Here is the very first customer review--merely hours after the ebook A Favorite Son was published on Amazon! This review is from a reader who is not only a truck driver who has seen most of the continental US through her work. And, she is a writer as well! Cindy J. Smith is the author of Voices In My Head.
5.0 out of 5 starsBiblical story with a twist, December 31, 2012
This review is from: A Favorite Son (Kindle Edition)
Yankle wants to be the favorite son. Born a second after his twin, this cannot be. This story tells a tale of deception and it's after effects. Uvi has written the story from the viewpoint of Yankle, the blessed/cursed. The story is memories of the deed and how it effected Yankle's entire life. It also makes one consider how having "favorites" actually effects the rest of the family. I enjoyed that Yankle intended to never have a favorite, but was unable to stop himself. Great story!
The cover of my book, A Favorite Son, is based on a mixed media paining I painted not long ago. In it I floated various paints on the paper, letting them drizzle and mix, to create an intricate, fiery flow of color. Then when they dried out I came in with a black pen, and drew just a few lines to suggest the figure.
To me, this is what this image means: looking directly at yourself, facing the pain and the ugly imperfections within, without any attempt to mask who you are—even if you find yourself on the verge of a meltdown. Which is the process the protagonist, Yankle, is going through in this story. He finds himself coming to terms with his core being, with how the tension between his emotions and needs has driven him over a lifetime.
As in my previous book cover designs, the font of the book title and the author name casts a subtle shadow over the image. However, One detail is different here: Two of the letters of the author name cast a shadow like all the other letters, but the two glyphs themselves—the objects that cast the shadows--are intentionally missing. Why? For two reasons.
First, because often in my art I discover that the eye is drawn to the unexpected, and the brain rises to the challenge when there is a missing link to resolve. The observer, then, becomes engaged with the art, and in a sense, becomes its creator. And second, because this missing detail is a symbol, an indication of the flawed character in this story.
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In my novel Apart From Love, Ben refuses, for the longest time, to give up on his mother, who has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. But in the later part of the novel he is finally facing the moment of truth:
And this, this is the moment when the truth comes to me, clear and naked in its full ugliness, and I cannot deny it, cannot ignore the horrific meaning of what she who used to be my mother does next:
Sensing a presence next to her, she stirs back, as if by instinct, and for a split second smacks her lips. He may think this is a sign, perhaps of gratitude. I can see the sudden relief, the surprise in his smile. His eyes start closing, as if in anticipation of a kiss.
And then, then she opens her mouth, like some animal—a lizard comes to mind—hungry for its prey. She stays there, seemingly lazy, utterly motionless, jaws dropped, chin hanging, waiting for her feed. Waiting, waiting, waiting for more. Waiting without a word. Waiting with a need that can no longer find its satisfaction, the need of a body, an empty shell of a body whose mind has finally left it. Waiting, because mom will never be able to give.
At once I let go of the double doors so they swing, and come to a close. And I turn, and I run, run out of that place as fast as I can, so as not feel her eyes, looking at me without taking me in.
I am still running. I have to, because I find myself held still in that moment, when the truth has come to me, damn it. Who can be so brazen as to deny it, and who wants to take a second look.
In this charcoal sketch you can see how I study the features of the face at the moment of shock, when in a flash, you are facing that which you would not face before. A moment of truth can be a personal one, which you experience in private, or a communal one. Which is why I used this sketch also in my large oil painting, Earthquake.
In my story A Heartbeat, Reversed, Edna peers inside a cabinet, and deep down on the bottom shelf she discovers a box. She pulls it out, lifts the flap, and then she can already sense what lies there, covered under the obscure plastic wrap. Perhaps she should avoid unwrapping the thing. It is a silent movie projector, which later in the story allows her to rewind back time.
