In the spirit of 101 Challenge: The Commons I wanted to write about finding your feature niche II for your blog yesterday. I wanted to thank everybody for participating in the challenge yesterday. I wanted to write about the month of May being the mental health awareness month and my friend CEO of Ionia County Community Mental Health (ICCMH). I wanted to do everything yesterday.
But destiny wanted something else.
I can hardly see the screen. Yesterday, I couldn’t see at all. I couldn’t write. The screen was dipped in a faraway 3=D mist. Google was floating somewhere in a distance.
I barely made it back home from town with my medication as I couldn’t see the oncoming cars.
I went to see the eye doctor this morning. Eyes are the second most precious asset that I have.
“What brings you here on a Friday,” asks the eye doc.
“I couldn’t see yesterday, it was creepy,” I said.
The eye doc conducts a thorough exam and says:
“Putting something in front of the foggy lens is not going to solve your problem,” he said. “You have cataracts in both eyes at a young age. It’s very progressive.”
“Does it run in the family?”
“Most definitely,” he said.
“I need to see Dr.Verdier,” I said.
“You know him,” asks the eye doc looking at me through his spectacles.
“I wrote about him,” I said. “He travels around the world fixing eyes.”
“Did you write that article about him on the Orbitz plane,”asks the eye doc.
“Then you know he’s worth waiting for,” says the eye doc.
The first consult appointment with Dr. Verdier is on Aug. 22. I still have to write. I have a book deal in the making, but I need to see.
Today is a big day. As I write to the rhythm of the rain, morning chirping of the birds and to the frantic panting of my dog and husband, I still have my feet wet from the patio. I had to move the phlox and the moss roses from the garage out into the rain.
It’s May 9th, it’s my birthday. I was born on the national holiday in former Czechoslovakia. On that day, the nation’s capital Prague, the mother of all cities, was freed from the Nazi occupation by the Soviet Army. That was the end of World War II.
Many years later, I was born in the wee hours at 4 a.m. to parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny. My mom woke up to the cracking noises of fireworks announcing the anniversary of the victory.
“I thought it was war again, but then I realized those were fireworks celebrating your birth,” she said to me this morning as she wished me a happy birthday. “The whole nation celebrated.”
Mom says that to me every year, as the nature too celebrates the awakening after long winter.
“The nature blossoms on your birthday,” she says. “You always had the day off and a parade.”
The above note is one of the many reasons why I dedicated the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets west” to my mother.
100 Posts & beyond
This post is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and the constant friction that I have witnessed between sisters in this world.
Mom Ella and aunt Anna
As I watch people drop like flies around me, I realize how time is going by fast. I like the inscription on the clock in the living room, “Tempus fugit.” That’s why I bought that pendulum clock as one of the first things when I arrived on this continent in 1989 for $110. Not that I had that kind of money. I just wanted the clock so bad, that I probably borrowed money for it. It announces the time by boldly striking every full and half hour. My husband Ludek still has to wind it by hand much like the clock that the in-laws had at home in the old country.
“They probably wouldn’t even let us know if she’s dead,” mom said. “You write the wedding invite. She’s your aunt and godmother.”
We bought the card that had written “Sisters” in the sand on it in Venice, Florida.
“I’ll pay for her air ticket, but not for him,” Mom said angrily. “Anyna won’t be able to translate that. She’s not going to come anyway.” Anyna is a slanderous nickname for the pretty name Anna.
Mom was referring to my uncle whom we once fancied as “Jean” rather the ordinary Czech John. We took that from the French movies that we had devoured like crazy in old Czechoslovakia.
That was more than quarter of a century ago before the big family dispute.
“But we don’t even know if he’s alive,” I argued. “I’ll just write it and we’ll see.”
Unintentionally, we sent the invite off without any contact numbers or addresses. Subconscious at its best.
“Write it again,” mom said last week. “This is her last chance to make up with me.”
To be continued as part of the ongoing series 100 Posts & beyond
Lowell, MI- As I write this I am probably on my 107th post or more between my rolling portfolio of Emma’s Blogs.
I get my ideas from nature, from other people, art and sometimes from press releases.
“Get out of the office, go and talk to people, shoot some bull,” a presenter said at a writing conference in 1998 at Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant. In a million years, I could not have received better advice. I live by it. I swear by it.
A story is not going to walk into your office or into your space whatever or wherever that may be. You have to seek it out. If it does walk in, excellent. But, you still have to explore it in 3D. Otherwise you have a dry piece without juice and atmosphere. In sales, it’s called “drumming up business.”
My second editor Dave Trinka of Allegan County News, awesome photographer, told me that I should just do a drive around and get some photos. Well, with the photos usually comes a story idea, and you get a bonus break from the screen, the keyboard, and the editor. Sorry, Dave, Valerie and Jeanne.
“Ask yourself questions,” the presenter encouraged in that pivotal CMU conference.
Go to your local coffee shop and listen to what people are talking about. What is the talk of the town? Is it you? Or why has that coffee shop changed hands so many times? Why is it doing so well now? Once a co-pastor of a local church owned the coffee shop under the name Kava Klatch.
What happened to the pastor who just wanted to try it out for the sake of trying, used a fancy foreign name, and three month later went out of business?
Well, he’s a successful pastor at a successful growing church. Does that warrant a story about the evolution from church to coffee shop and back to church?
Interesting, isn’t it?
My second favorite stories are enterprising stories. They’re up for grabs, they’re that low-hanging fruit.
“What would Big Rapids or Mount Pleasant be without their sacred cows? Or better, what would Rome be without the Vatican? What would WordPress be without its users?
Can anyone guess what those sacred cows are?
They’re the anchor institutions or businesses in communities. Every community around the world has them.
“Find your sacred cow. What has she been up to lately?”
No. 1 HUMAN INTEREST STORIES
Everybody loves them. They are about people for the people. The subject of these does not necessarily have to be George Clooney or Brad Pitt. That’s been done million times all over the planet. You can get that anywhere. You probably see it on my site http://emmapalova.com
It does not have to be about your local habitual offender. That’s too easy. The news organizations got that from a massive press release from the police department. You don’t even have to change anything. The police chief probably sweated long hours over it.
“The easiest beat you can get is the police,” said former editor of the Ionia Sentinel-Standard Roger Harnack.
It does not have to be about the NBA franchise owner Donald Sterling who got into trouble for his racial comments. The TV and the Internet have us covered for the next 100 years on this one.
Look deeper inside your own community. Again ask yourself questions. Follow through and study your subject of interest.
Who is the woman behind the successful events drawing people into the community? What kind of a difference has she made? What is her impact on the community? Why does she care?
“She keeps reinventing herself,” said owner of Ace Hardware Charlie Bernard about the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce director.
That warrants a story on many different levels in spite of the fact that she is on every press release and in photos sitting on Santa’s lap promoting Christmas picture taking.
Why? Because she is different. She boldly stands apart from the crowd.
What happened to the former editor who got canned from two newspapers? Well, today, as we speak, he is walking the aisle to accept his doctoral diploma in communications.
“I’ll be walking tomorrow,” he posted on LinkedIn. “I still have to make a few corrections to my dissertation.”
What is the active ingredient in the Tazo tea that makes you go to sleep? Among the proprietary blend of 13 ingredients, the Valerian Root stands out. So, you pick it and write about it.