It was on this day one year ago that I settled on the Volkswagen-looking sign (above left), chose my profile photo and published my first blog piece ever.
It is not an easy piece but it’s quite symbolic. Not symbolic of my blog, which I do my best to keep upbeat, but of my original country. It concerns a certain escaped lynx and what happened to her. As for me, I’m still roaming wild.
It is rather strange to be me and have a blog. I don’t feel like advertising. I don’t strive to make myself seen. I joined Facebook a mere month or so ago for the first time and now at least my posts are published there as well.
It’s rather like when I was travelling in Greece, around the Peloponnesus and several islands. In more touristy places the restaurant owners were loud and obnoxious, it’s true. They were also quite slick. I remember one of them, standing at the entrance to his restaurant. His game was trying to determine the origin of each group of tourists before they reached his place, and then barely audibly uttering a name of a sportsman from this country. In our case it was Jure Zdovc (basketball player), perfectly pronounced. And this is how he got us to chew on his mediocre calamari.
Another example is the lady in a restaurant in Ljubljana, Slovenia (it was Brinje, for the locals). She had just served my family and me an entire lunch full of national dishes and we were ready to start emitting Slovenian after-meal noises, which are so perfectly described by Mr. Michael Manske (his radio programmes on How to Become a Slovene deserve a special entry).
When she asked us whether we wished any dessert, all of us started to plead incapable of swallowing anything more. She smiled and already turned to leave but then turned her head a little and whispered almost audibly: “We’ve got strawberries.” Guess what followed.
I took this approach at the time when I was selling my mom’s book of poems for children at a fair. The fair was full of toys and this was what most of the kids were interested in. I could see how they looked away as soon as they saw books. And yet, the stall next to me was occupied by a highly successful, cute and productive book seller who put a child or two in her lap and her first question was: “Do you like to create?”, while her aid, dressed as Noddy (hugely popular cartoon and book character), took care of attention-drawing.
I stood there, with one single book on the stall, looking at all the passing children and thinking things over. Then I started to whisper at the passing parents: “We’ve got poems!” At least three fathers bought the book.
And it is not because the book was somehow not worthy. It is one glorious book, if I say so myself, and my plan is to translate it one day and see what the world thinks. Because in Slovenia people love it, children love to learn the poems by heart and colour in the illustrations (provided by Mina Fina) which have been left in black and white for this purpose.
The point is that I prefer the tactics of the restaurant owner on the island of Karpathos, just to the right of Crete, where I had dinner every night for one week years ago. The most memorable meal consisted of a calamaro – yes, in the singular – because one specimen was so huge that it covered the entire plate.
Nobody stood at the entrance there, they were too busy serving. The guests were not tourists but rather locals, and the permeating emotion was that of quiet pride: “Nobody is forcing you to eat here but when you do, you will be served excellent food and you will want to return.”
In this way I have been quietly waiting for a year to see what will happen, but also not really waiting since I put here stuff that I wish to see myself. To have it at a ready.
A few times it happened that a single piece gathered much more attention than normally: one time it was a poem by a Slovenian politician that did it, another time a writing site decided to use my entry with a poem by Tomaž Šalamun as a teaching aid and I still have people flocking over on account of it. Thank you, Tomaž, for writing it.
I have here plenty of own photographs which I can only hope nobody is stealing – but if you do, watch out, Karma is off and running!
I have here birthday wishes for my family and friends, and now we can start the year again and slowly repeat them.