Tag Archives: writing

No ordinary Friday

Not just another Friday

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.

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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.”

On a very positive note, I observed the five months anniversary of my new life this week. I continue my work on the “Greenwich Meridian” memoir © 2017 copyright Emma Palova. I have given an extraordinary push to the new app in the works.

There is no such thing as an ordinary day in the life of any of us.

Make every day a special day.

For more info about the Lowell Expo go to http://www.lowellexpo.org

Check out daily quotes on Goodreads at goodreads.com

For Fallasburg info go to http://fallasburgtoday.org or http://www.fallasburg.org

Copyright © 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved

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Rhythmic fears of violence

In the rhythm of anger, fear, terror and violence

 Note: The “Greenwich Meridian” © 2017 Emma Palova memoir is an evolving novel covering our immigration saga spanning three generations that started with the Russian invasion of former Czechoslovakia in 1968 up to date.

I also wrote this in response to the Daily Post prompt @rhythmic, as violence overshadows joy

Rhythmic

By Emma Palova

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.

Michigan Lighthouseswpid-mntsdcardDCIMCamera2013-06-26-21.10.27.jpg.jpg
Rhythmic changes of nature withour our contribution, a sunset in South Haven, Michigan.

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.

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All the colored beads representing different emotions.

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.

Surreal.

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.

https://wordpress.com/post/fallasburgtoday.org/1397
 

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. 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Some useful links:

1001 Days of Blogging by Annie Conboy

https://emmapalova.com/2016/12/15/1001-days-of-blogging/

Recent news Uber shooting one-year anniversary coverage on Wood TV 8 and other regional channels.

http://www.wxyz.com/news/kalamazoo-shooting-rampage-victims-to-be-honored-one-year-later

Have we grown cynical to people suffering around us? Have we grown used to anger, terror and violence as a rhythm of life?

Copyright © 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Writer’s love picks for February

February drives creative work to fruition

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

There is something about the month of February, you can call it atmospheric . I was thinking that even before I heard that at a therapeutic meeting earlier this week.

Maybe it’s the overall ambience of the month in between the deep freeze of January and the much coveted  arrival of spring in March. If I were to pin the season to the catholic calendar, it is usually the purple time of Lent, except for this year since Lent arrives late with Ash Wednesday falling on March 1.

“Everything is going to be late this year,” my husband Ludek, a chronic complainer, said. “We’re going to have a late Easter.”

No kidding, the Easter Sunday falls on April 16 this year. But, the good news is, the trees here Up North in Michigan will have leaves, and maybe even early blossoms and spring flowers.

We had rain on Tuesday, grayish nothing on Wednesday, a deep freeze on Thursday along with a creepy full moon, and now we are recovering from 20 plus minus degree temperature swings as the work week finally wraps up.

My body” loves” these roller coaster temperatures, and my mind and mood swing accordingly with them.

With the sunshine on Monday, I was at a reasonable high as I met with friends at the “Gathering Place” to discuss progress in our common therapy.

“You know, this really works, let’s do it next Monday again,” T. G. as always was very encouraging.

“I have a lot more stories to tell,” said our new buddy Wendy.

And the mid-week meeting somewhere in the woods next to the old stage-coach road was also a success, all things considered.

I do feel grateful for this overall February gap in between the novelty of the new year 2017 and the onset of spring. This February gap finally allowed me to fill the empty spaces on my huge 17-months desktop calendar with my creative work.

Along with Ludek, we made an executive decision that I will self-publish my collection of short stories “Glass Flowers” Copyright (c)2017 Emma Palova. On Thursday, I started pulling the collection of 20-some short stories together after literally years of searching the publishing “maze.”

That search included everything from participating in Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contests, submitting my short stories to literary magazines, of which, many no longer exist, submitting manuscripts to Writer’s Conferences and of course looking for an agent.

This all-inclusive escapade involved interviews with sales people from several publishing houses that have gone the self-publishing route as well.

“You know Amazon is moving quite fast on this,” said the sales person from Author’s Publish. “We’re keeping an eye on them.”

