Join me this afternoon at@LowellArts gallery from 1 to 3 pm. I will be signing copies of my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories” during the Captured photo exhibit. Come and chat about your writing projects. We are experiencing renaissance in literature. It’s a great time to be a part of this movement.
While touring with my book around West Michigan, we have discovered the “Creative Endeavor”project at the Michigan News Agency (MNA)in Kalamazoo. In order to keep authors writing, MNA does not keep any profit from the local author book sales.
I will be writing more about this initiative. My son discovered this while looking for the Grand Rapids Magazine.
“To encourage our Creative Endeavor Project Writers, we will sell your books as a pass through and return all of the money to you, the authors. The News hopes this will encourage our writing communities to strive to do your work.”
For more info about this Creative Endeavor project go to:
Ft. Lauderdale, FL- Sipping coffee at a Turkish café on the corner of Sunrise and N. Ocean boulevards in Ft. Lauderdale with my daughter Emma, I found life easy.
This writer’s break from the northern vortex in West Michigan was different from the previous ones.
First of all, I changed bodies of water;that is the Gulf of Mexico for the Atlantic Ocean. Then I changed company. We all went with our adult children and the grand kids.
We stayed at an Art Deco villa five minutes from the beach. It gave us the opportunity to explore the Atlantic Ocean up close and personal.
And for the writer in me it was also good to compare the two shores; that is the Atlantic and the Gulf coast.
The weather was marvelously warm in the 80s with equally warm waves of the Atlantic splashing the beaches. Surfers were abundant unlike on the Gulf, where the waves are not big enough for surfing.
On the downside of the Atlantic, there were less shells and no shark teeth hunters. However, the lifeguards were on full duty and warned of rip currents. Our fellow traveler Maranda almost got caught in one. The lifeguard warned us with his whistle.“Always swim with the current to get out of it, never against it.”
The sounds of the waves rocked the youngest ones to the best nap in the world: on the beach.
Just listening to the ocean and watching the white combs as the waves crested was the best meditation in the world. Enhancing the motion and the sounds of the ocean were the freighters anchoring off shore. These lit up at night.
South Beach, Art Deco & Miami Yacht Show
A pretty nerve-wrecking drive south on Collins Ave and onto Ocean Blvd. took us to South Beach and the Art Deco district.
On the cusp of the 30th annual Miami Yacht Show running from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19, we drove past hundreds of yachts-in-water for sale on the Indian Creek Waterway. Yacht brokers were just building entrances to the yacht in-water displays on 1.2 million square feet.
Art Deco district
As a civil engineer by trade and a history buff, I was fascinated by the chic historic Art Deco district. Sitting in the South Beach neighborhood within a short walking distance from the beach, the colorful historic buildings span three basic architectural styles: 1920s Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and MiMo or Miami Modernist architecture.
In search of Cuban fare & Daiquiri cocktails, we ate at Mango’s Tropical Café.
The beach scene beyond the Lummus Park featured colorful Art Deco lifeguard stands and the hottest fashion trends such as the thong swimwear.
Las Olas, Venice of America, Ft. Lauderdale
We took a pirate boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway lined by million dollar homes and mega yachts of the rich and the famous. Captain Kris took us past Steven Spielberg’s mega yacht equipped with three-quarter of a full length movie screen.
Knowledgeable about the lives of the famous, Chris told us the story of the founder of Phillips 66 petroleum company after whom the famous Grille 66 & Bar on the waterway has been named.
Then came the story of entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga known for Blockbuster Video, Waste Management & AutoNation.
We visited this small town of 6,000 north of Ft. Lauderdale twice for its walkable shopping district, the pier and snorkeling opportunities. It is full of small beach motels, unlike its high-rise neighbors.
I marveled at the sign for the local Farmer’s Market open from December through May.
In Michigan, we get first produce in June.
I will treasure timeless moments spent in the coarse sand, on the waves of the Atlantic, on the veranda of Ocean 2000 of the Pelican Resort and Valentine’s dinner on the deck of the Sandbar Grille.
However, we bargained with her for the best price for our Budweiser and Corona swimwear.
