Friday, June 29, 2012

Bookstores: Beating the Odds

How unusual, in this day and age! I have just found an upbeat article about a bookstore called Jackson Street Booksellers, a bookstore that is not only beating the odds of surviving, but is thriving as well. The article casts a bright spot of hope amidst the dreary news of bookstores closing everywhere. Surrounded by piles and piles of books, the store owner sits there, welcoming the customers who, for some reason, keep flocking in. The store, he says, will soon be expanding. 

Want to learn his secret? How did he adapt to the times? Read Beating the Odds of Bookstore Failures, Jackson Street Expands

Author Interview: Art, Love, and Writing

My author interview on Katheryn Lane's blog has just been posted. Katheryn is the author of Her Latin Lover and The Royal SheikhShe works full-time as a teacher, mother and wife, but somehow also finds time to be a part-time writer as well! She loves to write contemporary romances set in exotic locations.

No wonder, then, that she titled the interview Art, Love and Writing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stages in Composition

What is the most improbable composition you can come up with, I asked myself--only to come up with an answer that could not have satisfied me: 

This is a charcoal on paper two-piece composition, attempting to combine two drawings, which I have posted here before: the first in a post called Seaweed as a Source of Inspiration, the second in a post called The First Time She Laid Eyes on Him. The reason I find composition so challenging here is because each one of the  original drawings occupied the center of the paper, and so both of them would be fighting to remain the focus of attention.

After several additional attempts I had my heart set on the composition shown below. This I executed as an oil painting.

The underpinning of this painting is the idea that you cannot immediately resolve which is the foreground, which the background. Who is dreaming whom? Is the woman imagining the strange sea-creature, or is he imagining her? They appear head to head, but neither one is solid. Each one of them is half-transparent, allowing the outlines of the other one to shine through its own body. 

There is only one place you can resolve as 'real', only one place where it is clear that one figure is casting a shadow on top of the other. This place is the woman's right ankle. I left it as the only 'solid' clue to this reality, because it is in this spot that the woman takes a step forward, into this imaginary scene of bewilderment and wonder...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The First Time She Laid Eyes on Him...

"The minute our eyes met, I knew what to do: so I stopped in the middle of what I was doing, which was dusting off the glass shield over the ice cream buckets, and stacking up waffle cones here and sugar cones there. From the counter I grabbed a bunch of paper tissues, and bent all the way down, like, to pick something from the floor. Then with a swift, discrete shove, I stuffed the tissues into one side of my bra, then the other, ‘cause I truly believe in having them two scoops—if you know what I mean—roundly and firmly in place. 
    Having a small chest is no good: men seem to like girls with boobs that bulge out. It seems to make an awful lot of difference, especially at first sight, which you can always tell by them customers, drooling."

This is a flashback to the time Anita, the young woman in My Own Voice, first laid eyes on Lenny, a man much older than her, and married. A few minutes later she finds herself fired from her job, on account of kissing him--and an hour later, they are alone in her mother's one-bedroom apartment:

"He turned to me the minute I untied my pony tail, and told me I reminded him of a girl he used to know, and would I like to dance. 
I stepped out of my shoes and into his arms, and before he could say anything I slipped out of my dress, too. I thought I looked, like, a little too slender in my panties, so I told him to close his eyes—but at this point, because of being so aroused, and trying so hard not to show it, I forgot all about them tissues at each side of my bra, which now and again, made a slight swoosh. 
Later I wondered if he wondered about that."

This is a charcoal on paper drawing. It is my easiest medium for drawing, as I am looking for light and shadows in the human form. The oil painting inspired by this drawing can be seen here

★ Love reading? Treat yourself to a family drama ★

"There is an air of mystery about the book that runs from the beginning to the final pages, but that also draws the reader in and makes the book difficult to put down"

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I see him in my mind
He moves, he stirs tonight 
But when I come to him, 
Our limbs entwined 
That arm wraps around me 
It holds me and controls me—
Can we take flight?

The beauty of ballet is in wondering, how effortlessly the dancers seems to soar in the air. This verse of the poem Dust, included in my book Twisted, and my bronze sculpture inspired by it, are about the illusion presented to us by bounds and leaps, by the ingenious choreography and the virtuosity of the dancers. But in a larger sense, this verse is about the way we relate to one another. Can she take flight without the support he offers--or else, is it his hold that holds her back?

