Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A ja tobie chcialbym dac, troche inne kwiaty..

Lyrics to a Polish song... they mean: me, I would like to give you slightly different flowers... Why is this in my head? Why am I playing this record right now (yes, it’s a record, scratches and all)? Because, as I wrote on the week-end, today is Woman’s Day, widely celebrated in Poland with gifts of flowers (oh, that ubiquitous red carnation!). March 8th is irrelevant in this country. No flowers for me, unless I pick some up myself. Or bring up this photo from a Madison summer market. For all of us who would enjoy seeing these on our kitchen tables/counters today:
On March 8th (because just about everyone likes getting flowers), for you. Posted by Hello

A new thread: the ragged life of a blogger

When I post something, even with anonymity, about someone who reads Ocean, I am filled with trepidation and anxiety. Not the sort that leads me to worry: what if I got it all wrong? I am smug enough to think that I did not get it all wrong – at least not from my own perspective here, behind the screen at Ocean. But what if they think I got it all wrong? What if they think that the light I cast on them is more like a menacing, mystical shadow, a malefic caricature of how they would have described themselves, or the event?

If you send a book to press, there is no going back. An author is not obligated to post an erratum with the second printing (assuming that the revelations are so fascinating that the masses are entertained and there is a second printing) – something to the effect: “the incident described on p. 145 does not in any way indicate that I indeed find Mary’s ratatouille tasteless. I do not.”

But in the blog, it’s different. I have had the occasional email from friends, family members, colleagues – ranging from mild annoyance to outrage at posts that have appeared on Ocean. From: I don’t remember it being that way, to you take that God damn post down or else! Once, only once, did I cower and oblige.

Since I’m not a ranter, the likelihood of offense is small. You’d think. So why is it that I sweat it out each time I hit publish?

An hour over chili

The bowl of chili is hot, the corn bread straight from the oven, the salad crisp and full of cut up fresh vegetables. The talk falls to Paris. And then to Poland. And to the generations that lived before us there. The ones that endured the shifting borders, who, rather than feeling displaced, developed a fierce allegiance to the concept of nationhood. And to those living there now, willingly (for the most part) falling into step with the EU even though, at some level at least, it must run counter to the concept of nationalism (maybe it's time). And those to the west of Poland, those who tampered with the border and on whose economy Poland now depends.

And about somewhat shabby hotels with relics from the past, tied to that past, trying to keep pace with the demands placed on them by people like us, with our computers and finicky demands for freshness and crispness (I have them too). And about stores filled with merchandise, proudly displayed, in excess of what any family (except for a handful) can afford. About the crowds filling a square that has cafĂ© tables spilling over one another, so that there’s hardly room for the pigeons (which may be a good thing, if you ask me).

And now I am drifting back, scanning the place, noting the stalls of flowers – so many flowers! Who are the recipients of all these flowers? And the trumpeter is out doing his hourly number at the top of the tallest of the two church towers…

So you’re really coming to visit this spring? -- I ask.

Yes, wouldn’t miss it for anything.