Now Edna recalled how the very act of projecting had been a special ritual, a special game for her: Watching the reels turn, listening to the sound they produced, gauging the contrast between the blackest black, the whitest white—and above all, playing with different speeds, both forwards and back. It made her marvel at how the brain would merge separate images, to create the illusion of motion. Giddy with excitement, Edna carried the box to the living room. She used her elbow to clear the coffee table and then, very carefully, set it down. Inside, tucked under the machine, she found two reels: One empty, the other heavy with celluloid. The filmstrip rolled down her fingers. Thrilled at the familiar touch, the touch of perforations, she threaded it as best she could, up and down through several guides, until it locked into place. Then, aiming the projector at the wall, she fired it up. By the end of the story, something starts happening to her. When her husband Ethan comes back home, we see the scene through his eyes.
He entered the living room and at first glance all he could see, in the ghastly light of the projector, was celluloid; clips and clips of celluloid snaking, curling one over the other, all over the coffee table, all over the floor. “Edna?” he cried. He bent over to turn off the machine, and it was there—in the darkest dark, right under that beam of light—that he stumbled over her. He brushed away the celluloid and, guided by nothing more than a sense of touch, passed a hand over her forehead, her eyelid, her ear, trying to piece together how she looked, and what had happened here.
“Wake up, babe,” he whispered.
Her breathing was barely audible. He took a guess—by the grip of her fingers over her nose, and the subtle movement of her cheeks—that she was hiding a smile. Was it a game? Was she toying with him?
It is through his eyes, ears and fingers that we will be led to the final discovery.
This is my mixed media painting (watercolor, ink, nail-polish drizzles on yupo paper) from around the same time when I wrote this story. I have written before about it in A Heartbeat, Reversed and in Like a Kiss Through a Handkerchief. The story appears in full on the pages of my poetry book, Home.
I was very moved by this intensely personal outpouring of poetry from Uvi Poznansky and her father Zeev Kachel. This could not have been an easy book to compile. As a father and a lover of poetry, I found myself constantly thinking about my relationship with my own daughter. This is a rare poetic glimpse into the sometimes dark corners of that most special relationship. Not for the faint of heart though. Poznansky is not afraid to confront the darkness, and bring it to light. Their poems and prose will definitely cause you to look inward. Her vivid word pictures left a deep impression inside. Thank you for sharing your inner self with us Ms Poznansky.
Home, with a cover image based on my painting, is in a cover contest! Currently is in fifth position (out of 90 books) on Goodreads' Best Illustrated Book Covers. If you are a Goodreads member and you like the cover, please vote for it.
Have you ever wanted to go back to your youth, to reverse the flow of time? For you, is it tempting thought? It would take some kind of magic, which I describe in my story A Heartbeat, Reversed. In it I use a silent movie projector as a device that allows my character, Edna, to rewind her life. She can control time, or so she wants to believe.
At first, it stirred into motion, casting a glowing, larger-than-life face into the darkness. The eyes sparkled, and from the lips came a laughter. It was giggly, yet utterly silent. Edna smiled back at this girl, the spirit of her youth. The eyelashes fluttered and then—with a sudden stutter—something took over the machine; for stuck on that single frame, it started rattling uncontrollably.
I have introduced Edna in my previous post, Like a Kiss Through a Handkerchief. Now in this state of mind, Edna watches her long-forgotten wedding event flickering on the wall. The sequence, which is so formal we all know how it ought to be arranged, is reversed. Starting from the moment he carries her across the threshold, we go back through events:
Ethan gathered her to his chest, his face dark with effort, his brow dripping with sweat. He swept the bride off her feet, and carried her in his arms, walking backwards. He backed away from the living room, out through the corridor. Edna shouted, Look out! She sucked in her breath; somehow she was quite sure that in a snap, the veil would ensnare him.
And going farther and farther back in time, here is how the groom and bride place the rings and exchange vows. Seen in reverse, the meaning is changed, too. You realize that they are about to separate, perhaps even forget they ever met:
Ethan and the bride had just separated out from a kiss and stood still, facing each other. The silvery light could barely filter through the wedding canopy. Gathered around them were members of both families. They bore witness, in a serious and ceremonious manner, to the unravelling of this union.
