100 Posts & beyond

Reaching beyond 100 posts

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Reigning in on an idea

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.

100 Posts on WordPress
100 Posts on WordPress

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?

About people blog Entrepreneur Extraordinair
About people blog

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.

To be continued…..

Copyright 2014 © story and photos by Emma Palova

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May Day

May Day brings romance

May Day pole tied with ribbons signifies love
May Day pole tied with ribbons signifies love

May Day is a big day in Czech Republic.  Today all the beer gardens officially open. It is also known as the day for love, as well as the entire month of
May.
It has been the subject of many poems, books & other works of art.
The most famous anthology dedicated to love in May was written by Czech poet Karel Hynek Macha.

May Day pole with ribbons in Bannister, Michigan
May Day pole with ribbons in Bannister, Michigan

Copyright (c) 2014 story and photo from Bannister by Emma Palova

Lunch solutions

ehealthwellness

Having a friend or two for lunch?

Here is a quick solution that  I call the healthy carousel salad with detox elixir from beets.

Easy lunch carousel Easy lunch carousel

Simple, quick and versatile. In the middle place white meat like tuna or chicken. Surround that with vegetable greens, reds like Swiss chard, olives, tomatoes, purple onions and cheeses.

Be colorful and creative as you wish. Fits any taste. I use balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

The detox elixir is made from beets, greens, carrot juice, green tea and citrus fruit.

Enjoy

Copyright (c) 2014 story and photo by Emma Palova

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Emma Blogs

Emma Blogs LLC

Follow Emma’s Writings for insight and fun. Learn how to write, learn how to blog and design.  Be your own journalist. Learn how to express your voice. Shout out loud.

100 Posts on WordPress
100 Posts on WordPress

Advertise your work and brand on my rolling portfolio of spring blogs.

100 Posts

My journey to 100 posts

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell-

On Earth Day April 22nd I reached 100th post on the WordPress publishing platform. I didn’t even know about it until the notification that congratulated me. I kind of felt like “When we put the man on the moon.”

How did I get there?

Based on advice from book agents, I set out to have a definite online presence before the publishing of my memoir “Greenwich Meridian where east meets West.”

At first I wanted to have a website done. A computer dude told me that he does not do websites, but recommended a service that does.

But, in the meantime while doing research for the memoir, I came across a WordPress like box for the Hawkins Chamber of Commerce in Texas.

In order to like and comment, I had to have a blog of my own. At first I was frustrated, but today I am thankful.

Emma Palova
Emma Palova

I went into blogging with an open mind, with one class of programming, some design experience from InDesign and Quark Express and 20 years of journalistic print experience.

My first blog post published on January 15th of last year was “Emma Palova biography.”

Just like with anything new there was a steep learning curve in the beginning accompanied by comments:

“Why are you doing this? Let somebody else do it,” said my husband Ludek as he watched me struggle with a post on a Friday afternoon. I wanted to make sure that the posts came out fresh for the weekend for the people to read when they have time.

I am a Taurus, a zodiac sign known for its persistence, determination and sometimes stubbornness.

“I don’t give up easily,” I replied. “Otherwise we would not be here.”

Daily journal keeps track of ideas, tasks
Daily journal keeps track of ideas, tasks

I was referring to our immigration to the USA in 1989 from former Czechoslovakia. I anchored the blog main posts on a mix of stories from the Czech immigration saga and big local stories like Lowell Expo 2014.

Two events further encouraged blogging. First, Writer’s Digest suggested blogging for others to make some revenue. Second, my freelance article on Frozen Creek Floral & Farms was rejected by several publications, while the editors suggested writing for their blogs. Well, I already had my blog EW Emma’s Writings, why would I want to waste my time on courting mainly print publications?

Branching out

So, with Frozen Creek Floral entrepreneurial couple, I branched into the other favorite part of the blog: About local entrepreneurs & artists. This page profiles artists, business people, community members and interesting residents. I received probably the most followers from this section on Entrepreneur Extraordinaire in one day, followed by Of style & substance.

Paul Geer with Ruth Smiley at Frozen Creek Farm.
Paul Geer with Ruth Smiley at Frozen Creek Farm.

If you want to get profiled go to http://emmapalova.com

The content has never been a problem for me. I have a million ideas a day. So, if I can get at least two a day formulated and formatted on the web, I win.

But, I share the problem of most writers and artists; I cannot immediately sit down and write what I was thinking about a minute ago. I loiter around, make more coffee, tea, or even worse I eat. In the best case scenario I head out into the terrain to get some photos. I love photography because it feeds into writing and gives me ideas.

