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And that !has made all the difference !


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And that has made all the difference

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2016, Knara Agasaryan; Paul Brannan; Magdalena Brzezinska; Fabien Didier; Patricia Emilien; Jim Fleckenstein; Judith Gutlerner; Rob Howard; Yulia Ivanova; Agnieszka Jankiewicz; Anthony Kolasny; Lidia Lemke; Agneta M Lindh; Ola Porebska; Maria Laura Scasso; Arevhat Simonyants; Malgorzata Starzynska; Maria Tounta; Samar Tulba; Natasha Vanderlinden; Yaqing Wang; Cynthia Willett; Melody Xuan Zhang ! 
 No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.!

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Cover Art and Illustrations (unless otherwise specified): Magdalena Brzezinska!

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Poznan, Poland!

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27. 11. 2016!


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Foreword!

! The art, poetry and prose published in this volume were created for an international collaborative literary and artistic project; the third one already. The project that ”started it all,” the Linking Words, asked the members to show how words can bind and unite us. The second one, apt to forget to remember, required the participants to respond creatively to the topic of memory and remembering. This time, they shared their artistic and literary interpretation of changes. Once again, the project gathered people from all the inhabited continents and all walks of life. Once again, they proved that in this world there is space for us all, and art knows no boundaries, nations, religions or skin color. !

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The title of this volume is a quote from Robert Frost’s ”The Road Not Taken.”!

Magdalena Brzezinska!

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! ! Echoes of the Past

! Morning spring breeze ! Slithers through the open window! A smell of grass freshly mowed! Like Aladin’s carpet! She is now eleven years old.! The window now has wooden shutters! Reminders of safer times! When she could open her casements wide! And greet a passerby.! Same soul inside a body! Trapped, same as now! And yet…! That body stubbornly grows! Grows to an awkwardness ! Useless efforts! To stop it! Conceal it! And Yet…! No signs of decay! That body is the same! Or so they say! For her…! No trace is left behind! That body stubbornly shrinks! Echoes of the past! Is she both! Or…! Is she none?!

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María Laura Scasso, Argentina July 2016!


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! Yerba, Agnieszka Jankiewicz, Poland

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This Time, Madrid Eyes Hurt,! Hearts Stare,! Paralyse,! Terror Strikes! Heads Contemplate,! Gory Images,! Too Real!

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The Layman Wonders! Whose Turn Next Time?!

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María Laura Scasso, 2004

Involution Inviting delicate china! Leaves at the bottom of the snug! Fat bottom waiting,! Silent witnesses ! Of the legendary rite.!

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Breakers, mighty against the stoic rock! Uncontrollable power with the tide! Selfish sea! Oblivious to all suffering! Once and again! Pounding, hurting.!

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Tea leaves, silent eyewitnesses! Of this handed down poignancy! Rendering a stronger concoction,! Gaze,! While this daughter,! Frail inside,! Dissolves,! Swallowed in a sip! Of the mother’s! Power.! July 2016

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María Laura Scasso, Argentina


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Mate, Agnieszka Jankiewicz, Poland

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! ! ! ! ! ! ! Promise of Time

! Just as all are bestowed a glowing moment! on the beach of life’s flowing foment,! so are we.! ! How quickly we understand the reality! of non-discriminating mortality,! in time’s changing sea!!

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Cynthia Willett, USA







! A wind or a wave, or a want?

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What is change? A wind or a wave, or a want? I want change. I won’t change. Does change happen to us, come upon us, or do we ourselves set the intention for change and make it happen? Can we stop change, can we force it? Should we let life happen to us and trust that the change we need comes? And is there anything that is a constant in change?!

We are forever in flux. The world around us evolves as an effect of our actions, our drive for progress in that which holds up our daily lives and every day we invent or bring forward something new to better those lives. In the material world the force might be gain and fame, a shell of man that is a mirage of change. Science asks questions, solves problems and prolong our lives saving and restoring our physical bodies, who are in constant change. Technical science puts us in a position where we strive for a change that makes us want more, and in the end, get too much? !

