The Krakow Diaries

75 days in Krakow. On a literary grant from the German Kulturstiftung der Länder. In the Guesthouse of the 16th century Villa Decius, with 10 other writers from Poland, Germany, Belarussia, Ukraine and Georgia. Beautiful city. Nice Krakovians. Fun nightlife. Beautiful women. And in the guesthouse: Meetings of the minds. Too much vodka. Good friends. One of the great pleasures of my life.

Day #74: Wednesday, Nov. 29: Guesthouse Emptying Out For Good

The house is almost empty. There have been many goodbyes, mostly associated with too much vodka much too late at night. There have been many heartfelt promises to keep in touch. Now it's time for me to go too.

What have I learned about Poland?

They use very thin napkins. Their sheets do not cover the entire mattress. The poles are great cooks.

Do I have any regrets?

Yes. That I did not buy a fly strip in the first week.

Has this experience changed me?

Let me see... When I arrived, I was struggling to turn my career from journalism toward book writing and unsure of myself in terms of whether I was really a book writer. In the Villa Decius Guesthouse, something happened. And it happened because of the other writers in the house. They took it for granted that I was a writer, like they took for granted that they were. None of us were all that successful, few of us were very established, we all had different opinions and different ways of looking at writing, but everyone felt like writers and acted like writers.

It may sound strange for a man whose been a journalist for 15 years and has already published two books, but until now I felt like a wanna-be. When I came out of the Guesthouse, I felt like a writer.

Fellow Writers of the Villa Decius, if you're listening: I owe that to you.


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