BOHEMIAN ANTHEM is a loose continuation of FETCHING STRANDED SOUL PIECES, the first volume of short stories. It overlaps in certain themes, embracing mostly individuals who search for their place physically, emotionally, spiritually - this time not as much dreaming, but on foot, in the real world which feels elusive, often nightmarish. The title BOHEMIAN ANTHEM suggests among other metaphoric meanings also the first line of the Czech national anthem: "Where is my home, where is my home ...?"
Excerpt from "SIT DOWN FOR A MINUTE" -
..Mary happened to be a part of this private, somewhat pretentious, busy establishment where she has been staying now for months to survive the time of the big flood by which the capricious gods must have blessed her with for a reason. If Mary was to turn the pages in her life even further back, she’d see a similar pattern of the past periods of ‘successes’ and ‘falls from the favor’ as well: performing on stage, and suddenly washing hallways and steps in freezing cold apartment buildings after her years of engagement was abruptly terminated, because she needed income. Later working with blind children, or with old and sick people which she regarded as a gift however, and always doing a lot of walking, by the way. One really old lady, she used to visit to help cleaning an impossible mess, bathe, and feed her, used to say: “Just sit down for a minute.” There was hardly a place Mary could squeeze her small butt in. Piles of stuff cluttered the whole house: many years old, dusty, brownish newspaper, chimneys of books no one read, scattered bags of food bank groceries her son was weekly bringing in, ancient cans and bags in the cupboards. No one stayed there working for long, so unbearably heart breaking. Aside of Mary’s exhausting work in exchange for ‘room and board’, her current, unpredictable, small income was expected in her bank account from stepping in for sick or otherwise absent teachers of three to five years old ‘little friends’. Big emotions, big mysteries disclosed, tying of shoelaces learned; magical things were happening every day. Mary got to know almost all of the children.
One Hanukah boy would ask which shoe goes on which foot after he’d wake up, then he’d sit on his cot, and took a long time to fit the shoe on his foot, never checking with his eyes what were his hands doing, taking the shoe off repeatedly, and putting it back on, for it just never felt right in there. His ‘elsewhere’ expression told Mary how that elsewhere was important to him, soaking up all of his concentration; the shoes were perhaps supposed to get on by themselves. Gradually, he’d come back in the room, and his eyes would see Mary: “Would you, please, help me?” he’d sigh like Sisyphus.
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Božena Němcová POHÁDKY
Kdo je hloupější/Who Is More Foolish
O kohoutu, kocouru a kose/Cockerel, Cat and Scythe
O bílém hadu
O Slunečníku, Měsíčníku a Větrníku
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