A Stone for the Journey

All posts in the A Stone for the Journey category

18 August 2017

Published August 16, 2017 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 © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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A little teaser this week from my second novel FROM SILT AND ASHES

Genre: Historical Fiction circa 1904

Word Count: 100

LACK OF VISION

           “I’ve been reading.” Arel peered over his newspaper at seven-month old Rachel in her highchair. “There are places for people like her.”

            “She’s a person.” Havah seized the paper and ripped it in half.

            “In one of those schools she can be with other persons who are…” he lowered his voice, “…blind.”

            Choking on her anger, Havah hobbled to their bedroom where she hauled a suitcase from the closet. After stuffing it with his clothes, she shoved it down the stairs.

            “Havah, listen to reason.”  

           “I will when I hear it. Come back when you decide to be a father!”

 

DAYS OF WINE AND WATERCOLOR

Published July 3, 2017 by rochellewisoff

It all started when my agent Jeanie suggested I post character studies of my throng of characters on my blog to garner interest in my yet-to-be-published novels. I didn’t start rendering them in pencil and watercolor straightaway. You can blame it on Officer Lafayette A. Tillman, the second African American on the Kansas City Police Force. Since he shows up in FROM SILT AND ASHES and becomes an influential person in the life of Lev Gitterman in AS ONE MUST, ONE CAN I naturally wanted to post a character study about him. There are photos of him online but the only ones I could find were copyrighted. That’s when it occurred to me to paint a portrait of him.  

LAFAYETTE A. TILLMAN-Original Artwork – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Fast forward to two novels later with one on the way, my publisher wanted to know if I’d be interested in putting together a coffee table companion book. “Let me think about that a minute…yes.”  For going on two years, I’ve worked to make that book upwards of 220 pages. In addition to the sepia portraits of the characters, I’ve been painting watercolor scenes from each of the books. I hate to call it ‘work’ though. To be honest, I’m having the time of my life. 😉 

This brings me to three months ago when I was introduced to Alexis at a place in Blue Springs, Missouri called Print Graphics. It had been suggested to me that I have prints made to sell. A festival in the area called Corks & Canvas would be a good venue, I was told, to market, not only my novel trilogy, but my artwork as well. So the games began! 

GAVREL WOLINSKY- Orignial Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

My husband Jan was excited at the prospect of my finally showing my artwork. Maybe those student loans to the Kansas City Art Institute would finally pay off. At any rate, he was totally on board with purchasing the display racks and tables. He used his Academy Sports employee discount to buy a purple tent and matching chairs. (You expected, maybe white?) 

I didn’t think I’d have much to show, but thanks to Alexis, who is an artist herself, my stack of prints grew. My office/studio took on the appearance of an explosion in an art gallery. We found thrift stores to be wonderful places to find gently used frames, some with pristine mats that were the perfect size for my prints.

     When the time came, Jan, bless his heart, spent most of Friday packing the truck so there’d be little left to do Saturday morning. We lucked out. After a month of stifling heat and humidity, the temps dropped and we had pleasant weather. We were on site by 8:00 am and set up by 10:00.

     I enjoyed friends who showed up to support me and meeting new friends. One young Jewish woman stopped and we chatted for a long time. She was drawn to a couple of the paintings because they reminded her of her grandparents. While she didn’t buy anything, she said she would definitely get back with me. I hope she does. 

    If Corks & Canvas is any indication, it seemed to me that the artwork sold the books and visa versa. Financially, it was a successful day and makes us want to combine book signing and art display at other festivals. 

     Who knows where this will lead? 

Click on photos to view larger versions. 

A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY

Published May 29, 2017 by rochellewisoff

For Memorial Day Weekend, Pegman walks through  Kanchanaburi War Cemetery in Thailand.

Feel free to stroll around the area using the Google street view and grab any picture you choose to include in your post.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.

Many thanks to J Hardy Carroll and Karen Rawson for hosting this writing challenge. 

A hearty thank you to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we so richly enjoy. May their memories be blessing. 