“Thank you Mr. E. for the tip,” I concluded a series of several hour-long phone interviews after my ear almost fell off. I decided to join the self-publishing mainstream.

Stay tuned for more of my “Publishing Escapades.” Have a great weekend, and a great February. Don’t forget it’s the month of the heart and love. Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Also some neat events this weekend include:

“Champagne and chocolates” at the Flat River Gallery in downtown Lowell this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more info go to http://www.flatrivergalleryandframing.com

Screening of the “Interlude” at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts  in Grand Rapids.

http://www.uica.org

Love always,

Emma

This post is also in response to the Daily Post prompt @Ambience

Ambience

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

In Retrospect 2016

Looking back at the second half of 2016

Note: This is the second post on the Daily Post theme “Retrospective” on https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/retrospective/

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- The second half of 2016 rocked and we rocked with it. We rocked the Milky Way as we elected the 45th president, Mr. Donald Trump by the vote of the Electoral College.

We’ve seen stars rise, shine and fall; both on the human scene and in the sky. Most recently we marked the death of Carrie Fisher better known as Princess Leia in Star Wars. Her mother Debbie Reynolds, the star of the 1952 “Singin’ in the Rain” musical died one day later.

They joined a string of deaths of famous personalities in 2016, starting with David Bowie in January and Prince in April.

We proudly watched the summer Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

We lived through nature’s wrath at us in tornadoes and fires, as we ran human stampedes in malls seeking deals after Christmas.

Finally, we were so disappointed after the much coveted “Hatchanimals” that didn’t hatch.

It was a year to remember, personally and nationally.

Things lost, things found in 2016

Summer breaks rediscovered 

In July, I rediscovered the magic of the summer break as our granddaughter Ella Chavent, 6, of Fixin’, France spent her first summer on our three-acre ranch in northeast Kent County.

Starting in July, every morning I took her to the St. Pat’s summer school in Parnell, MI so she can improve her English.

“Grandma, tell me one of your stories,” she asked.

During our brief ride, accompanied by the music of Queen, I told Ella about “that dude with the fancy Corvette,” who almost ran over a boy.

Together, we celebrated Christmas in July after I bought Santa and rocking horse ornaments at an estate sale in Fallasburg for quarter a piece.

“Who died?” I asked at the sales tent which featured lovely items like a black J. Marco Galleries dress with a perfume bottle pattern.

“Our sister did,” said the lady at the dress tent. “We miss her.”

We went to the Picnic Pops concert in Canonsburg to listen to the music of Queen. We beat the heat on the beach in South Haven and explored Ella’s first fairs: the Ionia Free Fair and the Kent County Youth Fair in Lowell.

We gardened and picked red currant to make currant pies, we bought tart cherries at H&W Farms in Belding and made tart preserves and syrup.

Ella went on her first field trips to local farms.

Motivated by Ella who was going to a catholic school, I returned back to church after a 10-year long sabbatical.

And a new journey has begun. I still have on the fridge Ella’s paper star with these words:

“You were made for greatness,” Pope Benedict.

August, Burgundy revisited

 Ella and I headed back to France in mid-August. I had her on a leash and she carried in her backpack a collection of stuffed animals.

“They are my tain tains,” Ella said passionately. I could only feel what tain tains mean.

“Grandma, hold on to me, I need you,” she said.

We held on together as we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris after a sleepless flight.

“Nice to meet you,” said a woman in a short skirt.

“Selene, this is mom,” Doc Emma introduced us. “Mom, this is our friend and au pair, Selene.”

Selene was the first of a colorful set of characters, I was to meet during my third stay in Burgundy.

From my studio on Rue Magniens in the peaceful wine village of Fixin’ I wrote about the “Climates” aka vineyards in the aftermath of the Bastille Day killings in Nice.

September, things new. .Podcast platform

 Upon my return from France, I dedicated my studio time to new accounts, such as the Americas Community Voices Network as we headed into the election.

It was a feverish time of exploring and discovering on both the WordPress and Podcast platforms.

