A well-written story is a Symphony of words that click well with the reader. If the reader cannot relate to the content, the writer is not at fault. The reader shouldn’t be at that show. Not everybody likes classical music or country music. But everybody likes music, everybody likes books. They are like pizza. There is no such thing as a bad pizza.
“What inspires you?” people ask me the most.
That is probably the most popular question for any author. There is no single answer, but a multitude of answers depending on the day.
Early in the day, I was inspired by someone else’s selfishness. That person feared that I wouldn’t make the birthday party, if I got into an accident on my upcoming vacation.
I was speechless and flabbergasted. Not a care about the fact, if I was going to make it alive out of the accident. The only thing that mattered was the party.
I always say: “Real people inspire me the most with their actions and emotions, or the lack of both.”
“What powers people’s thinking?”
“With our thoughts we make the world,” Buddha said.
I try to think before I say something and definitely before I write anything.
My best advise to any writer is clear thinking that comes out of meditating, out of that space inside us that we explore, free of distractions and turmoil.
And maybe even more important is the detachment from the outcome, as I found out today while meditating.
After a month of my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories hitting the market, I started feeling resentment for not writing books for all those 20 years that I was working as a journalist for different newspapers.
That thinking honestly surprised me, and that’s why I went back into meditating.
“Emma, without the journalism jobs, there would be no Delivery of the book, that’s how you built your name recognition and following.”
“That’s how you gained experience, mom,” my daughter Doc Emma said.
I meditated with Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey in their newest Desire & Destiny meditation. I highly recommend it, and not just to writers and authors.
It’s better than any “How to…….” manual.
It starts with the paramount question that we should ask ourselves every day.
“Who am I?”
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
My next book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories will be during the Fallasburg Fall Festival & village bazaar on September 16 & 17 from 1pm to 4 pm at the one-room schoolhouse museum.
Everyone is welcome.
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
It was a foggy morning walk on the gravel road to the Sisters as August made its grand entrance on the summer scene this week.
After days of drought, the rain was forecasted at 70 percent last night. Ella called the weatherman, a douche bag. That was very appropriate, since “douche” in French means shower.
On Tuesday, I went to the Paulson’s pumpkin patch farmer’s market north of our ranch. I bought our favorites, peaches and plums for the classical Czech summer fruit dumplings dish topped with cottage cheese.
I had to pass on the first harvest of cucumbers, since we will not have the time to can them this year. But we do have a good stock of last year’s sweet and sour pickles to get us through the winter.
Purple blue plums are also the main ingredient in plum brandy, known as “slivovice.” I call plum brandy, the Moravian gold.
It looks like an abundant harvest this year.
The Paulson’s farmer’s stand overlooks the vast fields of vegetables, fruits and orchards that were wilting in the heat, along with some marigolds by the fence.
“Did you do the rain dance?” asked me the owner sitting comfortably in an orange folding chair behind the counter loaded with fresh produce.
Among the novelties at the stand were sweet jalapenos. I have yet to try them. But, I did buy yellow cauliflower and red lettuce for different color varietals.
“No, should I?” I asked.
“You should do it every morning,” he said.
Then, I remembered while watering the patio garden, I did run a stream of water on my brand new mysterious “rain chain” and on the tin sunflower, causing it to whirl.
And it finally rained, this morning after I dropped off Ella at the summer school. I went to my favorite hideout, and it poured on the lake. I watched the rain swirl and twirl on the windshield.
But, before that, being totally stripped of any energy, I ate the entire Chocolove xoxox Almonds & Sea Salt dark chocolate bar. It tasted like heaven, after weeks of starving myself for the book signings.
To my great delight, I discovered inside the chocolate wrap a poem by Alexander Pushkin:
Thou and You
She substituted, by a chance,
For empty ‘you’- the gentle ‘thou.’
And all my happy dreams, at once,
In loving heart again resound.
In bliss and silence do I stay,
Unable to maintain my role:
‘Oh, how sweet you are!’ I say-
‘How I love thee!’ says my soul.
It’s going to be a great August.
I am looking forward to the Czech Harvest Festival this Sunday in Bannister. Watch for post.
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
In between story circles, a story of transformation with excerpts
For the last week since June 20, I’ve been posting about the stories in Shifting Sands Short Stories collection that span more than two decades as part of the Storyteller 2017 book campaign.
