Monticiano

Maybe it will all be okay

Today celebrates my mother. You really should get to know her.

People say that we grow to become our parents, boys grow into fathers, daughters grow into moms. Am I lucky in that regard! This is what awaits me:

She loves bestia, to read and to make others happy (that car race must have been really the last thing she wished to see but it was my birthday).

There is much more about her, though. Not only she must be the oldest Slovenian rapper (here in my old, “skater” shirt),

she also writes poems. Here is one from her first collection of poems for children, illustrated by Mina Fina and published in Slovenian:

Kaj delajo fantje v vrtcu
by Meta Maksimovič

Tine mi meče drobtine
iz bližine,
Vito me vleče za kito
kadar jem pito.
Zvone mi krade bonbone
in skriva balone.
Samo me suva v ramo,
ko se igramo,
Rok me spravi v jok
ko mi vzame sok.
Le Dado ima lepo navado,
da nosi mi čokolado.

Illustrated by: Mina Fina

I translated it into English because I would really like for the whole world to enjoy her poems (another one is here, soon the translations will make a book as well). Now it sounds like this:

What boys do in preschool
Translated by Manja Maksimovič

Fred, you throw pieces of bread
On top of my head
Nate, you’re pulling my braid
When the table is laid
Boon, you hide my cartoon
And blow my balloon
Zak, you push me in the back
When we play in the shack
Sly, you make me cry
When you steal my pie
Just Clyde is so very polite
He gives me chocolate, I bite.

And this is what I could add (hippies, like partisans, will NEVER die out, no matter how others count on old age to do them in):

Maybe it will all really be okay, mom. Imagine that! I’m happy that you like what I did to your poem. Wishing you a happy heart (and many more heart-shaped stones that you collect and can be seen on the top photo), a peaceful soul and calm sea. Happy birthday!

Photo: MM & BM (last)

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My blog is one year old

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.

These are four of my favourite photos that have not been published yet. This one is Flying Carpet, in Monticiano.

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.

Domestic Bliss, in Porto Ercole

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.

Looky here, in Orvieto

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.

Beside own writings I have here several own English translations of famous Slovenians who probably have no idea that I have done them, but this is better than have them complain 😀

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.

Magliano selfie with uncle’s arm

Photo: MM

Thank you to everybody who have somehow managed to find your way over here despite. And I hope you are well fed.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

FeMaleficent

We watched Maleficent last night (in which the classic Sleeping Beauty tale ends with an inefficient kiss by the prince, she is only awaken after being kissed by Angelina Jolie). As it was ending, I whispered to amore: “See, they are slowly doing away with men.” The role of men is being removed from the fairy-tales. Kind of like partisans from Slovenian history.
19-10-14 077

Not so peaceful war victim memorial in Monticiano + the one remaining Slovenian partisan.

Photo: MM