The fall at the Pala ranch means preservation of pickles and tomatoes. Why? Because you have to answer to winter when she asks.
“What did you do in summer?” so goes the old Czech saying.

October, things old, things new

October delivered a bang in many different ways, on many different levels. My cousin Brona Pink of Stipa, maintenance manager for Zoo Lesna, visited the USA for the first time. He stayed at my parents’ Ella & Vaclav Konecny in Big Rapids.

Today, I wish we had spent more time together.

We also celebrated our wedding anniversaries, Ludek and mine, along with our son’s Jake & Maranda.

On Oct. 21, the Rockford Ambulance took me to the Metro Hospital on M-6 aka “Hotel.” I passed out from exhaustion and dehydration, and I started a new path to better health and wellness.

November ushers in president-elect Trump

 In spite of my better judgment, I voted for Mr. Donald Trump on Nov. 8th. As a lifelong Democrat I voted Republican for the first time. Doc Emma missed the election by one day.

“Good, at least she couldn’t vote for Trump ,” my mom Ella said angrily.

Tired of old Washington tactics, much like the rest of the nation, I was ready for a change.

A spiritual and physical change in everything.

I started with myself; I did a thorough inventory of my mind and my physical belongings.

I have fiction manuscripts collecting dust on the shelves in my studio. They’re good stories. I was the bad one.

I stopped the rut of yo-yo dieting and overeating. I cleaned the shelves of my pantry and threw out a lot of old things.

If perfection exists in this world, the family Thanksgiving 2016 was next to perfect. As a family we got together, we didn’t fight, nobody got drunk and we didn’t burn the turkey.

After the holiday, my parents left for their winter stay in Venice, Florida, as fires blazed in Kentucky and tornadoes whipped Alabama.

December whips and shakes

 Dec.7, 2016- On the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I tied yellow ribbons of hope around our ranch.

On Dec. 7th, I  published the first installment of the 2016 IW Inspiring Women series featuring artist Linda Kropf Phillips of Lowell at https://emmapalova.com/2016/12/07

Dec. 8- I started marketing a brand new account for Costa Rica on ETravel & Food at https://etravelandfood.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/visit-jaco-costa-rica/

Dec. 10- Together with the Fallasburg Historical Society, we celebrated the biggest “Christmas at Fallasburg” party ever, thanks to the power of the social media.

“Thank you Mr. Zuckerberg, your Facebook helped me make the party a huge success.

No pun intended, but it was a party for the “history books.”

On Dec. 17, I passed the Czech Christmas baking tradition on to granddaughter Josephine Marie Palova, 3. She joins the gallery of the Palova bakers spanning generations of traditional Czech baking.

Yesterday on Dec 28, I mourned the loss of my doggie friend, Annie. Annie was the neighbor’s dog who filled in the gap after my dog Haryk died almost three years ago.

“We’re heartbroken,” our neighbor announced Annie’s death.

“I loved her like my own dog,” I responded in tears. “Goodbye, Annie.”

As we close on this year, and the red dogwood twigs in Christmas bouquets have new shoots, the yellow ribbons are still hanging around the house.

Dec. 29- Today is my brother Vas’ birthday. He has completed 55 trips around the Sun. May he enjoy many more.

“Happy birthday, Vas.”

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

END

Frail times

Small frail things matter

“Do small things with great love.”

Mother Teresa

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I have just found out that small things matter, that destiny  exists and that life is frail.

Three times in life I had close calls when death was reaching for me with her long arms.

Once, I almost drowned even though I am an apt swimmer, not like Michael Phelps but close. Just joking. I feel lucky when I can swim  a 50-meter pool once and not the butterfly style.

The second time I almost got killed in a car driving on a rural route from one small town to another small town in northern Michigan.

Ella by her computer station in her girl's room.
Ella’s time in America.

The third time I fell down straight on my face due to low blood pressure, heat and dizziness from medication at the height of summer on July 14th.

A one-night stay at the Metro Hospital on M-6 cost us $10,000. My husband Ludek also spent one night at what we call “Hotel 6” with heart problems. That also cost us $10,000.

