Love and more love

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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

WAXING POETIC

Published May 25, 2017 by rochellewisoff

For the past five years, since joining Friday Fictioneers, I’ve written or posted a flash fiction at least once a week. My favorite genre is historical fiction, but that hasn’t stopped me from writing humorous anecdotes, realistic fiction or just plain nonsense. But any and all who know me very well will tell you that Jewish themes are my favorites. Nu? Why shouldn’t they be? I am after all, a Jew.  All four of my grandparents came from Eastern Europe to escape the pogroms in the Pale of Settlement or the Russian draft. 

Last month I met Eve Brackenbury, a gifted poet who co-owns Inklings’ Books & Coffee Shoppe in Blue Springs, Missouri, on Facebook. Social Media is my friend. 

Eve Brackenbury

Not only did I make a new friend that day, I also made a valuable connection on many fronts. Our first conversation dealt with the challenges of marketing. As we chatted in an IM she said, “You write Jewish Historical Fiction. Are you Jewish?” Is the Pope Catholic? 

Eve told me about the CloudBursT Jewish Poetry event and gave me Martha Gershun’s email address. Although I don’t write what I would call poetry, I thought perhaps Martha might be able to point me in the right direction as far as reaching a Jewish audience. I inserted one of my Jewish themed flash fictions in my email to her and, not five minutes later, the return email came with, “That’s really powerful. Would you like to come and read?” 

Martha Gershun- CloudBursT organizer and poet

I must’ve changed my mind twelve times as to which stories I would read. Finally, the day came, Sunday, May 21, and I’d narrowed it down to four of my favorites. The lobby of Congregation Beth Torah teemed with poets and their guests. We were warmly welcomed with food, wine and friendly conversation. 

So much Yiddishkeit. I felt like I’d come home. I particularly enjoyed Ellen Portnoy’s piece “The Nuances of Nu.” 

Out of 19 who read, I was third to the last, just before Eve. The ones I read are as follows:

THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT

            In preparation for his bar mitzvah, twelve-year-old Harvey Weinstein opened the book to his parashah. His stomach rumbled. “I’m hungry.”

            “Sh’mot beginning with Chapter 16,” said Rabbi Shmuel. “First in English, then Hebrew.”

            Harvey fumed. “I’m tired of Torah. I’d rather play Xbox.”

            “This is the perfect reading for you.” The rabbi winked and pointed to the page. “The children of Israel kvetched day and night in the wilderness. ‘Oy, Moses, we’re wet. We’re cold. We’re starving to death.’ Nu? Is there something we can learn from them?”

            “Yeah.” Folding his arms across his chest, Harvey smirked. “Jews don’t camp.”

***

FAMILY TREE

            “‘And they lived happily ever after.’” Leah shut the storybook.

            Shifra’s raisin-brown eyes, round as bottle caps, sparkled. “Bubbie? Did you love Grandpa at first sight?”

            “He was only eight when we met. Mama took him in…hid him from the khappers, bad men who snatched little Jewish boys from their homes and made them serve twenty-five years in the Czar’s army.”

            “Did she hide him in the closet?”

            “No she was smart, my Mama.”

            “He was like your brother, right?”

            Leah pointed to a tintype on the table of two little bonneted girls and grinned. “More like my sister.”

***

THE HEAVIEST WHEEL ROLLS ACROSS OUR FOREHEADS

            When I was a little girl in the 1950’s, Mom used to take me to visit my aunt in St. Louis. I so looked forward to those train rides. Sunlight dazzled through the trees as they whizzed by and the rhythm of the wheels along the track soothed me.

            Dad, on the other hand, hated trains, but would never tell me why. Only once did he accompany us.

            As we left Union Station, tears trickled from the corners of his faraway eyes.  

            “Daddy, what’s wrong?”

            “The stench was unbearable. Fifty of us crammed into a cattle car. I alone escaped.”

***

HATH NOT A JEW EYES?

            Do you know the word “Jew” is a common insult among Norwegian teens? Should this bother me? After all, I am a Norwegian Jew.  

            “If you prick us, do we not bleed?”

            Reptilian? I’ve been called this. Do people seriously believe this mishegoss—that Jews are lizard creatures from another planet?

            “If you tickle us, do we not laugh?”

             I will never forget holding my father’s hand as we strolled along a mountain path. Two youths shoved him and shouted, “Child murderer!”

             The memory of warm spittle dripping down my face sickens me still.

            “If you wrong us, do we not revenge?”

            Not in Norway. Instead, we hide in plain sight.

            Last summer a group of Hasidim invited us to a Jewish gathering in Oslo. We cranked up the music and danced in front of Parliament.

