FURROWED

Published January 19, 2019 by rochellewisoff

Once more I’m participating in Weekend Writing Prompt. For instructions on how to join the fun, click HERE. Thank you, Sammi, for something different to challenge and fire the imagination. Today’s mother’s reflection is brought to you by the word:

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I do.

I believed it then.

I believe it now.

When you curled your tiny fingers around mine

You furrowed an unfathomable trench in my heart

That has only deepened with time.

This was taken several winters ago when school was called on account of snow.

18 January 2018

Published January 16, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

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Ever have one of those weeks where the prompt doesn’t spark a single viable idea? No thesaurus in the world can help. We all have them. Here’s the result of my brain freeze. 

Genre: Hysterical Fiction

Word Count: 100

STREAM OF UNCONSCIOUSNESS

To Whom it May Concern,

I cannot write today. My imaginary friends won’t speak to me. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Mine are broken. All the duct tape in the world won’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. The face in the mirror is blank. No reflection on you, of course. Have I reached 100 words? Nope. Thirty-three and a third to go. That’s an LP you know. They were vinyl CD’s back in the days before stereo was king. And nothing rhymes with orange. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Shalom,

Rochelle

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR RICHARD D. SMALL

Published January 14, 2019 by rochellewisoff
Two and a half years ago I received an email from a man in Israel named Rich Small who had submitted his manuscript to my agent entitled “Elisheva’s Diary.” He had found PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME on my agent’s website and ordered a copy. Over the course of a few emails we found much in common, including Eastern European Jewish backgrounds. Meanwhile, my agent rejected his manuscript, saying it needed too much work. So my newfound friend asked if I might take a look at it. 
As it turned out, I took many, many looks at it and had the privilege of watching the work grow and progress. Rich has been gracious about accepting my suggestions and putting up with my kvetching and nagging. 😉 Between emails, hangouts and Skype we’ve become friends. And the proverbial icing on the cake is that ELISHEVA’S DIARY has been published by Touch Point Press
Feeling a little like the book’s auntie, I interviewed Rich for my blog. I hope you will enjoy both our conversation and his book which is a unique little gem that blends past and present, as I did. 
Richard D. Small lives in Metula, the northernmost point of Israel, not far from Tel Dan and Tel Kedesh.  He received  PhD from Rutgers University in Aerospace Engineering. He taught at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology before joining a California Think Tank as Director for Thermal Sciences, founded Eastwind Research Corporation, and served in the Israeli Army.  Biographical sketches have included Who’s Who in America, and various scientific Who’s Who listings.  His work in science has been internationally recognized and featured on TV and radio including 60 Minutes, newscasts, and in magazines.  He is an avid student of history.  His passions include cooking, opera, reading, building cabinets, and gardening.  Elisheva’s Diary is his first novel.
***

 

  • Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.

Nature and its mysteries fascinated and motivated me to study science and pursue a career solving problems. I was fortunate to work on several problems of national interest.

I live in Metula overlooking the Hula or as it was known in biblical times the Merom Valley. From my living room, I see ancient locations that carry the long history of the Jewish people. In front of my house is a Tel, Evel Beit Maacah, that is now being excavated. Maacah was King David’s fourth wife and the mother of Tamar and Avshalom. Many of the great leaders of the ancient world passed through the valley.

The valley, aside from being spectacularly beautiful in all seasons, has several ancient sites: Tel Dan, Tel Anafa, Hazor, Banias, and Tel Kedesh. The streams flowing through the valley water a fertile soil that provides a rich bounty. It is a peaceful valley replete with protected wildlife and dotted with national parks celebrating and preserving the beauty of nature.

It is special to live in a place where recorded events date from the beginnings of western civilization. It is a land that beckons the history and civilization buried in us all.

 

  • After a career as a renowned scientist, why did you decide to write a novel? What inspired you?

I had always wanted to write a novel. From a very young age, I enjoyed reading and greatly admired authors that could transport you to another world and portray love, hate, tragedy, triumph, the beauty of nature and the magnificence of the human spirit.

 

  • What was the most difficult scene in Elisheva’s Diary? What made it difficult?

The death of Elisheva’s husband. For me, death is difficult to describe. It is definitive that leaves surviving family injured, saddened and takes a little of life from them.

 

  • What sort of research did you do for your work?

I read several books about the history of the Mediterranean focusing on the Galilee region of Israel. I picked the period about 50 BC for several reasons. Momentous events such as the clash of empires, the emergence of Rome as the predominant power, and a political atmosphere not unlike today were shaping the world at that time.