We came out of there alive unlike our neighbor Ted aka “Teddy Bear” who never made it out of “Hotel 6” after a 2-year struggle with leukemia.

“At least he lived it up,” said my daughter-in-law Maranda Palova.

No matter what you call it whether living it up, bucket list or living your way because you think you’re going to die soon, you can’t escape destiny.

Ella Chavent with one of the teachers at St. Pat's.
Ella Chavent with one of the volunteers at St. Pat’s.

And yes life is frail at all its stages.

I am breathing again freely with new wisdom. I found out why I didn’t die in any of those close calls.

It’s my French granddaughter Ella Chavent, 5. She will turn six in September. Ella is staying with us for the summer. At first I had butterflies in my stomach. I worried about this international experiment not knowing where it will take us. We didn’t know Ella that well because we’ve seen her in six years only six times.

Ella’s parents left for France last Friday taking along her two-year old brother Sam.

“Did Sam leave?” she asked me.

“No, he’s living under the roof in the attic,” I said seriously but laughing out loud afterwards.

And we’ve played that joke ever since. Ella keeps telling everyone that her brother lives in the attic. That simple joke broke the ice when Ella started crying for her mami  after coming home from St. Pat’s summer school.

Our international family clan on July 4th under the pergola.
Our international family clan on July 4th under the pergola.

Normally, I hate Mondays but this time I didn’t. I took Ella to school in the morning. She carried her tart cherry pie for her friends. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have made that cherry pie. I would normally not go to St. Pat’s Church.  I would just lounge around all Sunday morning.

But, with Ella going to a catholic school, I felt compelled to go to church. Ella wouldn’t go either, but she wanted to see her friends from school.

After dropping her off this morning, I felt an urge to drive to Smyrna to see if  the work on Whites Bridge replica has started.

Instead, there was a stronger pull to go home. I kept looking around over all my stuff; things that I used to think mattered so much.

At first I wanted to do the laundry, so I went upstairs to pick up Ella’s clothes. Picking up stuff off the floor in what was my daughter’s room in the nineties, I realized there’s a greater cause than just dirty laundry.

Without taking down Emma’s posters from the white walls, I started re-doing the room Ella style. I cleared the shelves for her souvenirs from the Ionia Free Fair and from Picnic Pops fireworks and concert, that she enjoyed so much over the weekend.

In the corner of the room, I created a work station for her. Our neighbor Catherine Haefner gave Ella a “computer” with books and a tape. Ella tested it out at the open house for Katie Haefner.

Then I went to the balcony to water the flower boxes. I looked at Ella’s little garden made inside a cut off milk jar. Her chicks and hens started already growing.

Next to Ella’s miniature garden is a bigger black square pot with mums. I forgot to water them during the June heat. So, the flowers died. I wanted to pull out the plant and throw it out. Something wouldn’t let me.

I looked closer at the plant after watering it thoroughly for the last three weeks. With all the rain we had, I found new buds coming out on the leafy stems.

To me, the new buds symbolize new blood and a fresh new outlook on life.

There was a reason why I didn’t die in one of those close calls.

Thank you universe.

Note: This story ties into the earlier post “Immersion English” or “International Experiment” found at https://emmapalova.com/2016/07/14/international-experiment/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/frail

#dailypost #frail

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Picking up the Pieces

The great return to finale

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I am putting back together the pieces of my life like in a shining kaleidoscope. Some call it a comeback.

I am back on the final stretch of the “Greenwich Meridian” (c) memoir. I took a break to establish my Internet blog design company Emma Blogs, LLC. Now that I feel well grounded, I am returning back to the life of a daily writer. I missed it anyway.

The blogging journey took me from a rookie to a lifelong learner. Internet is much like water & wind; it never stands still or like Wall Street; it never sleeps. You can’t abandon it, because it’s like the writing life. It doesn’t let go of you.

