Non-Fiction

All posts in the Non-Fiction category

FIXING A WHOLE

Published December 19, 2019 by rochellewisoff

The following story is written for the photo prompt below and is part of the Writers Unite! challenge Write the Story

Twenty-three years ago, I fought the final round with Annie—Annie Wrecks Ya. At present I’m working on a novel based on my experience. Thus far the working title is Last Dance with Annie, but I’m not married to it.

FIXING A WHOLE

          The flashbacks started somewhere in my late thirties, upending my memories of a happy childhood. How could I have blocked out such things? Nothing made sense. I loathed the body that had betrayed me. My life spun out of control.

           It’s all about control, you know.

           Annie gave me control. No one, not my husband or even my doctor, could tell me what I could or couldn’t put in my mouth. I controlled my eating—until I didn’t. Annie did.

           Annie controlled my daily frenetic exercise. At the same time I fantasized about onion rings and fried chicken. Of course Annie would never allow me to eat them. She constantly reminded me numbers mattered. One hundred calories per meal. Twenty pink pills to purge it. The scale hovered between eighty-five and eighty-four. 

  “You like my new jeans?” I asked my friend and coworker Linda. “I can’t believe they fit.”

            “What size?” Her ice-blue gaze met mine. 

            “Zero.”

            “You’ll look nice in your child-size coffin.”

            Her comment almost became prophecy when my “dieting” caught up to me. After collapsing in a store, I was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital with an eating disorder unit.

            After two months of treatment and medical leave, I returned to work.

            My size 0 jeans no longer zipped and they’d become tight around the hips and thighs. In fact, I’d outgrown my size 2’s as well.

            “You look so much better,” said Linda. “There’s color in them thar cheeks.”

            That’s a good thing, right?

            Recovery was more difficult than I’d expected. Although Annie’s grip loosened, she continued to haunt me. When someone complimented me on my weight gain Annie translated it to, “My you’re getting fat.”  

            “Body image takes time to change.” My dietitian assured me during my weekly visits. “All I can do is provide the tools. It’s up to you to use them.”

            Tools? What tools?

            One of those so-called tools offered by Dr. Wilson, my psychiatrist, was Risperdal, a drug prescribed to treat such conditions as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Mental health experts hoped the antipsychotic might calm the obsessive thoughts of anorexics and bulimics.

            I detested the way it made me feel. Strange. Out of touch with the rest of the world. Afraid of what I didn’t know.

            Dr. Wilson decided Risperdal alone wasn’t doing what it should. Diagnosing me as “mildly bipolar” and being “slightly” ADD, she added Lithium to my daily pill-age.

            My appetite dwindled and my anxiety level skyrocketed. I began to lose weight again, but took little pleasure in it. I barely functioned at work. How I stayed on the payroll is beyond me.

            “I’ve never seen such a severe reaction,” said Dr. Wilson. “Clearly you’re allergic.”

             My nightmare was far from over. The drugs’ half-lives of a week or two stretched into over a month. The debilitating side effects continued to take their toll, not only on me, but on my frazzled husband as well.

             One night it all came to a head.

            “I don’t know what do for you anymore.” He fumed when I broke down. “Crying won’t help.”

            I sniffed and choked back sobs. “Stop trying to fix me!”

           With a sigh, he sank into his recliner and gathered me onto his lap. Tears streamed down his cheeks. “Maybe you need to go back into the hospital.”

            I snuggled against him. His admission of helplessness comforted me. My true recovery began that very night when, together, we learned crying is sometimes the best of all tools.

***

*Note: The story is non-fiction, save the doctor’s name. (I can’t remember it 😉 ) I’m not sharing this to garner sympathy or shock anyone. Eating disorders strike any age, any ethnicity and any gender. Recovery isn’t as easy as ‘snapping out of it’ or ‘just eat something.’ The reasons are as varied as the individuals. Thank you for understanding.        

WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT – LIMINAL

Published November 9, 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.

I love this challenge! Today I learned a new word. Thank you, Sammi! 