Thematically and chronologically, I have divided the stories into three circles: early years of immigration with stories Danillo, Honey Azrael, & The Temptation of Martin Duggan.
The second circle of stories from retail experience includes: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.
The third circle of stories is from the media business; both print and digital.
These stories include: In the Shadows, Iron Horse, Foxy, Riddleyville Clowns and Chatamal.
Transformation during the crisis of mid-2000s
My husband Ludek left the state of Michigan to work in Wisconsin in 2008-2009. We were separated by Lake Michigan, and 500 miles deep into the Midwest America. Locals say that Wild West begins in Prairie-du-Chien on the Mississippi River, where Pere Marquette and Joliett arrived. On a few occasions, I took the Amtrak train “Empire Builder” to LaCrosse to visit with him.
At the time, I was writing for the local newspaper and for regional magazines in the Grand Rapids area. But, that wasn’t enough to make me forget the absurdity of the situation. This was the second time in life that we were separated.
I turned to more writing like a Magnet. I got the idea to write the “Riddleyville Clowns,” a short story from a hometown parade featuring clowns to celebrate the town’s founding anniversary.
I wrote some of the copy aboard the “Empire Builder” train.
Here is an excerpt from the “Riddleyville Clowns”
The harvest moon has just started to light up the entire loft apartment on Main Street. The brick walls softened with blue shades, the pressed tin ceiling was illuminated, while the river was like a silver thread lined with black banks.
Still resisting to get up and go check out the old steamboat, Kip tossed in bed watching the ceiling. He looked up at one of the walls.
Flabby blue pants, a yellow camisole, wide red band and a big red plastic nose topped off with a wig were hanging in the corner. Down below were big red shoes with a tongue sticking out and large-fingered gloves.
Kip walked to the window. Below, a large flock of geese and ducks, had buried their heads deep to sleep. He could hear them fighting over bread thrown down from of the other lofts. Kip walked to the boat.
The old white steamboat known by the locals as the Showboat, all decked out for tomorrow, was swaying in the wind and the water. Swinging over the white railing, he checked out the shaft by the stairway leading all the way to the upper deck. It was dusty, but he could see the lid that opened up on the deck.
Kip quickly attached a rope to a rusty hook. He also had to cut out a plank at each deck level to make the shaft passable. He noticed on the walls of the shaft old posters of vaudeville acts that took place on the boat in the depression era.
Kip climbed up and opened the lid right behind the ship’s black chimney. In the moonlight, he could also spot a dilapidated amphitheater with grass growing over the sea walls and the island of cattails up the stream. Wind howled again through the river corridor. Kip wrapped his wind jacket tight around him and gazed toward Main Street. A tribune was set up right by the Riverwalk promenade for tomorrow’s parade.
The passion in the Shifting Sands Short Stories continued from June 23
Book excerpts from Shifting Sands Short Story Therese’s Mind
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.
This is the fifth part of the Storyteller 2017 series following the introduction last Tuesday on June 20, the Beginnings on June 21, the Impermanence of characters in the Shifting Sands Short Stories on June 22 and fueling the passion of the Storyteller on June 23, and now on June 26-the passion and commitment.
The Storyteller 2017 series also fits the Daily Post prompt commit. The biggest part of the Shifting Sands Short Stories project that spans more than two decades of writing has been commitment.
The first circle of stories was inspired by the early years of immigration and includes: Danillo, Honey Azrael and the Temptation of Martin Duggan.
The second circle of stories includes: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.
The second circle of stories draws on the years of working in a Midwest retail chain in the mid 1990s and beyond. It was a time of assimilation into the American culture after tumultuous years of wanting to return back to the old country, former Czechoslovakia that still existed under that name.
I had packed and unpacked my luggage several times.
At the time, I was working the second shift in the store, writing and taking journalism classes at the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in the morning.
My stories are usually inspired by human struggle, whether physical or emotional, real or perceived.
Here is an excerpt from Therese’s Mind:
The “Singing in the rain” rose was her favorite one. It was a hardy breed. Copper-like leaves stood defiantly against the onset of another fall. The ground was almost frozen now, yet the rose kept yielding new dark reddish leaves. From the depth of the reddish leaves, new buds unleashed a strange smell. It was the smell of a lost summer and the captured sun for one fleeting second. Therese could only imagine the smell from what she had known many years ago.
