Category Archives: Shifting Sands Short Stories

Creative Endeavor Project

Michigan News Agency supports local authors with Creative Endeavor Project

By Emma Palova

Kalamazoo, MI -I had the pleasure of meeting Dean Margaret Hauck, owner of Michigan News Agency (MNA) in downtown Kalamazoo on Saturday. The old-time newsstand with hundreds of newspapers, magazines, paperbacks, comics, souvenirs, candy and tobacco has been around since 1947.

The newsstand is emerging as a “literary hot spot.”

Most recently Hauck started the Creative Endeavor Project to support local authors.

“We will sell your books as a pass through and return all of the money to you, authors,” Hauck says. “The News hopes this will encourage our writing communities to strive to do your work.”

Hauck turned to me and said:

“You’ve done your work.”

I found my book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” in the Creative Endeavor Project section up front by the window. I will soon have the second book for MNA and others: “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” (c) 2019 Emma Palova.

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

There are 150 different titles included in the Creative Endeavor Project.

The MNA displays books in a special section up front and on their website http://www.michigannews.biz

All of these are recent titles.

The address of the newsstand is 308 W. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo. To talk to Hauck about your book call 1-269-343-5958.

Hauck is very encouraging:

“Hey–all you aspiring writers–come talk to me about your artistic creations.”

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Moments in time 2018

Looking back at 2018

Lowell, MI- Year 2018 was definitely one to be remembered in the mosaic of my life.

Two major events immediately stand out in my mind; and coincidentally they both happened in October.

Ludek and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on Oct. 7th by going to my beloved Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac.

On Oct. 18th, Ludek became an American citizen in a naturalization ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. See post: https://emmapalova.com/2018/10/18/magistrate-judge-you-are-america/

In January, Ludek and I started our Spanish classes under the tutelage of Jim Alberts. I’ve never enjoyed learning more; and we’re doing it again in 2019 if Mr. Alberts offers them again.

On Jan. 29, my lifelong friend Eva and her husband Honza made their dream come true, as they opened restaurant Lorenz in Kromeriz, Czech Republic. https://emmapalova.com/2018/01/29/lorenz-czech-restaurant-with-austrian-flair/

Since the big pond separates us, we missed the grand opening. We hope to visit Lorenz one day.

In January and February, I continued my book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories at LowellArts during their arts exhibit in the new gallery on Main Street.

February marked my annual writer’s retreat in Florida. It was in Ft. Lauderdale. See post https://emmapalova.com/2018/02/16/notes-from-ocean-2018/

As winter changed into spring, we celebrated St. Pat’s in historic Hubbardston tavern with the oldest liquor license in Michigan. It used to be a speakeasy during the prohibition. I have yet to write about this.

April marked the three-day biannual Conference on Writing at Calvin College. See post https://emmapalova.com/2018/04/16/ffw-2018/

In April, we also enjoyed Neil Simon’s “Rumors” by the LowellArts players.

The first weekend in May is always dedicated to my love for history. The theme of Spring into the Past tour was “Fashions through the Ages.” https://emmapalova.com/2018/05/04/fashions-through-the-ages/

In June, it was the “Guardians of History” script and video for the Fallaburg Historical Society, that made this month stand out. https://emmapalova.com/2018/06/17/guardians-of-history/

I was also featured in the 2018-2019 Grand Rapids City Guide in the life&style section “The long road to resilience.”

I love summer and surprises. They truly all came in one day: Interview with WGVU host Shelly Irwin, a new author event and the Epilogue Bookstore. While looking for a hotel in Ludington, where we celelebrated my dad’s birthday on July 23rd, I came across a true gem. I found out about the annual Ludington Writers’ Rendezvous organized by author Joan H. Young. Thank you Joan for so much inspiration and for new author friends. You rock. https://emmapalova.com/2018/07/16/writers-surprises-all-in-one-day/

On the first Sunday in August, we always attend the annual Czech Harvest Festival in Bannister, MI. Aug. 20th marked the 50th anniversary of Soviet occupation of former Czechoslovakia in 1968. See post: https://emmapalova.com/2018/08/20/50th-anniversary-of-soviet-occupation-of-czechoslovakia-1968/

I wrapped up the summer by saying goodbye to our French granddaughter Ella; together we completed a big goal. Passing on the family tradition, I taught Ella how to swim.

In September, we were in the Belding Labor Day Parade for the first time with my book float entry decorated with huge lollipops and an ice cream cone. We loved the parade with the Willy Wonka theme.

