In the beginning was the Word… and it has remained the most powerful medium one could ever imagine. A conversation gives us the opportunity to commune with other people, to get to know them better, to make friends, and sometimes one could certainly call it the first step allowing us to build something even longer lasting. Thanks to words we can share our feelings and emotions, we can also get to know other people’s stories, even if they want to let us into their life only for a tiny moment.
A spoken word is beautiful and so elusive… Of course, modern devices allow us to perpetuate them in different ways. However, the written form has still its unique charm. Conversations on paper, even if the virtual one, that’s something! One can always come back to them to see the details which had previously gone unnoticed.
It occurs that there is quite a large number of passionate people, who desire to present the world of culture and art, the world which often seem to be inaccessible for us and at the same time so charming and appealing. Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to – Mariola Morcinková – a citizen journalist who thanks to her great passion and professionalism invites her readers to get familiar with their idols, the ones who have impressed them for so long.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Mariola: My name is Mariola Morcinková, I’m a citizen journalist out of passion. I live in the Czech Republic. I have a flair for asking questions and I’m good at listening to others. I found this gift in myself 10 years ago. It was a time when I was looking for an alternative for myself to continue being fluent at using Polish. I had to neglect it to some extent, as I had attended a Polish primary school, but I couldn’t continue learning in Polish for quite a few reasons and I was forced to educate myself in Czech. One evening, I was sitting at the computer, and as always, I was listening to some music and checking the news. I was interested in what was going on in Poland and in the world. Suddenly, on the website I was visiting at that moment, appeared an ad of a portal related to the citizen journalism, Wiadomości24.pl. I started analyzing its name. I clicked the link. I noticed that lots of people published there their texts. I went through a few portals, and I came across Ms. Beata, who had a very kind face. I messaged her to ask for some information related to the way such websites function and the rules of publishing. She answered all my questions promptly and proposed me to write a text at the request. I did it and… I fell in love with it. Since the moment of publishing my first article on the Internet, I couldn’t imagine another day without writing the next one. I was constantly looking for new topics and ideas. After writing usual texts I also tried myself at writing interviews. First I started carrying them out by asking questions in a written form. In 2012 I got courage to conduct my first interview face to face with my interviewee and guess what… I fell in love again. (Laughter.) Since that moment I focuses mainly on those conversations with people representing Polish culture and art in the broad sense, and people having passion in different spheres of life. Between 2011 and 2020 I carried out more than 550 conversations, and there’s no end in sight. My appetite comes with eating. (Laughter.) My head is still bombarded with the names of people who I’d like to interview in the future.
Passion Piece: You deal with culture, music and passion. You collect your texts related to these particular subjects in one place, namely on your own website. What gave you the idea to create Mariola’s Interviews?
Mariola: Launching my own website www.wywiadymarioli.blogspot.com was a consequence of closing down the earlier mentioned portal Wiadomości24.pl. When the announcement appeared that the website was just about to disappear, all the authors got a chance to archive their own texts and materials. I didn’t think even for a moment. Step by step I started transferring my old interviews and publishing the new ones in the new place. My website was launched on the 19th of December 2017. I’ve been running it for 3 years now.
Besides conversations one can also find there coverage of my meetings with teenagers, which we will be talking about later on during this interview. I also added a tab to my website which directs you to recommendations where the interviewees who were satisfied with our collaboration pose to the pictures holding pieces of paper with the name of my website. I got pictures from Jakub Kucner, Tomáš Kollárik, Ireneusz Czop or Monika Mazur to name just a few. I keep getting new photos all the time and I find it really nice and helpful when it comes to promoting my online space, but most importantly it also enables me to find new interviewees much faster and much easier.
#wywiadymarioli – culture, music, passion – everything in one place. I truly believe that everyone will find there something for oneself.
Passion Piece: It’s been really long since I met such an author last time. The one who would have so many interviews to her credit and who would talk with such interesting people! You are a citizen journalist and you started your career in 2011. How did you develop your passion for wiring?
Mariola: Thank you very much for these kind words. I feel that this passion has always been somewhere inside me and was just waiting for the right moment when I could let it free and I could develop it freely. Since I can remember I’ve been always interested in culture and music. I’ve never skipped any episodes of my favorite cult Polish TV series, which I truly adore. (Laughter.) ‘M jak miłość’ or ‘Na dobre i na złe’ are the ones which have accompanied me since my childhood. Being able to talk with the actors, who star in these series was a real honor and pleasure for me.
