Category Archives: Writing

Turning My Picture Book Into A Novel

In my experience most writers have said that they find poetry hard. They often avoid giving critique because poetry is deeply personal. Styles vary and rules can be broken. On the contrary I prefer to write poetry and the stories I’ve written lend themselves to poetry. They are short and to the point. But am I avoiding things?

Through poetry I can hide my true feelings and beliefs in between double meanings. I often make up stories within the poem, based on people I know and people watching. I get inspiration from my own life as well, but this is deeply hidden.

This has led me to ask the hard question- can a poet become a novelist?

I’ve met different writers- one of which who said she’d never undergo the daunting task of writing a novel. She prefers writing short stories. Is she avoiding hard work or is short story writing, like poetry a different skill set that can lend itself to novel writing?

The challenge of writing a novel is keeping the thoughts in my head and carrying them onto other chapters to connect them. Much like the way I linked the ideas in my picture book from one page to another. After some thought on this, I decided to change one of my picture books into a novel.

Pictures in a picture book tell the details of the story, interpreting in depth what is written on the page. It does some of the work for the reader, and of course this can be interpreted in more depth. I’ve integrated this into a picture story map strategy.

In fact, I have different story maps that work in parallel to each other as the story is told. Because in a novel, one must consider the perspectives of all the characters. It’s exciting because the outcome can vary depending on the attention to detail you give to the characters and the setting, and the choices you make.

This is when feedback is important – what to keep and what not to keep- like a choose your own adventure series. The story can go in any direction. Picture maps make this task easier because I draw sequenced pictures of different alternatives to the story. It’s quick!

I’ve focused on my picture book ‘Colour My Ball’ for my novel idea. (See the clip below.) I’ve used material from my main novel that I’ve been writing for years now and added to it. Originally, it was an adult’s book. Sandra, from WordHugs suggested that it would make a great novel for young people. Can’t recall what age she suggested but it’s lending itself more and more towards young adults.  Establishing the audience is important because this will direct the novel.

It’s tricky… I prefer not to write about the storyline just yet because by doing so might set it in stone. I know why I’m writing it and this is the greatest power that gives it direction. I look forward to publishing it so that I can hold it and read it. It will be like looking into my life and the lives of my family members for the first time.

I’ve been using Scrivener and adding my work to my Fastpencil writing tool, and have found that this works well. I enjoy my time at my favorite cafe when I can write with no distractions. I usually sit at the same table – it’s usually not occupied – and there are other regulars who do the same. Last Sunday I had tears in my eyes after writing two chapters and had an ‘aha’ moment. No one seemed to mind.

Do you have a favorite place to write?

If you’d like to review my novel in its early stages and collaborate on Fastpencil, please click on this link:

Later on in the month, The Frankfurt Writer’s Group  will be reviewing one of my chapters. Wish me luck!

Silent Fruits

The Gift of Appreciation

This is a poem dedicated to inspiration that bloomed from a party, of all places. I haven’t written for a while. Did I drift to laziness? Hibernation? Down on confidence? A mix of these and more? The theme for the night was mirror white and we all dressed in white. Silent fruits relates to the quiet, unnoticed seemingly little things we do for people that are actually quite fruitful. Instead of ‘flowers’ I used fruit, of which stem from flowers. I won’t give too much more away but the fact that love is quiet, unobtrusive and unseen until it touches us unexpectedly. Impressions welcome and a gift.

Silent Fruits

Night rose to meet its bloom

All who played with it subtly died

But you were the exception

White in the garden

Brightening as night rose

You danced among the green

Highlighting the unseen

An elevated smile elected mine

As humble eyes slid to a close

Softly penetrating me to a close

Under the light of the moon

Synchronizing all as night rose


-Maria Grujicic-

The Job I Didn’t Want

I wrote this post before the Christmas holidays and didn’t have the courage to post it. I needed to wait until after the event. It led me to trying to answer the question, Is it possible to write like no one’s reading? Is there an audience for everyone’s work? The several times I tore up a piece of writing after reading it and disliking what I read.. you might relate to. Often we forget ourselves as an audience, and if anyone’s the same, I’m my own worst critique. But why? Lately I’ve been kinder to myself. Lately, meaning these last 2 years or so, and beyond. Imperfectionists if I may invent a word, do make better friends. Though I don’t want to write crap, I have come to an experimental stage of my writing where I’m willing to share my work with the world.

