5 February 2016

Published February 3, 2016 by rochellewisoff

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS NEWS FLASH!!!

OUR OWN SANDRA CROOK HAS TAKEN FIRST PLACE IN FLASH 500 

Read her AWARD WINNING STORY 

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Sandra Crook

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Please be considerate to the reader and keep your word count down. 

The next photo is the prompt. It’s proper etiquette to give credit to the contributor. Remember, all photos are copyrighted. Use other than for Friday Fictioneers requires express permission and, in some cases, remuneration. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Erin Leary

PHOTO PROMPT © Erin Leary

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Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 100

COLLATERAL ORANGE DAMAGE

            “Farewell, Rob.” I laid my battered dog tags on his grave.

            Prostate cancer took him. Doctors say I’m next.  

            Please try to understand. We were soldiers following orders.

            “A little defoliating agent to clear the jungle and expose the enemy.” Our commanding officers assured us. “Nothing that will harm a human.”

            I had to go back and see for myself.

            Last night I visited a children’s hospital in Ho Chi Minh City where the fruits of our labors languish with twisted or missing limbs and eyes that bulge from enlarged skulls.  

            We have exposed the enemy, and he is us.

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WARNING! This is disturbing, watch at your own risk. 

A Eulogy for Hope: The Silent Murder of Gallery 37

Published January 28, 2016 by rochellewisoff

SHINYHELMET PREVAILETH

156839_479163562635_3310009_n The author, center, at her first teen gallery opening at the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts. circa 2005

The first time academic pressure made me feel suicidal was in sixth grade. So when I say I won’t allow Gallery 37 to quietly die, it’s because Gallery 37 saved my life.

Yesterday I received a flurry of messages from my own beloved instructors and artist friends who are currently teaching in the Advanced Arts Education Program (AAEP) at Gallery 37, a FREE arts college preparatory program through CPS.

Yesterday morning, a close friend high in AAEP administration told me that all AAEP programming will be ending in June. I looked at my phone and felt a wound open and yawn in my chest. I tried my best to not burst into tears on my way to work. “Tell folks so they know about this, okay,” she asked.

So of course, I…

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29 January 2016

Published January 27, 2016 by rochellewisoff

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Please include the PHOTO PROMPT with your story. All photos are copyrighted and may not be used outside of Friday Fictioneers without express permission and possible remuneration to the owner. Please be courteous and give credit where credit is due. 

The challenge is 100 WORDS OR LESS. It’s a worthwhile challenge that teaches us as writers how to conserve and use the strongest words to tell our stories. With the number of submissions every week, this is not only a great challenge but also a consideration to other readers. 

The following photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. Study it. Think about it. What kind of story does it tell you? Think outside the box. 

Thank you and Shalom, 

Your Fairy Blog Mother, Rochelle

 

PHOTO PROMPT - © ceayr

PHOTO PROMPT – © ceayr

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 99

SHOAH

            “Where’s Nadine?” I stamped my foot with childish impatience.

            “The Juif doesn’t live here anymore.” The man hissed through pinched lips.  

            “Because of the Bosche?”

            “No more questions.” The door slammed and he shouted from the other side. “Go away!”

________

            Seventy years later sunlight flickers on ocean waves at Saint-Marc. I walk along the deserted beach where Nadine and I gathered seashells and dreams.

            “Martine, swim with me.” 

            Shielding my eyes, I search the rippling waters. Nadine beckons. I’m warmed by her smile…and the twelve-year-old girl who choked her last in Auschwitz’s Zyklon-B showers lives forever in my heart.

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**Note: Today as I post my story it is 27 January. The United Nations designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A time to remember and say “Never again!” 

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To learn more about Nadine click here.

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Character Study – Rabbi Shimon and Miriam Cohen

Published January 24, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Out of the corner of her eye she [Havah] saw her mother creep through the doorway and inch toward the bed with a wooden rolling pin high over her head. She slammed it down on the back of the man’s head. With a sudden jerk and a grunt he released Havah. He rolled off her and fell to the floor unconscious.

She sat up, clutching a pillow and stared down at him. Blood pooled under his head and seeped into the cracks between the floor boards. This had to be a dream. In the morning Papa would wink at her over breakfast and assure her it had all been a horrendous nightmare.

 Her mother yanked her hand, dragged her from the bed and held her for a moment, her tears hot on Havah’s neck.

“Hurry, Havah. May the God of Israel go with you.” Taking Havah’s face between her hands her mother kissed her forehead.

“But Mama—”

Tugging Havah’s arm, her mother dragged her to the back door of the house and shoved her out. “No arguing. Go!”

Heart thumping, she ran. Thick smoke stung her eyes and burned her throat. She stopped and turned to look one last time. The blazing synagogue crumbled to the ground.

“No, Havah, don’t look back!”

                      ~~Taken from Please Say Kaddish for Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Miriam Cohen 2

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The Heder teacher’s face turned crimson. He narrowed his eyes and glared at five-year-old Havah as if she were a piglet about to be dumped on his doorstep. Then he clenched his tobacco-stained teeth and spat a brown glob on the doorstep.