“You girls will never have to buy a drink for yourself on the beach,” she noted with a deep hollow laugh. Emma noticed her turquoise colored earrings in the shape of balls from the smallest to the big one.
Or maybe the real rube was the obnoxious bad pirate Barnacle Bill who stole our key to the treasure aboard the Bluefoot Pirate Adventures.
At the Aruba bar, women sported heart-shaped Valentine shades, and Publix was overflowing with heart-shaped balloons and cakes.
During this brief break from the freezing cold, we marked Mardi Gras, Valentine’s and Ash Wednesday, as well as the Greek Festival weekend in southern warmth and hospitality.
Alligator Alley, Everglades
However, I would be remiss, if I didn’t mention our 123 mile long drive from Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers through the Everglades area of South Florida.
The freeway I-75 from the east coast of Florida to the west coast is appropriately called Alligator Alley, as it cuts through the Everglades for 80 miles.
I noticed hundreds of white egrets congregating on the palm trees by the river fenced off from the freeway to protect the endangered Florida panther.
According to popular lore and crime movies, dead bodies are being disposed off here at the Alligator Alley. You will find no traces of anything. What the alligators didn’t get, the birds and the panthers will. It’s called balance in nature.
Well, our time on the Atlantic Ocean came and went like the afternoon tide. But, it washed ashore thousands of precious memories.
And I close this “Notes from Ocean 2018” account with the words of the Frontier airline captain.
“Join us. We’re flying like crazy from the tip of North America to the tip of South America.”
I have named my book campaign Storyteller2017 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.
I started writing short stories in grade school in Stipa, Czech Republic when I won a short story contest with a story from a summer camp in Texas under the tutelage of Czech language teacher Mr. Dolezal.
But, a more coordinated and structured effort came with the creative writing program at the International Correspondence Schools (ICS) in Montreal, Canada, 1990-1993.
The first circle of stories was inspired by the early years of immigration from our homeland former Czechoslovakia to Canada, and then to the USA. During that time I wrote short stories that I now call the first circle: Honey Azrael, Danillo and the Temptation of Martin Duggan.
For 3.5 years, we lived in Montreal, and I went to the French language immersion school COFI. The French classes and the students inspired the story Danillo. I transported the character and the setting to the shores of Lake Michigan and to one of the apple farms.
The common elements in the first circle of short stories are the powerful forces behind immigration. These are loneliness, being homesick and the fear of the new strange culture. The main character Danillo longs to go back to his home country, as he struggles to assimilate into the new American culture.
Honey Azrael depicts a woman chemist Vanessa who is no longer in love with her first husband, Rudi. She loves her collection of beetles more than she loves Rudi.
In the Temptation of Martin Duggan, the couple who left Czechoslovakia due to the 1968 invasion of their homeland by the Soviet Army, tries to desperately fit into the small pretense culture of a small university town close to Lake Michigan.
Here is an excerpt from Danillo:
Dragon fly trapped to the ground.
“He came with the warm southern winds, and the birds. On the first spring day, Danillo was 23. Young and strong, with a body designed to love. It was a body pure and perfectly cut for any woman. The skin covering his muscles was tight. The color of Danillo’s skin was the color of the sand that he was standing in.
He was half dreaming, subconsciously perceiving the light spring wind. From the vantage point, Danillo could see the green water coming in and out of the small bay. Each wave washed away some sand from underneath his feet, like small grains slipping away from his brief life. He felt cold and the chill surprised him. Danillo was counting the endless waves, as well as his years.
This was his third birthday Up North, as he learned to call it from the locals. He never quite understood the expression Up North. Every spring, he came to the beach to watch the winter birds arrive from the South.
To be continued………in the Storyteller 2017 series leading up to the release of Shifting Sands Short Stories on June 30.
These are the things I found delightful today, so again this is no ordinary or gray Friday even though it was cloudy.
This morning during my routine inspirational check-up on the social media, I found a delight:
The Ability Weavers store offers hand-woven rugs by adults with all abilities right in my hometown of Lowell. They also offer rug weaving classes.
Their motto is:
“Weaving with a purpose.”
I am planning a visit downtown Lowell soon to the newest venues dotting the Main Street along with the blossoming trees. Follow me for the spring outing on Main.