I wrote a post about accepting a job I didn’t want. And to be honest, I was thrilled to have it, but uncertainty lurked. Are these normal feelings of discomfort when the unexpected happens? It makes me sick to my stomach to say that I’ve repeated this decision-making process several times.

A few years ago, namely 8, I left my permanent job for an adventure abroad. I felt sick to my stomach then too, but it was different. Change tends to do that to a person. I may think I’m perfectly fine, and I feel sweaty, tired, and my body reacts to my feelings. Goes to show that we aren’t robots, right? The worst thing about these feeling is that they sink into you every single minute of the day and one has ups and downs, and not knowing if it was the result of accepting something you weren’t sure about was the cause or life being uncomfortable because of change. I then wish with all my heart I could be somewhere else. I start to feel weird and put my emotions to the side! My mind says thank you, I have a job.

I make the most of every job I have and do the right things.  People seem to like that, or perhaps not.. I feel invisible, alone with the small space I’ve made within my job in place of my art. I try and incorporate my art into my job.. Funnily, I’m creative and an excellent teacher but I feel small. I begin a love hate relationship with my job and perhaps with this person outside my box that makes these decisions. I squeeze in every moment left from every given day to relax and write. But this only occurs in my mental state because of limited time, and I feel a pain. Don’t worry, I say to myself, not to worry … this bad dream will be over soon. I just have to sleep, wake up and I’ll have more time on the weekend for everything I want to do.

Is it possible to write like no one’s reading? The cool thing about writing is that you can be anyone. You don’t have to care what anyone thinks because they don’t have to read your writing. You show your real self and life from your art. But the best thing is that people aren’t caring about figuring you out; they have interest in the work that you do and try to relate it to themselves. I know this is a good piece of writing because I’m afraid to publish it. I kept it private and returned to it after the event and then published it with confidence, knowing that I’ve written like nobody’s reading but me.

And why today of all days did I decide to publish? Funny how one event leads to another, revealing bits of one’s self. I don’t tend to reveal all the bits in one go, and wouldn’t do justice in today’s society to do so. How could one really know oneself without exploring the unknown variables? What you are now, is not static and through positive change we find happiness. We never stop learning. But there is one aspect of this learning that I didn’t predict. I spent most of my education tied to a chair. I escaped to find myself in Europe, where I started dance/music/singing and somewhat bordering a career along with my teaching, and after almost 10 years of teaching in Darwin I escaped to Europe and reluctantly came back. I started teaching at a school I was drawn to and didn’t understand why until now. POW! Just like that. I’ll leave that bit of me for another time. For now, enjoy this video, one that I can watch again and again.

My Most Memorable Travel Experience


My two friends and I had an idea to dance in the parks of Paris. But there was a twist. Because of work commitments I could only travel in winter. “We will put on layers of warm clothes, drink wine and tea, and dance to keep warm.” We chatted about as we sorted our costumes and routines. After not having seen each other for a year, we had a lot to catch up on. I lived in Europe for 8 years and left to return home to Darwin, Australia for personal reasons. We’d kept in contact via Skype and I continued to practise the dance moves. Another twist? I could hardly speak German. “French is more important,” Gala insisted. “You are in Europe and you are a dancer!”

At that moment, my heart almost stopped and I took a deep breath to wake up. My living, breathing dream was to be that. And what better place to dance than in Paris! Besides, I had a crash course on French weeks before. Our Bohemian Weekend adventure in Paris was born.

Gala’s apartment in Frankfurt is a beautiful high ceiling old German building. The most memorable pieces were a bookshelf that covered a wall in one of the living rooms that doubled up as a bedroom, dividing the space with a white silk curtain. The large windows and classic white walls gave the sense of more space, and mirrors were placed everywhere in arty ways. A perfect setting that set the mood for Paris that weekend.