Passion Piece: How do you find your interviewees? How did your first steps look like, when you had to promote yourself, your work and the quality you offered? The quality which you can definitely be proud of now!
Mariola: Yes, as I’ve already mentioned before, I talk with actors and musicians most often. I choose a person, who I’d like to ask a few questions and I simply try to reach him or her. My readers also have the right to voice their opinions. I often use my social media accounts as a means for asking them questions, such as who they would like me to interview. I’m always willing to meet their expectations.
The beginnings are always difficult. I have the impression that during my first steps, more than now, I had to prove my interlocutors that it’s worth giving me time for the interview, for example between performances or after concerts.
#wywiadymarioli creates a database, thanks to which my potential interviewees can check my previous interviews and the way I like to work. When they give me such a chance and allow me to ask a few questions, it gives me great pleasure.
Passion Piece: Which interview moved you the most? Why?
Mariola: Without a doubt that would be late Mr. Zbigniew Wodecki. We talked in 2013. I’m so thankful to have had such a chance and that we did it at that time, as it was his last visit in Cieszyn. I recall this meeting with some sentiment, gratitude and affection.
Passion Piece: Who is it easier to work with? People who are already well-known or the ones who are completely unknown in the area of Polish show business or the cultural sphere?
Mariola: It’s a truly individual matter. I don’t happen to group people who I interview in such categories. I try to treat all of them equally, and at the same time I try to approach each of them individually. Once someone asked me a question: ‘What do you find to be the strength of your interviews?’. I think that this individual approach is the key, as well as being open to the topics people I meet want to discuss with me. I always ask about them and I always try to include them in our conversation.
Passion Piece: Is there and idol you’d like to talk with? If yes, why?
Mariola: There are lots of such people. I try to fulfill my dreams related to interviews and meetings on a regular basis. When the pandemic is finally over, and the world comes back to its normal state, I’ll try to have a chance to carry out the interviews with Mrs. Teresa Lipowska, Ms. Helena Norowicz and Mr. Dariusz Toczek.
I’ve been planning to meet and talk with Ms. Magdalena Rembacz for a few months now. She is one of my favorite actresses. I hope that I’ll succeed in doing it soon. Ms. Magda, there’s a great chance that you will read it – all the best and see you soon. (Laughter.)
Passion Piece: You come from Ostrava, which I had a chance to visit a few years ago. How did you manage to master Polish to such perfection? And especially the written form which isn’t tolerant of imperfections?
Mariola: Ostrava is a beautiful city. I love coming back there.
But to answer your questions, I belong to Polish minority living in the Czech Republic, so Polish language has always been present in my family and life. That’s why, I have never had any spectacular problems with acquiring it, or understanding the rules of spelling and pronunciation.
Naturally, I sometimes speak with the Czech accent, because it’s rather impossible to get rid of it completely, but I try to make up for this shortcoming by using Polish well when it comes to its correctness.
Passion Piece: How do you react to criticism of your work? Do you try to take it into account while working on the new projects?
Mariola: If I face constructive criticism, I don’t really have a problem with it and I don’t feel offended at all. I read all the messages from my receivers, interviewees and readers. When some suggestions emerge, for example that I should change something, I always try to think it over. I am open to other people.
Yes, like everyone who works in the public space, I’ve also experienced hate. I’ll never accept it. I don’t agree on expressing offensive opinions on a given topic. Unfortunately, people who communicate with the world in such a way forget that they may harm others with their negative approach.
Passion Piece: Mariola deals not only with the interviews… it seems that you are also the advocate of passion. The one who tries to instill its seeds in children and teenagers, so that they could bring a successful harvest in various spheres of public life in the future. What kind of workshops have you carried out so far? Who have you collaborated with? What outcomes of your work have you noticed?