Who doesn’t love a parade passing by?

October: like I’ve mentioned in the highlights we celebrated our anniversary https://emmapalova.com/2018/10/17/discoveries-at-mackinac-island-straits/ My husband Ludek was naturalized.

November delivered a huge surprise for me: the NaNoWriMo 50K word novel writing marathon and with it comes a new book for 2019. That is Shifting Sands: Secrets. I completed the 50,000 word challenge on Nov. 27 with 56,432 words. https://emmapalova.com/2018/11/27/national-novel-writing-month-winner-2018/

December brought record attendance to the https://emmapalova.com/2018/12/06/christmas-in-fallasburg-2/Christmas in Fallasburg party thanks to the concerted effort of all the volunteers.

Our first ever team trip Up North brought new discoveries of the “Chain of Lakes,” a 75-mile waterway from Elk Rapids to Ellsworth.

I would like to wish all my followers a Happy New Year 2019.

Thank you for following me.

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

National Novel Writing Month – winner 2018

Daily insights from #nanowrimo with story excerpts

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings 

Lowell, MI – What does NaNoWriMo mean to me?

I can only answer this question now that I have completed the 50K creative project and claimed the Winner 2018 cetificate.

NaNoWriMo is like a powerful fuel that you need to keep you going. You also have to keep on refueling as often as possible. It’s a gauge that efficiently measures your progress as you go.

Secondly, I have realized that there is no such a thing as a writer’s block; only slumps, slowdowns and funks around the Thanksgiving holiday and on Sundays.

Is creative activity as mysterious as we all think? Yes. You don’t know at the end of the day, what you’re going to come up with.

Is it scary? It can be, if you don’t know what your character is going to do next.

The creative project required a lot of discipline without credits or end of the year bonuses. But, also you were your own boss in determining when and how you were going to accomplish the 50K challenge.

I was amused by some of the questions on social media like: “What is your favorite writing drink?”

Mine is definitely tea, because I get a headache from drinking a lot of coffee.

Will I do it again in 2019? Most likely yes.

Would I recommend it? It depends on your writing goals. Fifty-thousand words is a nice chunk to start with.

Is it doable with kids and a full-time job? It depends on your partner on how many house chores will he or she take on.

Is writing still the most lonesome activity in the world that in the end depends on the the public’s liking or disliking? Yes.

WHAT NOW?

At the end, I committed to revision and editing, as well as writing more short stories to include in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” (c) 2019 Emma Palova.

The NaNoWriMo certificate defines a winner as:

A literal literary hero. A disciplined wordsmith.

A squirrel-suit flyer who just earned their wings…………

For more info about NaNoWriMo go to:

http://www.nanowrimo.org

My sincere thanks to the staff, organizers and pep talk authors of the NaNoWriMo creative project for support and encouragement.

I will be using  Pacemaker.press on http://www.pacemaker.press to further measure my progress into the publishing of the new anthology of short stories.

Excerpts from “White Nights” (c) 2018 Emma Palova

It was the gossip of the village that Joe beat his wife. He was a fourth-generation farmer on the largest farming plat in the village.

In front of the public eye, he acted as a proper man. Joe did everything that was expected of the largest landowner to do. He sat on the township board, on the school and the church boards. In spite of the gossip, he was a respected man with other great qualities than self-control.

Unlike Father Sam, he had no choice of what he wanted do. He inherited the land, so he had to farm it. When farming got tough with the dumping of the cheap apple juice from China in the late 1990s, his two brothers decided to get out of working with dirt. They went to work forthe largest milling company out by Shimnicon Corners. At that time, Joe too had to seek his soul, after beating one of them near death.

“You will never cross the threshold of my house,” he yelled that winter when they fought over the buyout money. “Where do you think I am going to get two million bucks?

They left anyways, and Joe owed them for the rest of his life. Joe sold off land fordevelopment and paid off some of the money, while making enemies with other farmers.

NaNoWriMo sponsors

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

Happy Thanksgiving

Day 22 of the National Novel Writing Month

Daily insights with excerpts from #nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and followers around the globe.

As the tension in Europe intensifies with pending strikes in France and Czech Republic, I am deeply humbled by the Thanksgiving feast of hardiness and determination of our predecessors to survive.

I am thankful for this country’s abundance and the free creative spirit. I look forward to spending the holiday with our family from Big Rapids and Hastings. My deepest unfullfilled wish is for our French family to be here with us as well.