Is it time that changes us? Time doesn’t change in itself, it tick tock forwards, a man made construction. You can only change yourself. And here we have to free ourselves from the world around us and look inward to what matters to our souls evolution. Spend some time in solitude and think about what has changed you, what in yourself that has changed. In essence, we stay the same, I think, and things happen to us that makes us use what is constant to find ourselves and see the riches of life because of or in lack of - Change. The smallest thing that happens to us can have the biggest impact. Does it change us? I don’t know. But you get one more piece to the puzzle of The Constant, what I would believe is, feelings. !

We love, we hate. We are happy and sad, jealous and forgiving. We are trusting and mistrusting. We deceive on purpose, and we are helpful to others. These feelings we share as humans and they are what connects us, why we can all relate to the same piece of theatre or music and feel the same. Of course life’s circumstances gives us all different references but essentially we laugh and cry at the same things.


! ! And then comes Change. Sometimes coming slowly. Sometimes thrust upon us. An act of terror, the loss of a loved one. Sickness, the loss of a loved one. In love, the loss of a loved one. And love, finding it. A friend, finding one. A life, finding meaning. Finding meaning from change that will not alter us but add to the experience of being human. You cannot change how you feel, but how you feel will make you handle change, moreover how you react to change and how that makes you feel. !

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What is change? A wind or a wave, or a want? ! Agneta M Lindh, Sweden

Photo by Agneta M Lindh 


! ! CHANGEDNESS

! I am the dreaded! tool of time! the welcome wind of turn.! A shift in mind! for better times! with purpose done for gain.! The Saviour of weary souls! but feared by those! who lives,! in woeful sorrow ! left behind! life’s meaning yet to find.! Thus softly speaking! in my truth! from shadows and from light,! the choice is yours! to fill the space! and praise the worth of life. !

! Agneta M Lindh, Sweden

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Photo by Agneta M Lindh



! Retirement: A Love Story

! Having spent 40 years of life together, my husband and I experienced many changes, such as the birth of our children, grandchildren, career changes, living in different places, but nothing prepared us for the challenges of retirement. ! Our lives had become very independent, after the children had grown and left home. We both focused on our careers. We ate a late night dinner together, and shortly thereafter, retired to sleep. You can just imagine the shock to find ourselves suddenly plunged into one another’s company 24 hours, 7 days a week. I would stay up late reading in bed because I didn’t have to wake up early to go to work any more. This annoyed my husband who liked to go to sleep early. He would awaken with the sun, making lots of noise such as the clanging of the dry dog food as he poured it into the large metal bowl. ! Later, I would try to practice my clarinet only to find him practicing his banjo, using the same music stand we shared. All day and night, we kept bumping into one another. I thought the best way to cope with this was to leave him alone in the house and meet friends. I had promised so many people we would meet when I retired. I made lunch dates, tea dates, walking dates and theater dates with my friends. I was rarely home. ! One day, when I returned from meeting a friend, I found my husband sitting sadly on a chair outside, just staring ahead. He sighed when he saw me and said, “ You are always so busy. I thought that when we both retired we would be able to do things together and enjoy each other’s company.” He wasn’t angry, just so sad.! It hit me like a ton of bricks. He was right. I was trying to recreate our old life together where we both worked and only saw one another at dinner or on the weekends. Running to meet friends and make dates, I forgot about my best friend, my husband. From that day on, things changed. I realized that retirement was such a wonderful opportunity to renew our relationship, to become closer, to enjoy life together, to remember why I fell in love with him all those years ago.!

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! We compromised on those late night/early morning times. I didn’t read in bed and he poured the dog food the night before. I bought myself a music stand and set up a different room to practice in. We found interesting places to visit together during the week. We ate occasional lunches out. We still maintained independent lives, pursuing different interests, but made sure not to do that every day. ! I realized that retirement meant the opportunity to court one another again without the pressures of a career or children. We could hold hands and stroll along a river, hike a beautiful forest trail, explore a quaint village. With minor changes of lifestyle, we learned to lovingly share our lives together.!