But before the Ability Weavers, I delighted in Google Doodle Cheese Doodle, celebrates Marie Harel, the inventor of Camembert Cheese.
After all, who doesn’t like a great piece of cheese. Nothing beats Camembert. I can eat entire wheels of it straight from the cheese maker in Camembert, Normandy.
More in the lines of gray, but definitely delightful was the poem by Emma White Darling in memory of her friend of 40 years.
Darling painted beautiful tulips to accompany the poem.
Here it is:
Eulogy for a Friend
So many moments we take for granted,
because we assume there will be so many more.
They say don’t assume
because tomorrow is never promised.
We know this is too true when a dear friend is suddenly taken.
May choirs of angels escort you into paradise, dear Hermie.
We rejoice your suffering wasn’t prolonged but we miss you already
and imagine our world as less without you.
passionate advocate of the working man,
tireless caregiver to the elderly,
and so much more.
Through a lens of loss, we view our many memories.
It breaks us to realize no more memories will be made
and causes our tears to flow like water.
It’s hard to get our hearts and heads around a future without you, dear friend.
Softly, gratefully we cradle the gift of friendship that was
I wrote this also in response to the Daily Post prompt @gray Gray
Thank you Emma White Darling for sharing your talents with us.
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI- Yes, indeed. Today is Emma’s Day, according to the Czech calendar. My mom Ella gave me the name based on a novel she read a long time ago.
The guy in the novel kept writing letters to his love, always starting with:
“Dear Emma, ”
I love you.
Many years later, I would receive letters and postcards from all over the world with that same greeting in Czech:
“How are you?” mom always wrote.
I loved the name so much that I gave it to our daughter who is now Doc Emma. Emma permanently lives in romantic Burgundy, France. The romantic name originates in France.
Today is also Emma’s birthday. Every year, she has a double celebration. Happy birthday and name day, dear Emma.
My lifelong friend Eva of Kromeriz loved the name too, and she named her daughter Emma.
When I moved to America, and started going to St. Pat’s Church in Parnell, I came across another Emma, who sings in the choir, and she also has a matching great last name Darling.
And until this year, Emma was the top name for girls around the world.
And how about poet Emma Lazarus, Emma Watson and Emma Stone?
“We’re losing the first place now,” singer Emma informed me earlier in the year.
Both my husband and son wished me a happy Emma’s Day, earlier in the day. I usually get early spring flowers. This year, I got a purple primrose.
In the Czech calendar, names are attributed to each date. And people celebrate their name days much like birthdays, with family and friends. They get gifts, and a cake.
Due to the recent influx of new names, some dates in the Czech calendar double or triple up on names.
I’ve always wondered why Hallmark never really picked up on these charming name days, other than Saint Pat’s.
Name days are often based on the names of saints. For example Saint Terese Day is on Oct. 15 and Saint Mary is on Sept. 9. The wildly popular name day Catherine falls on Nov.25. Saint Martin is on Nov. 11. Saint Joseph/Saint Josephine falls on March 19.
Mom Ella’s name day falls on Oct. 5. Her real name is Eliska. She has always hated that name, so she changed Eliska to Ella. It is pretty much the same name.
Mom Ella just called me from Venice, Florida as I was writing this post. They’re getting ready with my dad Vaclav to head back up North to Michigan.
“See I gave you inspiration with that name,” she laughed.
“Thank you, mom for the lovely name.”
In many villages in Czech Republic, the Saint Days are big parish and community feasts. People bake for these feasts, butcher a pig, go dancing, and some dress up in traditional costumes. Rides come into towns.
Follow me into Easter traditions in Czech and Slovak republics.
Which traditions do you celebrate, how and why?
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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- The first day of spring means new beginnings to me after the long winter. And even though everything is yellowish brown outside, I have a vision of everything turning green soon.
As I drove to a meeting this afternoon, there were still tree limbs on the sides of the road, remnants of the last winter storms with high winds.
However, by the parking lot, I found some new green stems pushing out of the hard ground. Also some trees are starting to show tiny buds and the willows branches have a sharp yellow color.
My friends at the meeting said they were excited about the afternoon because they would be outside picking sticks from their yards.
“Yes, picking sticks sounds good,” T.G. laughed. “I also have a great spring report.”