Up until this moment she had been excited to learn to read the Torah, the words that came from Adoshem’s own mouth. Huddled against Papa’s shoulder she hid her eyes in his coat folds.

“You can’t be serious, Rabbi Shimon. She’s a girl.”

“So she is.” Papa’s arm tightened around her. “My daughter’s mind is every whit as keen as her brother Mendel’s.”

“To be certain she’s a bright one, and one day she’ll be a most excellent wife and mother. Perhaps she’ll even marry a rabbi herself but, Rebbe, to come to Heder with boys? It’s not right.”

“Where does the Torah say it’s wrong for a girl to learn?”

“Rabbi Ben Hyrcanus clearly stated in the Talmud that to teach a daughter Torah is tiflut, obscenity. And did he not also say that the words of the Torah should be burned rather than be entrusted to a woman? Rabbi, you of all people should know this.”

“As far as I’m concerned it’s opinion and rubbish! Didn’t the prophet Yo’el write ‘your sons and daughters shall prophecy’? Miriam and Deborah—were they not judges in Israel?”

“You win, Rebbe.”

“I always do.”

                 ~~Taken from From Silt and Ashes by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Until the pogrom that took them from her, Havah’s parents, Rabbi Shimon and Miriam Cohen were the two most important people her life.

            Not one to be bound by law and traditions, Rabbi Cohen relied more on Torah than Midrash, the rabbinic commentaries.  When questioned, he was quick to argue that the former was the irrefutable word of God while the latter was merely opinion and conjecture.  He encouraged his daughter and his wife, if they so desired, to study the Holy Word.

            Miriam was a gentle and loving wife who kept a clean, Kosher home. She considered her greatest treasures to be her husband, her two sons and her daughter.

            Havah adored her parents and her memories of them are a constant thread throughout the series. Even though she was only sixteen when they died, their words of wisdom are always there to guide her.

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Check out my author page on the Loiacono Website.  For all of the character studies thus far, click on the link Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Art and Blogs or my website RochelleWordArt.

22 January 2016

Published January 20, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Another Hightway

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Quite a few fictioneers took liberties with the word count last week. Remember, the challenge is a hundred words or less. Please take into consideration that our numbers are growing and there are more stories to read. Thank you. 

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The following photo is the PROMPT and comes from my own hubby. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan W. Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

THE SIN IN SYNCOPATION

“I ain’t got no money for no music lessons, Professor Weiss.”

“Turn left and do the cake walk prance…”

“Your boy has a rare gift.”

“…Turn the other way…”

“I got five mouths to feed ‘sides his.”

“…do the slow drag…”

“No charge.”

 “…take your lady to the world’s fair.”

“Come away with me, my love.” 

“Is it really you, Chrysanthemum? But you’re—dead. Does that mean…?”

“…and do the ragtime dance.”

“Yes.”

_________

“Poor demented fella. Looks like he tried to play the piano…”  The doctor released Scott Joplin’s stiff, distorted hands from the restraints. “…and sang his life away.”

****

Note: Scott Joplin, known as the King of Ragtime, died in Manhattan State Hospital, 1 April 1917 in the final stages of syphilis induced dementia. 

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Freddie Alexander Joplin, the woman for whom The Chrysanthemum was written.

Freddie Alexander Joplin, the woman for whom The Chrysanthemum was written.

joplin_scott-portrait

Scott Joplin

Next Year it’s the Beach

Published January 18, 2016 by rochellewisoff

For the first time in over forty years we broke with Jan’s family tradition and left town for Christmas. I take the blame for this. Because our children are grown and scattered to the three winds—we only have three sons—and have commitments, no one could come home.

Not wanting to endure another dismal holiday like 2014, this pushy Jewish mom invited herself to Chicago to spend it with our youngest son Christian. To my joy, my suggestion was met with enthusiasm from both my son and his fiancée, the lovely Sarah Adams.

Our flight out the Wednesday before was uneventful and short. When we arrived at the kids’ apartment we were met with a beautifully set table of fruit, veggies, cheese and wine and hugs.

Food is always a challenge when we travel because of my annoying dietary issues. Sarah went out of her way to accommodate. She made such things as gluten free blueberry pancakes and lactose and gluten free macaroni and cheese.

Twins cooking

Sarah cooking

I won’t bore my readers with all of the details but will try to hit the high points, the top of which would have to be spending time with the kids, Sarah in particular. If a mother could handpick a woman for her son in this day and age, she would be my choice. She’s a talented artist as you can see in the picture below—only a small example of what she’s capable of.

Fields Family in Sarah's kitchen

The pinnacle for me came when she opened my present to them, a watercolor portrait I did from a photo I snapped last summer. Sarah cried and said that no one had done artwork for her before. She’s always been on the giving end of that.

The piano

Saturday following Christmas I met for lunch with Annie Milne, a friend from high school and before. It’s been at least twenty years since we last spoke in person. Since both of us have food problems, we ate at a nearby restaurant called Lyfe’s Kitchen where we inundated the server with questions and instructions. Silly though it may seem, we both enjoyed not being ‘the only one.’