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Judy Ana Gutlerner, USA 


! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Keenly they know, ! how things go. ! Carpenters, plumbers, ! construction workers, ! constantly building, ! reconstructing, ! illusions of permanence. ! Nothing but change.!

! ! ! Anthony Kolasny, USA

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One Day of My Town, Yulia Ivanova, Russia


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A bench

! An empty bench in the park is surrounded and covered with yellow and green leaves, fallen from the trees. Yellow and green: it's not a simple difference in colour; it's changes happened to the leaves. Not anymore young, beautiful, bright, but old, gorgeous and with a voice. Have you heard how they speak? Under our feet or whirling, dancing, with the wind, they speak, they tell us their stories. ! The bench remembers a lot of stories. It has seen a lot of stories.! It has seen smiles... sincere, shy, selfish and sarcastic. It has seen tears, deep and meaningful silence. It has seen kisses and solitude.! Morning. The bench is wet after the night rain, cold and lonely. Though yesterday it was under the sunshine, cosy, inviting people to sit down on it. ! Midday. It’s raining again. The bench embraces a person sitting under the rain without an umbrella, and both the bench and the person are crying, she with her own tears, and the bench with the raindrops. ! For two hours the bench turns into a stage for a short performance of life, culminating in a quarrel with another person with an umbrella.! Evening. The bench holds an umbrella, without people and without rain.! Night. A hungry and frozen dog tries to shelter himself from the strong wind and rain under the bench.! Dawn. Morning again. New people around, new stories are told, new mood from the weather. !

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Day after day the bench sees all these changes in the world around it. Benches are our change stations, witness to the stopovers in our lives. We rush at full speed, changing all the time, but not noticing it. But when we reach a bench, we make a break, sit down and look around, and we see how we’ve changed and how many benches we have met on our way. Near that one you played when you were a child; on that bench you read a book of your dreams, basking in the sunshine of your future; on the previous bench you were crying under the rain; on the next bench you’ll find an umbrella.!

Knara Agasaryan, Uzbekistan

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Photo by Knara Agasaryan


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! Shadows in the fire pit! Embers dying low! Heat consumed into the night! Ashes waft below.! Sitting with our fire sticks! Marshmallows in hand! Listening to the noisy frogs! We, a merry band.! Stories told from long ago! Distant memories! Come to life before the flame! Here beneath the trees.!

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! 5/22/15

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Natasha Vanderlinden, USA






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CHANGE This butterfly so nicely pinned! by your reason! still life! may be in it! so breathtaking ! as used to tremble under your breath! Happy ending, isn't it! without broken wings ! helplessly beating about ! the glass that guards ! your candlelit cosiness!

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Quit moans and nagging ! of bloodlust freed! lured into sham Honey of your voice! neither! nuisance! nor mosquito any more! Under your stare! a sheer amber beauty apt to heal! Left alone for the rough sand! due offering! in exchange for ease!

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Beloved once! so spared pleas and tears! iced into ideal! melts meekly into the flow of importancies!

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Once exchanged for ever!

Malgorzata Starzynska, Poland


Ezaw's mole

! Enviable! enlighting! enticing! over the gloom! sunshining treasure! of pure gold ! the guinea.!

! Such a pig ! in short! Just a guinea pig defected by dailyness! Guilty of a sleek swap for sleazy change!

! Such a a shame being! caught red-handed with coppers ! own tight-fisted foe.!

! Changeling or ! not! that stupid neither! Penny wise at least! no doubt! when so penny full!

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while so penny full.!

Malgorzata Starzynska, Poland


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! ! ! ! ! ! ! breaking habits, a metamorphosis! modifying temperament, welcome variance! adjusting attitude, a course correction! transforming personality, a sweet transmutation!