The getting there said it all. I was so excited to enter the train and find our seats. Cherishing every moment, of course I had my camera, pencil and pad paper with me. I’d started learning to draw and had some coloured pencils packed in my suitcase that I never used. Oh, well.. next time! Before we knew it, we’d arrived in Paris. I packed much more than usual, because like every woman and dancer, I needed to have a variety of clothes and jewelery to choose from. I stepped out quite awkwardly but found the strength to walk with my luggage in confidence. It is, after all, why suitcases come on wheels!

Upon arriving at our apartment we were greeted by a large beautiful fluffy cat at the counter. “So French,” I thought smiling at the humour. That night, we decided to explore the place where we planned to dance. I had my high black boots on that weren’t the ideal walking shoes for the distances we had to do. I was so relieved to finally arrive, I didn’t mind the dodgy look of the place. It had a charm I couldn’t put into words, possibly because of the colourful lights that reflected on the water.

CYMBALS BY THE SIDE OF THE RIVERI saw many young people, especially men loitering about outside a club, surrounded by walls of graffiti art. It was midnight and dark, but the lively atmosphere reassured me as I began to play my finger cymbals Tak-takka-tak, tak-takka-tak, as Gala joined me with the hypnotic dance. Almost forgetting where we were I was startled by a guy who approached us, asking for a light and wanting to know what we were doing. Another guy followed, and thinking the worst we quickly fled.

3 artists, 3 silent voices walked the living streets of Paris late that night back to our apartment,  wondering what to do the next day.

What impresses me most about Paris is the way it embraces the good and the ugly, opening avenues for self-expression and beauty. Graffiti art and collages of posters were everywhere, encouraging my senses to explore further. My attempts at speaking French were welcomed by beautiful pouts of moving mouths. How do they do it? Everyone is beautiful in Paris because French beautifies their souls and integrates them into the Parisian unique style.

Paris has a place for everyone with quarters that appeal for every taste. Our quarter was accessible to other famous arty quarters such as the famous hill of Montmartre and in the other direction was Moulin Rouge. We placed our food shopping in plastic bags on the ledge outside our apartment window, which we used as our outdoor fridge and went to bed.

The adjacent building from our apartment block with 3 floors was the focus of my wonderings. There’s a dancer in the middle floor. She is not seen at nights because of the reflections by the lights and so she dances alone.” Gala and I exchanged ideas for writing as we got dressed the next day with colourful layers of skirts, pullovers, scarves, and dangly large earrings. “Oh my gosh!” I cried, “I have no more foundation. “Danke liebe Gott,” Gala replied, “that it will do your skin good to have a break.”  PICNIC AT NIGHT BY THE FRENCH PYRAMID

After a long day of preparation we finally arrived at a spot across from the brightly lit Louvre. We chose a tree with a bench surround its trunk, where we made our home for the evening. We were in good spirits as we drank sweet wine and set up the picnic, laughing and joking at the novelty. We had fine cheeses, salad, bread and meats that we ate as we got ready for our performance.

I noticed many men in the distance hanging around looking like shadows but this time I felt safer with just the right amount of traffic nearby not disturb the scene.

Maria Grujicic Dancing In ParisI took my cymbals and danced with the Arc de Triomphe du Carroussel as the beautiful background of the outdoor stage. Later, Gala and Lena also started to dance with hypnotic moves that synchronised and mirrored those of a partner. It felt like I was dancing on air.

Later, we walked a little and came to a  structure that felt like the Arc de Triomphe du Carroussel. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what the name of it was because I was too involved in the moment to care. “How does the Manchegas song go?” Gala asked as she suddenly halted, a cue for me to sing instantly. “Tarralum, tarralum, tarralum, tum, tum,.. My voice rang so loudly that it felt I was waiting for this moment all my life. The voices of my friends followed with echoing sounds that brought back memories of my time in Albacete, Spain. Listen to the song here:  01-Manchegas de Albacete We walked on after we noticed a security camera and took a train over to the river Seine.

We looked for different backgrounds for our dance by the side of the river. First we stopped at some steps and did fun dance poses, taking lots of photos.   I climbed up high on the podium at the bottom of the steps and posed like a dancing statue. Gala wrapped a beautiful red satin scarf around my head that exposed my large earrings and kept me warm. We continued closer to the water, feeling more confident and energetic as the night progressed. We stood on a large wooden plank where the boats dock, making sure we stayed in the middle and not fall into the water. This time, we used our veils to dance to the music from the ipod compact speakers.

