Maybe tomorrow, maybe right now,
will come the joys in syrup as a wound…
We invoke the rains anonymous and the senses already moves the reality
in allegories with the fears and pains custom…
the almost becomes a sort of far away tamed
It feels in the air, in the sounds, in bones, a series of impending joys
It’s better now than tomorrow, right now…
Forse domani, forse proprio ora,
arriveranno le gioie succulente come una ferita…
Invochiamo anonime piogge e gli sensi già spostano il reale
nelle allegorie con delle paure e dolori personalizzati…
Il Qui diventa una sorta di Lì ben domato
C’è, si sente nell’aria, nei suoni, nelle ossa, una serie d’imminenti gioie
E meglio ora che domani, proprio ora…
Poate mâine, poate chiar acum,
vor veni bucuriile mustind ca o rană… Invocăm ploi anonime și simțurile mută…
Lowell, MI- Three things prompted me to think about the writing business: 101 Challenge by WordPress, 100 Posts & beyond that I have achieved in a year and my worsening eyesight.
Sometimes people ask me what I would be if I wasn’t a writer.
“I’d be a queen,” I answer laughing. “The queen of hearts.”
First of all writing is a business and it should be approached as such. I never quite got the idea of some of the Internet writers’ magazines screaming out loud on Facebook:
“Writers, do you want to get paid for writing?”
How is writing any different than going to get your groceries and paying for them? Or gas at the local station? Air ticket?
Actually it should be paid higher than your average retail position because the fact of the matter remains that minority entertains the majority.
“People would die of boredom if it wasn’t for writers and artists,” I always say. “What would you do without us?”
But, there does come a time when you feel like giving up after all the ups and downs, the encouragements and the discouragements.
It is that time when you’re bombarded by self-publishing houses that want your credit card number for your book on demand; by your spouses who want you to make money rather than use it on print cartridges, your aging parents who want to hold that long dreamt about book.
Then, kicks in the thing about driving traffic to your Internet sites and likes, which somehow magically will transfer into sales.
Not to forget about traditional publishers who want everything by snail mail, and 10 months later they still haven’t responded to you.
I don’t know how to change things to get different results or more likes and followers.
I like to encourage others to keep on trying doing the things they want along with the wanted outcomes.
My wanted outcomes are the publishing of my memoir and a book, but I seem to be lost in a sea of unexpected results on winding paths. This is not always bad, it’s just something else than you wanted.
It’s like going into the woods to get morels, and instead you bring back blackberries.
“It leads to new discoveries,” I say.
Like in this typical example of having a blog to increase your online presence and publishing capabilities while writing your memoir.
Well, accidentally you pick out WordPress, the best of the bunch. You are a perfect match, and you’re on your way.
“I love doing the blog more than writing my memoir,” I told my husband the other day.
There’s better and instant feedback, the constant challenge of maintaining the blog and coming up with new things, new challenges.
Then in turn you get picked up by other Internet giants and you’re headed into the unknown, like on a spaceship.
In the spirit of 101 Challenge: The Commons I wanted to write about finding your feature niche II for your blog yesterday. I wanted to thank everybody for participating in the challenge yesterday. I wanted to write about the month of May being the mental health awareness month and my friend CEO of Ionia County Community Mental Health (ICCMH). I wanted to do everything yesterday.
But destiny wanted something else.
I can hardly see the screen. Yesterday, I couldn’t see at all. I couldn’t write. The screen was dipped in a faraway 3=D mist. Google was floating somewhere in a distance.
I barely made it back home from town with my medication as I couldn’t see the oncoming cars.
I went to see the eye doctor this morning. Eyes are the second most precious asset that I have.
“What brings you here on a Friday,” asks the eye doc.
“I couldn’t see yesterday, it was creepy,” I said.
The eye doc conducts a thorough exam and says:
“Putting something in front of the foggy lens is not going to solve your problem,” he said. “You have cataracts in both eyes at a young age. It’s very progressive.”
“Does it run in the family?”
“Most definitely,” he said.
“I need to see Dr.Verdier,” I said.
“You know him,” asks the eye doc looking at me through his spectacles.
“I wrote about him,” I said. “He travels around the world fixing eyes.”
“Did you write that article about him on the Orbitz plane,”asks the eye doc.
“Then you know he’s worth waiting for,” says the eye doc.
The first consult appointment with Dr. Verdier is on Aug. 22. I still have to write. I have a book deal in the making, but I need to see.
Hello fellow writers. This installment is part of the Blogging 101 Challenge on finding a feature or a sustained series to write about on your blog.