! Rob Howard, USA

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Photo by Malgorzata Starzynska 


! ! The upside down

! The fall is breading the spring,! Flowers are bloomed by the fallen leaves,! Make up the hope.!

! Winter is being waved as you await the fall.! My seeding is reaping in your garden! Color up the surprise.!

! The migrate birds are awake,! fare forth across the Pacific Ocean,! My greeting is on the way to you,! Mark down the miss.!

! Missing is like an invisible hand,! Leading the drifters through the darkness.!

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Come home,! Kids,! When the morning sunlight is dazzling,! Come home.!

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Xuan Zhang, China/Australia

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Art by Yaqing Wang

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! ! ! Experience

! Experience is something very precious,! Experience is something that you need,! For further actions to be cautious ! And for new people you can meet.! You get a little wiser ! Even clever,! Stop trusting people who betray and tell the lies,! But there’s a risk,! Perhaps you’ll never ! Give feelings way go out,! Remembering your old advice. ! So try to live without stable notions,! Experience new things, new ways, new flights.! However, you should know without emotions.! You’ll never feel the joy that makes you fly.! Forget the old and strive your fear,!

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Thus you can see that happiness is near!!

16.12.2014 Arevhat Simonyants, Uzbekistan



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! Photo by Arevhat Simonyants

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! ! Life is what you want

! Life is a furious stream! Blocking its way will be audacious! Life can prove malicious! Transforming a dream into a pernicious nightmare! Escape and abandoning your dwelling is heartbreaking! Seeking for a better environment while scrutinizing the distant horizon! Seems to be the most attractive and irresistible issue! Dreaming of unbelievable success and Chasing out forever the evil reign! Wink your eyes at a brighter future, don’t deceive courage! Embrace this unthoughtfully brighter sky! Exit consciously from life’s dark clouds to develop accurate vision! Welcome the new blue sky and Cling tightly to this miraculous life rope! Study suggests looking right ahead and showing your better profile! Be proud of your achievement and open the door to your own way! To criticise is human, to apologise is education! Work is to socialise, politeness is your personality! Don’t forget you’re special and unique! Tenacity and hard work are your best friends. !

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This is how the transition sensitive young girl to adult suffering changes her destiny.!

Patricia Emilien, New Caledonia

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Art by Fabien Didier

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! ! ! Transformation in Life

! Thoughts of my younger years have me longing for my youth, back when life was so carefree; mistakes easily overcome or forgotten.! Knowing what awaited me in old age was at the time meaningless, with so many years until I reached that point of infirmity.!

! Now I have arrived at the realization that youth has gone by, unable to accomplish the nearly impossible tasks I once performed.! Slowed to a pace taking four-times longer to accomplish simple duties, the realization and acceptance is like a bright sunbeam in a dark dream.!

! Yet knowledge and experience are still my friends, and knowing my limitations provides me with a new and stronger power.! My ability is to transition my life from a fast pace to slow one, to embrace all I’ve learned, to be prepared to master even more.!

! Inevitably death will overcome me; this I am prepared for, while fear is unworthy of even momentary consideration.!

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Instead, I remain positive, my attitude is now my blessing as I look forward to guiding and mentoring the innocent and the naĂŻve.!

Jim Fleckenstein, Atlanta, Georgia United States of America

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Art by Jim Fleckenstein

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! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! She barely recognises herself anymore. There was that point in time when everything was no more the way it had been for ages. When was that? When she all of a sudden realised that the world is far bigger than she thought. She began to see everything with new eyes. Is she happy now? She really doesn't know. All she knows is that she's feeling restless, unable any longer to accept what she has always accepted as "life". This is not life. All is fake. People whom she believed in are helpless children, or clowns. People she used to think of as devils have proven her wrong, or haven't they? Does she love anybody? No idea. What is the point of it all? No idea. Will she be like this forever or is more change awaiting her? ! ! Change is a blessing and a curse. A clichĂŠ? Yes, but so true that she can't stop thinking about it.!