 

  • Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?

I have quite an eclectic taste in books. I enjoy novels, history, cook books, science fiction occasionally, and books that make me think. At different periods, I have enjoyed John Steinbeck, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Bruce Catton, Barbara Tuchman, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Francis Fukuyama, Mark Helprin, and a long list of others including RW-F. 😉

 

  • Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
  • I wanted to write, but found I had a lot to learn about writing and crafting a story. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields guided, taught, encouraged and without her, Elisheva’s Diary would never have been completed.
  • What would you say are your strengths as an author?

I cite two: empathy and a great appreciation for nature which I can translate to words.

 

  • Do you have another work in progress? If so, how often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?

I have started research for a new book. It will relate a story from the time of King Solomon. The research will take another half year or so before I start to write.

 

  • Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?

Hopefully having published a second novel.

 

  • If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?

Don’t quit. Keep writing until your story is complete.

  • What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?

“I liked Elisheva.”

  • Would you provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with my readers?

Chapter Four

My City—April 3675 (85 BC)

I was born in paradise three thousand six hundred sixty-five years after the creation of the world. Dan was well known when Abraham and Sara arrived from Ur. In the beginning, the city was named Laish, and only hundreds of years later did the Israelite tribe of Dan cross the Jordan, after 40 years in the desert, to settle in the city. Legend says Dan first arose a thousand years after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. I am proud of my city; it has a grand history filled with triumphs as well as much sorrow and anguish.

I cannot imagine a more beautiful place on Earth than the Merom Valley. To the east, the Golan Heights rise to a high plateau. Across the valley, the hills, home to the tribe of Naphtali, frame the Merom Valley in the west. Every evening, I delight in the breathtaking harmony and beauty as the Golan glows a soft pink in the setting sun, while the hills of Naphtali darken to a deep purple. The valley floor accents the surrounding hills with a rainbow of colors from the orchards, fields, vineyards, and forests.

Twice a year, countless numbers of storks, cranes, egrets, pelicans, and herons fill the sky heralding a change of season. Vast flocks, tired from their journey, seek safety and respite in the fields around the small sea. In the morning, I watch amazed as they face the warm sun, capture its energy, and spiral upwards to continue their journey.

I have always taken the beauty of my city and its surroundings as normal. Aba often told me of his travels across Israel to the Great Salt Sea in the west, to magnificent cities along the coast, to inland valleys, and to the desert in the south. He said the desert holds a special beauty—siren colors at sunset and the tranquility of a seducing wind at night under a sky filled with countless stars. Often shooting stars, traversing the heavens in seconds, punctuate the night panorama. But surely, nothing compares with Dan.

From my home, I look east to Mount Hermon. Like a giant shielding us from a hostile world, it stands over Dan dominating the hills to the north and the plateau to the south. Clouds sometimes hide the peak’s majesty, and swirling storms mask it in a threatening atmosphere. On clear days, sunlight reflects from the forests and valleys on the lower elevations and projects magnificence, breathtaking to behold. During much of the year, a blanket of snow covers the upper reaches of the mountain. It is the source of the icy pure water flowing through Dan. In the winter, the blinding white peak often mirrors the sunset’s rainbow of pastel colors.

I am lucky to live in the most beautiful part of the most beautiful kingdom in the whole world.

I have listened to travelers talk about the Galilee. They describe marvelous towns and villages built in beautiful settings: sculpted valleys with plentiful water and rich soil. Their descriptions of Kedesh are so vivid I can almost feel the excitement of the big market. Farmers send produce from the fields around Dan, and our artisans send goods from our ceramic and metal workshops through Kedesh to the coastal cities of Lebanon in return for rare woods, glass, cloth, dyes, and manufactured goods that arrive in Tyre and Sidon from Greece, Egypt, and Rome. Kedesh itself is built on a large hilltop surrounded by a rich valley famous for well-kept vineyards and exquisite wines.

They speak of olive groves on the road leading to the Great Sea. The trees twisted and gnarled as generation after generation of growth is added to life drawn from the soil.

Travelers from distant lands tell me the Great Sea is a wonder. Salty to the taste, it contains strange fish and exotic creatures not found in the Merom or the Kinneret seas. They say, sometimes, like the tempests blanketing Mount Hermon, storms rage over the Great Sea, with relentless waters swirling in an angry rhythm and pounding the shore; sometimes the sea turns a deep blue hiding a mysterious depth, and sometimes it is tranquil.

