Archive for the ‘Kudos’ category

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

December 12, 2013

Silver Bridge at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

There are many grand things, events, and people that I have encountered in my life, but the day of hiking the Grand Canyon down and up with my Canadian friend several years ago stands out. It was awesome to be able to face that ancient and grand creation of nature and at the same time to feel our minuteness in contrast with that rocky giant. I took this photo on Silver Bridge over the Colorado River – at the bottom of the Canyon, facing the lengthy journey (9.5 miles = 15.3 km) up the Bright Angel Trail to reach the top before the inevitable arrival of darkness.

I wrote about that hike in my post Footprints Left Behind

Potrait of Nelson Mandela

A similar feeling of awe and humbleness enveloped me last week when we faced the departure of Nelson Mandela – his strength, vision, perseverance, and political skills were not only grand, but super GRAND and will continue to inspire others for many years to come. I am happy to cherish memories of encountering that man during his visit to Boston in 1990 – soon after his release from prison. Even though I was a minute spot in the huge crowd of others who gathered at the Hatch Shell to honor Mandela, I will never forget that grand day.

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Rolling my Blog

July 26, 2012

My latest post In Flip Flops at the Rodeo, dated July 13th, was my 50th post. I was happy reaching such a nice round number! It means that (with a frequency of two posts per month) I have been “rolling” that blog for two years already!

Alicja Mann in center of a large wheel
It was disappointing to hear that some of my subscribers, especially those with g-mail addresses, did not receive that particular post in their mailbox. I wonder why it happened and do not want to put the blame on the date marked with ‘13’ — it is considered by many an unlucky number. Unlucky or not, I will have to address that problem with WordPress — since they do the mailing and not I.

I value greatly my subscribers and do not want to disappoint them or to lose them. You all deserve great thanks for reading my blog. Composing it with words and photographs is exciting, but also takes considerable effort and commitment on my part. So I decided to celebrate that round 50 by taking time off — for one month or so — from blogging and from most of my work and…to have a real vacation!

Swinging in a hammock outdoors in the soothing shade of trees—reading, dreaming, or simply sleeping—represents true relaxation for me. Have a nice and relaxing August and “see you” in September!


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If you enjoy this blog, please subscribe to it. Thank you!

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Text and photos copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.

Footprints Left Behind

March 8, 2012

Did you ever wonder why people carve their names or initials on tree trunks, benches, and other objects? And did you notice that more significant places often have more of those markings?

That strong desire to make a statement “I was here!” is as old as the human race—a desire to make and leave behind some sort of sign, a “footprint” of existence.

The mysterious markings and images pecked or painted on cliffs and boulders in the West, known as the pictographs, are messages from the past. Similarly, the boot print of the Apollo 11 crew member and the American flag left behind on the moon in 1969 are our message to the future stating, “We were here.”

Bootprint left on moon by Apollo 11 astronaut (from NASA)

Boot print on the moon – NASA photo

I probably would not have thought about this at all if I had not found an almost forgotten photograph of my footprints, or rather boot prints, from several years ago. I was sorting through piles of my photographs in preparation for the recent art exhibit and there it was—the photograph of my boot prints in the Grand Canyon! And there also was another photo showing the boot prints of my Canadian friend, Joan, with whom I had undertaken the challenge of hiking that incredible canyon – down and up in one day!

Alicja Mann shadow and footprints at Grand Canyon

My boot prints and shadow on the Grand Canyon trail

These footprints in the dust of the trail were a short lived statement of my presence there. Short lived, but definitely a bit longer than the bare footprints I make at the edge of the ocean each time I walk on the wet sand of Silver Beach when I am on Cape Cod. There the very next wave smooths out the footprints and the following one makes them disappear totally. I never had an impulse to take a picture of my footprints there— maybe because that beach is so familiar to me. Similarly, I did not have that desire on any mountain hikes around Tucson, even though the mountains here are very beautiful.

Just being at the Grand Canyon evokes an unforgettable feeling of awe and humbleness, but hiking it, measuring myself against its giant scale of space and time is indescribable. That’s right—the magnificence and hugeness of the Grand Canyon was so overwhelming and the sense of my minuteness there against the background of the rocks formed through the millennia of time, made me feel like shouting, “I am here! I am really here!” Hence the footprint photo and many other photos that captured that adventure.

Now these photos seem flat and very one dimensional, and can’t adequately illustrate the beauty and power of that place. Still, I will share a few of them with you. If you haven’t been there, I hope that you do go—after all it is one of the wonders of the world, and was not man-made, but created by nature over millions of years!

Grand Canyon morning from South Kaibab Trail

View of the Grand Canyon in the morning light

Alicja and Joan at the Grand Canyon, morning

At the South Kaibab trailhead – 7 AM

Grand Canyon textures and colors by Alicja Mann

Textures and colors of the Grand Canyon

Alicja Mann at Grand Canyon

Alicja and view of O’Neill Butte

Footbridge at Grand Canyon

Silver Bridge over the Colorado River

Grand Cayon walls seen from Bright Angel trail

Going up the Bright Angel trail

Alicja Mann and sign at end of Grand Cayyon hike

At the end of the trail – 7 PM

My boot prints in the Grand Canyon disappeared almost immediately while the boot prints on the moon probably remain unchanged. There are no winds on the moon to erode them, so they might be there forever.