So…this is the photo I chose from the Pegman menu. I confess to being a bit of a renegade on this one. My story has nothing to do with Kanchanaburi  or A. Rosenberg. You may recognize the characters in this story if you’ve read any of my books. 😉 However, this piece isn’t in any of them.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY

            The rabbi shut his prayer book. “May HaShem grant us strength to see beyond our sorrow and may the name of Sarah Tulschinsky be blessed.”

            Havah gazed at her sister-in-law’s newly unveiled headstone. Had it really been a whole year since the gentle woman who had welcomed Havah to America succumbed to pneumonia? She placed a large pebble on the marker.

            Sarah’s nine-year-old son Jeffrey tugged at Havah’s sleeve. “Auntie, why do we put rocks on graves when Christians put flowers on them?”

            Kneeling, she wrapped her arm around his shoulders. “What happens after you pick a flower?”

            “It turns brown and dies.”

            “Can a rock die?”

            “Huh-uh.”

            “A stone is eternal, like your mama’s soul. The more stones you see on a person’s grave, the more he or she has been remembered.”

            Jeffrey opened his clenched fist and dropped a handful of pebbles. “I will never forget you, Mama.”

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

CAST FROM HER FATHER’S HOUSE

Published May 15, 2017 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman takes us to Cirque de Navacelles, France. This week’s location was suggested by JS Brand.

Many thanks to K Rawson and J Hardy Carroll for hosting this unique challenge. 

Feel free to stroll around using the Google street view and grab any picture you choose to include in your post.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

This challenge has become a favorite of mine and I couldn’t bear to miss it this week. This weekend has been an incredibly busy one. And as I’m working toward Book Four of my trilogy (coffee table companion book of illustrations and character studies), I hope you’ll forgive my posting an excerpt from my first novel PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME. 

While the photo I chose is in Cirque de Navacelles, my story is not.

Genre: Novel Excerpt

Word Count: 149

CAST FROM HER FATHER’S HOUSE

            Rocks, frozen grass and thorns stabbed the soles of her bare feet. There had been no time for shoes, no time to dress. 

            Who would pray for their souls? Who would remember David, the artist or Mendel, the poet or Mama or Papa?  She forced her heavy mouth to shape the Hebrew prayer—Kaddish—prayer for the dead and prayer for the bereft.

            “‘Magnified and sanctified is your great Name…’”

            Havah Cohen detested its beauty. Her hands, held over her ears, could not blot out the anguished cries of friends and neighbors, fast becoming memories.

            “‘…in the world which you have created…’”

            Thorns grabbed at her nightgown and she fought to ignore the fire in her lungs. “‘…according to Your will.’”

            Run. 

            Brambles ripped into her flesh.

            Run. 

            The muscles of her legs burned. 

            Don’t stop. Run.

            “‘Let His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.’”

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

Published April 17, 2017 by rochellewisoff

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

~~Henry Ward Beecher

Last November I was asked by an LA Talk radio host, Jim Christina which I preferred–writing or painting. I had to think about it for a moment for I consider both of them to be facets of creating art. With one I paint pictures with words, the other with pencil and paint.

To listen to the interview which I enjoyed so much click HERE

My next book will be out sometime next year and will be the companion to the HAVAH GITTERMAN SAGA, filled with illustrations and captions for those who’d rather look at the pictures. 😉 Of course, my preference is that one would enjoy reading the novels first.

In any event, this month marks a milestone for me. Nineteen pieces of my artwork, some illustrations for the upcoming book, are on display at the Colbern Road branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. 

1000 NE Colbern Road
Lee’s Summit, MO 64086
Phone: 816.525.9924
Mon. – Thur. 9 – 9, Fri. 9 – 6, Sat. 9 – 5
Branch Manager: Seth Moses

My thanks for the invitation go to:

Morgan Daigneault
Access Specialist II
Colbern Road Branch
mdaigneault@mymcpl.org
 ***
I’m somewhat late in posting this, but can only excuse myself by saying that I was waiting to gather all of my photos. I hope you enjoy the following photos, or, even better, drop into the library. While you’re there feel free to request my books. 😉

VOICE OF A SPANISH DANCER – COMING TO MY SENSES

Published April 3, 2017 by rochellewisoff

COMING TO MY SENSES

        There is a scene in my second novel, FROM SILT AND ASHES, where Yussel Gitterman tells his grandchildren that the Almighty is merciful. His fifteen-year-old grandson, who has survived the violence in Eastern Europe, lashes out. “When we light candles for the dead, it will start a bonfire. How can you call that God’s mercy?”