Like Hemingway, I am a morning writer. Whatever I don’t get down on the screen in the morning or early afternoon, it just does not make it anywhere. At least not that day.

As the day gets old, so do my ideas and they change into something else into different energy.

To prevent this procrastination, I started a daily writing journal on Norcom composition books. They’re wide ruled and look like a book. In the movie and scriptwriting industry, these are called dailies or in French Le Quotidien.

On each new page, I make a plan for the day. A typical entry tracks on the left side what I need to write that day, ideas and design tasks. I also put the temperature and a sun or a cloud weather symbol on the left side, and my blood pressure readings ha ha ha.

On the right side: I first make a note if I did yoga, meditated and sometimes what I had for breakfast. I make a list of who I need to contact that day with their numbers and what I need to do other than write: meetings, webinars, lunches and such.

Next day, I go back to that page and see what I got done. The composition books have become a great reference for me, and they sit well on the bookshelf. I have accumulated several editions of these dailies. If I run out of ideas, I just turn back to these for reinvention.

To be continued

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova

Earth Day 2014

Earth Day brings great finds

As I was roaming around streamlining my thoughts I came across an interesting sign in front of the Wege Wittenbach Agriscience Center in Lowell, MIchigan.

It read

May there be peace on Earth. Actually the sign says exactly: May Peace Prevail on Earth

Happy Earth Day to all from

Emma’s Blogs

http://emmapalova.com

http://editionemma.wordpress.com

http://placeathome.wordpress.com

http://farmcountryblog.wordpress.com

http://jkarmaskova.wordpress.com

Copyright (c) 2014 by Emma Palova

Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

Easter evokes memories

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

In my memoir “Greenwich Meridian,” I write about Czech and Slovak traditions that I have witnessed while living in Czechoslovakia with a touch of nostalgia. Some of them disappeared along with the old regimes, but most have survived mainly in villages and small towns preserved by enthusiastic small groups of people. The traditions are reflected in festive costumes for the holidays and special events, in music, dance, food, and customs specific to each village and town.

We lived in Zlin, Moravia, which is the central part of former Czechoslovakia embedded in traditions. Both as a child and an adult, I lived and visited with my grandparents in Vizovice, a treasure trove of traditions.

cousin Bronislav Pink
cousin Bronislav Pink
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice

Easter celebrations in Czech and some other European countries are longer by one day, and that is Monday.
We have always indulged in lavish preparations for the long Easter weekend. That meant having enough meat, desserts, eggs, and beverages for three days. There were long lines just like before any major holiday. I spent a lot of time standing in lines and listening to what the old broads had to say.
“I am not going to tell him how much I spent,” a woman  wearing a scarf and a fluffy skirt shook her head defiantly.
The other one with an apron over her dress smelled of burnt dough.
I thought, she must have burnt her kolache, a traditional festive pastry with plum butter.
The broad leaned closer to the first one and whispered something into her ear. Then they both laughed, until their bellies and chests were heaving up and down. I learned a lot standing in lines. The longer the line, the more I learned.
So, the culmination of it all is Easter Monday known for its “schmigrust,” an old whipping custom.

Traditional Czech festive costumes.
Traditional Czech festive costumes.

On that day, early in the morning ,large groups of boys and young men head out into the streets with their braided knot-grass whips or oversized wooden spoons decorated with ribbons. The day before, they spent many hours skillfully braiding their whips out of willow twigs or scouring the house for the biggest wooden spoon.
The boys go door to door, reciting traditional Easter carols like “Hody, hody doprovody,” asking the lady of the house for painted eggs. Then, they whip all the present females in exchange for decorated eggs and ribbons. Single women, and girls tied ribbons on top of the whip. I always wondered about the whipping custom, long before I ever set my foot out into the world. One day, grandma Anna finally explained it to me.
“It is supposed to resemble the whipping of Christ before he died,” she said.
“But, grandma that’s evil,” I cried.
Grandma just shrugged, and turned away. Later in life, I knew better than to question a tradition.
The elders in the group were offered shots of plum brandy, usually home made or acquired through bartering. Even family members took part in this ritual. Uncles and cousins were invited inside for coffee, festive desserts such as kolache, shots and meaningful conversation.
On a good year, and especially when I was a teenager, we got anywhere around 100 passionate revelers. Sometimes, I ran out of ribbons. The boys and young men, competing against each other, took pride in the number of ribbons they got. The craft stores had to stock up with meters and meters of ribbons, plain or embroidered. The hens, of course, felt obligated to produce more eggs.

Copyright © 2015 story and photos by Emma Palova

EW This WordPress.com site is about Emma's Writings.

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