Doc Em studied at Charles University in Prague.
We have university blood circling in our veins.
I celebrated one of my birthdays at the WMU Performance Arts Center with the longest standing performance of all times, the “Phantom of the Opera” in 2007.
“Can you imagine those actors doing it over and over again?” said my friend Sue, when I complained to her that every day at the newspaper office was the same.
Many years later, as I think about all these moments, like grains of sand, sifting through time in an hour glass. The little sand grains that represent anger, fear, terror, joy, love and hope in a cyclical rhythm.
Grains of time sift through the hour glass rhythmically. To the right: my parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny with grandpa Joseph Drabek in 1987 during grandpa’s only visit to the USA.
Below is a photo essay representing the victory of joy & hope over rhythmic violence: left 1001 Days of Blogging Annie Conboy of UK who blogs for the future of her daughter Erin. Right top: son Jake Pala who teaches Josephine Marie Palova, 3, the Czech language to preserve our origins. Below right in the small frame, French granddaughter Ella, 6, on summer break in Parnell to learn English. Pictured in the bottom frame is Mrs. Irma Richmond, teacher from the one-room schoolhouse at Fallasburg in the 1960s. Today, kids from Murray Lake Elementary and on the http://www.fallasburgtoday.org come to visit the school thanks to the advancement of technology. Mrs. Richmond says hi to all.
Follow Mrs. Richmond’s and Annie’s stories into the future.
Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse teacher Mrs. Irma Richmond, 1927-28, 1944-45. Today students from the Murray Lake Elementary visit the 1867 Fallasburg School located in Vergennes Township.
Before that lovely opera performance, we enjoyed a meal at Rasa Ria, a Malaysian restaurant with my parents Ella and Vaclav in downtown Kazoo.
It was one of my best birthday celebrations, ever. And it was in Kalamazoo, in the university city of intellect and terror.
And now this additional piece of terror, that will always stay in our minds, and in those charms with ashes around Laurie’s neck.
I can still recall the actual coverage of the Uber shooting one year ago, when the police contained the rampage in 4 hours and 42 minutes. The footage showed cars chasing the suspect, finding the victims at innocent places like Cracker Barrel and at the Seeley dealership in Kalamazoo.
“Why did he do it?” Ludek kept asking me.
The news report mentioned that the Uber driver said that the devil told him which people to shoot through the phone app.
“Crazy?” I ask.
One year later, crime perpetrator, Jason Brian Dalton, 45, still hasn’t been convicted. A hearing is set for March 9. If convicted, he faces a life in jail, according to news reports.
As I watched the vigil for the victims, my memory flashed back to a trip to France in 2016 with our granddaughter Ella. We were waiting for a Uber driver to take us from Charles De Gaulle (CDG) Airport to Gare du Nord train station in Paris.
“Emma, are you sure this is safe, you know about that shooting in Kalamazoo?” I asked my liberal daughter Doc Emma, who permanently resides in the wine village of Fixin, in Burgundy France.
“Oh, it can’t happen here,” she said, “only in America.”
“Really?” I asked.
I thought about all the violence of the past two years in France as it flashed through my mind; from attacks in Paris, Nice and Belgium.
Now, back again to the current reality as of Feb. 23, 2017. The two Uber shooting survivors, Addie Kopf, 15, and Tiana Carruthers, 26, continue to fight forward.
After undergoing several surgeries, Kopf has difficulty speaking and remembering, in spite of overall improvements. Carruthers, who shielded children from the gunfire, is now walking without a cane, according to news reports.
I glanced at the comments following some of the broadcasts of the one-year anniversary of the Uber shooting that occurred in Kalamazoo on Feb. 20, 2016.
robandhan1 day ago
Huh… another white guy with a gun…
jime4441 day ago
@robandhan and how many die in chicongo each day? not many white people, either………libturd.
charlie251 day ago
Does anyone remember this??? There have been so many weirdos killing people in the past year to remember this one.