Mariola: Since 2017 I’ve taken an active part in the meetings with teenagers, whose organizer is Mr. Sebastian Kosecki. The meetings take place in schools placed near Warsaw. I share my passion with the students. I invite my interlocutors from the previous years, who are also eager to take part in such initiatives. The first meeting was organized on the 19th of June 2017 in Rembertów, and I appeared there with the actor who is well known from ‘Na dobre i na złe’ TV series, Grzegorz Daukszewicz. The second meeting with the students was held in Sulejówek on the 21st of May 2018. Besides me there were also some famous and popular actors – Hanna Kochańska (‘Plebania’) and Krzysztof Kwiatkowski (‘M jak Miłość’). The third meeting was on the 9th of April 2019 in the community center ‘Świt’ and this event was attended by the actor Arek Smoleński, who is well-known from the TV series and starring Bartek Lisiecki in ‘M jak miłość’ or another TV series ‘W rytmie serca’.
I’m so fortunate to be supported by my interviewees who decide to visit schools with me. They are truly tolerant towards my ideas. They also don’t allow me to stress too much, and even if I’m tense, they try to relieve this tension or… they bring me to heel. (Laughter.) I’m really thankful to them for standing by my side. These are amazing moments which I’ll certainly remember forever.
On the 18th of October 2019 without any special guests I met teenagers from two schools in Targówek. That meeting was attended by more than a hundred of children.
The interviews and meetings with teenagers make me smile all the time. Seeing happy faces of my interlocutors and kids, who I try to teach how important it is to have a passion in our life, makes me even happier.
Due to the pandemic which started in 2020 I haven’t carried out any workshops, but I hope that when the world finally comes to its normal, I’ll have a chance to visit schools again, I’ll talk a little bit about myself and about what I perceive to be important in life. I just love it.
While attending such meetings everything happens spontaneously, and as we all know, everything that isn’t planned well brings lots of anecdotes to life. I’ve got two favorite backstage stories, which make me laugh whenever I think of them.
During the first meeting, which took place in June 2019 in Rembertów, I was accompanied by Grzegorz Daukszewicz. When the event was just about to end and we wanted to take a few photos on the stairs. I climbed them really gracefully, but ended up… just like a Cinderella, my beautiful shoes fell apart and fell down the stairs. (Laughter.)
Another story happened during the journalist/actor meeting which I hosted in a community center ‘Świt’ together with another actor, Arek Smoleński in April 2019, kids really wanted to hear a few sentences in the Czech language. Of course, I agreed without any hesitation and Arek spontaneously asked me to translate a sentence: ‘The rooster crowed at 5 a.m.’. Everything went so fast, that at first I wasn’t really sure if I was able to translate it well, so I decided to say something else, but most importantly, kids had a chance to listen to me speaking Czech. (Laughter.)
It can be kind of fun at times. (Laughter.)
Passion Piece: Who is the most demanding audience? Kids, teenagers or adults?
Mariola: It’s an individual matter. Each audience is different. I don’t know. My answer may sound too bold, but I feel well while performing in front of any kind of audience. Of course, I’m accompanied by stress, which I have already mentioned before, but it doesn’t petrify me, just on the contrary, it motivates me to take further actions. I always get a positive rush of adrenaline during the meetings with kids.
Passion Piece: What are you passionate about? What doesn’t the outer world know about Mariola?
Mariola: I love reading. I like biographies the most, which are quite useful for me in my professional work, because I base lots of our conversations on what I had a chance to read.
The outer world doesn’t know too much about me, because I value my privacy. While using social media, I publish only things which are related to my interviews or projects I’m working on at a given moment. The rest stays home. (Laughter.)
At the time being I’m also working on many new projects, but they are confidential, so I cannot say anything more for now. There will be lots of good stuff. I just can’t wait for that!
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
Mariola: It’s a hard question. (Laughter.) I have all this excess energy, I’m here and there and everywhere. 2021 will bring me lots of professional challenges. So I can see myself in many fantastic places, of course, in a good company. We will see if it really happens, but I do believe in my success.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Mariola: ‘Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better’, but ‘The world is beautiful anyway’.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I can’t wait for the time when you will be able to reveal a little bit more about the project you are currently working on.
People are the greatest value. That’s why, we should always try to get to know them better and encourage them to have a chat with us. It can turn to be a gate to a wonderful adventure, adventure whose ending we cannot predict. Not knowing what our future holds, makes it even more desirable in our eyes. We want more and more such adventures. I hope that Mariola has encouraged you to follow your passions and to meet people halfway, as without them our life would be truly empty.
See you around!
Photos: Małgorzata Krawczyk