Annie and Me in Lyfe's Kitchen

Our lunch lasted four hours and it wasn’t long enough.

Love on the Purple Line

Sunday night we took the EL downtown to meet with Sarah’s twin Katie and her boyfriend Sebastian and few others for supper. As we boarded the train on the Purple Line we were greeted by a woman named Lauren, who like me, was also wearing all purple. We chatted a bit and I mentioned my blog ‘Addicted to Purple.’ She said, “I’ve read that.”

Purple Line

I found that Lauren’s also a writer and enjoys blog challenges. I expect to see her for Friday Fictioneers in the near future.

Within ten minutes of her departure, my phone sounded the WordPress chime. Lauren followed my blog, liked my ‘About Rochelle’ page and left a message saying how nice it was to meet me.

You can find her here. 

Throughout the week Jan and I enjoyed the fact that while it was a little damp and cold, it hadn’t snowed.

            “If I’d known, I would’ve driven,” he kept saying. “We could’ve saved plane fare.”

Perhaps he tempted the Fates once too often. Monday morning the national news was filled with icy snowy forecasts between Chicago and Kansas City. Naturally this was the morning we were scheduled to fly home.

The airport was packed. Check in wasn’t terrible, although Jan was divested of the port wine cheese in his carry on—an unopened, sealed tub. After that we managed to find seats at our gate. Boarding time was delayed by about thirty minutes. Not terrible. Right? Wrong. Once we seated, we waited on the tarmac while they de-iced the plane.

Two rows ahead of us a woman took out her knitting. Jan turned to me and said, “Those ten inch knitting needles are much safer than my cheese.”

The pilot kept us abreast of everything causing our delay. The plane was overweight so there was discussion about unloading some of the baggage as we were carrying baggage from some other delayed or cancelled flights. An hour later, our pilot said he’d “won the argument” and no one and nothing would be bumped.

We finally took off at 10:46, a mere two hours past our original takeoff time. As we came into Kansas City we had to circle the airport to burn excess fuel. There’s logic to that, right?

At last we landed on terra not-so-firma. We came into ice and snow. After sitting for about 45 minutes, the pilot informs us that the jet bridge at our gate is frozen so we’ll have to move to another gate. Mind you, by this time everyone is standing with their carry-ons at the ready. We sat once more. Another forty-five minutes or so pass as the plane rocks gently back and forth. The pilot explains that he’s trying to get enough traction on the ice to take us to the other gate. I think this is where I dropped my head into my hands. It was either laugh or cry.

MCI Lot

Once we finally deplaned and gathered our luggage we were met with yet another challenge. Our car was frozen shut and we had no ice scraper. Snow continued to fall. After a white knuckle ride home that took another couple of hours we rolled into our garage at 16:00.

At any rate, I’ll not complain. I slept in my own bed that night while hundreds slept in O’Hare Airport. I’m not sure but we might’ve been on the last flight that managed to leave Chicago for the next few days.airport selfie

 

 

Character Study – Valerica Dietrich

Published January 15, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Although she [Havah] had dusted it many times, a faded photograph in a silver frame caught her attention. A woman with pale curls around her face smiled at her from under a lace bridal veil. She lifted the picture from the table beside the piano.

            “What was she like?”

            “My Valerica.”  He took the picture from her. Then, holding it to his chest, he propped an elbow on the piano and rested his head on his hand. “Kolyah introduced us.”

            “Dr. Nikolai?”

            “She was his wife’s best friend. Do you believe in love at first sight, Havah?”

            Not waiting for an answer, he continued. His spirit seemed to travel to a distant time and place. Tears shimmered in his eyes. “Valerica Dietrich. She was always the picture of fashion. But, if you ask me, she could’ve worn flour sacks and still have turned heads.

                               ~~From Please Say Kaddish for Me

“Have you heard from your professor?”

“I got a letter this morning.” Havah took an envelope from her pocket. “How is he?”

“He’s so lonesome. Oh, he doesn’t say so, but I can tell by the way he talks about his wife and how much he misses her. She’s been gone thirteen years. It’s a pity he never remarried.”

              ~~From From Silt and Ashes

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

Valerica Dietrich - Framed

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It was for his Romanian wife, Valerica that Ulrich moved to Kishinev, Moldova. Her death in childbirth dealt him a terrible blow from which he has never recovered. In Please Say Kaddish for Me, to keep her memory alive, Ulrich still has all of her belongings and refuses to sell the house they shared.

However, after experiencing anti-Semitic oppression and the carnage of the pogrom, he can no longer bear to remain in Kishinev.

As From Silt and Ashes opens he has sold the house and moved to London where he teaches at the Royal Academy of Music. Valerica’s wedding photo is ever by his piano for, as he’s told Havah, “She had music in her eyes.”

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Check out my author page on the Loiacono Website.  For all of the character studies thus far, click on the link Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Art and Blogs or my website RochelleWordArt.

 

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