“Change is in the air, as old patterns fall away and new energies are emerging. Consciously release what needs to be released, and welcome with a full embrace the newness you’ve prayed for and so richly deserve.”
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- I’ve never seen a more varied reaction to the happenings in Washington D.C. than this week following the presidential inauguration of Mr. Donald Trump on Jan. 20.
Any psychology student would have had a great doctoral thesis if he or she had analyzed and tabulated the responses to president Trump’s inauguration, Women’s March on Jan. 21, the first executive orders, retreat in Philadelphia, the Right to Life March and the mainstream media commentaries. Not to speak of late night shows, Saturday Night Live, and the fashion comparisons of the First Lady to historical figures and her linguistic disabilities.
Only the death of the incarnate of the modern woman Mary Tyler Moore, and maybe watching “Charlie Bartlett” kept the weights of humanity from tipping over completely.
“So tell me what you think about all of the above and I’ll tell you who you are,” independent analysts and charlatans tested the Internet waters.
Facebook, twitter and other social media were bubbling like a witch’s potion with all the ingredients starting with hate to complete apathy, withdrawal and secure rationalization.
In between reigned ridicule, sarcasm, vulgarity, hopelessness, fear and despair.
Of course, there were observers patiently waiting to render their opinions after all others have gone first, ala “risqué” style.
I’ve tasted my share of firsts with the post “Join 10 Actions in 100 Days”, a story about a local inspiring woman Sharon Ellison, a participant in the Women’s March.
The overwhelming reaction was that the women were vulgar and inappropriate like Madonna in order to get attention.
I didn’t catch what an editor would have caught, that is a vulgar phrase on a sign accompanying the post. It cost me some.
However, one of the best observations in the last 8 days was the use of the “alternate fact” term as the means to justifying anything.
I find that term especially useful in teaching my American born protégé Josephine Marie Palova, 3, the Czech language.
“My dear Josephine, a cow is actually a horse, or vice versa, depending on what you need it to be.”
Not, that this is anything new in politics.
“What you meant to ask me, was….?” A city manager restructured my question to his prepared answer.
“What I really wanted to say was that…”
“But you said something else,” I said.
“Oh, I didn’t mean that.”
The politician’s word play is like a bad game of chess. No matter how good you are, the opposing party will claim they had won…….although in a different game.
Well, at least the Wall Street was happy in this game as the stocks soared past the 20,000 mark, if that is any indication of anything, according to ill-willed analysts.
I found some reprieve in the pacifist stance on the matter of the affairs in the union, in the world and in the universe, thanks to a post from a friend in Iowa, Sheryl Groen.
“Change is in the air, as old patterns fall away and new energies are emerging. Consciously release what needs to be released, and welcome with a full embrace the newness you’ve prayed for and so richly deserve.”
There’s means to an end, my friend.
Be kind, everyone else is fighting a hard battle. Love like a kid, because love wins.
Featured photo thanks to Michelle Emaus of Lowell.
Lowell, MI – As I look back at 2016 like into a colorful kaleidoscope that keeps changing when I move it, I see a clear picture of the past.
I move it again, and I can see how the little pieces are transforming into the future, that is the upcoming year 2017.
Sometimes I shake that kaleidoscope violently, so that the picture changes into what I want it to be.
Well, it never is what I wanted it to be. Just like the molecules and atoms in space keep fusing and defusing, so do the events that these little pieces form not always to our liking.
And I have to quote Mr. Albert Einstein:
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
As in years previous, I looked deeper and deeper into what I saw around me. At times, experts call this,” being aware.”
Things lost and found in 2016, things old and new
On the last day of January in 2016, I rediscovered the power of the church in the christening of grandson Dominik Ludek Pala at St. Rose Catholic Church in Hastings, MI.
I had broken away from the church for many years. As I watched the christening rituals and both of my adult children, Emma & Jake, standing at the altar with the baby at the center of attention, I realized something big was happening inside and out.
