Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ category

My Wish

November 2, 2018

This is a very trying time for our country. The tragedy at the Pittsburgh synagogue is still fresh in our hearts. The political divisions are immense, and they are present almost everywhere in the world as well. It feels as our globe is turning in the wrong direction — wrong by whose standards? By mine, of course, right? And by many who think and feel like me, right? But there is always another side of the proverbial coin: different people, different standards, different dreams and goals, different disappointments and fears — a total mismatch for seeing things the same way or even in a similar way. So what can we do besides vote?

After the 6th of November things will change over here, yet they will remain almost the same – resentments, pains, anger, and distrust… just from the other side of the coin…. So, how to rise above those differences and anger? How to unify ourselves?!

There are no Angels with white, fluffy wings that will arrive from above and solve all problems for us. No one has a magic wand in their hands to change our reality. So?…

Some time ago I wrote this poem:

My Wish

I wishCrying child
for a day,
all of us
could cry together,
free to sob
like children.

Tears of
would merge
to create
a Chalice of Understanding,
so we can truly love,
so we can live in peace.

-Alicja Mann

Crying She



Just Crying!

Crying He

I propose the first Sunday of November to be our National Day of Crying, because it is a day in the “neighborhood “of November 1st, the day dedicated to the spirits of those who departed from us — recently and in the more distant past. Furthermore, November 1st is observed in many cultures in the variety of different ways. This is exactly the point — a respect for those differences already exists in the observance of that day!

Think about it, please: one day without arguing, without anger, or smiling artificially– just for the sake of smiling… instead the Day of Crying — a day of cleansing our human spirit, a small step towards our unity.


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Text copyright © 2018 by Alicja Mann,

Poem: from the book Looking at the World Twice © 2009 by Alicja Mann

Photographs: courtesy of Tom Pumford at



The Power of Books

December 2, 2011

Books on bookshelves Copyright (c) 2011 by Alicja Mann

Just looking at them
I grow greedy, as if they were
Freshly baked loaves
Waiting on their shelves
to be broken open— that one
and that….

fragment of “The Bookstall” poem
by Linda Pastan from “Heroes in Disguise”
© 1991

“Freshly baked loaves” — what a metaphor! That is how I feel about books and I am also greedy about them. Really, how could we live without books?

I love books and have been surrounded by them ever since I could read and write, because from that time I was given books as gifts for my birthdays, name-days, and other occasions. Oh yes, I was getting toys, but that was when I was a young child. Once I became seven, and could read pretty well, I was considered an “older” child and consequently expected to not even desire toys anymore. The same rule applied to other kids around me at the time of my growing up in Poland. So for Christmas we received books and games and not some “silly” dolls or cars suitable for the “little ones.” Somehow we did not mind and actually felt proud of that – we felt we were in a different category and a little bit closer to adulthood. Giving up toys — a peculiar rite of passage….

Written words and writers were always highly regarded in Poland.

Speaking of Poland and writers – a few years ago during one of my visits over there, I read a short piece of writing by my aunt’s great grandson, Jaś.

Alicja, Jan, and Great Grandmother - Copyright (c) 2011 by Alicja Mann

What Jaś wrote at the age of 10 (Jaś is the nickname of Jan) impressed me greatly. It fitted my concept of the importance of books in my life as a writer and a publisher. So I purchased Jan’s piece of writing just as I would from an adult writer (for the purpose of publishing) since I strongly believe that good writing should be rewarded and encouraged that way.

Here is the short story by Jan Zembowicz in my translation.

The One Who Dances with the Winds

One winter day I was very bored. So I went to the attic because there are always so many interesting things there. I found an old pen of my grandfather, a black-and-white TV, and a strange book. The title of the book was The One Who Dances with the Winds. It was covered with dust and looked very old with its yellowed and ragged pages.

When I started to read it, I felt the power to rule the weather. “Interesting, isn’t it!?” So I went outside to try it.

I danced the Dance of the Winds and a strong wind arrived. I danced the Snow Dance and snow started falling.

Suddenly two figures appeared. One was half transparent and the other was all white. Apparently they were the spirits of Nature. They told me that I was their ruler and that I had special power. I looked over my shoulder and saw that I had grown wings. “Super, I can fly!” Then I told the spirits to go away.

I noticed that the book was open, and I closed it. I lost my wings and found myself back in the attic.

I opened the book again and this time I found myself in a beautiful garden.

Now, when no one is around, I open the book and ….

Translated by Alicja Mann
© 2011 Word Studio

Jan Zembowicz - photo copyright (c) 2011 by Alicja Mann Tanczacy z wiatrami
Jan Zembowicz — Warsaw 2006 Original text in Polish

During this Holiday Season include books on your shopping list. Happy giving time, happy receiving time, and happy reading time!

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To honor this season of giving I offer any book from my publishing site as a free gift for becoming a new subscriber of my blog which I publish twice a month. The subscription is free and can be terminated at anytime.

Please follow the instructions positioned on upper right side of my blog. When you are confirmed as a subscriber, I will send you an e-mail for your instructions on where to send the book of your choice. The book will be shipped by Priority Mail.

This special offer is valid from today till the end of December. Happy Holidays!

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Text and photos copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann.

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

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