Here on Earth our physical presence is fragile and temporary, but we humans are clever and capable of making different, more permanent “footprints” to mark our short time of existence. No one wants to be forgotten or insignificant. So we often strive in a variety of ways to make “footprints” of our lives. One way is through creative work: writing, painting, composing…. As a result we create books, paintings, records, and photographs that can live on after we are gone.

Framed painting, music CD cover, book, another image

Different types of “footprints”

I was reminded of this just a few days ago. Lou Colombo, a jazz musician whom I knew from Cape Cod and whose trumpet playing I love, died last Saturday in a car accident. That was terribly upsetting. However, his music will stay with us. I know it will stay with me.

Lou Colombo CD cover with personal notes from musician

Lou Colombo’s CD jacket

Click on Lou’s picture below and listen to his musical “footprint” titled “It all depends on you.”

Lou Colombo and his trumpet (Cape Cod Times file photo by Ron Schloerb)

That is right, it all depends on you….

P.S. To learn more about Lou Colombo click to read Cape jazz legend Lou Colombo dies in the Cape Cod Times.

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Boot print on the moon photo from NASA. Alicja’s photo by Joan Agnew. Lou Colombo photo by Ron Schloerb/Cape Cod Times. Text and other photos copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.

Bridging the Gap of Time

May 29, 2010

Eight months have passed since I conceived this WAVES blog idea and then what? Nada, silence, silencio, cisza… no waves were made with new entries in this blog. Why?

Cover of Looking at the World Tiwce by Alicja MannWell, I became extremely busy making waves not with new writings, but making waves about my writing, namely with promoting my newly (not so new anymore!) published book Looking at the World Twice: Essays & Poems on Identity, Belonging and Otherness.

It is amazing how much time and energy such activity does consume!  And there seem to be no limits to that consumption. The ‘limits” line seems to move in front of you like the horizon as you walk towards it in an open space.

So today I am posting my super condensed photo report in an attempt to bridge that gap of time and to resume writing this blog at least every other week.

Here is the report:

I was making waves with readings and signings of my book at a variety of bookstores, book festivals, reading groups, and other book loving places.

Alicja Mann reading at Booksmith in Falmouth, MAHere I am with my captive audience

The photos above and below are from my reading and signing at Booksmith in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Alicja Mann reading and signing her book in Falmouth, MAReading my book and signing it for a friend

I was making radio waves about the book and exchanging books with other writers.

Alicja Mann giving radio interview, and exchanging books with author Mary RobinsonGiving a radio interview for KJLL 1330AM at the Tucson Festival of Books
Exchanging books with Mary Robinson,
author, civil rights activist & textile union advocate from Alabama

Another attempt at making waves was entering several competitions for the recognition of the book in the world of independent publishing. My book had to compete with the books published by a wide range of highly visible and reputable presses including those of universities, museums, and National Parks. I am happy to announce that my book has made several big waves.

Looking at the World Twice: Essays & Poems on Identity, Belonging and Otherness is:

Winner of 2009 National Indie Excellence Award in the Short Story Nonfiction category
Finalist of 2009 ForeWord Reviews magazine Book of the Year Awards in the Essays category
Finalist of 2010 Glyph Award of Arizona Book Publishing Association (ABPA) in the General Nonfiction (Adult) category
Winner of 2010 Glyph Award of Arizona Book Publishing Association (ABPA) in the Best Cover Design (Adult) category

Concerning this last award, I am very thankful to GC Myers for allowing me to use his art on the front cover. I always felt that his “Elevation of Being” would fit the spirit of my book perfectly.

Let’s face it, being announced as a winner or finalist in a particular category of books is very exciting and brings a lot of satisfaction, but receiving ABPA’s Glyph award this month will be imprinted in my memories forever.

Three photographs of Alicja Mann at ABPA Glyph awards banquetABPA Glyph awards banquet photos / top to bottom:
Accepting my Glyph Award from ABPA President Bill Fessler and Executive Director Gwen Henson — With Alan Korwin, founder and former President of ABPA — Among other happy winners

I think that the way the ABPA event was organized, its aura and the handsome look of the award itself, made a big difference. The 2010 Arizona Book Awards Banquet took place in Phoenix on Saturday evening, May 1st at the Phoenix Country Club. Dressed up participants, elegant dinner, background live music, projection on a big screen of book covers of the finalists and the presentation of the Glyph Award to each winner reminded me quite bit of the Oscar ceremony. Being honored in that fashion is indeed a special treat. ABPA and especially its members directly involved in organizing the event deserve applause and many thanks.

And I thank you today for visiting this blog and being patient with my bragging. Now I can get back to work on my next projects.

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