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Bewildering Stories

Maria Kontak

Bewildering Stories biography

to Bewildering Stories bibliography

Born into Polish farmlands and rooted up at nine for the journey across the Atlantic, a love affair with languages was born. English, French, Spanish. Then closer to my mother tongue. Russian, Czech, Ukrainian. And German, of course, which completes most Polish pedigrees.

Besides adding more languages, my ride on the human imperative to communicate morphed into two new loves. Psychology, which as an occupation would prove short-lived, and literature, which would gain a firmer footing.

French literature with its measured naughtiness and Russian literature with boundless drama. Probably this love would never have been weaned but for two lucky shadows that flitted into my university landscape: Czeslaw Milosz and Joseph Brodsky.

But sadly, as happens to those among us fortunate enough to have an Arcadian era, mine passed quickly. In its wake, a brutal call demanded that today’s woman must roll up her sleeves and make her mark or at least pay her rent.

The earliest rent checks were banked with irony, on foreign soil that had outlawed banks. There too, in cold-war Russia, I would continue honing linguistic if not literary skills as a stringer-journalist for the western press.

Later, I would develop and test adjunct skills, working as an American diplomat in a broader geography. And still later, I would become a commercial traveler for corporate interests abroad. It was during this phase where the incubation of all that had preceded would take place. Unobtrusively, it had slipped in between fragrant cups of tea and endless haggling over prices of copper and noble metals and even lowly oil and gas.

Why not? After all, since childhood, expressive writing, sometimes artistic, mostly not, had created a sort of fluttering dome above my days. Not with the absolute majesty of the Second or Fourth Day, but even so, my dome rose high, shimmery and seductive.

Yet whenever I jumped up to touch it, the dome would recede, until my own great days arrived and the dome appeared to be drawing closer of its own. It didn’t cave in, but fell softly around my shoulders, cradling me in gossamer threads, seeping warmly towards my right hand and letting me shape those threads into a new fabric cruder but more real to my touch.

Copyright © 2011 by Maria Kontak

Bewildering Stories bibliography

Prose Fiction
Painting Faces
A Very Convenient Affair

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