A series is worth the effort because it drives people back to your site on a consistent basis. In other words it’s like coming back to that beloved book that has enticed you with its characters in the first place, or to the departments in a magazine.
Or maybe even further like coming back to your favorite store for that one thing over and over again.
This task is actually a pleasure for me. Serial writing is one of my greatest strengths, according to many editors and publishers.
Find your niche
It doesn’t matter what your blog is about or why you are writing it. What matters in a series is finding that sustaining element and carrying it forward in a playful fashion.
The following tips are based on my experience with the Ionia Sentinel Standard in Ionia, MI. The paper covered everything in a snapshot on a daily basis. Usually there was no time or enough staff to look deeper or follow through on anything.
You have to find your own niche in an assigned beat. Just like in your blog that you have assigned to yourself.
How do you find that niche?
First look through the thread of what you’ve been writing about the most often or the most used tags over the last few weeks or months.
Have you been writing mostly about eating habits that benefit your overall health and wellness not just the calorie loss and dress size drop? Have you been writing about great products, great routines or anti-depression drugs or supplements? Have you been writing about conquering a bad habit?
How about pinning this on a real person who has benefited from healthy eating, changed his or her lifestyle and received lots of support?
What were the changes that person had to make? What did that person have to seek out and who helped him or her?
Fictive example of a series.
The installments could look like this.
1- Character Adele becomes overweight at the age of 13 due to puberty.
2- Adele fiercely battles with excessive weight throughout puberty. Kids laugh at her and bully her. She eats more.
3- Adele starts suffering from depression, goes into herself and loses friends. Peers keep their distance. Adele compensates by eating even more.
4- Mom interferes, and defends her daughter against the dad. Dad thinks it’s nothing and that the deal is stupid.
5- Professionals further analyze the situation. Mom finds out the girl is seriously mentally ill. Adele loses interest in daily activities and surroundings except for one thing.
6- The journey into mental illness begins with all its stigma. It’s all just in her head, says the dad. But there’s still that one thing that keeps Adele hanging in there.
7- Finally, Adele shows off that one thing which is her artistic talent by getting into a local children’s exhibit at the gallery.
8- The artistic exposure brings satisfaction and a feeling of contentment.
9- Mom and others encourage Adele to explore her artistic capabilities.
10-Adele starts healing with the right tools: family, friends, art, healthy diet and exercise.
Welcome back into the world, Adele.
Real sustained series on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) from print newspaper
By Emma Palova
1- Media buzz in the 2000s creates awareness about CAFOs where 3,000 pigs are crammed in one barn in a certain stage of their lives to create efficiency in production.
2- A hog farmer in Ionia County applies for a permit to have a large barn constructed.
3- The township board grants the permit and in two weeks suspends it.
4- The supervisor, an avid environmentalist and owner of recreation center, doesn’t need the stink from the CAFO blowing his way.
5- People of the township loudly rebel over the next few months bringing ceramic pigs to meetings. “Is this everything you expected it to be,” an MSU Extension official yells into my face.
6- Behind the scenes, a woman, the wife of a herdsman, leads a recall effort against the supervisor of 20 years.
7- After collecting the necessary signatures, the woman manages to get the vote on a special election ballot.
8- One year later, the supervisor is recalled by his own people to his disbelief.
9- The supervisor is replaced by his cousin in the good old boys club circle of township politics.
10 The hog farmer continues to raise hogs in great numbers and enters county politics. The township folk live peacefully ever after.
Until a trail group comes after the townsfolk easements
This post is part of my series 100 Posts & beyond.
Today is a big day. As I write to the rhythm of the rain, morning chirping of the birds and to the frantic panting of my dog and husband, I still have my feet wet from the patio. I had to move the phlox and the moss roses from the garage out into the rain.
It’s May 9th, it’s my birthday. I was born on the national holiday in former Czechoslovakia. On that day, the nation’s capital Prague, the mother of all cities, was freed from the Nazi occupation by the Soviet Army. That was the end of World War II.
Many years later, I was born in the wee hours at 4 a.m. to parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny. My mom woke up to the cracking noises of fireworks announcing the anniversary of the victory.
“I thought it was war again, but then I realized those were fireworks celebrating your birth,” she said to me this morning as she wished me a happy birthday. “The whole nation celebrated.”
Mom says that to me every year, as the nature too celebrates the awakening after long winter.
“The nature blossoms on your birthday,” she says. “You always had the day off and a parade.”
The above note is one of the many reasons why I dedicated the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets west” to my mother.
