Please Say Kaddish for Me

All posts in the Please Say Kaddish for Me category

26 May 2017

Published May 24, 2017 by rochellewisoff

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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.  

 

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

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…

View original post 2,140 more words

24 February 2017

Published February 22, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Phriday Phictioneers Phone

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Another Highway

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 © Sarah Potter

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

Please be considerate and try to keep your stories at 100 words. Thank you. 

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Genre: Historical Fiction

A tweaked excerpt from my first novel PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME

psk-amazon-jpg

Word Count: 100

CHARNEL HOUSE

            Havah gazed out the window.  Snowflakes like milk-white dove wings glimmered past the streetlamp and floated to the sidewalk.

            “Have you ever seen anything more beautiful, Arel?”

           “We had snow in the old country. It’s all the same.”

            She grasped Arel’s hand and held it to her belly. Their unborn child kicked against his palm with such force Havah flinched. Brushing her lips across her husband’s disfigured cheek she fought the stone forming in her throat. One by one, faces of those who had perished before her eyes drifted through her memory.

           “No, Arel, nothing will ever be the same.”

***

*Reviews do help sell books. If you’ve read any of the three, would you do this author a favor and leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or both? Thank you. 

 

street-light-in-kc-1903

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Look who I visited with at the Ozarks Writers League Conference.

rr-at-owl

Russell Gayer and the Purple Obsessed Princess

27 January 2017

Published January 25, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Undersea St. Thomas 4 Meme

Note: You can call me crabby or controlling if you like, but…over the past few weeks some writers are going way over the word limit. No one will be kicked out for doing so, but the challenge is to write a story in 100 words or less. While I don’t take issue with a word or two over, last week one of them went over 200 words. 

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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 © Al Forbes

PHOTO PROMPT © Al Forbes

Think you’ve seen this photo before? You have. It’s been pointed out that I posted this prompt in February. 😯  A repost was unintentional, but is what it is. If you have a story for it you were happy with, feel free to use it. 😉 Thank you Dawn and Suzanne for pointing it out. This is a first. What was I thinking? 

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

Not exactly a flash fiction and not exactly an excerpt. Here’s a scene from AS ONE MUST, ONE CAN. 

OLIVE BRANCH

            Nikolai Derevenko and his father had hardly spoken in twenty years so Sergei’s sudden appearance in Kansas City for his grandson’s graduation mystified him.

            Sergei rotated the crank on the front of the car, starting the motor, and climbed into the driver’s seat. “It’s a Ford. Almost new—Model N, made in 1906,” he shouted over the clatter. “My gift. Tomorrow you learn to drive it.”

            Nikolai scowled. “Thanks, but no thanks. God gave us legs and there are streetcars. With all of your frivolous spending you won’t have enough for your fare back to Russia.”

            “I’m not going back.”

*

*

nikolai

Dr. Nikolai Derevenk0 © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Sergei Derevenko © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Sergei Derevenko © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Vasily Derevenko © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Vasily Derevenko © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

***

If you’ve made it this far down the page I hope you’ll take the time to watch the short video. Perhaps this is the reason I’ve been impressed of late to write so many Holocaust themed stories. I plan to post my picture on Twitter and Facebook. When push comes to shove there is one race…THE HUMAN RACE #WeRemember

FACE TO FACE

Published January 23, 2017 by rochellewisoff
Theodore Roosevelt portrait

Theodore Roosevelt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Several times over the past few years, as I’ve painted “portraits” of my characters, someone has asked who I used for models. As a rule the answer is, “no one in particular.” In fact, I’ve often thought if I ever need a regular job, I could apply for one as a police sketch artist since I’ve become adept at composites: the eyes from one model coupled with a nose and mouth from another. “Oh, and that’s the perfect hairstyle.” I admit to using a few celebrity photos, although I try not to make them look like portraits. On the other hand, if it’s meant to be a portrait I’m a little more particular. 

        Google images and Pinterest are wonderful places to find vintage photos for the dress and hairstyles of the day. All great fun for the girl who used to get in trouble for daydreaming in class while drawing pictures. Of course those daydreaming episodes were practice for my future storytelling career. 😉 

        From my first chapters of PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME I’ve had a mental image of Havah Cohen. 

havah-at-16

Havah at 16 © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Havah in her 20's © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Havah in her 20’s © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Last week I had lunch with some friends. One of them brought an American history book he thought would come in handy for my research. It’s a lovely hardbound coffee table book with lots of pictures. 

He opened it to a bookmarked page and pointed to a photo of a young Russian Jewish immigrant and said, “I thought you might know this lady.” 

I suddenly felt like Karen Eiffel, (Emma Thompson) the author in the movie “Stranger than Fiction” coming face to face with Harold Crick (Will Ferrell). There she was, the girl whose voice I heard in my dreams. Do you agree? 

i-know-this-lady

 

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