What Pegman Saw

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MOST HOLY PLACE

Published January 6, 2018 by rochellewisoff

This week, Pegman takes us to the cradle of civilization: Tel Saki, Syria.  The country has been at war longer than Pegman has been mapping, so the pictures are confined to photo sphere and often feature shattered lands and cityscapes.

Thanks to J Hardy and his lovely missus Karen for hosting. 😀

I really was going to wait to write a story today, but this photo grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

MOST HOLY PLACE

                                                                                                                           25 October 1973

My Dearest Y’hudit,

This morning, the doctor told me I’ll be home in time for our son’s Brit Milah. Unless he is a she. I would wink but my eyes no longer work.

Why on the holiest of holidays? One minute I’m davening in shul and the next I’m dodging tanks and enemy bullets. No time to break the fast.

I watched our field doctors bind the wounds of Egyptians. “Would Moses do the same?” I asked Baruch Levin, one of our medics.

He replied, “Talmud teaches, ‘He who saves one life… is as if he saves an entire universe.’ On the battlefield no life that can be saved should be lost.”

Later, one of his grateful patients blew Baruch’s righteous head off. It was the last thing I saw…forever.

I’m sorry to burden you, my beloved. I hope you can still love me.

Eem ahavah,

Amitai

 

Glossary

Brit Milah – Rite of Circumcision, performed when a baby boy is eight days old.

Davening – Praying

Shul – Orthodox term for synagogue

Eem ahavah – With Love

 

50 Happy Things 2018: Bloggers Unite to Flood the Internet With Gratitude

Published January 2, 2018 by rochellewisoff

Thanks to Dawn Landau for making Gratitude a New Year’s Tradition. I’m happy to be taking part once more. 

“For the fourth year in a row, this is an opportunity to hit pause and focus on all the good things that each of us has in our lives. The holiday season has a way of rushing in, every year, and making it hard to remember that throughout the year, there are blessings. There are so many things that bring joy, so many happy things; yet it’s easy to find to lose sight of this fact, as we manage busy lives.”

To take part, set your timer for ten minutes and write 50 things you are grateful for. Once I started it was hard to stop. 

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  1. My home – just celebrated our tenth year in our dream home. 
  2. My husband – 46 years of marriage. 
  3. My 3 sons who have all grown to be men I’m proud of. 
  4. My granddaughter Olive
  5. Her new sister Elsie born on my dad’s birthday, 12 November 2017
  6. Olive’s adorable dog, Poppy
  7. Friday Fictioneers – I’ve made so many friends through sharing stories, learning how similar we are in our hopes and dreams no matter where we’re from. 
  8. What Pegman Saw…I took part in it this past year. Nice to have a different prompt and 50 extra words to play with.
  9. My health
  10. A nearby place to swim
  11. The joy of swimming a mile, flip turning at each end of the pool
  12. Counting backwards in Hebrew and Spanish to keep track of my pool lengths
  13. My elliptical trainer for those times it’s too cold to get out of the house
  14. A good hot shower after a hearty workout
  15. A warm cozy room that serves as office and studio
  16. Strong, hot black coffee in the wee morning hours when it’s still dark outside
  17. My G-d who speaks in a still small voice during those quiet times
  18. Abundance of healthy foods
  19. A sense of humor, the ability to laugh at myself
  20. My friends and family who’ll laugh at me if I don’t.
  21. My synagogue
  22. My dancing friends on our synagogue dance team
  23. My rabbi, who knows the value of a good pun
  24. My blogging friends
  25. The internet and Skype friends around the globe
  26. The ability to make people happy with my writing and art – I say this with gratitude for the feedback from others
  27. My 6-speed Chevy Cruz that’s paid for
  28. No longer having to punch a clock and the privilege of doing what I dreamed of doing as a child, ie being a professional artist
  29. Some successful book signings and art fairs.
  30. A growing number of art commissions.
  31. Books to read and lose myself in
  32. Music, all kinds (I won’t deny it, I love classical…particularly Chopin).
  33. Being able to read and write Hebrew (more or less)
  34. Taking time to enjoy the quiet
  35. Good paintbrushes
  36. My computers: desktop and laptop
  37. Legs that still work
  38. Smelling fragrances and odors, it means my olfactories works
  39. The color PURPLE
  40. Other colors beside purple 😉
  41. The fresh smell after a rainstorm
  42. Flowers, Daffodils being my favorite
  43. My muse who tells me stories when I least expect it
  44. My spinning mind that decides to go into overdrive when I want to sleep.
  45. A good Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
  46. Gluten free pasta so I don’t feel deprived
  47. Ozarks Writers League – OWL
  48. All of my Wisoff cousins I never knew I had until we discovered each other online
  49. Friends I’ve known since early childhood. It’s a rare blessing to share pictures of grandchildren with the same ‘kids’ I used to play hopscotch with
  50. I can still turn a cartwheel.