100 Posts & beyond
This post is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and the constant friction that I have witnessed between sisters in this world.
Mom Ella and godmother Anna
As I watch people drop like flies around me, I realize how time is going by fast. I like the inscription on the clock in the living room, “Tempus fugit.” That’s why I bought that pendulum clock as one of the first things when I arrived on this continent in 1989 for $110. Not that I had that kind of money. I just wanted the clock so bad, that I probably borrowed money for it. It announces the time by boldly striking every full and half hour. My husband Ludek still has to wind it by hand much like the clock that the in-laws had at home in the old country.
“They probably wouldn’t even let us know if she’s dead,” mom said. “You write the wedding invite. She’s your aunt and godmother.”
We bought the card that had written “Sisters” in the sand on it in Venice, Florida.
“I’ll pay for her air ticket, but not for him,” Mom said angrily. “Anyna won’t be able to translate that. She’s not going to come anyway.” Anyna is a slanderous nickname for the pretty name Anna.
Mom was referring to my uncle whom we once fancily called “Jean” rather the ordinary Czech John. We took that from the French movies that we had devoured like crazy in old Czechoslovakia.
That was more than quarter of a century ago before the big family dispute.
“But we don’t even know if he’s alive,” I argued. “I’ll just write it and we’ll see.”
Unintentionally, we sent the invite off without any contact numbers or addresses. Subconscious at its best.
“Write it again,” mom said last week. “This is her last chance to make up with me.”
To be continued as part of the on-going series 100 Posts & beyond
On Wednesday I would write about my mom Ella because the “Greenwich Meridian” memoir about the family immigration saga is dedicated to her.
And I would write about Ella because it’s the Mother’s Day week and my birthday. We are both moms. I became a mom at 18.
Mom goes by the name Ella Konecny, but her real name in Czech is Eliska Konecna with the female gender ending of the last name. That is typical for all Slavic languages that the woman’s name changes twice with the marriage.
Mom adopted the Ella alias at her naturalization in the early 1980s when she became a US citizen.
Ella never really liked her own name, so she jumped at the opportunity to change it. I wish I had done the same thing for my naturalization.
I always wanted to be Anabelle Anastasia or vice versa. But, I was already writing under the name Emma Palova, and I had my name recognition from writing for regional newspapers and national magazines.
“That name just flows so smoothly,” all the editors said. “Emma Palova, the cool Czech,” editor Valerie once put on a white template of the front page.
Even though mom doesn’t like her name and being old, she likes her looks. Ella looks very good for a pre- World War II baby. Only recently she stopped dying her hair because the color would not stick after decades of covering up grays.
Mom always wishes she was still young together with dad Vaclav.
“Mom that’s vanity,” I said to her in Venice. “You’re chasing after something you cannot capture.”
I took an action photo of both of my parents trying to rip open a box of chocolates during my writer’s retreat in Florida. Action photos are not selective. Usually they are very candid.
“Everybody keeps telling me how good I look and look at this picture you took,” mom snapped at me angrily.
We were in one of our occasional fights; a mother versus daughter fight.
“Well, I don’t look good in most photos and like most people I hate having my picture taken,” I snapped back.
Mom and I fight quite often. She literally picks fights like a little kid usually during family gatherings, but more often with my brother than me.
“You’re right I am chasing after windmills like Don Quichote,” she caved in.
We’re both avid readers. So, mom took me in 2000 for my birthday and her retirement on a big tour of Spain.
I will forever remain grateful to her for that. We explored Andalusia, the land of Don Quichote and Sancho Panza with the actual windmills.
Mom is big traveler. For her birthday in August, she usually takes us to Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan.
Even when we arrived on North American continent in 1989, we traveled a lot to the Upper Peninsula. I remember one year when we canoed on the Two-Hearted River that Ernest Hemingway so much loved.
We do these famous figure tours like in 2003. Mom and I went to Key West to visit Hemingway’s home. We were so enthused by the home and the six-toed cats, that we forgot to stop at a local restaurant to try some Cuban pork.
Mom and I also love art even though we have different taste in artists. Mom prefers traditional art like that of the darkness of Spanish masters El Greco, Goya and Velasquez. I say give me the magnificence of Salvador Dali anytime.
We have bought so many reproductions that we don’t have enough wall space.
Mom and I differ in many aspects. I am quite entrepreneurial. Mom needs a boss. The Czech nation is used to being bossed around and captivated by other countries.
That must be why people feel so inferior, first the Austria-Hungarian Empire, then Hitler and the Soviets. I guess now it’s the European Union that gets the Czechs so upset.