The sculpture takes this ambiguity to an ultimate extreme, because as you may notice, the body of the male dancer is entirely porous, and worse--it is disconnected: The torso is completely separate from the hips, it hovers in space in utter discontinuity! You, the viewer, are invited to 'connect the dots'... It is, in fact, her body that holds him--not the other way around. If not for her, his upper body would be in pieces on the floor...

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"The ideas seem from a different realm of non-reality, but they are so immaculately constructed that each work becomes a little treasure to visit repeatedly"

"A sensitive melding of poetry, prose, and art"
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New 5-Star Review of Apart From Love

A new 5-star review has been posted today for Apart From Love, This time by a reader named Riqu:

5.0 out of 5 stars Apart From LoveJune 24, 2012
This review is from: Apart From Love (Paperback)
Intriguing, original story, Apart From Love is written in a way that grabs your attention and captures your imagination. The story, written from 3 different perspectives, brings the characters to life. The language skillfully adapts to the character it portrays and keeps you on edge. The attention Uvi Posnanski pays to details makes the book - a real treat!
I've enjoyed it very much.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Amazon's New Algorithms

I have just found an excellent article that gives an insight into the questionable results Indie authors are getting after taking part in Amazon's KSP Select program. Many of them are noticing that even when they had a stellar free run, garnering thousands and thousands of downloads, it is no longer catapulting them up the charts on their return to the paid side.

The article is by David Gaughran, an 34-year old Irish writer, living in Sweden. David runs the publishing blog Let’s Get Digital and the South American history site South Americana, has a regular column at Indie Reader, and his work has been featured in theHuffington Post, The Sunday Times, and the Irish Times.

The topic of the article is close to the heart of all of us writers, trying to find a way to make it in the world of literature today: Understanding Amazon’s New Algorithms Is As Easy As ABC

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Interview at Cowboy Wisdom Radio

I have just come off the air from my interview with the host of Cowboy Wisdom NLP Radio, Rob Wilson. Rob is a certified professional coach and motivational speaker, generating, facilitating, and illuminating life's possibilities in all people. He is a regular on the Stu Taylor Radio Show, 'Equity Strategies and Business Talk' and a published author of several books: The Wisdom of a Cowboy: Crossing the River and Climbing the Mountain, Wired for Change by a Journeyman and American Worker: Prison Wagesin the Private Sector. We talked not only about my book, Apart From Love, but also about creativity, which I described as a landscape, a zone surrounded by a wall. You can listen to my conversation with Rob here.

This is the third interview but somehow, it was far from being commonplace to me. Listening to his show I could tell that the conversation was going be relaxed and in more depth, simply because his interviews are generally conducted in a longer time slot--a full half hour--allowing the listeners the opportunity to open up to the subject.

My first radio interview was with the President of Conversations Book Club and the host of Conversations LIVE! Radio, Cyrus Webb. He is also a Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer and a participant of the Vine Voice program on Amazon, so I was very honored to get his offer to come on his show. You can listen to my conversation with Cyrus here.

My second radio interview was with the host of the Author's Hideaway, author Yolanda M Johnson-Bryant. She is a published author, freelance writer, columnist, novelist, editor, ghostwriter, literary, social media and entrepreneurial consultant and advocate, volunteer, Toastmaster and overall geek. You can listen to my conversation with Yolanda here.

Seaweed as a Source of Inspiration

From time to time I take long walks along the beach. On one of these occasions, a particular type of seaweed rotting down there, on the sand, caught my eye. When I came home, I googled images of all sorts of algae and finally came upon the one I saw. To my surprise, it was named 'Dead Man's Fingers', which was so spooky, and so rich with emotions! It was, I thought, the perfect image for the contentious love-hate relationship between the father and son in my story. 

It gave rise to a scene in Apart From Love, where Ben and his father go back to the place where they used to walk, back in Ben's early years: 

So I am standing there a long while, long enough for my father to have overtaken me already—but then, nothing. Finally I rush back, and there he is, in shallow water, wrapped in his black wool coat against the wind, collar flapping, hem dripping. He takes it off, and thrusts it into my hands. 
Then, precariously, he takes a step deeper, and points, “Look, over there!”
Which is when I spot a beam of sunlight caught, somehow, by a grain of sand. It is shining there, as if through a diamond. Under that sparkle, protected from the surge by a jagged wall of rocks, is the pool: the tide pool, in which I used to splash my feet a long time ago, when I visited here as a child, with him. Dazed by the sight, and by the visions it brings out, in layer after layer of memories, I open my mouth and close it again, like a fish out of water. 