My brother Vas was sitting in the first pew to the right, Dominik’s uncle, war veteran Tony was holding the baby, and my daughter Doc Emma Chavent flew in from Dijon, FR to be the Godmother to Dominik.
The church united us all together regardless beliefs, distance or occupation.
Things lost for 10 years: the church, but not faith
In February, I rediscovered Florida, that some people Up North lovingly call southern overrated “Hicksville,” either flooded by tourists or college kids on their spring break.
I’ve been going to Venice, FL for writer’s retreats since 2009. This time, our entire group led by Doc Emma went to Saint Petersburg. And I loved it. I loved St. Pete for its cosmopolitan feel, culture and secluded historical beaches.
Things lost: St. Pete’s city pier that has been rebuilt many times was gone to make way for a new one.
In March, I observed my son Jake’s birthday too sick to go to Hastings. On March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, I gave accolades to all the women who are making a difference in this world in my popular series on EW Emma’s Writings “Inspiring Women.”
Also my favorite feature post on March 19th is “Czech Name Days” honoring my grandpa Joseph along with millions of Josephs around the world.
We celebrated Easter on March 27, still without my parents Ella & Vaclav, who winter in Venice, FL.
I wasn’t even a CEO (Christmas, Easter, Only) visitor to church on that festive Easter Sunday, when most of the women wear white dresses.
However, I wrote about the age-old custom, the whipping of girls and women in “Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter Traditions” in Czech Republic. The post generated incredible controversy about being evil to women.
April to me signifies spring, here in the North. I gave it salute in many different ways: April 8th, according to Czech calendar is Emma’s name day. Throughout the year, I write posts about Czech name days wondering why Hallmark has never jumped on this social occasion. Many countries around the world celebrate name days, not just Saint Patrick of Ireland.
My daughter Doc Emma was also born on that day in the old country Czechoslovakia.
Her birth certificate is now a historic document, a testament to the changing times in the former socialist country. It reads, born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia. The Moravian city Gottwaldov no longer exists under that name. It took back on the old name from the capitalist times under the industrialist Bata, and that is Zlin.
It was also the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. I usually write the post “Earth Day” to honor Mother Nature. Locally, the sign by Wege/Wittenbach Environmental Center in Lowell best expresses my feelings at any time of the year, and especially now as we enter 2017:
“May Peace Prevail on Earth.”
May is big, anyway you look at it. It’s “Mother’s Day” and the earth blossoms to honor all mothers. I celebrate my birthday on May 9th with my family and my friends. The annual get together on our three-acre ranch surrounded by lilacs in northeast Kent County is the highlight of my year.
May 9th also coincides with the “Czech national holiday” that celebrated the freeing of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi occupation in 1945 when Soviet troops arrived in Prague.
The modern calendar changed it to May 8th when the Americans freed the beer city of Pilsner in western Bohemia.
I call the change in the date of the biggest Czech national holiday, a farce in history, depending on who you are currently serving. Actually, it is a little piece in that ever-changing kaleidoscope.
Naturally, people critiqued me for using the real date of freedom for the Czech national holiday. For me it was a lot like changing the American Fourth of July Independence Day to let’s say July 3rd.
History, and the way we live it and change it to our own fancy, is an endless source of inspiration to me.
On May 13, 2016, I picked back up the “Greenwich Meridian” memoir which was the reason, why I started blogging in the first place in January of 2013.
I call June the month of the Geminiand the Summer Solstice. I write about both in my posts. Three of my great friends are all Geminis. I don’t know if that is a coincidence or some kind of a card trick that I could use.
In June of 2016, I found a friend that I thought I had lost a long time ago. I found her in such a way that even a kaleidoscope couldn’t put a picture like that together. I am sure I will write about this in 2017.
Right now she is calling me for the fourth time, so I am wrapping up the first half of the year 2016.
Written also in response to the Daily Post Retrospective
Lowell, MI- I woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m. shivering with cold. I slept covered by two blankets and it was 13 F outside. I quickly turned on the additional water heating we use on top of our wood stove and propane. It was still cold.