Mom likes being inferior to dad because that is the heritage of female chauvinism from Czech villages. Ella thinks that a woman must constantly cater to the husband, that she must be the servant of the man she loves.
I like being equal with my husband. I don’t like to boss him and I don’t like being bossed around.
We both like sauerkraut, sweet & sour dills and beer. Mom says she can’t eat her dinner without having her beer first. She protested at my daughter Emma’s wedding that she had no beer there. Well, the French are not big on beer and especially not if you’re having the reception at a Burgundy winery.
Mom and I are both obsessed with medical stuff, typical hypochondriacs.
“Am I having a heart attack or do I have that rosy cheek syndrome?”
Mom never had problems with weight. I, on the other hand have been fighting with weight since I turned 13.
True to be said is that mom had jaundice as a kid, and suffered from stomach problems most of her life.
If I can think about anymore likes and differences between mom and me, I’ll write about them tomorrow.
But, I will definitely write about mom and her sister Anna.
100 Posts & beyond
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Reigning in on an idea
Lowell, MI- As I write this I am probably on my 107th post or more between my rolling portfolio of Emma’s Blogs.
I get my ideas from nature, from other people, art and sometimes from press releases.
“Get out of the office, go and talk to people, shoot some bull,” a presenter said at a writing conference in 1998 at Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant. In a million years, I could not have received better advice. I live by it. I swear by it.
A story is not going to walk into your office or into your space whatever or wherever that may be. You have to seek it out. If it does walk in, excellent. But, you still have to explore it in 3D. Otherwise you have a dry piece without juice and atmosphere. In sales, it’s called “drumming up business.”
My second editor Dave Trinka of Allegan County News, awesome photographer, told me that I should just do a drive around and get some photos. Well, with the photos usually comes a story idea, and you get a bonus break from the screen, the keyboard, and the editor. Sorry, Dave, Valerie and Jeanne.
“Ask yourself questions,” the presenter encouraged in that pivotal CMU conference.
Go to your local coffee shop and listen to what people are talking about. What is the talk of the town? Is it you? Or why has that coffee shop changed hands so many times? Why is it doing so well now? Once a co-pastor of a local church owned the coffee shop under the name Kava Klatch.
What happened to the pastor who just wanted to try it out for the sake of trying, used a fancy foreign name, and three month later went out of business?
Well, he’s a successful pastor at a successful growing church. Does that warrant a story about the evolution from church to coffee shop and back to church?
Interesting, isn’t it?
My second favorite stories are enterprising stories. They’re up for grabs, they’re that low-hanging fruit.
“What would Big Rapids or Mount Pleasant be without their sacred cows? Or better, what would Rome be without the Vatican? What would WordPress be without its users?
Can anyone guess what those sacred cows are?
They’re the anchor institutions or businesses in communities. Every community around the world has them.
“Find your sacred cow. What has she been up to lately?”
No. 1 HUMAN INTEREST STORIES
Everybody loves them. They are about people for the people. The subject of these does not necessarily have to be George Clooney or Brad Pitt. That’s been done million times all over the planet. You can get that anywhere. You probably see it on my site http://emmapalova.com
It does not have to be about your local habitual offender. That’s too easy. The news organizations got that from a massive press release from the police department. You don’t even have to change anything. The police chief probably sweated long hours over it.
“The easiest beat you can get is the police,” said former editor of the Ionia Sentinel-Standard Roger Harnack.
It does not have to be about the NBA franchise owner Donald Sterling who got into trouble for his racial comments. The TV and the Internet have us covered for the next 100 years on this one.
Look deeper inside your own community. Again ask yourself questions. Follow through and study your subject of interest.
Who is the woman behind the successful events drawing people into the community? What kind of a difference has she made? What is her impact on the community? Why does she care?
“She keeps reinventing herself,” said owner of Ace Hardware Charlie Bernard about the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce director.
That warrants a story on many different levels in spite of the fact that she is on every press release and in photos sitting on Santa’s lap promoting Christmas picture taking.
Why? Because she is different. She boldly stands apart from the crowd.
What happened to the former editor who got canned from two newspapers? Well, today, as we speak, he is walking the aisle to accept his doctoral diploma in communications.
“I’ll be walking tomorrow,” he posted on LinkedIn. “I still have to make a few corrections to my dissertation.”
What is the active ingredient in the Tazo tea that makes you go to sleep? Among the proprietary blend of 13 ingredients, the Valerian Root stands out. So, you pick it and write about it.