Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Thanks to Madison Woods for the photo prompt and Friday Fictioneers to keep us on our writing toes.
Through vicious barbs and twisted wire the sun had the audacity to shine. Marushka licked the dregs of a discarded sardine tin. Her disappointed stomach howled its outrage. She sank down on the stony ground. Stretching her rawboned legs in the dust she longed for silk stockings to hug her once shapely calves.
From her torn pocket she pulled a mirror-shard and glowered at her reflection. Who was this bald hag? Murderer! No! She'd only covered his mouth so they wouldn't hear.
"24682." She slashed a trail, long and deep, through the tattooed number to her wrist.
"Mama's coming, Dovid."
Friday, April 20, 2012
Yesterday, April 19, was Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. In honor of the 6 million, some of them family I never knew, I offer this piece.
“You see this rock?” Zipporah asks her thirteen-year-old great-granddaughter.
“What’s so special about it?” Anya yawns.
“Underneath this rock…half your age…I hid from them. Papa told me not to move or make a sound, no matter what.”
Anya’s half-closed eyes snap open. “Then what happened, Bubbie?”
“Blam! I held my breath. Mama fell. I didn’t cry. Mud filled my nose. Dear God, I wanted to cry.
“Papa sang a prayer, ‘Magnified and Sanctified be His Great name…’
“Bang! Papa never sang again.
“Today only water drips off this rock but on that day, my child, it dripped with something else.”
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Last Friday I went with my husband to Stockton MO. Our nephew who is a high school English teacher at Stockton High School had invited me to read some of my stories to his classes.
Ham that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. For the most part I think the kids did, too.
To be introduced as a published author is pretty heady stuff. The questions were challenging and it was interesting to see which stories sparked their interest and which ones fell flat. As in any classroom situation, some students show interested while others merely fill a desk until the bell rings.
Then there was that sparkling moment when I truly felt I made a connection! That one student who related to a particular story with tears and smiles made the whole trip worthwhile.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Jenna asked her mom why there were no baby pictures of her in the family album.
“We adopted you when you were three. Your real mother didn’t want you.”
Until she turned thirteen she accepted Mom’s explanation. Then the dreams started. A tunnel. Benches.
“Stay here, Tracy," said the black-haired lady.
But rough hands came out of the tunnel and carried her off.
Today as she rode her bike Jenna found the same tunnel.
On the bench a lady with black hair wiped tears from her eyes and stared at Jenna.
“I’m sorry, Mommy. I went away.”
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
In high school I refused to take the secretarial courses my mother thought I should. Shorthand and typing. Good skills to fall back on she said. I preferred fine arts classes such as Drama and Painting. Skilled receptionist that she was, Mom couldn't allow her daughter to be a hunt and peck typist. So she found my brother's old text book and taught me herself.
While I'm not the greatest typist in the world, I do enjoy it and, thanks to my mother of blessed memory, I place the right fingers on the right keys. However I couldn't tell you how many words I type per minute. Does that count include backspace and delete?
About a month ago a friend suggested that a good old typewriter might help tighten the writing. And he's entitled to his opinion.
If I had to go back to the old fashion way, I'd not only have to own stock in a white-out concern but a paper mill as well. Do I regret not taking those secretarial courses? Not at all at all.
Viva la Computer!
Monday, April 9, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
As I round the bend of wrapping up my "final" edits on my novel with the working title PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME I have questions about genre. From the beginning I've considered this work to be historical fiction.
A couple of years ago a NY agent told me, in her rejection, that it was terribly moving and brought her to tears in places. However it was too long and needed too much editing. She threw out the suggestion that I might consider offering it as young adult fiction.
While it's true my main character, Havah, is 16 at the beginning, the novel spans four years. My plan is for this is the first book of a trilogy. By the end of the series she's in her mid twenties with a husband and a child.
Since I'm usually stymied by the question, "Who's your target audience?" I'd really like some feedback on this one.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
As a child my defense mechanism against pain was to go inside my head and tell myself stories. I would take myself out of the situation and into one of my favorite television shows. There I would write my own episodes with my favorite characters. Some of my "scripts" would be dark or sad so I thought something was terribly wrong with me.
Just the same, I enjoyed my guilty pleasure. In school I was known as a daydreamer. It was true. I missed plenty of lessons even when I sat at my desk.
When I grew up, married and had a family of my own I found myself spending less time inside my head. Then my mother passed away in July 1981. Again I coped by detaching and "writing" a script.
A die-hard MASH fan for years, I discovered fan fiction on a site about seven or eight years ago called bestcareanywhere.net.
Although some of the stories were ridiculous, I found a couple that I really enjoyed. I began to spin a story in my head that just wouldn't leave me alone.
A good friend suggested I try my hand at my own fan fiction. My MASH short story, IMPLOSION turned into a 20 chapter novella and after that I wrote a sequel called STRANGE BEDFELLOWS under the pseudonym Bigelow.
Silly as it may sound, this was where I began my writing journey in earnest. I discovered that to make the stories authentic I had to do some research.
Surprisingly, once posted on the site and on another fan fiction site, I got a lot of feedback. Even my husband Jan read them and thought they were great.
They are still up on the website. However, with what I've learned about the craft and am still learning, I find them hard to read since they need a lot of work.
As for the cartoon at the top, someone posted it on Facebook and I just had to share it. What writer cannot relate to it? In fact, like the lady on the right, I used details from a tragic incident that was in the forefront of the media a couple of years ago in my novel.
Please excuse me now, I'm going back inside my head. I hear the voices calling.