The forecast called for the extreme chill, coming over the North Pole from Russia, but that didn’t make it any easier. Ludek hauls in the wood before he heads off to work. That helps, I don’t have to go out to the shed in that cold.
Luckily, we didn’t cave into the Arrowhead Meadows neighborhood association’s pick of Darin, the snowplow man. Two years ago when we had the polar vortex, the snowplow man plowed, after everybody got home from work including himself.
Although, Darin didn’t plow on weekends, he managed to pound on the door on a Sunday morning to pick up his check. So Ludek finally said, “I’ll do it myself, we got the jeep.” My 1998 Jeep Wrangler, our workhorse came in handy again. Now, I call it the “Blades of Glory.”
I sat by the wood stove in Ludek’s wicker rocking chair to warm up and to clear up the sinus cold that’s been gripping me since last Friday. As I watched the flames I contemplated today’s writing strategy.
“No, I am not going to check my e-mails, because that either makes me angry or puts me behind in writing.
“However, should I or should I not fill out a slip of paper with today’s predictions and seal them into an envelope only to read them tonight?” I asked myself.
Instead, I picked up the phone to check the notifications on Facebook. I kind of knew about the upcoming full moon from friends in Europe, but it was my Arizona friend and owner of Beutiful Body, Mind, Spirit Nan Raden who confirmed with the beautiful pictures of the moon over the majestic saguaro cacti with the following post:
“Full moon in Gemini-on December 14th. This full moon is occurring on the cusp of the Winter Solstice, which is Dec. 21st.
“Gemini rules the mind and is mentally razor-sharp. It is inventive, playful, childlike and communicative. Gemini loves to widen your perspective by integrating information. Mercury, the ruling planet for Gemini, will be going retrograde five days after this Full Moon, right before the Winter Solstice.
“Your thoughts, ideas and how you think about life are going to deepen, while you integrate a new heart-centered awareness.
“This Full Moon in Gemini happens on Dec. 14th at 12:04 a.m. in London, England and in the Americas on Dec. 13th in the late afternoon and evening.”
According to the full post, year 2017 is the Year of Money, Miracles and Manifestation.
“With number 17 activated, you will get a preview of the leadership, abundance and immortality themes that will inspire us all next year.”
And now, Nan asked:
“How are you going to share in a way that allows you to feel happy and empowered?”
The post continued: During this Full Moon thoughts will be transmitted very quickly and effortlessly, so you want to listen in and tune in to new perspectives and your perception about life.
“Have a happy and engaging Gemini Full Moon.”
As I sat by the wood stove, of course I didn’t read the entire post. I just glanced at the beautiful photo that warmed me up. I shared it, and that was it. And I didn’t fill out the prediction slip, because predictions were already piling up in my head.
“Oh, I am going to face another long phone call, and I’ll have to deal with IT stuff. I am not going to finish the story about blogger “Annie.”
For the rest of the morning, I continued to work with my back to the wood stove sitting on the brick ledge; my mind spinning. I did all the social media marketing work, I needed to do for the day.
I took a photo of the wood stove and I posted it enhanced on Instagram with this caption:
“My work station by the wood stove, until May.”
My friend, a Gemini, responded with:
And after her, many others followed.
I found a way to make a miserable cold wintry morning in West Michigan dissipate in warm thoughts, and I shared them.
And after that I discovered Nan’s Facebook post in its entirety and wrote all 779 words of “In my winter dreams.”
Well. there goes my answer to Nan’s question.
“Thank you, Nan for sharing. Thank you, Full Moon.”
Hillary Clinton concedes race to President-Elect Donald Trump on Wednesday
By Donald Brookins, ACVN co-founder
Election special for Emma Blogs, LLC
Tampa, FL-The results are in for the 2016 Presidential Election. Donald J Trump is our new President- Elect. He defeated Secretary Clinton in the Electoral College but lost the popular vote. Looking back on the Clinton campaign Hillary lost this election the moment she made the reckless decision to create a private server for her emails when she knew it was against State Department guidelines. What is even more unforgivable to me is she tried to be slick about it once it was discovered via Congressional investigation.