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! Samar Tulba, Egypt

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! Art by Maria Tounta, Greece

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! My journey to the land down under

! Ever since I was little I wanted to be somewhere else. I didn’t know where, I only knew that it had to be far. It stemmed from my quest to find myself in someone else’s head and see if I was still myself. I suspected that if I merely switched minds and bodies from the same environment I would not be able to perceive the difference. It had to be a bold move, into some foreign land and culture.!

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Languages seemed like a vehicle to these alternate states of mind. I was obsessed. One day for my birthday I got an English dictionary, I carried it always with me in case I heard a new word in some song on the radio. I felt the need to know, immediately, even in the middle of study for biology test what that word meant that they sang. Movies with the subtitles were a great source of vocabulary too. I started noticing this strange phenomenon while watching English-language movies: people had different attitudes to life. For example someone gets hit by a car and is asked “Are you alright!?” and it’s enough that they are alive for them to answer “I’m fine..” or “I’m okay”. That was unbelievable. How are they fine and okay!? They almost died! I started looking closer at how people behaved in different cultures and I discovered that some were genuinely happy. That was so unlike our norm of “three evils” as I call them. I observed that in our culture when friends meet and enquire about the wellbeing, it is customary to respond with one of bad things: typically spouse/boss/car problems. Troubles are exchanged and that is the norm.!

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I ran my mental inventory: I am happily married, adoring my newborn baby, car is fine. I have my own place overlooking lake, life is good. Fantastic in fact. Never been better. I have reasons to smile! I started to deviate from the norm, whenever people asked me how I was I would truthfully respond “Fantastic!”, with great enthusiasm too!! That really freaked people out. Panic ensued and frantic “OH MY GOD! WHAT HAPPENED!?” was the most frequent reaction.! I had changed. I did not belong anymore. It was time to move on. !

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3 YEARS LATER! We landed in Brisbane on a hot December day. Plus forty degrees, we left the icy minus twenty of home country behind. The air heavy from humidity and laden with unfamiliar fragrances of summer blossoms. Determined to beat the jetlag we plunged into Australian life. First stop - National Bank – to set up accounts. Waiting for the slow wheels of bureaucracy to turn I observe people. In the queue I notice a guy in a suit, BAREFOOT. I nudge my husband and whisper “Look at that! It’s true! They really walk barefoot here, I thought it was a myth!” !

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We giggle like schoolgirls and it dawns on us, we made it, the biggest change of our lives.! Ola Porebska, Poland/Australia

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! ! ! Photos by Ola Porebska



! Barbecues and Snowmen

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! When I first arrived in Poland in 2005, I had already been through a difficult break up, spiralled to the bottom of the barrel and rediscovered who I really was. But I never imagined the change that was about to take place. These things have a tendency to sneak up on you when you least expect them to. After completing our first day of ‘Surfing on Ice’, we headed back to ‘base camp’ to get cleaned up before heading out for our second night out. The guys tell us to dress up warm because, ‘we’ll be outside’, that’s all they would tell us. I looked out of the window at the heavy snow that was falling, and thought to myself that it’s ok because with that much snow it can’t be lower than -5 or -6c. Our escorts arrive at about 7pm and we climb back into the vehicles. Twenty minutes later we arrive in a small mountain village called Pewel Mała. Our host ‘Bobby’ welcomed us at the gate and invited us into the kitchen for some ‘Polish soup’. He said it will keep your toes warm. Oh well! It was the phrase about nuts and brass monkeys that I was thinking of as we filed into the house. As I enter the kitchen, the first person I notice is an attractive lady (in the movie version of my blog cue the soppy romantic music) that I estimated to be about 26, with dreadlocks that were dyed ‘peroxide’ blond. She was stood behind the ‘soup’ pan filling cups with a ladle and handing these cups to the guys as we went past. The ‘soup’ was steaming hot with fruit floating in it; and smelt suspiciously like a wine and vodka mix. I smiled politely and said I couldn’t as I’m the driver and held up the keys to our mini bus to emphasise my claim. The keys were promptly removed from my hand by a smiling redhead who said she would drive, and a chorus of Poles were saying that I must drink it, as it’s ‘a Polish tradition’. Anyway, it made my eyes water and my toes curl up. But I was quite happy to join the queue for seconds.! We trudged out into the garden with ‘soup’, vodka and beer in hand to see that the pile of fire wood is buried under two feet of snow. Ice man (more on that name later) smiles holding up a can of petrol and says no problem. So with a whoosh and a smell of singed hair lingering in the air, the fire is blazing brightly. !