The thorns broke off easily, so she didn’t have to be careful anymore. They wouldn’t hurt her. Therese drew in deep breath inhaling all the secrets of a fragrance, and sat down on a bench. The bench was like her; all weather-worn and beaten down a thousand times with repeating rains, leaving and coming back again. She felt the constant drumming of the raindrops in her heart and bones. Coming and leaving, leaving and coming.
She was in her fifties. Therese was a grown-up woman with a child’s heart, longing to be held in someone’s arms. During her fifty-year long journey, she never learned the tricks of womanhood or adulthood for that matter.
Therese was pure as refined sugar that makes up a fine Bacardi. She was fine and fragile like the leaves of the roses in her garden in the first October frost.
“Therese, hurry up,” somebody hollered from the house.
“You have a phone call.”
Therese had trouble recollecting her thoughts due to severe brain damage over the years from non-malignant tumors. The doctors said that the tumors were not immediately deadly, but they spoke kindly of several options, all equally dangerous.
“You can’t have anything in our head,” they said at the nearby Heart of Blessed Hospital.
Storyteller 2017….part VI to be continued book excerpts
You can pre-order the Shifting Sands Short Stories on Amazon at:
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.
Lowell, MI – I was born with history in my blood in the wee hours on Victory Day, May 9th to the cracking of the fireworks and the fragrance of the blossoming lilacs.
Before the semantics & politics of the new regime, May 9th was the national holiday in my homeland of Czech Republic.
Every year, on this day, my mother Ella lovingly says this sentence:
“I thought they were bombing, but the country was celebrating your birthday. The entire earth blossoms for you.”
Now, my mom Ella is not exactly the most humble person. She loves to show off. She takes that after Grandpa Joseph of Vizovice.
Annually, the country celebrates the anniversary of its freedom from the Nazi occupation in 1945. The holiday has been moved to May 8th based on the age-old dispute, “Who was first, the chicken or the egg?” That is the dispute over which army freed former Czechoslovakia first.
Was it the Soviet or the American army?
The Soviets freed the capital Prague on May 9th, while the Americans freed Plzen in West Bohemia on May 8th. Maybe, the switch was due to the fact that Plzen is home to the famous brewery, Pilsner.
The country boasts its love for beer, and often takes first place in consumption between the top beer consuming trio of Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
However, in our immigration hearts, the holiday will always be on May 9th, even though we love Czech Pilsner.
So, by default, the love for history has been circulating in my blood from the first day of birth.
Our immigration Konecny saga started with the infamous occupation of the country by the Soviets in the Prague Spring of 1968. The era of hardline communism ensued after the invasion for decades to come under President Gustav Husak.
I am also the child of the 1989 Velvet Revolution led by my hero, late president Vaclav Havel who was part of the Prague Spring 1968 reformation movement.
I can trace the origins of my writing to that tumultuous time in our lives.
My paternal grandpa Antonin was the keeper of the “Chronicles of the Stipa JZD” which was the Stipa Agricultural Cooperative, while my late Aunt Martha secretly worked on the Konecny family genealogy. My grandma Anezka was a first grade teacher at ZDS Stipa and a poet.
“You can’t deny genes,” said Martha’s colleague Mrs. Fickova at the funeral wake on Jan. 11th held at the Stipa Senk.
After Aunt Martha’s death on January 7th, 2017, I started the Facebook page Ancestry Konecny on:
Every morning before I start writing, I check social media for inspiration and to get a feeling for the day.
I made me a cup of French Roast coffee and smelled the bouquet of lilacs from our gardens on the ranch. It took 20 years for the fragrant shrubs to come to their full beauty. Not quite like the historical ones on my beloved Mackinac Island, but they’re getting there.
Yesterday, my husband Ludek and I feared for the budding wisteria because of the early morning frost. We had to put out the fan to keep the wisteria, sprawling on the octagon pergola, warm.
Then, as always I gather my thoughts based on analyzing the previous day, and what I have learned from it, that is worth bringing into the future. I always remember the socialist propaganda, “Tomorrow is already yesterday.”
I pinned to the top, “Spring into the Past” museum tour 2017 organized by the Tri-River Historical Museum Network on the new museum page.
I also made sure that the 23rd annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour in Fallasburg is correctly dated for Sunday July 9th.