Secretary Clinton’s actions only confirmed what a majority of the American electorate thought about her as a candidate. The electorate believed her to be a liar, a crook, and a Washington insider. All of these perceptions were confirmed by her actions involving her email server. Secretary Clinton never took responsibility for her behavior or her actions. She never apologized. She deflected when asked to say it was wrong to have a separate server by saying “she would never do that again.”
President – Elect Trump seized upon her bad behavior and used it as a weapon and rallying cry to predominately uneducated white blue-collar voters to win the election. Trump ran as a Populist outsider. I am deeply sad because Hillary Rodham Clinton was more prepared and more capable to be our next President than any other candidate. She just had too much baggage; she made the mistake of arming Trump with a powerful weapon when all she had to do was disarm him by getting in front of the issue the moment she decided to run for President. I believe if she had apologized to the American People and took responsibility for her actions, she would have been elected the 45th President of the United States.
It is crystal clear to me that the party of Reagan is no more; Obamacare is dead, the Obama coalition that won the 2008 and 2012 elections has been severely damaged; and that Donald Trump has made legitimate all of the seedy elements of white Nationalism.
The 2016 contest is over and the PEOPLE have spoken. My candidate did not win. But in a democracy when all the votes have been counted we accept the results and come together to support our new President. So in the spirit of unity with respect to our beloved constitution – God Bless our new President Donald J Trump and God Bless the United States of America.
This is the first post in a series about family relationships that have inspired me to write the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets West” (c)
Some time ago, I wrote the post “Two sisters still at war” about the friction between my mother Ella and her sister Anna aka Anyna. The derogatory version of the beautiful name refers to the relationship between the two aging sisters. Notice that the word Anyna is missing on the greeting card for Anna’s Day.
Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” kindled my inquisitive mind to further explore relationships and psychology.
Watch as I pick up on the tension between the two sisters. Check out the post at the following link:
Lowell, MI- I am putting back together the pieces of my life like in a shining kaleidoscope. Some call it a comeback.
I am back on the final stretch of the “Greenwich Meridian” (c) memoir. I took a break to establish my Internet blog design company Emma Blogs, LLC. Now that I feel well grounded, I am returning back to the life of a daily writer. I missed it anyway.
The blogging journey took me from a rookie to a lifelong learner. Internet is much like water & wind; it never stands still or like Wall Street; it never sleeps. You can’t abandon it, because it’s like the writing life. It doesn’t let go of you.
Abstract art by Kathleen Mooney inspired by quilting.
Lsvender is good for anxiety and insomnia.
Along that three-year long journey, I’ve met some of the best people in the industry by trial and error, as well as by targeted searching. After spending endless hours on learning the ropes of the blogging business, I sought help. I found Learn to Blog. This group of people is golden. Their support is pivotal in my blogging life.
And I’ve made friends. How can you make friends working all day alone in your writing studio staring at the flashing cursor with an occasional glance at my orchids on the window sill?
Well, you join private and public Facebook groups. I have done that. I am a member of the private Learn to Blog (LTB) and WordPress Support facebook groups. I’ve done both LTB and WordPress challenges. I’ve commented and I got comments back. I’ve gained the most followers on the 30 Day Content Writing Challenge . I established my own writing group “Writers Loop” on facebook based on advise from Soulpreneurs founder Leigh Ann Dickey.
“Facebook pages are old school, groups are the way to go,” she said in a Skype interview.
One of the best things that has ever happened to me on a blogging challenge was making a lifelong friend and a business partner.
During the 30 Day Content Challenge, a link to a healing site Beautiful Body, Mind and Spirit caught my eye. We were supposed to like and comment five blogs. I liked it and commented on it.
“I’ve always been interested in alternative healing,” I commented.