            I’ve heard that work makes us free, but we’re not falling for that again.               

 

 

 

 

26 May 2017

Published May 24, 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 © J Hardy Carroll

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Genre: Historical Fiction-Book Excerpt

Word Count: 100

JESUS WEPT

            Broken glass, paper and other debris littered the once cheerful apartment. The prophet Jeremiah’s words swirled through Ulrich’s mind like a hollow wind.

            “A voice was heard in Ramah…

            …Rachel weeping for her children…”

            Dim light from his lantern cast macabre shadows on the spattered walls. He gazed at the children’s battered faces and twisted forms. What could reduce men to such bestial acts?

            His stomach shuddered and emptied itself. He wiped his mouth on the back of his sleeve.  “You bloody bastards! Christ died for you and you use Him as an excuse for your bloodletting! Why? Why? Why?”

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 *Note: The title is John 11:35, the shortest verse in the New Testament and reflects Ulrich Dietrich’s beliefs. Ulrich is a Christian gentleman who is outraged that innocent people would be murdered in the name of his Lord.  

 

BE IT EVER SO DYSFUNCTIONAL…

Published May 22, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Today Pegman walks through  Portal, ND

Bizzy bizzy weekend so I’m late for the party, but I just can’t seem to avoid it. I’m not sure if it’s the lure of choosing my own prompt, since I choose the prompts for Friday Fictioneers. 😉 Nonetheless, it’s different and if the muse tells me a story I havta write it. Write? Of course, write! 

Feel free to stroll around the area using the Google street view and grab any picture you choose to include in your post. Many thanks to J Hardy Carroll and K Rawson for hosting.

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.

The photo is a house in North Portal, Saskatchewan. My choice from Pegman’s smorgasbord.

Genre: Historical Faction

Word Count: 150

BE IT EVER SO DYSFUNCTIONAL, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE EMOH

Elise picked up a magazine from the end table and flipped through the pages, stopping at an article about Portal, North Dakota.  “Lovely place. Looks safe.”

“Let’s start where we left off.” Audrey peered over her reading glasses. “Tell me more about your childhood.”

“Idyllic. I drank from garden hoses and bought spoon malts from the ice cream man.”

Audrey’s mouth twisted to one side. “Last week you told me your uncle forced you to—”

“Did I ever tell you about my dog Ami? Odd little Beagle. Hated to be petted.”

“Evasive.” Audrey wrote on her clipboard. “Tell me more about the fights at the diner.”

Memories flooded Elise. Four years old again, she huddled under a table.            

Dad lunged at Mom. “You selfish bitch!”

Mom hurled a napkin holder, clipping his forehead. “I hate you!”  

Elise bit her trembling lip. “Aside from that, I had a perfect childhood.”

 

19 May 2017

Published May 17, 2017 by rochellewisoff

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THOUGHTS ON WORD COUNT. It can be painful to slaughter darlings and the writer may think, “Impossible. My story won’t have the same impact without those 50 extra words.” Surprise! 99.9% of the time it’s not only possible, but preferable. That’s what this exercise is about. Learning to say more with less. Take a second look before posting. Start with adverbs and passive voice. Instead of “I was running as quickly as I could…” try “I rushed…” THINK ABOUT IT.

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 © Roger Bultot

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Historical Faction

Word Count: 100

FAMILY OWNED SINCE 1947

            “What’ll it be, George?” Evalyne poised her pencil. “The usual?”  

            With a nod the man at the counter gestured towards the bulge under her apron and grinned at six-year-old Jeff. “That your baby brother?”  

            She tore the order from her pad. “Give this to Daddy, Jeff.”

            Glowering at Evalyne, the stout cook, once slender and charming, snatched it from his son. “Scram, ya little putz!”

            She clenched her teeth as Jeff slunk back into her protective embrace.  

            “It’s gonna be a sister.” Patting her tummy, he looked up at George. “Daddy don’t need another pest in the neck like me.” 

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

12 May 2017

Published May 10, 2017 by rochellewisoff

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Our Mantra

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

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

NO GREATER GIFT

            Jangled from my pleasant dream, I fumbled for the phone on the nightstand. It fell to the floor. I tumbled out of bed and picked it up. “This better be important.”

            Jared’s choked voice snapped me to attention. “Mom I—I had an accident—I…”

            Trembling, I dressed and headed for the hospital.

            Hit by a drunk driver going 90 mph, Jared’s car had been reduced to mound of mangled steel and shattered glass.

            Tears streamed down his bruised cheeks. “Your Mother’s Day present. It got broken in the crash.”

            “Nonsense.” I embraced him. “It’s right here in my arms.”

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