Along that three-year long journey, I’ve met some of the best people in the industry by trial and error, as well as by targeted searching. After spending endless hours on learning the ropes of the blogging business, I sought help. I found Learn to Blog. This group of people is golden. Their support is pivotal in my blogging life.

And I’ve made friends. How can you make friends working all day alone in your writing studio staring at the flashing cursor with an occasional glance at my orchids on the window sill?

Well, you join private and public Facebook groups. I have done that. I am a member of the private Learn to Blog (LTB) and WordPress Support facebook groups. I’ve done both LTB and WordPress challenges. I’ve commented and I got comments back. I’ve gained the most followers on the 30 Day Content Writing Challenge . I established my own writing group “Writers Loop” on facebook based on advise from Soulpreneurs founder Leigh Ann Dickey.

“Facebook pages are old school, groups are the way to go,” she said in a Skype interview.

20140712_144005.jpg
Some of the major players in the memoir Greenwich Meridian: the Two Sisters, Mom Ella & Aunt Anna, grandma Anna and grandpa Joseph.

One of the best things that has ever happened to me on a blogging challenge was making a lifelong friend and a business partner.

During the 30 Day Content Challenge, a link to a healing site Beautiful Body, Mind and Spirit caught my eye. We were supposed to like and comment five blogs. I liked it and commented on it.

“I’ve always been interested in alternative healing,” I commented.

I e-mailed the owner Nan Raden asking for an interview to feature her as the blogger of the month on EW Emma’s Writings. During the first Skype call, we immediately clicked.

Nan is a natural healer and I suffer by nature. We compliment each other. She healed my inability to take action. She healed me emotionally and physically to a distance of 1,884.90 miles between Grand Rapids, MI and Tucson, AZ.

Now, we’re getting ready to webcast our show on Google hangouts on air. I will announce the name shortly. Stay tuned for a story and a video.

Other than the blogging challenges, the most productive in gaining followers were posts relevant to the current events. These included: “Alpenhorns at the Octoberfest in Grand Rapids,” ” Thoughts on Fear in the Wake of Paris Attacks” posted during the 30 Day Content Challenge, “Evil Choices” after a SuperTuesday primary ,”Happy Mother’s Day” and most recently “Cannes Film Festival 2016.”

Speaking about timing. My former editor and friend Jeanne Boss used to say, “Timing is everything.” The 30 Day Content Challenge started before Thanksgiving. I scrambled to get through it around the holidays. Sometimes I had to play catch up writing up to five posts one day.

I’ve learned a lot and I’ve diversified in the blogosphere. I’ve joined SheKnows and BlogHer platforms that have merged since. I am still carving out my own path. I am contemplating Blogspot, but I want to stay focused on the memoir.

Posts about relationships like the “Two Sisters” about the animosity between my mother Ella and her sister Anna attracted more followers. The relationship that went raw over immigration is a big part of the memoir.

“They never mended not even now standing at the gate to heaven or hell,” I write in the book.

I would also like to highlight the mini-series “Eyeology with Dr. Verdier” about my cataract ordeal two years ago. The IW Inspiring Women was a joy to write because I met all these interesting women who continue to inspire and motivate me to this day. It is a living ongoing series with new encounters every day.

I found out that the best writing comes from the heart and without a narrow purpose. Big tears rolled down my cheeks penning the most emotional posts like “It took a lifetime to get to this moment,” based on a prompt from the 30 Day Challenge.

It took me a lifetime to get this moment to write this post and to complete the memoir.

Thank you all for your ongoing support.

The featured image is by Nan Raden.

Links to mentioned stories:

Mom Ella & Aunt Anna (Two Sisters)

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-3d4

It took a lifetime to get to this moment (30 Day Challenge #28)

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-B44

Thoughts on Fear in the Wake of Paris Attacks (30 Day Challenge #3)

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-zwK

Evil Choices

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-HC3

Happy Mother’s Day

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-HEk

Cannes Film Festival

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-HFn

Alpenhorns video from Octoberfest in Grand Rapids

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-xLJ

Series

IW Inspiring Women (Hiker Babe walks 4,600 miles in memory of her daughter)

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-tuE

New Eyes with Dr. Verdier

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-5VP

Companies mentioned in the article:

Emma Blogs, LLC

http://emmablogsllc.wordpress.com

Beautiful body, mind and spirit

beautifulmindbodyspirit.com

Learn to Blog

http://www.learntoblog.com

Soulpreneurs

http://soulpreneurs.co

Beautiful body, mind and spirit

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd WordPress anniversary

Celebrating three years with WordPress

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- On this day three years ago, I boarded the WordPress flight 101 to destination unknown.