The life of people still out and about seemingly pulling us as we walked on, arriving at a bench across Moulin Rouge, a street away from our apartment. We took out the dessert part of what was left of our picnic hamper and some hot lemon tea, sat quietly and people watched.

It wasn’t until later I realised I lost one of my finger cymbals that must have dropped by the side of the river. Losing a piece of dance accessory means a lot to me because of the history attached to it. Nevertheless, I got over it and the greatest souvenir of this trip will stay in my head. Words can’t describe the sensations of a weekend French Bohemian life but I managed to keep these by publishing a book, Poems That Touch The Soul. Paris by night is my favourite and the thought of this theme, along with the river and lights, the surrounding shadows of loitering men, I started to compose ideas of the mirror of the night, my poem later to be titled, Glorified Queen Bee which probably encompasses my impression of the weekend of Bohemian Paris.

The next day was our last, and we explored Paris by day.  We bought food from the grocery store which incidentally, was carefully chosen by Gala who was studying to become a naturopath. We walked to the famous hill, Montmartre on our last day to have an outdoor picnic lunch. As we headed towards the river we detoured into different streets, specialty shops, places to eat and a market.  Gala helped me choose earrings, practise makeup with the right shades of colours, a tribal dance costume, and other accessories to go with our tribal fusion and American tribal dance style look, bought at chains of budget shops.

I promised myself upon returning to Darwin, Australia that I will do more dance practice because I tend to write more than I dance. I don’t take learning dance routines as seriously as I possible should, or to be kinder to myself, I’m forced to prioritise because of lack of time, and so I fluke the steps and improvise, relying on my reflexes and natural instincts. Gala believes that it is more important to have graceful dance technique and natural style than know the steps. ;) This trip taught me the value of stepping-stones and the giant leaps that are possible by travel because through travel I have gained perspective. Perspective is what helps me see my progress and ways I can improve. My Paris trip didn’t go totally to plan. Certain things happened that could have turned out better but it was a way forward to better things.

Now, I keep positive and hope to one day return to Europe and continue my life there. Until then, I’m enjoying the moments I have.  Perhaps my luck will turn and I win this competition, and relive my dream for 6 months of my dancing in Europe. Look at the link here if you’d like to vote for me. A career in education was how I kept focused and justified my travel addiction over the 8 years abroad. “Just one more country,” I told myself. From London to Madrid, to Albacete, then Frankfurt. Finding another job in a different city was as easy as a click of a button on the computer at the local internet café and a phone interview.

“Yes, I speak very good German,” I lied. I was learning at the local school of languages but it would never be enough. And so I found myself in the most unlikely place, Frankfurt, Germany! Throughout my experiences abroad, I have always incorporated dance in everything I did but was always disappointed in myself for not starting at a younger age. It was just a few years ago upon making friends with Gala when my writing matured and realized that in belly dance age is not a barrier and in fact an advantage.

To be honest, I don’t really need this competition to find myself back in Europe. I can do this in time, but I wanted to enter because I think it’s a cool way to express myself and my passion for travel. Little excuses for travel transformed into unique, memorable experiences. A glass of wine in Paris or a tea in London and a why not try a different city, learn the guitar in Spain, another language, and getting totally lost in a big city, pursued me to places I may not have experienced with a travel guide.

Once a traveler always a traveler. In fact, my mind is always traveling because I’m the ideal dreamer. I can create anything from nothing everywhere I go because inspiration is inside me.  A traveler can be anyone, and once abroad, of course you then become one! The crunch is that my experiences changed me forever and I can’t remember the person I was. It’s like I disappeared!

Before heading overseas for the first time, I spent weeks packing and unpacking. You might know the scenario.. taking stuff you probably won’t need but taking it anyway. Comfort stuff like maybe a teddy bear memento, a favourite inspirational book to keep you going, a comfort blanket, and enough toiletries to last for months. How things have changed…

Bohemian Weekend Adventure In Paris

Tears for a rainy day photo

Gala Yakovleva is my dance teacher and good friend who lives in Frankfurt, Germany. We met through our belly dance classes with a teacher named Soriah and even though we were dancers belonging to the same group, we didn’t talk much. I didn’t speak a lot of German and I was quite shy.

