Janusz explains what he is dreaming about in this companion story to Absolute Sunset.
"... All our conversations on the topic end the same way. Janusz will snort and turn, go into the kitchen, and brew some tea—which he then won’t drink. I know his habits. I’ve been looking after him for decades now. Each time, he thinks I’ll believe that he’s actually thirsty, so he leaves and fiddles with the kettle, with the burners, pours water, searches for mugs. I just shake my head and sigh. He simply refuses to understand that there’s no such thing as an ordinary life.
He repeats this over and over again. “I don’t need a lot, an ordinary life will be enough for me.” But “ordinary” is a tricky word. To be exceptional is easy—it’s enough to do something incredibly good, or to go the other way and to fill the headlines of the newspapers with details that will make the hair on one’s head bristle. And apart from that, as I said, we are each unusual by definition, just on a different scales. One gets a Nobel prize, while another rescues the neighbor’s cat from a tree. Scale—different. The act—unusual. I try to explain this to Janusz.
“What’s your dream?” I often ask.
“My dream is just this: family, work, home. A pet—a cat or a dog. From time to time little treats: birthdays, cake, Christmas.”
“And what do you have?”
“None of that...”
I was born and raised in the south of Poland, but a big part of my family lives in the US and Canada. As a child, I always assumed that my English-speaking uncles and aunts must feel terribly lost in Poland, since speaking Polish is something of a superpower. So, I resolved early on to master English—the first word I learned was “teddy bear”.
I began my writing career in 2012, after leaving the IT industry. Several of my books were published in Polish, and were all successful and well-received. In 2015, I made the decision to switch to self-publishing and start my international career. This was a tough decision, but I assumed that since I can say much more now in English than just “teddy bear”, I might succeed. My first book published in English was Absolute Sunset. I still wonder how I managed to complete this project—I think it was a matter of meeting the right people at the right time. I have always been lucky to meet people who are really committed to their work. When I saw my book on Amazon for the first time, I took a selfie with my computer screen in the background. I look at it almost every day. Working on Absolute Sunset was a lot of fun, so I decided to go ahead with translating and publishing all of my books in English. And, of course, I continue to write. I am seriously considering switching to writing directly in English. I’ll probably give it a try, and my editor will likely go crazy. But I have a strong need to keep moving forward, to learn, to develop, to try things that at first glance seem impossible to accomplish. This is probably why I love CrossFit and distance running. I’m short and thin, but I can lift heavy weights and finish a marathon with a pretty good time. I’m training to run a 100-miler next year, and I’ll probably also try a triathlon, and maybe something more extreme, like skydiving—I love to push the limits. Even better, all of my family members are willing to join me. Our motto is “Cool—let’s give it a try!”.
When I write I like to push the limits too. I don’t stick to one genre—I like to mix them to achieve the effect I want. I dare to do that because I have my lucky sweater that I always wear when I work, even in summer. It is blue and very thick. Whenever I leave the lucky sweater on a sofa or chair, my dog Rafa uses it as a blanket. He is a small pinscher and loves warmth, so most of the year he suffers and shakes—Poland is really cold. His favorite place at home is the floor in front of the fireplace. He also likes to step on my notes and sometimes drinks tea from my cup. And eats my chocolates. He is not a good assistant. On the whole, I am a professional dreamer. What I want is to be able to write till the end of my life. And to win a few awards, of course. I think one should always dream big, it does no harm, and maybe one day the dream can be achieved. I am steadfast—I will keep on doing my job and keep on dreaming.