            Yussel, who is blind, answers by pressing his hand over Lev’s eyes. He then challenges the boy to see his surroundings with his ears, nose and skin.

 “Tell me what you hear, Lev.”

“I hear Bayla and Evie’s giggles.”

“Anything else?”

For a moment Lev stood still, bit his lip and cocked his head. “Kreplakh’s (dog) snoring under the sofa. Tikvah’s (infant) bawling.”

“Good, Lev. Now what do you smell?”

“What do I smell?” Lev’s voice scaled up an octave with each word.

“You have a nose?”

“Sure.”

“And it works?”

“All right. All right. I smell…mm…sponge cake and apple pie. Coffee. Aunt Cate’s lavender perfume and Uncle Wolf’s nasty cigar.”

“You see, Lev, not all smells are pleasant. Not all sounds are sweet. But…we are alive. That, my son, is God’s mercy.”

            For the past couple of weeks, the weather in our area has been, to say the least, wet and gloomy. Although the rain is much needed, day after day of grey skies has had me digging holes in my outlook.

            Inspired by my friend, Valerie Davies’ blog https://valeriedavies.com/2017/03/26/simple-pleasures-they-may-not-be-what-you-think/           and thinking about my book’s passage, which is one of my favorites, I’ve decided to take Yussel’s challenge.

            I exercise at least five days a week—sometimes less, sometimes more. More often than not, depending on the weather, I walk to the fitness center, a little over a mile away. This way I am able to do both weight bearing and aerobic exercise.

            To some, swimming laps might seem like the penultimate boredom. Not to this Spanish Dancer. The gurgle and swish of the waves is music. I note the difference in watery tones as I vary my strokes and the way the water billows when I exhale. As I flip-turn like an Olympic swimmer to change directions, I’m weightless, buoyed by the current. Unlike an Olympic swimmer embroiled in a race, I take my time when I somersault and enjoy the patterns the ripples make. As I suspend for a few seconds I note the way the water blossoms overhead.

Spanish Dancer Human

Spanish Dancer Jellyfish

            Once showered and dressed, I’m ready for my mile trek home.

            Spring is upon us and splashes of color are everywhere—bright yellow Daffodils and Dandelions—Redbuds and Dogwoods, stunning against a Payne’s grey sky. I fill my eyes with them.

The scent of charcoal from someone’s fire the night before hangs on the breeze. Exhaust fumes and a hint of cigarette smoke taint the rain and grass scented air. I wrinkle my nose. “Not all smells are pleasant.” As I near home I breathe in the scent of hyacinths from a neighbor’s garden.

            Crossing a bridge I, listen to the voice of the water as it flows over rocks. Although I don’t know one bird’s call from another, I can tell that there are several different species singing their arias. Robins, geese, crows and owls are among the few I recognize. A lawnmower starts up in the distance. A rooster crows. Two dogs bark as I pass their turf. A chainsaw grinds and a rake scrapes the sidewalk. “Not all sounds are sweet.”

            I am happy to be alive.  

 

Interview: Meet Author, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Published March 18, 2017 by rochellewisoff

I had great fun this past week interviewing with fellow author Sarah Potter. The magic of the internet and Skype certainly shorten the distance between us. What interesting times we live in. Thank you, Sarah!

Sarah Potter Writes

I’m thrilled to welcome author, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields to my blog for a second time, on this happy occasion to interview her about her writing.  For those of you who missed her guest storyteller post back in November of last year, here’s a recap of her biography.

Kansas City native Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is a woman of Jewish descent and the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants. She has a close personal connection to Jewish history, which has been a recurring theme throughout much of her writing. Growing up, she was heavily influenced by the Sholom Aleichem stories, the basis for Fiddler on the Roof. Her novels Please Say Kaddish for Me, From Silt and Ashes and As One Must, One Can were born of her desire to share the darker side of these beloved tales—the history that can be difficult to view, much less embrace.

She is also the author…

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