In the creative spirit of this free country, I logged in this morning with 42,578 words doing my personal part in the 50K word marathon.

The short story “40 Hunks” is a part of the new collection of short stories “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. This is a sequel to “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

It is my clear intention to see “Secrets” to print in 2019 after the revision months of January and February suppported by the National Novel Writing Month.

For more info go to:

http://www.nanowrimo.org

Excerpts from “40 Hunks”

Tracking progress at 42,578 words on Thanksgiving, 2018.

The work guide didn’t respond and turned his head away from Jose. He got immediately on the phone with the central farm.

“We’re heading out,” he said. “I need to count the heads. There’s supposed to be 40 men aboard. I need to count them to make sure I don’t have 50. We already looked in the storage; just fuel containers, no extra men.”

Jose decided to mind his own business and ignored the guide who walked to the back of the bus counting the men.

Antonio got up angrily as the guide approached the back of the bus. His shirt was ripped in the back and he had leather bracelets on his wrists. He grabbed the handle bars below the ceiling of the bus, and swayed in front of the work guide.

“How may I help you, gringo?” said Antonio in broken English. “How many times are you going to count us? There are 40 men on this bus. That doesn’t include you and the driver. I want to keep it that way until we get there.”

Antonio looked at the work guide and ripped off his name tag and threw it on the floor.

“There you go,” he laughed. “You’re nobody. You white piece of shit. Remember that.”

Antonio fell back heavily on the torn seat with white fuzz sticking out. He pulled some of the fuss out of the seat.

“I’ll stick this into your mouth, if you don’t stay quiet,” threatened Antonio.

The guide retreated to the front by Jose, who was now whistling to a tune on his cassette player.

“Man, you got a rough crowd here,” said the guide. “Who is that big dude?”

“Nobody, just like the rest of them,” said Jose. “Leave me alone. I need some rest.”

Sponsors of #nanowrimo

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

Day 14 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I stuck to my morning writing routine: yoga, treadmill, meditations and writing until I reached a certain point in the story. That I did at 11 a.m., bringing the historical fiction piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova to its finale.

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This historical story was a little bit different from the rest of the bunch in the debut novel “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova or in the sequel “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.

I thematically divide my short stories into the following circles based on my experiences: immigration, retail, newspaper, history and new era. Some are of course hybrids between the two or three circles.

I was first inspired to write “Silk Nora” about a year ago while visiting the Belrockton museum. I have a deep passion for history; I call it my second love after writing. Basically, It took a while for the story to gel, and then a week for me to pen it. I started to write it on Day 7 of the #nanowrimo creative project.

At first, I thought of research as a challenge during the 50K word marathon, but it had proven to be a delight. I came across major charms such as the “cloche” hat of the 1920s, gin rickeys and mint juleps. “picture palaces” or  movie theaters, the Ford Model T automobile and theatrical skits rather than plays.

Immediately, as I got done, I missed the story, its characters and setting. The experts call it a “character withdrawal.” Goodbye my friends, Nora, Harry, John, Mathilda and Doris.

I logged in with 29,339 words earlier in the day. Where will I go tomorrow with my stories? Wherever they take me.

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

For a brief moment in time, Nora was able to forget all about that deep sadness in her heart. She waved crazily at the people in the parade. All three women decided to join in the parade with the Red Cross entry led by Doc from the hospital.

“I am glad you found us,” said Doc. “This is a great parade to be in.”

After the parade, there were public picnics in the parks around town. Finally, everybody took time away from ordinary life. Chef Josiah from the “Bel” had prepared their picnic hamper with stuffed eggs, celery stuffed with cream, salted radishes, homemade lemon-limeade, coconut layer cake, cheese sprinkled with paprika, slices of watermelon and chicken.

The “Belding Boys” moved into the bandshell and played jazz.

“You know they are missing a trumpet,” said Doc. “John had to go to the Catawba Sanatorium.”

They were all comfortably seated around the bench enjoying the late summer festivities. Nora stopped eating her stuffed egg and took a sip of the fresh lemonade breathing in the summer air.

“Doctor, is Mathilda going to die?” Nora asked Doc.

Doc paused before he took a bite out of the big sandwich. He had previously taken off his straw hat and set it carefully by his side not wanting to mess up the picnic.

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

Day 13 #nanowrimo

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

nano-2018-writer-twitter-header

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.