I came across WordPress just by pure coincidence as I was doing research for my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” about the family immigration saga.

The Hawkins Chamber site had a WP like box. In order to like it, I had to get on the platform. So, I did because I needed Internet presence anyways according to the agents whom I approached about the book.

Inspiration: the spiral staircase at the Dali in St. Petersburg, FL
Inspiration: the spiral staircase at the Dali in St. Petersburg, FL

It was an easy pick compared to the other complex blog/web building sites. Plus it was free.

Looking back at those three years, there were definite milestones when I wanted to just plain quit without explaining anything to anyone. There was this strange voice that kept whispering into my ear, “Give it up, you can’t do it. Go back to the store.”

I actually even attempted going back to the store where I worked in the nineties, but the manager discouraged me.

“You can do better,” he said. “Keep trying what you’re doing. You will master it.”

Initially, there is a steep learning curve on WordPress, just like with anything new. I compare to a child learning to walk. All those bumps and falls and getting up, crawling along the walls for support, and then suddenly a bang. The child stands up and takes his or her first steps.

I spent hours behind the computer with tutorials and the support team as my wall. I was dealing with  an avalanche of information trying to sort through it all.

Inspiration carved in rock.
Inspiration carved in rock.

“Why don’t you let someone else do it for you?” asked my husband Ludek shaking his head when he saw me crunching my teeth and pulling my hair out.

“Like who,” I said. “And mainly where am I going to get the money to pay a person for a decent job?”

No, answer.

My persistence prevailed. I finally had the first post ready “About” on Jan. 14th with a Jan. 15th date.

The WP team welcomed me along with other newcomers into the community graciously with the slogan, “Thanks for flying with Word Press.” I still didn’t know what to expect just like when you take off on a plane for a long journey across the ocean.

As time ticked away, more things became clear. Having a traditional publishing background with knowledge of QuarkXPress and InDesign, the real design on word press became easier.

I have to say that I never had serious trouble coming up with copy. And as serious, I mean not being able to pound out a story or a post every day. Traditional newspaper journalism was a lot like an army boot camp.

“A story and a photo a day will keep the editor away,” we used to say at the Ionia Sentinel-Standard newsroom.

Easier said than done and that goes for both worlds; ink and the grid.

I find it helpful to have the right mindset even before I get out of bed. The right mindset was, is and always will be that, “Content is the king.”

I always think about that before I sit behind the screen and as I look at the Stephen King calendars filed in my library, year after year, until they finally stopped publishing them in 2014.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that things can only get better,” wrote King.

I agree. Whenever I have trouble coming up with ideas or writing, I start procrastinating. To avoid procrastinating further, I go for a ride, take a walk, and swim a few laps if I am lucky enough to find a pool or dip myself in a hot tub.

Once I physically exert the inner frustration, the writer in me is reborn. I shake everything off and step into a new world of creation. The destination remains unknown.

To be continued with “Milestones” and “If I could turn back time.”

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

If I Could Turn Back Time

Turning back time

I am going to work on this daily prompt by Daily Post because it is so close to my heart especially at a time when I am starting the second half of my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” about the family immigration saga.

Stay tuned for the full story as I develop it to fruition.

wp-1450816500465.jpeg
The first years of immigration in North America. Pictured are Ludek, Emma and Jakub P. on the shores of St. Lawrence River in Gaspesie, Canada.

 

If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?

Source: If I Could Turn Back Time

Goal 2016

Main goal in 2016 targets the elusive reader

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- If we only knew what people really like, the creative business would be much less trickier. It’s not just that we as creators don’t know, but sometimes the receiving side doesn’t know either.