One night, after a few years dancing, Gala announced that she will be starting a new dance class of Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style. I was keen to try a different dance class that would compliment what I was already learning. What begun as a dance class on Saturdays turned out to be something of an artistic performance creation, of which I found inspiration for my writing that I had only just begun that year.  Everything started to fall into place as I wrote as I danced, and I discovered new things about myself that I wasn’t aware of.

Have you ever felt in your heart that you really wanted to do or be someone who was so simple to the eyes of others, but was too shy to do it?

I love to dance, and have so all my life. I feel I was born to dance, but I never pursued it professionally. I’ve done other things and continued my search for the unknown. I even traveled abroad and stayed in Europe for 8 years searching for a career in education and other things… But why not dance?

Upon reflection I think I felt that because I didn’t start as a girl, it was too late for me to do it. Why do I call my passion a hobby, when I wait until the end of my work day, just to rush home, to nothing else but write and dance? I’ve settled for a teaching career, which isn’t bad, I’m a great teacher, but the truth is, that teaching spoils my spirit, my passion for life, because to me, the greatest teacher is life itself. And as a girl I wasn’t able to pursue my passion at school. My parents didn’t understand, and I was pretty much a dreamer the rest of my life.

And so I felt grateful that I found my friend Gala, who understood me and guided me and a handsome, supportive, loving husband, I found my dream in Europe. But there was one problem. Because of personal reasons, I had to return home to Australia. I left my dream behind. But I have kept in contact with my good friend Gala, and she keeps up my strength by swapping ideas and inspiration.

Gala taught me the connection between life and dance, and the inseparable nature of the two. I learned Tribal Fusion and American Tribal and ballet in dance. Last winter,  early January 2013, I went to Germany to see Gala for 10 days. We went to Paris with another dance friend, and led a weekend of Bohemian Lifestyle. Gala especially chose the food and wine at the grocery store. We prepared our banquet outdoors and because of the cold winter, we dressed in layers of warm clothes. We danced by the lights of Paris by night. I took photos and wrote ideas for poetry, philosophy, costume making, and went shopping for jewellery and make up.

The photos in my book were taken of Paris and dance classes in Frankfurt, Germany, reunited once again with my dance friends. I miss Gala and the other dancers, but I will always visit and have this wonderful book to remember the moments with them.

I learned many things about myself on my European adventure, including the conclusion that a true dancer, dances anywhere and any time. It was crazy, it was fun and we did it in Paris! I learnt to surrender to my dream, and this is a lesson that perhaps we all need to learn. Sometimes perhaps we deny ourselves our true dream because we are afraid, lack belief, or conditioned to believe that it can’t be true. Perhaps we may even sabotage possibilities with negative self talk in fear of failure.

Now that I’m back home, I am more determined to pursue my dream. & I’m sure of only one thing..that it can only bring truth, which I believe is the key to happiness. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I feel like I’m enclosed in a small space and cannot do what I truly want, and am surrounded by fast paced activities of nothingness. But when I start to dance, and write, nothingness disappears and I begin to see purpose for my life. If this can happen for just even a glimpse of a time in my day, I can truly be happy.


Sometimes we need to step away from our immediate surroundings for all to become clear and find truth. This is true for myself. It is how I came to write my poems as I realised my subconscious love and passion for dance. My varied life experiences at home and abroad led to self-discovery and a realisation of a life of dance that I have always led that relinquished my disappointment of lack of pursuit.

Life is dance, and without dance there is no life, and love for these are inseparable.

I’m a dancer and poet at heart. Two inseparable art forms, one soul. “Poems that touch the soul & don’t adhere to the pattern of life”, refers to a nomadic lifestyle that lends itself to reach the unexplored self. This is an art form, one of its kind because it can dance and has always danced. It unites strongly through poetic philosophy that delves into ethical boundaries, aesthetics, education and love. A concept that encompasses and revolutionises a soul. It becomes true in its purest sense as every word put to paper is felt by my heart and a last breath celebrates creation.

You may want to delve into this book from the end to the beginning or read a few poems in no particular order. They will still retain their sequence because they don’t adhere to the pattern of life. Each poem makes a connection to the soul in different ways and this is what brings the poems together as one.

