Posted tagged ‘Poland’

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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SPECIAL OFFER

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.


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