I dedicate this bit of story to my insightful therapist Wayne Witcher who did more for me than I can say. He came to one of my book signings a couple of years ago and two months later he died. As I always told him I’m…

HIS SUCCESS STORY

 Wayne peered over his clipboard “What do you hope to accomplish by starving yourself to death, Rochelle?”

“They’ll be better off without me.”   

Had it really been twenty years? She wished he were still alive to share this liminal time in her life.

She picked up an imaginary phone. “Wayne, someone important says she loves my manuscript!”

ORIGINAL ARTWORK Rochelle Wisoff-Fields….an illustration from A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY

11 October 2019

Published October 9, 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 © Ted Strutz

 

Frog Delightfully rendered by Keith Hillman.

CLICK THE FROG AND HOP ALONG

Genre: Non-Fiction

Word Count: 100

OF BLESSED MEMORY

זיכרונו לברכה

“I wish I’d known you better, Grandpa.”

My grandfather smiles at me from a black and white photo.

The few memories I have are shadowy and vague. The words ‘austere’ and ‘distant’ best describe him. My mother’s father—an enigma.

I regret never asking him about his life as a Jewish boy in Czarist Russia.

“Why did you flee to America?”

“Oy, don’t ask. You should never know such tzuris,” might he have answered? What horrors lurked behind those faded eyes?

 I smile back at his monochrome image. “I hope you’re proud of my writing, Grandpa. You are my inspiration.” 

 

 

WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT – DELICATE

Published September 16, 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 Sammi’s comment section.

Title is included in my 106 words.

OH, FOR THICKER SKIN

One morning I went to Amazon, as I do occasionally and found a new review on my first novel that has an average of 4.5 stars. Eagerly I read the latest. Despair riddled me as I skimmed the scathing comments.

“One-dimensional characters. Immature writing.”

By the time I finished reading three paragraphs of venom I couldn’t breathe. My head throbbed.

I quit. I’ll never write another word. I’m a failure.

The next day another review appeared on the same book.

“Fantastic. Realistic characters. Endearing story.”

Whom do I believe? To what voices should I listen?  

If only my feelings weren’t so delicate.

WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT – SONG

Published August 10, 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.

Word Prompt

Song

Challenge

 

LOOK AT ME

I was sixteen and he was twenty-two—the older man. He didn’t kiss like any of the, albeit few, boys I’d gone out with. His mellow voice took me captive on our first date.

He held doors for me and always walked on the outside of the sidewalk. I felt protected and cherished.  

Zepi’s Pizza, our favorite haunt, provided a three-piece band and a small dance floor. When my guy held me and sang “Misty” in my ear, I was as helpless as a kitten up a tree.

“Misty” became our song and, after 50 years, I still feel protected and cherished.

*September 26 marks the 50th anniversary of our first date. 

Senior Prom the night he proposed.

This was sung at our wedding.

WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT – IMPERVIOUS

Published March 24, 2019 by rochellewisoff

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  

Thank you, Sammi

Does the name Kenner ring a bell? If you grew up—or had a child—between 1960 and 2000 it should.  

Remember Stretch Armstrong? You could tie him in knots, stomp on him and extend his body from Kansas City to St. Louis. What Kenner advertisers never bothered to tell you was how the impervious super hero didn’t stand a chance against a four-year-old boy and his comrade.

I’m not sure how the indestructible paladin met his Waterloo. I can only tell you what it’s like to scrape ten pounds of gooey innards from the basement floor. R.I.P., Stretch.  

Weekend Writing Prompt – EQUINOX

Published March 16, 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.

Thanks to Sammi for the challenge.

Once more the word prompt has me in touch with my inner Dale. 😉

The package arrived an hour and fifteen minutes before the vernal equinox and eleven days before we expected it. Nonetheless, we were prepared for its imminent appearance.

Monday afternoon, following twenty-four hours of practiced breathing, effleurage and pushing, our second son transformed us into a family of four. Seven pounds, twelve and a half ounces of chubby cuteness, son two was born four years and four days after his older brother.

Spring heralded noisy birthday parties and colorful cakes—our own March Madness.

 

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