Poems That Touch The Soul & Don’t Adhere To The Pattern Of Life

Maria Grujicic:


Upon waking up today I started thinking of a quote
my subconscious made and I wrote.
Last night I used this quote
as the subtitle of my next poetry book.

Upon waking up, it occurred to me that people may not understand it or perhaps misinterpret it, and I discussed it with my husband. Upon doing a quick internet search we bumped into a video showing a pattern on a screen that moves in a predictable way.

I searched again, and I bumped into this article a blogger posted, that seemed to answer the subconscious questions I had about my poetry. These are the ones I don’t use words to ask. They stay in my mind because they belong to my feelings.

It’s interesting how easily people repress their emotions. Such an allowance is not good for the soul, and thus answered my question again. I must trust my feelings. I wanted to use my quote because it is a personal belief that comes from my subconscious, the way my poems do. My soul needs this avenue to allow my soul to breathe. It is the one place I don’t have to adhere to the pattern of life. Hence, the subtitle of my poetry book.

“subconscious editor for such vigilance” is a quote from the guardian that made me think about the way my emotions and subconscious self edits my poems. And I recall commenting just yesterday in response to Frederick, a friend from my Poems That Dance Facebook page, that I wouldn’t want an editor to edit my words. It would be like editing my emotions and pulling myself apart.

As a teacher, I regard myself a poet and dancer first. I feel that people, like myself, are misled into thinking one must be perfect in an art to announce what and who they believe they are. The place your passion is, is you.

I love this quote from the guardian. If you’re a teacher or/and a parent, and/or poet, you will too!

“I don’t think kids need to learn whole poems to acquire the lines that will matter and mean most to them – the idea behind the recently launched Poetry by Heart campaign – they just need people who love poetry around, teaching it and reading it and being unafraid to be messily moved by it in front of them. These are some of the bits of poetry I’m made up of. Which are yours?”

Have a wonderful day.


Originally posted on Greatpoetrymhf's Weblog:

See on Scoop.itPoetry for inspiration

The Guardian (blog)
How strong emotion summons poetry
The Guardian (blog)
I have seen the sun break through / to illuminate a small field / for a while, and gone my way / and forgotten it.

See on

View original


Mentally close
Physically far
from what it is
that you are
I feel what it is
It’s surrounding me
I absorb the sound
A sense
Because it is uniquely true
Of losing all that I have
Persists and eats me alive
I wanted to be there
But I wasn’t available

A poem to soothe the soul
By Maria Grujicic
Copyright 26/2/2013


Impressions of Europe & My Art

My ideals are challenged, I’m not the mature person I thought I was. I’m in Europe. I ponder on a place where I can be alone, but not lonely. I put myself in that place. But it doesn’t quite work. I seek approval upon every stage of my life. I reject notions of my inadequacy, regroup and fight for another day. I’m in Europe, the mirror that plays with my self concept and my image. How have I grown after being away for a whole year, my friend?

I search back on my art, my past up until now and I see that I did well not to rush too much. I did a lot and I see the products of these but now I am very different. Imagine if I’d rushed, I would see more of these flaws that represent stages of growth. I would laugh at myself then curl up and die. But no, I created just enough to represent myself at a given space of time.

Art is like an anecdote of an expression in a given time. If I do it, I can look back on it perhaps and wonder who it was that did it.. like it wasn’t the person I am now. If I didn’t do it, it is like losing this part of myself that once was. One must if they are an artist, there is no why. And now I juggle this thought as I write, wondering who I am and who I will become, what will I be thinking when I read back on this piece of writing.

I’ve often stated that travel gives me a sense of perspective. But this is only valid for the present time. The future will forget because of its irrelevance and will then make up some other story, and I would have forgotten all that I did. But the feelings will stay strong and I will yearn to have these again. I will want to return again. And my anguish when I can’t, will then become the inspiration for my writing, my art, the way I see the world. It is the part of Europe I take with me, and it becomes a part of me. But this is false, Europe is my friend.