They speak of a beautiful land beyond the Galilee: villages located across a varied geography, ranging from mountains rich in forests, tranquil deserts producing fine wines, a coastal plain with thick forests, abundant agriculture, and rich fishing: all with a well-developed ethical and cultural life.

And towering above everything, the crown jewel of Israel and the world, the magnificent city of David and Solomon, the location of our Temple, Jerusalem.

 

 

SILHOUETTE

Published January 13, 2019 by rochellewisoff

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Many thanks to Sammi for the prompt.

These word prompts seem to be taking me down Memory Lane.

Remember those school projects meant to be gifts from students to their parents? Black cutouts on white paper.

How old was he? Eight, maybe?

I shake my head in wonder. How did his teacher manage to make him sit still enough to draw his silhouette?

Staring at the crumpled keepsake, carelessly tossed in a drawer, I’m in awe of the man he’s grown to be.   

Note – The picture is clip art and not my son. In fact I have three sons. These 65 words apply to all three of them. 😀 Shalom.

11 January 2019

Published January 9, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

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The following is an excerpt, cut down to size, from my WIP “What the Heart Wants.” The year is 1881. Aggie, a former nun who worked at the Indian boarding school, has fled, taking Ruth Bear Starfire with her for her own protection.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

NEGOTIATIONS

            “Pretty li’l Injun,” said the general store clerk. “What tribe?”

            Ruth’s cheeks blazed. 

            “She’s my daughter,” said Aggie.

            “Uh-huh.” He eyed Aggie’s blonde hair. “Strong resemblance.”  

            “How much for the Winchester?”

   “$40. Firm.”

            “I’ll give ya $25.”

            “$35.” 

            “Please, sir. My baby ain’t et no meat in a coon’s age.” Aggie crossed herself. “I’m a-prayin to the Blessed Virgin my Ruthie don’t perish from starvation.”

            “$25 it is.” With a bucktoothed grin he laid sacks of sugar and flour on the counter. “I can’t have your deaths on my conscience.” 

            “Would you mind tossing in some sorghum and cornmeal, too?”

*Note to those who feel they can’t cut their stories down to 100 words. The excerpt I started with was 383 words. Certainly, cutting it lost the original intent of the chapter. However it turned it into another aspect of the same story and, I think, stands alone. 

*Note 2, for those wondering how the photo prompt inspired my offering. This takes place in an old fashion general story where candy was kept in large jars. In the original chapter the store clerk offer little Ruth a candy stick. 

 

 

FOUNDATIONS

Published January 5, 2019 by rochellewisoff

Last week I joined Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt Challenge on whim. After all it was only 17 words. This week it’s 91. The word is ‘Foundations’ which stirred a memory for me.

For the rules and to join the fun CLICK HERE

***

FOUNDATIONS

It was the required course at the Kansas City Art Institute. In 1971, three instructors, Al, Steve and Jim presented freshmen with new ways to think about art.

Foundations.

I found Jim austere and intimidating.  

Steve, who had an easy smile, bummed cigarettes from those who smoked.

In one memorable class, Al stripped before his stunned pupils. Straightaway he redressed. To this day I’m not sure what I was supposed to learn from the experience.

In retrospect, I don’t believe I had a clue. I’m not sure I have one now.

4 January 2019

Published January 2, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

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Genre: Historical Friction

Word Count: 100

PILLAR OF FAITH

“Hurry, wife. The city’s crumbling around us.” The aged patriarch bent to fasten his sandals, and straightened with a groan. “Oy. I’m too old for this.”

            “Do you prefer the blue tunic or the beige?” She held them up. “I think the blue brings out my eyes.”

            “Woman! Are you meshuga? An angel warns us of the incoming wrath of God and you’re concerned with clothes?”

            “No fashion sense.” She rolled her eyes. “You really believe this judgement mishegoss, don’t you?”

            “Don’t you?”

            “Angel shmangel.” She shrugged. “Lot, my love. I take everything you say with a grain of salt.”  

*For those unfamiliar with Old Testament Bible stories, when God delivered Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the angel had instructed them not to look back. Lot’s wife did and turned into a pillar of salt. 

***

ANNOUNCING:

My Coffee Table book A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY is now available on Amazon KINDLE, Paperback or Hardcover.  Hardcover is also available at Barnes & Noble.com

I’m not crazy about the formatting job they did on the Kindle, but it’s all there. 😉 I’ve yet to see the paperback version so I reserve opinion. Nor do I understand why the paperback and hardcover are the same price. 

 

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