BURIED DEEP

Published December 30, 2017 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman takes us to Talnakh, in Krasonoyarsk Krai, Russia. My story takes place in another part of Russia.

Thanks to Karen and Josh for the challenge and the extra 50 words. 

Now that the holidays are basically behind us, I need to turn my attention to my next book, A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY. This week’s location is the perfect inspiration for this edited scene from AS ONE MUST, ONE CAN. Naturally it’s my hope that these excerpts I’ve posted will whet the reader’s appetite to read my novels and, of course the upcoming coffee table book–designed for those who like to look at the pictures.  😉 😉

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

BURIED DEEP

            “What’s the matter with you?” Sergei glared at Nikolai. “You’ve never told Oxana about your own identical twin brother?”

            Oxana seethed. “No. Why should he tell me anything? I am only his wife.”  

            “I don’t blame him for keeping it a secret.” Sergei took a labored breath. “I’m the one at fault. I used to slap him for even mentioning Bodrik’s name.”

            “He was always so competitive. Had to be the best at everything.” Protracted memories zipped through Nikolai’s mind. The frozen Neva River ran like a ribbon through St. Petersburg. “‘Race you to the bridge,’ Bodrik yells. Of course he’s in the lead. Suddenly the dumb durak stops and sticks out his foot. Our skates tangle.”

            “Nikolai looked like he’d been mauled by a bear. Bodrik escaped with a simple bump on the head.”

            “What happened to him?” asked Oxana.

            Nikolai shivered. “He died in my arms that night.”

 

 

 

 

PRELUDE TO SUCCESS

Published December 23, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Ho Ho Ho! This week Pegman takes us to the town of North Pole, Alaska in the USA.

Though it appears Santa’s workshop is near, you’re not obligated to write a Christmas-themed story or poem. The spirit of Pegman is to write 150 words inspired by your own tour of the location. Wander around and chose your own screenshot, if you like.

Once you’ve created your story, add it to the InLinkz using the button below. Sharing, reading, and commenting on other stories is part of the fun.

Many thanks and Merry Christmas to Karen and Josh who facilitate this challenge. 

North Pole, Alaska

This week I took a five-year-old Friday Fictioneers story out of mothballs, expanded it and made a few changes. Those 50 extra words can be a delightful game changer. 😀 

Genre: Holiday Spirit

Word Count: 150

Dedicated to my friend, John Schuech. If Santa Claus does exist, it’s in this man’s huge heart. ❤

PRELUDE TO SUCCESS

            “Failure.”

            Isn’t that what Tiana said when she’d flung her clothes into a suitcase? “I can’t take any more. Call me if you ever get your act together.”   

            Since he’d come back from Iraq, Emmet had been plagued with nightmares and had made four suicide attempts. He’d lost three jobs this year alone.

            “Try it,” said his buddy John. “It’ll do wonders for you.”

            Combing his prematurely white hair, he glared at his weary bearded reflection. He couldn’t blow this gig.

***

            His footsteps echoed down the sterile hallway. How long had he spent in this place being stitched back together?  

            Stopping at room 223, he pushed open the door and tiptoed to the bed.  Feeding tubes and IV’s snaked around the slumbering child.

            He caressed her bald head and forced a cheerful, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”  

            Her brown eyes fluttered open and shone with innocent faith.

            “Santa, I knew you’d come!”

*

*

*

John Schuech, Santa for All Seasons

 

 

SWIMMING LESSON

Published December 17, 2017 by rochellewisoff

A resounding HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Pegman. Can you believe it’s been a year already? Many happy returns to Karen and Josh. You’re doing a great job. 

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.