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! A whole dead animal (yes I’m one of those veggies) was being smoked in the special smoking oven in the garden in our honour. ! The poor thing, one moment it was happily rolling in a pile of smelly stuff, then it was butchered, and all of a sudden it was no longer a pig; but pork. I looked around at all the people, Poles and English alike, salivating at the prospect at devouring pig flesh. (cue soppy music again) But I notice as the melee to get served begins, (I’ve mentioned how the Polish queuing system works in Surfing on Ice) that ‘Blondie locks’ is watching me. She comes over to me and asks why I’m not eating. I told her that I’m a veggie and she smiles brightly and says for once she’s not the odd one out. (Most Poles think that vegetarianism is strange because throughout the communistic period ‘meat’ amongst other things was scarce) She tells me that she has made a cake that we can share, so I’m happy to say that I didn’t leave the party hungry.!

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The vodka was flowing as well as it ever does here in Poland and Blondie locks was asking me what the thing you pull on snow is called, when Darek, our main guide for the holiday shouts that all the English should now go to the front of the house. I was just trying to work out what Blondie locks meant when Ice man said something sternly to her and she said to me that it doesn’t matter. Confused I head out to the front with everybody else to find that the Poles had arranged for a special surprise sleigh ride round the village. It was great fun that ended in a massive snowball fight.!

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We get back into the garden and the fire has burnt down to red glowing embers. I’d been curious for two days as to why Ice man was called Ice man. So I asked him. He laughed and said watch this. He spread the glowing embers of the fire so there was a carpet of ‘hot coals’ that measured about 10 feet (3m) in length. He took his socks and shoes off and proceeded to walk along the carpet of fire. A few of the English were drunk enough to have a go too and said it was fun. I on the other hand like to play with fire but I’m not stupid enough to walk through it in bare feet.!

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P.S 10 years on Blondie locks is now my beautiful wife and we have the three most adorable kids!!

! Paul Brannan, Great Britain/Poland

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Lidia Lemke, Mexico/Germany


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My 27 Years of Happiness,

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Yulia Ivanova, Russia


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Spring She’s looking out of the living-room window and sipping coffee from a mug with Audrey Hepburn. There are foggy mountains in the distance. The air is thick with smog. The living room is quiet, and it smells of mold. !

! She’s pensive.! ! !

Summer She’s looking through the window of a spacious, air-conditioned campus cafeteria at the chipmunks playing in the yard. The cafeteria is busy. It smells of pizzas, pastas and salads. Around her there is a picturesque crowd of young women wearing hijabs, and others, wearing jeans or mini skirts. !

! She’s ready.! ! Fall !

She’s sipping coffee from a mug with Audrey Hepburn and looking out of the balcony window at the beech tree raining leaves. Some of them swirl around before they land on the balcony, forming random patterns. The kitchen/living-room unit is huge and bright, and it smells of fresh paint. !

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She’s pensive.!

Magdalena Brzezinska, Poland



! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! This booklet has been printed, once again, by !

the Printing House of the Vocational Rehabilitation Facility of the Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theater

!

ul. Stefanii Sempolowskiej 13, 43-300 Bielsko-Biala, Poland 


And that has made all the difference  

The art, poetry and prose published in this volume were created for an international collaborative literary and artistic project; the third...

And that has made all the difference  

The art, poetry and prose published in this volume were created for an international collaborative literary and artistic project; the third...

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