WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT – LOLLYGAG

Published January 4, 2020 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 the Sammi’s Comment Section.

MY SHINING PALACE BUILT ON SAND

“My candle burns at both ends,” wrote the poet.

I’ll permit neither frustration nor self-doubt to devour me when my compositions seem to go unnoticed. I’ll neither lollygag nor let my keyboard collect dust. No! I’ll last the night and live to write another day. Whether you see it or not, foes or friends, my candle gives a lovely light.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

*Title not included in word count. 😉

* Hint Hint: If you’d care to read something longer please visit my latest story entitled “1942.”

1942

Published January 3, 2020 by rochellewisoff

The following story is written for the following photo prompt provided by Writers Unite!  for their Write the Story  short story challenge. All photos used by WU are public domain and require to attribution. However the story is © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 😉

1942

             When Sylvia uttered, “Hail Mary full of Grace…,” she saw Sister Honorina. With her white veil, blue eyes and round face, she resembled the paintings of the Blessed Virgin with Baby Jesus hanging on the wall of the dormitory Sylvia shared with seven other girls.   

            After praying the Rosary with Sylvia in her gentle Viennese-accented voice, Sister Honorina added the shema. “I promised to your father never to let you forget the words of your ancestors. We say them together now.”

             Sylvia recited the prayer in unison with Sister Honorina both in Hebrew and English exactly the way Papa did. “‘Shema yis’ra’el, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai echad. Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.’”

            “Sehr gut. Your Papa, he would be so proud.”

            “When are he and Momma coming back for me?”

            Tears welled up in the nun’s eyes. She dabbed them with her sleeve. “We must leave it in God’s hands.” Tucking Sylvia’s Teddy bear in beside her, Sister Honorina kissed the child’s forehead. “Sleep now, kleine schvester.

            Sylvia curled up on her side, hugging her bear. Frost formed intricate patterns on the window. The way the streetlight outside the convent illuminated them fascinated the eight-year-old. She remembered Papa’s stories about frost-faeries with icicle paint brushes. Closing her eyes, she heard Momma and Papa.

            Momma sounded angry. “You’re filling her head with stuff and nonsense. How’s this equipping her to face a world filled with discord and oppression, Aaron? How?”

            “Esther, she’s only six.”

            “You don’t hear the news? Six-year-olds are being slaughtered in their beds. Babies murdered in their mothers’ arms. No synagogue is safe. No Jewish market. Just like my grandparents in Poland. How long before they throw rocks through our windows?”

            “We’re an enlightened society, Esther. Consider our technological advances. Never again. The pogroms aren’t going to happen here.”

            “My Aaron, the scientist. My Prince Charming who still believes in fairytales. I love you, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong.”

            Sylvia shivered and pulled the covers over her head. It happened a year ago. A year after her parents’ argument. Momma’s frightening predictions came true. Sylvia saw their beloved cantor beaten to death—right in the shul, the words of the Kaddish Shalem on his lips. She could still smell the sulfur odor that hung in the air—hear the screams and moans of the dying.

            By some miracle, Sylvia and her parents escaped that Shabbos day, the day the Shoah began in earnest. Many of their neighbors had already gone into hiding. Momma and Papa decided it would be safer for Sylvia to place her with Christians. With her blonde hair and blue eyes, she might escape being pegged as a Jew.

            Papa carried her in his strong arms. He smelled of aftershave and chocolate. His heart thumped against her chest. “You will do what the sisters tell you, Silver Girl, do you understand? Even when you think it’s strange.”

            “We will take good care of her, Mr. and Mrs. Green.” Sister Honorina reached for Sylvia. “We’ll allow no harm to come to her.”

            “How can you say that?” Momma stroked Sylvia’s hair. “How can anyone in this godforsaken country make such a promise?”

            Tears streamed down Papa’s stubbled cheek. “Never forget who you are, my daughter.” He placed her in Sister Honorina’s arms. “We’ll be back soon, sweetheart.”

            Momma covered her mouth with her gloved hand. “Oh Aaron.”