I e-mailed the owner Nan Raden asking for an interview to feature her as the blogger of the month on EW Emma’s Writings. During the first Skype call, we immediately clicked.
Nan is a natural healer and I suffer by nature. We compliment each other. She healed my inability to take action. She healed me emotionally and physically to a distance of 1,884.90 miles between Grand Rapids, MI and Tucson, AZ.
Now, we’re getting ready to webcast our show on Google hangouts on air. I will announce the name shortly. Stay tuned for a story and a video.
Other than the blogging challenges, the most productive in gaining followers were posts relevant to the current events. These included: “Alpenhorns at the Octoberfest in Grand Rapids,” ” Thoughts on Fear in the Wake of Paris Attacks” posted during the 30 Day Content Challenge, “Evil Choices” after a SuperTuesday primary ,”Happy Mother’s Day” and most recently “Cannes Film Festival 2016.”
Speaking about timing. My former editor and friend Jeanne Boss used to say, “Timing is everything.” The 30 Day Content Challenge started before Thanksgiving. I scrambled to get through it around the holidays. Sometimes I had to play catch up writing up to five posts one day.
I’ve learned a lot and I’ve diversified in the blogosphere. I’ve joined SheKnows and BlogHer platforms that have merged since. I am still carving out my own path. I am contemplating Blogspot, but I want to stay focused on the memoir.
Posts about relationships like the “Two Sisters” about the animosity between my mother Ella and her sister Anna attracted more followers. The relationship that went raw over immigration is a big part of the memoir.
“They never mended not even now standing at the gate to heaven or hell,” I write in the book.
I would also like to highlight the mini-series “Eyeology with Dr. Verdier” about my cataract ordeal two years ago. The IW Inspiring Women was a joy to write because I met all these interesting women who continue to inspire and motivate me to this day. It is a living ongoing series with new encounters every day.
I found out that the best writing comes from the heart and without a narrow purpose. Big tears rolled down my cheeks penning the most emotional posts like “It took a lifetime to get to this moment,” based on a prompt from the 30 Day Challenge.
It took me a lifetime to get this moment to write this post and to complete the memoir.
Lowell, MI- If we only knew what people really like, the creative business would be much less trickier. It’s not just that we as creators don’t know, but sometimes the receiving side doesn’t know either.
I found out this from my experience while trying to select a movie to stream from YouTube. My husband and I go through hundreds of movie selections both in English and in Czech. Quite often we end up not knowing what we want, and we switch lazily back on the TV programming to do the picking for us. It’s easier than making up our own minds.
But, taste is also a matter of the moment that keeps constantly changing. On the other hand there are nights, when I immediately know what I want to see even before turning on the screen. Luckily, we usually agree on the choice.
That brings me to my major goal for 2016 and that is to write what people like to read.
“What is it?” I ask. “Does it mean that I am catering to a trend?”
Not, necessarily. Gauging what people like and don’t like is important just like in the food industry. Recently, I found out that the frozen Ristorante pizza is not as good as DiGiorno. They look the same, they cost the same, but they don’t taste the same. Ristorante is missing something. What is it? It’s like with a good story or a bad story. What is missing and why is it bad?
Finding that missing ingredient is in the psychology or knowledge of your character and your reader. They have to match up. We need a perfect match.
But, writing isn’t just point-blank, let’s say, for the firearm hunter of deer but for the entire hunting category. Just like the pizza example appeals to a wide group of people, if not to most. But remember that both are frozen.
When I think of writing to a certain interest or maybe a trend, I always think of an entire group or a segment of population.
“Okay, who is going to read my next short story, “270 Degrees to Beach Pines?”
It could be the largest segment of American population. That is the baby boomers. The short story is about aging and what a tragic comedy it is; watching it, living it and trying to cheat it. Totally, Shakespearean or Marquez style. It will be humoresque and very light, almost as light as the “Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Kundera.
It should feel like a feather in the wind, like a butterfly’s kiss as it slowly dissipates into thin air.