I couldn’t agree more. After long months of being trapped inside, anything outdoors sounds good.
T.G.’s spring report turned great as well. You can see it in the feature photo. T.G. has a beef cattle breeding farm. And with it spring brings calves, new life. The pictured black Angus cow just gave birth on the first day of spring to the calf by her out in the pastures.
According to T.G., this breed of cows, always gives birth to calves outside, not in the stables.
Annually, I take an inventory of the past winter and the toll it has taken on life. Some of our dearest have not survived the winter. We have lost my dad’s last living sibling, Aunt Marta. She passed away on January 7, 2017 in Stipa, Czech Republic. In February, we lost our first neighbor on Downes Street, whom we met, when we moved out into the country in 1995. That was Allegonda (Connie) Kazemier, born in the Netherlands.
The Lowell community lost a great artist, Jan Johnson, who has inspired generations of artists in the Greater Grand Rapids area.
But, I also look at the positives that have come out of this winter’s hibernation.
Winter gives me an opportunity to focus on some things that go unnoticed during the pretty live seasons of spring, summer and fall.
This may include projects that I have been procrastinating in finishing. Most of them have much to do with writing, and the development of writing projects.
But, this time I’d like to write about personal development, and by this I don’t mean weight loss or other personal gains and losses.
Over the winter, I’ve changed a lot of things in my lifestyle. I still suffer from insomnia, so I use the early morning hours to meditate and to organize my thoughts.
This gives me sort of head start into the new day. I like to go through daily readings in the morning before I start writing. It’s still dark outside, and I can only hear the fan by the wood stove humming. Sometimes, I see the Big Dipper in the northeast corner of my studio view.
I am not as dead set on goals as I used to be. As long as I get through some piles on my desk, and see sentences materialize in front of me.
I enjoy discovering new blogs. I find them a constant source of inspiration, and support. I found support in the Daily Post prompt @luck last Friday on St. Pat’s Day. As I browsed other blogs, I came across “My Invisible Illnesses.” The author among other things writes about fibromyalgia, a mysterious condition, that some docs laugh at.
Over the winter, I’ve learned to nurture my love for art so I can share it with others.
I’ve gained new appreciation for our Konecny family roots in the Konecny Saga, and I am working on how to share this so others can do their research as well.
I immerse myself in arts for reprieve and inspiration.
I still like to develop new projects on top of unfinished ones. I know it’s a no no, but I usually get back to the unfinished stuff as well.
I have discovered that the energy behind different projects keeps changing. Sometimes it rekindles old feelings, and gives them new light.
With spring I like to refocus and reign in some of that spring equinox energy. The warm sun is doing wonders on the mind and the spirit, as I pull tight jeans over the body.
I’ve increased the spiritual awareness of being and existence with the help of many of my spiritualist friends. I will dedicate a separate chapter to them, as I credit them with a lot of my improved health-being.
I am looking forward to this spring with a new set of eyes of appreciation and gratitude for simply being.
I dedicate this Spring Equinox Energy post to my son Jakub Pala.
“We did it,” said Josephine Marie Palova, at the end of a week-long babysitting sting in Hastings.
Yes, we did it. We made it through winter stronger.
In an awesome Hollywood showdown in the style of Miss Universe, we found out that the real winner was the picture “Moonlight” not the wrongfully announced La La Land.
Presenter Warren Beatty said he wasn’t joking.
In a bizarre altogether Oscar Night, the end was more stunning than the styles of the dresses, predictions or the creators.
As the saying goes, life itself is a story.
Thank you Hollywood and Jimmy Kimmel for a night to remember.
The fairy tale night had a happy ending for all the previous complainers, and for some strangers on a Hollywood tour just passing through the Oscar night ceremony, and bumping into amused stars. Some of them appeared to be scared for life.
Jennifer Aniston involuntarily gave up her cool shades for a tourist lady.
Wow, how dare you Jimmy, take my shades.
Denzel Washington gave his blessings to a pair to be wed in July.
And of course the wrong announcement of the Best Picture 2017. Well, it all worked out to the immense happiness of the stage called the “world.”
Thank you all for so much fun.
Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rrights reserved.