This photo didn’t take me to Iowa, but to the back woods of Arkansas. The story is an edited snippet from a story in my short story anthology THIS, THAT AND SOMETIMES THE OTHER which is out of print (save copies still available from the author 😉 ) It’s still available on Kindle. The story is based on one of my husband’s memories of spending summers with his best friend Ray (Francis Ray Stills). We had fun working on the longer version together.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 150

SWIMMING LESSON

Granny Stillwell’s shack, built into the hills, was propped up on cinderblocks. Another rough-hewn cabin sat just the other side of a vegetable garden. A tire-less, 1940’s pick-up truck, also set on cinderblocks, had been pushed up against one wall “to keep it from a-leaning too much.”

After supper, his stomach full of catfish and rhubarb cobbler, Kenny Lord lazed on the porch and thought about the day.

“Hey, Lordy-Lordy, know how to swim?” 

“No.” 

“Time to learn.”  

He would never forget his terror when Boyce shoved him off the cliff to the Buffalo River 50 feet below. Boyce’s evil laughter filled his ears until water surged up his nose and his panic-stricken lungs blazed.

Kenny seethed. “Boyce better watch his back.”

“He was jest funnin’,’” said Frankie-Ray Stillwell.

Granny spat out a wad of chewing tobacco. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.”

Kenny smirked. “That’s me, Kenneth Donald Lord.”

THE SWIMMING LESSON

 

WUNDERKIND

Published December 11, 2017 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman turns us loose in Versailles. You can find streetview and an abundance of photospheres at this location. Feel free to find something inside or outside and snag a view that inspires you.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write 150 words inspired by the prompt. To enjoy this week’s stories or to submit your own, visit the inLinkz button:

I’m quite late this week with the busy-ness of the holidays and some art commissions (not complaining) pending. I couldn’t resist the following photo because of where it took me. Below is an edited-to-fit-the-challenge snippet from my third novel, AS ONE MUST, ONE CAN. 

Thanks to Karen and Josh for hosting and riding herd on this growing challenge. 

Versaille Palace

Genre: Historical Fiction circa 1908

Word Count: 150

WUNDERKIND

           If Ulrich had harbored any misgivings about whisking four-year-old Rachel away from her parents in Kansas City to take her on tour, she had dispelled them, concert after concert. Never was he prouder of her than this night as she performed for over 2,000 people at the Musikverein. Perhaps if she could see them, she might be frightened, but he had his doubts.           

            After she played “Für Elise” and Mozart’s “Turkish March” without missing a note, Ulrich sat her on a cushion beside him.

            The conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic, baton in hand, bowed. “Next, Herr Dietrich and Fräulein Gitterman will perform a particular favorite of mine, Johann Strauss’ ‘Vienna Waltz Number Four.’”

            Once they finished the duet, the audience burst into applause and shouts of “Brava!”

            Rachel, holding tight to Ulrich’s hand, followed him to center stage where she let go, curtsied and blew a kiss to the audience.

The Musikverein

           

 

ISLAND OF GOOD FORTUNE

Published December 2, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Hope you brought your hazmat suit, because this week Pegman takes us to Fukushima, Japan, site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters, which occurred in 2011. Believe it or not, you’ll find both streetview and photospheres in this abandoned town.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write 150 words inspired by the location. You can capture your own photo from google or use the one provided.

Click on the blue frog below to add your story to this week’s link-up and to read the work of your co-contributors.

I’m never sure from week to week if I’ll participate in What Pegman Saw. However the lure of those extra 50 words is strong. Many thanks to K Rawson and J Hardy Carroll. 

Namie Choritsu Ukedo Elementary

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 150

ISLAND OF GOOD FORTUNE

As a Japanese-American reporter I begged for the assignment to interview Fukushima survivors five years after the tsunami. What could be more fun? Sushi and kimono.

Walking along Kakamura beach with Hiroshi, I turn on my recorder.   

He clutches a stuffed bear. “Last night I had a dream. The ocean swelled and rose to the mountains. I woke in a tidal wave of sweat. It was no dream.”

My breath catches in my throat. “Go on.”

“It was like being in hell. If the waters did not kill you, the great fires would.”  From his pocket Hiroshi pulls a photograph of a smiling woman holding a little boy. He hugs the teddy bear. “My son was only four. My Yumi expected our second child any day.”

I swallow hard.

“The water is beautiful.” His gaze drifts past me. “I suppose it is nonsense to hold a grudge against the sea.”

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