Edna could see clearly how he kept tugging at that ring on his finger, as if it did not fit, no, it did not feel quite right, now did it. She caught herself hesitating, wavering there under the gray shade, between one nail and another. Finally the bride took back her vows and set him free. With great gentleness, she recovered his ring. Ethan, in turn, recovered hers.
How far will she allow this magic to take her? Will she lose control over it, and what are the risks, the repercussions of denying the normal flow of time? Will Edna go back to being a young woman? A girl? A baby? Will she lose her mind? You can reverse a sequence of numbers, but when you get to a single heartbeat, no longer in the context of a sequence, would it matter anymore which way it is played, forward or backward?
"Leaning her head against his broad shoulders, she would take in his smell, a mixture of shaving lotion and a trace of sweat, and think herself happy.
But tonight she was lonely. Ethan was not there. Edna tried to imagine him coming close, even whispering some sweet nothings in her ear. She waited for the whisper to dissolve, then tried to force another one—but again, the voice was vacant. She rose to the tips of her toes, as if longing for a kiss. She could almost feel him. His embrace was tight, she nearly fainted—but there was no breath, no warmth in his lips. It was, to her, like a kiss through a handkerchief."
So starts a story in my book, Home. The character in this story is quite different from the other female characters. Edna confines herself to the four walls around her, and tries not to face her unhappiness. Here she is, passing through a corridor and capturing sight of herself, hanging there in the mirror:
"For a second, it looked like her older sister. Edna stuck her tongue out at her, thinking, oh well, those wrinkles are just a play of shadows, just shadows in the murky glass. She could make them disappear, simply by tipping her head backwards. She leaned over the cabinet for a closer look. The eyes looked somewhat blurry; so did her mouth. It seemed like a smudge, perhaps because the lipstick had been wiped, or else because she was too close.
In her youth, she was so weak that she could easily fall for something, easily laugh for anything. But that other woman, on the other side, seemed as if she could easily cry for nothing.
There, see? She rubbed the corner of her eye. So did Edna, thinking it was hard to know, anyway, if someone was crying or laughing. The features of the face contorted in much the same way.
There were walls around her, on both sides of the mirror; walls waiting for something to happen, for anything really; waiting there with great patience—with stability—as if they were home. Edna looked away, unable to escape that feeling, the feeling that there was no motion, it was all an illusion; and that in reality, both she and her reflection were absent. She was lost and could not be found."
All this, of course, is just the opening. What would happen next? And why is this story called A Heartbeat, Reversed? Good questions... To be answered in my next blog post. Stay tuned...
Woke up to a nice surprise: Jeanette Hornby, the Australian author of the novels Heart's Promise, Where The Heart Is, and Grapevines and Gum Trees offers a taste of my work on her blog down under, where an excerpt from Apart From Love and an excerpt from Home are posted today! One excerpt starts,
“Here is the place—he can bring it back—his first home.
Straight ahead is the door with a big handle high above. He can easily reach it, standing on the tips of his toes and pushing, pushing forward. It opens! Here is the room, which he shares with his sister, Batia. He is three yours old; she is five. And somehow he knows: she will come in later, much later. He can climb into bed now. Sleep is coming; he can feel it. Sleep is almost here."
How you waited to receive a word from me, a letter,
How I missed you! Only now I know better
No longer am I ashamed to say, to try:
Forgive me ma, now at last I am allowed to cry.
This is a watercolor painting--the largest I have painted--of my father. Measuring 40" x 30", this is called 'Silence of the Bard. Why a Bard? Because even though my father never played a musical instrument he composed beautiful images using the music of words. This is why the impression of the strings extends out into the landscape, which becomes a melodically conceived universe.
And, why Silence? because he never shared his last body of work with anyone. It is not been read by others, until now, until I published this book in his tribute: Home.