            Sylvia reached for Papa. “Pinkie swear?”

            His lips trembled. He engulfed her pinkie finger in his. “As the frost-faeries are my witness.”

            March wind swooshed outside the convent. In the beds across the aisle Elizabeth Nusbaum and Naomi Resnick who were both twelve spoke in stage whispers.

            “Naomi, do you think they took our parents to the death camps?”

            “Probably.” 

            “Girls, shh.” Sister Honorina shone her flashlight on them. “This is not the time to speak of such things.”

            “Seriously? When do we talk about it? After another six million have perished?” Elizabeth bolted upright. “It’s 1942 all over again. I saw it on CNN. There are camps in Colorado and Arizona and more being constructed in New Mexico.”     

  

                

3 January 2020

Published January 1, 2020 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.

(However it’s mine…and a rerun. Some may remember it. 😉 ) Since we’re still in the holiday season I’m posting yet another rerun. This one is from January 2013.

Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Click the Frog to Join the festivities!

Genre: Autobiography

Word Count: 100

SUNRISE, SUNSET

            Every Sunday my mother dragged me to my grandfather’s house. She urged me to get to know him, learn from him. After all, he’d survived Russia’s pogroms. My family history.

            I feared him and asked no questions. He offered no stories.

            One week mom took a vinyl copy of Fiddler on the Roof for him to hear. His timeworn torso sank into his recliner as he listened to Tevye the milkman sing.

            “If I were a rich man, yaba-deebee-deebee-bum.”

            Fifty years later I still remember how my austere grandfather’s granite-hard eyes transformed to liquid quartz.  “My father sang…just like that.”

***

I chose to share the following version of the song. It’s the one my grandfather listened to.

WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT – COMPLEX

Published December 29, 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.

As always with this prompt, I wrote the first thing that popped into my head. 

When I first began my writer’s journey, someone told me the characters write themselves. I gaffed it off as existential hogwash and hooey until Nikolai Derevenko, intended sidekick, evolved into the most complex character in my trilogy without asking my permission.

Check out my books HERE

27 December 2019

Published December 24, 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 © Sandra Crook

Click on the Frog to join the Festivities!

Due to my scheduling error, this has gone live on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. Consider it a Christmas or Hanukkah present. Easier to leave it than take it down and start over. Oops. :/

Shalom,

Rochelle

Happy Holidays to those who celebrate! This week I’m taking a break and posting a retread from nearly six years ago. Some may recognize the story. (different photo) A special thank you to those who have been with Friday Fictioneers as long or longer than I. 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

A SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR

            In 1918 Dad deployed to France singing “Over There” and returned, months later, a sullen shell.

            Then, for Christmas 1919, Grandma gave me a stub-tailed, bull-terrier puppy. 

            Instead of the “you-can’t-keep-it” snarl I expected, Dad grinned.

            “He’s the spittin’ image of the bravest soldier in the 102nd. Bullets and mustard gas couldn’t defeat him.”  

            “He looked like a dog?”

            “Not ‘looked like,’ son. I’d a never made it outta the trenches if that pooch hadn’t…”  

            Dad coughed and blinked, took my pup under one arm, straightened to attention and raised his hand-hook to his brow.

            “Sergeant Stubby, I salute you!”       

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.        

20 DECEMBER 2019

Published December 18, 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 © Dale Rogerson

Click the Frog & Hop Aboard!

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

STRONG MEDICINE

Susan rocked three-year-old Pierre as she watched snow fall outside the window. She kissed his damp forehead.

Six-year-old Caryl padded into the room and climbed up beside his brother. “Can you make him well, Momma?”

She tweaked Caryl’s nose. “He’ll be breaking your toys by breakfast.”

“You’re the bestest.” Caryl’s dark eyes shone. “Why did you become a doctor?”

“I was a little older than you when I watched a sick woman die. Mama sent for the doctor—not once, but four times.”

“Why didn’t he come?”

“To him she was an Indian like us and her life didn’t matter.”

 

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