I have written a novel and I continuously go back to it and change it, but it doesn’t work. This is my anecdote in a particular place in time. The time I was in Europe. It’s hard to write about a lifetime, and I did it in the best way I knew how. I wrote it like a dance, reflected in a piece of writing that is much like a poem, that jumps from moment to moment without one realizing, and expresses emotions and not compact events. I think about whether anyone would want to read it, and cringe at the thought. It’s not really for an audience. I don’t think they’d get it or perhaps they’d be bored by it, think it outdated. Who knows. But I want it to be available, just so that this part of me, is preserved because it was so beautiful. I can hear the words in my mind.

My past writing is like a mirror I don’t want to look into at first but when I do, I am pleasantly surprised. I can’t imagine doing it all again. It would be impossible, and it wouldn’t be the same. And how wonderful to look into it and play!


A Book & A Disguise

A book
Small and intimate to my life
I remembered it
Renewing my curiosity
& the vibe of philosophy
Made practical
With a book
& a handy disguise

By Maria Grujicic

This is a poem which is part of my collection in my latest book,
Poems That Touch The Soul

An Anonymous Star

But know what it is in your mind
This is the key to unleashing
the wretched disguise of patterns
in daily life
I write and keep writing
This is what will remain of me
after I die
With a set of clues
Only to anonymous eyes
I place my soul in my own heart
& I will always have you
When I feel the rays of the abundant stars
Your words will always live in my head
Your body and mine will always be
This is the love I have
for an anonymous star

By Maria Grujicic Copyright 2012

I’d like to introduce you to a Serbian singer named Toma Zdravkovic. An unknown, Toma Zdravkovic started singing in a pub. You know the kind, a smoky room full of people, entertaining them while they drink, smoke, chat, laugh.

Memories of The Last King of The Pubs

He was inspired by women, alcohol… He grew up in a very poor village and started singing ay 15 years old. Because of poor and bad life he decided to go and move to a town close to his village. Frozen on the street he came across a female singer, Silavana Armelvic who took him to a pub close by the street. Afterwards he went to a town called Tuzla and he spent 5 years in one hotel making the party room full every night.

Afterwards a friend brought him to Belgrade and he got a job. He met his first wife in Novi Sad and he had one daughter. He got a divorce. His first love sent him a telegram in a hotel in Novi Sad that she was very sick in Bosnia. He decided to spend time with her up to her death. After that he wrote a song called Buket Belih Ruza, in English Bouquet of White Roses…..

He had cancer and the doctors told him he had only a few years to live. After I learned of him, the words of his life touched me so deeply, a sadness crept up on me. Why didn’t I know of him sooner? Why didn’t I experience his magic? But a reply in my conscience realized his soul lived on by the words he left behind. The video alone one can view and sense the atmosphere that radiated through his charisma, his voice was like a touch that said all will be all right if we can live this remaining life together.

Toma Zdravkovic said in an interview that the pub was the place for his performances because it was like a theatre. A unison of famous people joined with him at this pub, entertaining. Watch them in the video. He was an unknown, an anonymous star, he touched their soul, and he expected nothing more from that but another night of the same.

At the end of the night after everyone left he found some unknown to give all his earnings to. Incredibly it took him 15 years to produce his album. 15 years battling cancer, and other challenges life brings,  he wrote all his own songs. He felt humiliated performing at first, he was laughed at in his first performance because he was so shy. About 5 per cent of the world population knew about him, people in a pub who loved him. He carried on and after 15 years he produced his album and he was on TV, and shortly afterwards he died of the cancer that he battled up to that point. I was further touched to find out that he had cancer of the throat.

I dedicate this poem to Toma Zdravkovic. The man I never met but touched my soul. His story alone, his music, his stance, the emotion in his eyes that he pulls away, seemingly hidden away, touching souls by his voice, his music. My poems are designed to touch a soul, to reach the unknown, not to reveal the mystery of life, rather, be immersed in it. At times I give up. I had a spell of not writing for months, but after some soul-searching with Toma Zdravkovic I was presented by an answer.

There are those that battle to be rich and famous, and those that battle each day just to do what we love. Give me a chance of another life again and again, and I’d choose to pursue my passion.

The story is based on word of mouth because I don’t understand the Serbian to interpret his interview. If some details aren’t correct or if you have more information about Toma Zdravkovic please let me know. The poem is part of my new poetry book titled, Poems That Touch The Soul.


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