Countdown to the first self-published novel: 9 – Little March

The countdown continues. NINE.

The process:

It was easy to decide what to quote this month. We have a tradition in Moldova, to give small talismans to friends and family on the first of March, which symbolize love and friendship and how everything is entwined in life. But the curious thing is that without a hint from my editor, I would not have much to quote on this. I got the corresponding edits yesterday and found that I did write about this tradition by naming it but not by explaining what it actually is. I was very grateful that my editor pointed the places, where such explanation and description would suit best. And as per magic, my fingers started moving over the keyboard and composing the scene. See below.

It is incredibly wonderful that we have prompts for creativity everywhere. We just need to see or feel them. And if we don’t see but need to, then life will make us see them anyway. And sometimes, it does it quite gently, in form of a kind advice from a good friend.


This is a quote from Chapter 27. As mentioned above, it is about Moldovan tradition of Mărţişor. The whole book including this chapter, but except the prologue, is written in the first person from the point of view of the protagonist, Misha Ikizli, based on my father.

Most of this quote as not edited yet. So, please disregard any apparent failures.


Zina glanced at me briefly and then looked out again at the shady veranda. “Only a few weeks before, Ion and I had been in Tiraspol buying red and white wool for the Mărţişori. It was almost time for the children to start making them for their teachers and friends.”

I nodded. I remembered well how we would all sit together braiding red and white threads into strings, then making little men and women or flowers out of the same wool, binding these to the ends of the red and white strings, and finally making a small bow on each of those strings. How we gave these little Marches, these special little talismans, to each other on the first day of March. How we made wishes, when we bound them to tree branches on April first. And how our teachers had a whole display of Mărţişori decorating the left sides of their jackets and sweaters through the whole March. Mărţişor from every child had its place of honor on a teacher’s cloth.

Misha used to hide when he was making one for me. He wanted it to be a surprise. I always made small pompons out of the wool before binding them to a white- and red-braided string.


Note to the scene above: Misha mentioned in the scene is Misha Fiodorov, one of the best friends of Misha Ikizli at the orphanage.


1) Some Mărţişori, I made this year. 2) A pompon Mărţişor, I made last year. The idea to make it came from remembering my father’s ability to make perfect pompons. 3) You can see for yourself on the third picture with me in a jumper knitted by my mother and pompons made by my father. My father took me shortly after we came back from Algeria in 1982 to a photo studio to have this picture taken. Wishing all wonderful March and spring!


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