Day 12 #nanowrimo

Half-way point reached with 25,282 words, daily insights

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I reached the half-way point of the National Novel Writing Month creative project this morning at 11 a.m. with 25,282 words in the 50K word marathon.

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Needless to say that I am excstatic. I average six pages a day or 1,500 words. I am still working on historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which becomes a part of the new anthology “Secrets” (c) Emma Palova, a sequel to last year’s Shifting Sands: Short Stories.

I was delighted to find out about the different shoes from the 1920s like T-strap Mary Janes and Oxfords. Who said that research and history are boring? It depends on what you’re looking for.

I have a clear intention of seeing “Secrets” to print. There is a section “Now What?” on the #nanowrimo once you’re done with your 50,000 words. It will be supported in the months of January and February with the #NaNoNowWhat event to move along the revision and publishing process.

I am really looking forward to also chatting with #NaNoCoach Carolina DeRobertis on twitter this week. Not that I can take a breather, but it does feel good to reach the half-way point marked by a 25,000 word badge.

Excerpts

Nora was hesitant to speak.

“You want to talk to me, dear?” Doris encouraged her protégé to speak up.

“I know Doris, you’re single and you probably wouldn’t understand me,” whispered shyly Nora.

Doris straightened up in her chair and looked deeply at Nora’s face.

“I may be single, but that doesn’t mean I never had boyfriend,” she said.

The office was functional but pretty just like the rest of the dorms.

“I can’t attend high tea on Sunday,” Nora breathed heavily as got the dreaded words out of her.

Doris walked to Nora and put her hand on her shoulder.

“Look at me, Nora,” she said. “It isn’t a sin not to attend high tea. You know it’s not mandatory.”

“I know, but I don’t want to disappoint you, Doris,” said Nora teary-eyed, “or make you feel bad.”

“Nora, you’re acting up because of nothing, what is really going on with you?” Doris asked.

Nora had been secluding herself ever since that dance with Harry at the Rose Ballroom. She didn’t talk much with any other girls at the dorms or at work.

“You know my friend Harry?” Nora paused to think about her words.

“Yes, the newspaper writer, you danced with him at the ball,” said Doris. “What about him?”

“He asked me out to the movies this Sunday during your high tea,” said Nora sadly.

Doris sat back in her chair behind the desk.

 

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

Day 7 #nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month at full throttle

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Lowell, MI – I finished “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” after considering several possible endings of the story, that no longer seemed like a short story after working on it for 3.5 days.

The new story,  a historical fiction piece from Belding presented its own challenges in the 50K word marathon, known as the National Novel Writing Month. The main challenge proved to be research, that I don’t have the luxury to do. After firing it up, I put it on hold to see whether I can come up with an alternative.

I did have the legwork done for “Cupcake Wine”, so I tied it together to include it in the upcoming collection “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova. I have a clear intention of getting “Secrets” published.

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

Then, I went back to the historical piece to consider its possibilities by adding another a friend, Mathilda to Nora. I think I will be able to spin the story, just like the “Silk City Girls” spun silk threads at the Richardson Mills.

I became fascinated by the process of creating under pressure; in other words when you have no other choice. I found encouragement on the #nanowrimo blog from an author who was able to complete her novel thanks to #nanowrimo. She also suggested using pacemaker.press to keep you going once the creative project is done on Nov. 30. Now, that was a priceless tip. Try it, I did.

Most wanna-be authors never complete their writing projects because of the lack of accountability or the pressure of daily writing. I can second this from my experience from writing for daily newspapers. Once, you have no other choice than to write, you write. It’s like punching a clock at the factory or a store. I know what that’s like, but it works.

To quote Jodi Picoult:

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Excerpts from “Secrets”, the Belding piece

Nora arrived in Belding by train at the depot on a hot summer day in July of 1915 from the West Coast to work at one of the silk mills.

At the turn of the century, Belding known as the Silk City of the World, was booming with the silk industry. The silk mills founded by the Belding Brothers attracted hundreds of young girls that worked in its silk mills. In was the avantgarde era of the flapper dresses and hats. The girls worked in the mills for eight to ten hours a day.

Nora received the bigger corner room at Belrockton. The dormitory for silk girls was built in 1906 in classical revival style. She shared the room with Mathilda who came from Alpena.

Nora was making enough to send money home to parents. She came from a ranch out West, and wasn’t accustomed to city life.

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.

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.

us

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.