I found out this from my experience while trying to select a movie to stream from YouTube. My husband and I go through hundreds of movie selections both in English and in Czech. Quite often we end up not knowing what we want, and we switch lazily back on the TV programming to do the picking for us. It’s easier than making up our own minds.

Thai wind 1 by Kacey Cornwell, Art Prize entry
Thai wind 1 by Kacey Cornwell, Art Prize entry

But, taste is also a matter of the moment that keeps constantly changing. On the other hand there are nights, when I immediately know what I want to see even before turning on the screen. Luckily, we usually agree on the choice.

That brings me to my major goal for 2016 and that is to write what people like to read.

“What is it?” I ask. “Does it mean that I am catering to a trend?”

Not, necessarily. Gauging what people like and don’t like is important just like in the food industry. Recently, I found out that the frozen Ristorante pizza is not as good as DiGiorno. They look the same, they cost the same, but they don’t taste the same. Ristorante is missing something. What is it? It’s like with a good story or a bad story. What is missing and why is it bad?

Finding that missing ingredient is in the psychology or knowledge of your character and your reader. They have to match up. We need a perfect match.

But, writing isn’t just point-blank, let’s say, for the firearm hunter of deer but for the entire hunting category. Just like the pizza example appeals to a wide group of people, if not to most. But remember that both are frozen.

When I think of writing to a certain interest or maybe a trend, I always think of an entire group or a segment of population.

“Okay, who is going to read my next short story, “270 Degrees to Beach Pines?”

It could be the largest segment of American population. That is the baby boomers. The short story is about aging and what a tragic comedy it is; watching it, living it and trying to cheat it. Totally, Shakespearean or Marquez style. It will be humoresque and very light, almost as light as the “Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Kundera.

It should feel like a feather in the wind, like a butterfly’s kiss as it slowly dissipates into thin air.

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Top views in 2015

Posts with human appeal attract the most interest

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I’ve noticed a pattern of interest in different stories over the years. There is a good old journalistic saying, “If it bleeds it leads.” That goes for traditional media.

That is true for news stories on major TV networks and in newspapers. People are hungry for crime, tragedy and its impact. They’re glad that it didn’t happen to them. It’s psychology at its best.

farmpic

Second comes in weather, and glamour takes the third place. Sometimes these two are interchangeable.

The digital world is different, where technology posts take the first followed by everything that is connected to IT.  Then comes everything else.

In my own little world of EW Emma’s Writings, this is how my posts fared from bottom to top on a scale of 5 to 1.

5- Alphorns at the Grand Rapids Octoberfest in September 2015. It was a well-rounded German event with Erdinger on tap and schnitzel with potato salad on the menu.

https://emmapalova.com/2015/09/28/watch-alphorns-at-grand-rapids-octoberfest-2015-on-youtube-2/

 

4- The page About local entrepreneurs & artists takes the fourth place. It profiles regional inspiring people from entrepreneurs to staple artists in the West Michigan area.

https://emmapalova.com/about-3/

Alphorns

3-The Kropf Apple Farming legend. A touching story about an apple farming family spanning four generations while overcoming the big Chinese apple juice dumping crisis in the late 90s and early 2000s.

https://emmapalova.com/about-3/kropf-apple-farming-legend/

2- The home page/archives takes a second place. People like checking this one out periodically. That’s why periodic posting is important. It’s a very popular station.

http://emmapalova.com

And finally drum roll..

1-Top post with 113 views on Sept. 28 about local entrepreneur Nancy  DeBoer. The post about the owner of Station Salon, a popular beauty shop in Lowell, won out of 160 posts in 2015.

https://emmapalova.com/2015/09/28/iw-station-salon/

The above ranking of top posts shows me that human interest stories have the most views.

It warms my heart because I came to the same conclusion in print media after years of experience. On a long term basis, not at a particular second, people prefer the human over the dead, success over failure, tenacity over weakness, continuity over the beat of the day.

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.