Guy’s got skills

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WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT – MUSEUM

Published September 8, 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 Sammi’s Comment Section.

147 words (not including title 😉 )

MODERN ANTIQUITY

A summer breeze with a touch of autumn ruffled my hair as my husband and I perused the annual art fair. My favorite tent housed a collection of elaborate mixed media paintings. In one particularly intricate piece, the artist depicted bits of Kansas City history from the Civil War’s Battle of Westport to the roaring 20’s.  

At another booth I try on a handmade porkpie hat. “Whatcha think?”

Jan grins. “It’s you.”

We move onto the next tent. “Abstract.” I sniff. “Not my cup of tea.”

Vestiges of the 19th century are apparent in not quite downtown Kansas City. Restaurants and saloons have taken up residence in many of the historic buildings. The brick walls and high ceilings are evidence of times past. I swear I almost heard wagon wheels on old dusty roads.

Westport, where past and present converge, is a museum in its own right.

 

Jan.

Yours Truly. Nope, didn’t buy the hat.

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.

 

 

20 April 2018

Published April 18, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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*Note: This marks the third week we will be on our road trip from Kansas City to Los Angeles and back again. This has been posted ahead. Thank you for understanding my slowness to read and comment. 

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 © Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

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Please be considerate of the over 70 weekly participants and keep your stories to 100 words. Thank you. 

The following story is a rerun from November 2014, so many of you will remember it, some of you won’t. However I did use a different prompt at the time. To visit Click Here 

Genre: Hysterical Fiction

Word Count: 100

IN AN EARLIER LIFE

            “Too much studying will ruin you. Carpe Diem. Let’s play catch.” Ted grabbed Douglas’ notebook and pressed a pie tin into his hand.    

            “Catch? With this?”

            “From the Frisbie Pie Company. It’s all the rage on campus.”          

            For the next hour Douglas forgot about Yale, final examinations and commencement. Tension from late nights hunched over text books lifted off his shoulders and a sense of euphoria filled him as he and Ted flung the whirling dish back and forth.   

            “This is bound to become a national sport,” cried Douglas.

            “Tin Tossing Tournaments?”

            “Why not?”

            “School’s finally driven you mad, MacIlroy.” 

With Doug, in Kansas for a disc golf tournament in 2016. I think I was standing on a step.

 

23 January 2015

Published January 21, 2015 by rochellewisoff

The disc and the dragonfly

FIC

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The photo below is from our lady in Italy. What does it say to you? I dare you step outside the boat and walk on water. 

My story follows the prompt and the elusive blue frog.

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

IN ISMAY’S PLACE

            Logan hunched his shoulders against the icy North Atlantic wind.

            “Me wee Patrick’s one tomorrow.”

            “Dinnae fash yersel,” said John, the coxswain. “The morrow’ll be the cold start of May and there’ll be eight more months of 1912 to play with the boy.”

            “Two points starboard, John,” said Logan from the bow as he readied the boat hook. 

 

             Four months later the memories of the baby they pulled from the water tormented Logan. Patrick’s cries woke him from a nightmare. He gathered the child into his arms and whispered.

            “Let fly, lad. ‘Tis a hard life, but a good sign.”

Unknown Child

 

7 November 2014

Published November 5, 2014 by rochellewisoff

 

FIC

Remember…

The disc and the dragonfly

*IMPORTANT NOTE -Please use the photo prompt in some way shape or form. Printing “Friday Fictioneers” in your tags doesn’t necessarily make it so. 

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The next photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. Study it and let it speak to you. My story follows the blue inLinkz frog .

.

.

PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright - Jean L. Hays

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Jean L. Hays

  

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

IN AN EARLIER LIFE

            “Too much studying will ruin you. Carpe Diem. Let’s play catch.” Ted grabbed Douglas’ notebook and pressed a pie tin into his hand.

            “Catch? With this?”

            “From the Frisbie Pie Company. It’s all the rage on campus.”

            For the next hour Douglas forgot about Yale, final examinations and commencement. Tension from late nights hunched over text books lifted off his shoulders and a sense of euphoria filled him as he and Ted flung the whirling dish back and forth.

            “This is bound to become a national sport,” cried Douglas.

            “Tin Tossing Tournaments?”

            “Why not?”

            “School’s finally driven you mad, MacIlroy.”

Frisbie Pie Tin

LOGICAL CONCLUSION

Have I gone too far off the beaten path with this one? 

Scout’s Honor, I started with the pictured Ford Edsels. In fact,  I spent a whole day researching Edsel Bryant Ford, the only son of Henry Ford. While I learned a lot, I just couldn’t eke out a story.

However, the Edsel made its debut on my fourth birthday, 4 September 1957. What else happened in 1957? An online timeline showed that before Buddy Holly and the Crickets went to the top of the charts with “That’ll be the Day” in February, Wham-O introduced the first Frisbee 13 January. For some reason, this piqued my interest.

If you’d like to know more now, click here for the History of the Frisbee.  

Doug and plastic

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