I looked in the mirror, after finishing most of this post, and I realized I am very fortunate, and that any victory comes at a price. I’ve come to that conclusion not from the image that I see, but by the person I reflect in my writings.
I have a head full of graying hair, a happy smile on my face, a caring husband and family, hundreds of fans and well-wishers from all over the world, and the determination of a Taurus.
My short story collection “Shifting Sands” is ready for June 1st publication on kindle and Amazon.
And speaking about karma or karmic energy.
My friends from the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) Tina Siciliano Cadwallader and Tracy Worthington are planning a book signing event for the “Shifting Sands” fiction short story collection at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum on June 25th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
I’ve just found out that mom Ella is going to bake a cake for the book signing. And I have received tulips and irises from Doc Em, based in Fixin, France, and a video from Josephine & Dominik Pala of Hastings.
Life is good. As Doc Em says:
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
Everyone is invited to Fallasburg on June 25. Come and enjoy the beautiful Fallasburg Park, the pioneer village, the history and mom’s cake.
With this post, I would like to thank everyone for all the support over the years, especially my neighbor Catherine. Because only Catherine knows who I really am.
“You make me who I am.”
Lowell, May 9th 2017
Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Note: This is the first installment in the Inspiring Communities series featuring men and women who inspire us in our communities to help other people achieve well-being in a money-driven world. Nominate a person who has inspired you.
Local businessman helps install water filters on Haiti, where water is the Elixir of life
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- At the best, a running water system on the forgotten island of La Gonave off Haiti consists of a cistern tipped upside down with a hose that leads through the window inside a hut.
However, most often you will see a container full of dirty rain water known as the municipal well. The villagers haul water in buckets on donkeys or on their heads.
Usually when tested, the water is full of coliform bacteria, which causes cholera, according to Lowell resident and business owner Evert Bek.
Bek was part of a team that installed water filters in Haiti at the beginning of March. The project was spearheaded by the Lowell Rotary Club.
“There is no running water on the island,” said Evert. “There is no electricity, no bathrooms, people live in huts. They use rainwater collected in cisterns.”
The team installed 80 water filters which are cones filled with sand and stones from the local sources. Each dwelling paid 35 cents per water filter.
It takes 10 gallons of water to get the filters started before using as safe water supply, according to Bek.
Bek was astonished at the living conditions on Haiti, located only 709 miles from Miami. Most recently, Haiti was hit by hurricane Matthew on Oct. 4, 2016, and the country still suffers in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2010.
A typical dwelling is made of cement, it has a dirt floor, one room. And it accommodates anywhere from two to 10 people.
During the week-long stay, Evert said, he only saw meals cooking outside twice.
“One day we had beans and rice, the next day we had rice and beans,” he said. “The laundry is done outside by hand.”
Usually, the huts are scattered all around with a church as the center point. The team stayed in the village of Pikmi.
“We had to have a translator,” said Bek.
The island, which has no industry, was conquered by the French in the 1600s. The official language is Creole, which is a French African dialect.Their guide and translator was a self-taught man, who called himself Day Day. People use small motorcycles as transportation, but they mainly walk. It is not uncommon to see three to four people riding a motorcycle.Old pick-up trucks are left wherever, when they stop working.
The land is just clay and rock, because the top soil eroded as the forests were harvested unlike in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
“The island sits on a bare rock,” said Evert.
Approximately 100,000 people live on 287 square miles.
Weekly, there is a village market, where animals are traded. Charcoal on the island is used as a cooking fuel. However, there are no tools to fix anything.
In contrast to the overall living conditions, the population wears discarded t-shirts bearing losing sports teams’ logos, peddled by different organizations from the USA.
Kids and adults walk around with non-working phones.
“It’s a status symbol,” said Evert. “There is a lot of corruption in the country, you got to be ready to get your valet out to get anything done.”
Churches have done a lot of work on the island in schools and education. Kids go to schools in uniforms, and there are orphanages in good condition.
According to Evert, the big unknown remains the economy on the island even once the water problem is solved.
“You have water and then what?” he said.
There are a lot of unfinished houses on the island due to lack of materials and finances, and corruption.
A typical banker sits outside with a duffle bag of money on the corner of gravel streets. He holds dollars in one hand and Haitian Gourdes in the other hand.
If you go into a “store,” you will not get any change back.
“I learned the hard way,” laughed Bek.
