Archive for March 2011

Super Moonstruck

March 22, 2011

Did you ever get struck by the moon? I did — this weekend! I never thought such a strange thing could happen to me, but it did! It was incredible. Actually I got struck on Friday, March 18 — just one night before the full Supermoon — and I was totally unaware of the Supermoon phenomenon. The effect lasted the entire weekend.

That Friday was really a good and productive day for me. It ended with seeing the documentary “Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny.” The movie was a bit boring for me — too much of a tribute and no controversy — nothing really to discuss. So I was sure that after coming home I would be ready to sleep. That was not the case! For some reason I was very unquiet and sensed some strange energy around me and inside me. Instead of fighting it, I went to another room, sat in my favorite, cozy red chair and wrote notes in my journal for quite a while. My mind was racing in hundreds of different directions and my pen could hardly keep up with it. Writing in my journal in long hand usually calms me down. But not that night! I still felt strangely unsettled.

Looking out the window, I noticed that the light outside was unusually bright even though all the lights on the patio were off. They shut off automatically around 1:30 AM. So I stepped outside and there it was — an incredible moon! It was huge, bright, and somehow different than at other times. Our patio looked great, but alien in that moonlight — as if covered with silver dust.

The moon also seemed to be much closer than usual, and I felt as if it were communicating with me. So I looked at the moon’s face with greater interest, examining all the spots on it and wondered, “What is the gender of the moon?” In my native Polish — ksiezyc is male, in Russian luna is female, in German der mond is male and in Spanish la luna is female. But how about English? There is no gender for nouns in English, although a car or ship is definitely a male for me, while I know that they are females for most men. And how about the moon? In most Native American stories it is referred as Mother Moon, so I decided to go with that. I am not sure why — I guess I was in need of a good female friend at that moment. So I looked at her face again with intensity and asked, “What are you trying to tell me?” She was silent, but her face had changed and I could read it — her answer was a question, “Where is your joy?”

Joy?! I was struck by that question and went back inside the house closing the door gingerly as if afraid to upset her. Now I was even more perturbed and energetic. I knew I was struck by that moon and in great need of writing the answer to her question.

After nine pages of my thoughts and a couple of beers I was finally ready to sleep. The moon disappeared behind the trees on the west side of the patio. The next day — Saturday, March 19 — I learned from the news about the occurrence of a Supermoon every 18 years and knew I would spend another sleepless night with that moon. (One interesting place to read more about the Supermoon is on Arizona astrologer Richard Nolle’s website.)

Supermoon image from ESA/NASAAstronaut Paolo Nespoli

ESA/NASAAstronaut Paolo Nespoli took this image of the moon aboard the International Space Station on March 20, 2011, and wrote, "Supermoon was spectacular from here!"

That night, the true night of the Supermoon, was clear calm and very pleasant. I was not worrying about the tsunami tragedy in Japan, or what would happen in Libya, or how to plan my new writing project, or how to market my books, or how my sons were doing, or what gift to choose for my friend’s new baby, or about my travel plans to Louisiana. NO! I watched that moon and listened to music. It was a fabulous night! I was thinking about all kinds of things that make me happy and that give me joy, like listening to good jazz, dancing, gardening, and traveling. Here is an image that represents how I felt that night.

Oh, I know I do not look like that, but I feel like that once in a while and would like to feel that way more often. I received that card from my son (Leo) on one of those days when I did not feel my best and was in need of something to smile about. That card did make me smile and kept it on my bookshelf. Soon I noticed that my logo, which I designed for myself, has the dancing ‘A’ letter and that those two images could dance together. So, I placed the logo next to Leo’s card. The night of the Supermoon I put them in a frame and hung it on the wall. It will be a good reminder for me not to forget about joy in my life. Thank you Leo, thank you Supermoon, and thank you all for reading this. Have a joyful Spring!

