Celebrate Women, Books, and Flowers!

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.

* * *

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

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9 Comments on “Celebrate Women, Books, and Flowers!”

  1. Pam Says:

    Enjoy the book festival, Alicja! Thanks for the International Women’s Day piece. I’m always aware of the day — It’s the day after the birth of my son, Jonathan, and also the birthday of my friend David. Best wishes.

    • Alicja Mann Says:

      Dear Pam,

      Many thanks for your comment. It is so good to know that Jonathan‘s birthday is on the 8th of March. Now I will remember – what a great gift for you on that day!
      Best wishes to both of you – Alicja

  2. Lesley Says:

    Happy name day, Alicja! I’m so glad I got to see you and David for the Oscars and have been enjoying my darling cat calendar. I am also definitely looking forward to spring, love hearing the birds singing in the morning and the sun shining through the window earlier every day. Love, L

    • Alicja Mann Says:

      Hello Lesley,

      The Oscar night at your home with you and your friend was a lot of fun! As always great food and conversations – including some arguments about movies and clothing of the actresses. No comments about the outfits of the star-guys – always the same, nothing to discuss. Do I dare to say – boring?!

      In any case “our” Oscar night at your home beats being in Hollywood. Plenty of joy without any stress.
      Thanks a lot!

  3. Robert Casler Says:

    For some reason it says booth #259 above but #359 in the email that went out.

  4. Alicja Mann Says:


    You are absolutely right – the booth number of the Arizona Book Publishing Association where my books and I am going to be is 259 and not 359 as I entered. That was quickly corrected on the “living” blog, but was not possible to correct it in the post that was mailed to my subscribers.

    As you might know, Word Press sends a new post immediately after the button “publish” is pressed.

    Your comment is very valuable to me, because it shows that you are a very caring friend. I appreciate that very much. Many, many thanks!

  5. Marina Says:

    Another splendid blog, Alicja — so bountiful with verve! I loved the photos and excerpts, and I always enjoy when you share a story about the Polish culture that influences you.

    I wish I could have made it to the book fair. Perhaps next year. I hope it went really well for you, my dear flower among flowers. xoxo

    • Alicja Mann Says:

      Oh Marina! Thank you again.

      What would I do without friends like you?! In response I can only quote a poem by William Blake that I kept for many years in one of my notebooks. This poem reflects how I feel about FRIENDS like you.

      “I looked for my soul
      but my soul I could not see
      I looked for my God
      but my God eluded me
      I looked for a friend
      and then I found all three.”

  6. […] I was in the middle of writing my new post for this blog with the intention to dedicate it to Marie Sklodowska Curie, the brilliant scientist and recipient of two Nobel prizes. She was an inspiration and role model for me while I was studying biochemistry in Warsaw — the city of her birth and mine (two generations apart). I thought March would be the perfect month for such a salute since it is dedicated to the celebration of women. […]

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