The team stayed in a guest house with water and kitchen, leased through an organization based in Saranac.
“I like to help out,” he said. “Be grateful for what you have.”
Featured photo is of a Wednesday market on the Haitian island of La Gonave.
If you want to help contact your local organizations. This water filter installing project was through the Lowell Rotary club at http://www.lowellrotary.og
This post was also written as a response to the Daily Post prompt @elixir Elixir
This post is also in response to the Daily Post prompt “Ordinary” at Ordinary
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI -Today is definitely not an ordinary day. It’s not an ordinary Friday in the year 2017. It hasn’t been an ordinary week in mid-March.
Even though it’s a gray day in West Michigan, we have moved forward in time since we hit the Spring Equinox on Monday, March 20. Our energies and vibrations have been shifting with everything new, including new beginnings. To our great enjoyment, we’ve seen new life coming out of the hard ground after the long winter months.
Sadly, we’ve witnessed the tragedy with the London attacks on Wednesday.
And the House is still expected to vote later in the afternoon on a bill to repeal Obamacare, a vote postponed from yesterday. The vote will affect most people living in the USA. So far, the reports of the repeal are not good for President Donald Trump, according to major news media.
As such, this Friday has been the culmination of many precipitating events, both internationally, locally and personally. Mr. Trump much like the majority of the Republican Party have been using the repeal of Obamacare as their staple agenda that secured the victory in the presidential election.
If I quickly look at the social media buzz, I see an overwhelming relief that we’ve made it to Friday with a quote from Goodreads for March 24, 2017 from Tennessee Williams:
“I’ve got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?”
The quote is from Williams’ play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
Currently, we could say the entire GOP is sitting on its own “hot tin roof.”
But, that could also be true for any of us, because whatever we are sitting or standing on changes from day to day. This change makes every day special.
The greater Lowell community has been working toward its annual Lowell Community Expo that takes place tomorrow, March 25th, for the entire year. So, have the individual participating organizations and vendors.
Don’t forget to stop by at the Fallasburg Historical Society booth 129 in the Cafe of the Lowell High School tomorrow.
I have resolved some of my not-so-ordinary issues this week, as well.
A flaky relationship that has been running on burnt fuel of the past came to an end also on Wednesday to my great relief after days of struggling, aka “sitting on a hot tin roof.”
Lowell, MI- We’re heading into the Mardi Gras weekend with Fat Tuesday coming up on Feb. 28, which is better late than never.
“Everything is going to be late and screwed up,” said my forever pessimistic husband Ludek.
He was most likely referring to the late onset of the much coveted gardening and yard season in Midwest USA.
The Lenten resolutions, fasting and such
Tuesday is the last day when you can be a glutton, which is one of the seven deadly sins, as I have learned in a recent therapeutic meeting and from Brad Pitt’s movie, “Se7en.” That is if you are a catholic. And even if you are not, the start of Lent on March 1st, known as Ash Wednesday, can become your six-week diet program, depending on the interpretation of Lent.
That way, you can fit into that nice spring white or green Easter dress.
The newspaper take on Lent, what do you give up?
“What are you going to give up for Lent?” was the standby question at the newspapers and out on the streets with the feature, “Man on the Street” before the multi-media journalism take-over.
Whoever was assigned to do this, would usually stand by the US Post Office to catch innocent users and fry them with the question of the week, and a mandatory head shot.
“Oh, I hate my photo taken,” was the common reply, and after a while. “Oh,oh. I usually give up coffee.”
And that was a standard lie, one of the seven deadly sins.
The social media have made this obnoxious “Man on the Street” feature obsolete, and substituted it with voluntary selfies and profile pics. Now, you can freely render your opinion on any platform from twitter to reddit, all the way to the new planetary system of Trappist 1.
“Hey, I love Mardi Gras, I can finally be myself,” posted XOXOX with the profile pic of a cat.
At one point, I modified the newspaper question along with some other fine writers to, “What are we going to take on that we haven’t done before?”
The Paczki take on Mardi Gras
My American outtake on Mardi Gras is that I go either to the local Meijer store or to the Honey Creek Grist Mill and buy me some greasy Paczki (Polish donuts) and forget about all my diets and resolutions.
I could also go to the Franciscan Sisters Life Process Center and learn how to bake the paczkis, in case I want to impress.
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.