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Card design © 2006 by Masha D’yanas ( Logo design © 2009 by Alicja Mann ( Text copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann

Celebrate Women, Books, and Flowers!

March 9, 2011

March is painted with flowers and books for me, and I wish this to be the case for you too. That is why this post is about flowers, women, and books.

Spring is definitely in the air in March! Oh, I know, snow is still on the ground in many places (not in sunny Tucson though!), but buying flowers just to enjoy them is irresistible! They can beat the winter’s blues. Some very dear Pisces (beginning of March B-day people) in my life here deserve flowers this month, and my memories of March when I lived in Poland are filled with flowers. Both of my parents had their name days in March, so our home was full of flowers given to them. In Poland men receive flowers just like women do. Flowers are sold on the corners of many streets of Warsaw and other cities. The custom of giving flowers for a variety of occasions is an important part of the culture. I miss that here, and I buy flowers for our dining table quite often. Also, in our yard here in Tucson Mexican Poppies are in full bloom at this time of the year.

Mexican Poppies Flowers in a vase

I could count on getting flowers every year on the 8th of March when living in Poland. Not because it was my birthday, not because it was my name day, but because it was International Women’s Day. And what is International Women’s Day? It is a day celebrated in many countries around the world since 1911, the date having been chosen in recognition of an 1857 demonstration and march by women textile workers in New York City. So when I first came to this country, I was surprised that most American women were not aware of International Women’s Day.

Things are different today. International Women’s Day is slowly becoming a women’s culture month in this country. It brings attention to their achievements in the arts and sciences, as well as other areas of public life. I addressed this in the “Red Carnations“ essay in my book Looking at the World Twice. This brings me to the subject of books and publishing.

It just so happens that the month of March is also celebrated by independent publishers as Small Press Month.

Here is more: this coming weekend, March 12 and 13, Tucson is the place to be to celebrate books, authors, and publishers. For the third year, the Tucson Festival of Books will bring thousands of people to the University of Arizona Mall. There will be plenty of things to do for individuals of any age, as well as for entire families.

Now you can see that being a woman, a writer, plus a small independent publisher, I have some reasons to celebrate this month. So I decided to tell you a bit about a book with a title that fits this month perfectly — She.

Book cover of "She" by Amy Rowling Amy Rowling, author of "She"

She was written and illustrated (with photographs) by Amy Rowling. The subtitle explains the purpose of the book: Creative Journey to Self-discovery for Women of All Ages.

The minute Amy presented her manuscript to me, I knew I wanted to publish it and so my Word Studio did. I love this book and I am proud of it. In 2007 it won the National Indie Excellence Award in the women’s issues category. The book deals with a wide variety of challenges, fears, and concerns faced by many women today.

The writing is a collection of poems with complementing photographs, each addressing a different issue. Near each poem a journal space is provided with questions to encourage reflection, writing and discussion.

She is like a gentle friend — always ready to listen, to talk and guide you to find your own path.

Here are two glimpses into the book:

Two women by Amy Rowling Within One Frame 

She cannot bear
The ordinary
And yet it is what
She craves

Two caught
Within one frame
She longs to go
She longs to stay

These two
Could remain
And share
One body
Without judgment
Without shame

Back up from the Mirror 

Back up
From the mirror
Don’t look so close
You’ll find the flaw
You look for
It is there
And will grow

Acceptance of loss
What was
What might not be
Only the spirit knows

Age and wisdom
Will find each other

Put the mirror down

Two Hands by Amy Rowling

Have a happy March — celebrate it with books and flowers!

SPECIAL INFORMATION: I am exhibiting She and my Looking at the World Twice at the Arizona Book Publishing Association (ABPA) booth # 259. I will have my signing time at that booth on Sunday the 13th of March from 4 – 5 pm. Please stop by and say hello if you are at the Tucson Festival of Books this weekend.

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Poems and black-and-white photographs – copyright © 2006 by Amy Rowling. Text and other photos copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann

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