Meanwhile, my father wades out to the rocks, leans over the edge, and waves his hand to me with something cupped in it, part of which is dangling down. I am reluctant to ask, Well, what is it? So I glance at this thing, this seaweed which is dark green and somewhat fuzzy, because of the hair on its swollen fingers. One finger wraps around a second one, which twists around, coiling over itself, creating a loop through which a third one feels its way, nicking here, pricking there, trying to penetrate. “See?” he indicates. “Dead Man’s Fingers! Remember?”  

This charcoal drawing was done a year before I started writing the story and it suggests erotic embraces between imaginary sea-creatures. Looking at it inspired the last paragraph in the excerpt quoted above.
"Uvi Poznansky has penned a literary symphony
complete with a cast of likeable yet bruised characters"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Sentence, Unfinished

At this moment, a man is lying in his armchair, propped up on a large pillow. He has lived, or rather, has confined himself within these walls for decades, for a reason unknown. In this stagnant place all sounds are muffled, all images erased – but for one thing: his youth. There is a vibrant longing in him for the adventures of his early days.

Was it not just yesterday when he left his home in Poland, never to see his parents again? Has he not escaped from the Nazi death camp in France, climbed across the Pyrenean Mountains, and found his way to Spain? He can still spot the snow-covered trail winding down, shining in the mist. It is fading out now, vanishing into a cloud, into fog.

No, it is not fog anymore but a storm, a raging storm at sea. There he stands, aboard the deck of a small ship, straining to see the dreamy outline of a new shore: Israel. There is a certain glint, the vivid, restless glint of the wanderer, playing in his eyes.

It is high noon, but the room is dark. The blinds are drawn. Only a thin plume of daylight reaches in somehow, and writes a bright dot against the shadows. If – like him – you waited long enough, you could actually see the dot bleeding slowly, steadily across the bare floor, rising up over the wall, becoming longer and longer still, until at long last it would fade out, like a sentence unfinished.

Dark circles can be noticed around his eyes; which suddenly brings to mind a tired animal, one that has not felt sunshine for a long time. The eyelids fall shut and at once, the glint is gone. An invisible hand is writing on the wall. He knows it in his heart. He bears it in fear and silence.

And then, trying to ignore the ticking, the loud, insistent ticking of the clock from the adjacent kitchen, you too would, perhaps, start sensing a presence. Voices would be coming from a different place, a place within. A faint footfall… A soft laughter... Who is there? He glances nervously at the entrance door. Is it locked? Can a stranger get in? Then – quite unexpectedly – the fear subsides and for the first time, gives way to something else. Something wells up in his throat. Why is the door locked? He feels a sudden urge to crawl down, get to that threshold, and cry. Mommy! Open the door! Let me in, mommy! Let me come home!

But for now, he can still hold it in. He forces himself to turn away from that door. Somehow it feels lighter in the dark. The bareness of this space, which was once adorned with rich Persian rugs, colorful oil paintings and fine furnishings, is more bearable this way. So is the weight of loneliness.

Opposite from him, playing out endlessly, unintelligibly and in quick succession on the TV screen, are strange images from unfamiliar places. Noise. He lets the images come. He lets them go. He has no will. He has no curiosity. But from time to time he stirs, despite the sharp, sudden pain in his wrist. He fumbles at the remote control, wondering why the sound is so distant, so mute. And yet – no matter how much he tries – he finds it impossible to fix that which is broken.

The shelves behind him are laden with books, three of which he has written himself in years past. Signed: Blue Wolf. Here is the poet, a man notorious for his contradictions, a man of a great passion and an equally great skill to capture it, to put it in beautiful, eloquent words in any one of ten languages. Here is the storyteller whose listeners have left him. Locked in a world of no sound, in a world of no expression, here he is: a cage within cage. This is the place where even the wolf surrenders. The fight is over. No more howling.

Here, at last, is my father.

This story, which I had written two years before my father passed away, is now included in my poetry book, Home.

I thought it appropriate to display one of his own oil paintings. How it evolved fascinates me: He painted the slope of a mountainside, and a moon high above, then archived the painting, never to take another look at it--until, several years later, he unearthed it and asked himself: What if... What if I paint this line here (which became the nose.)

And with that question in mind, the painting became what it was meant to be: A Wandering Jew, with the moonlight that accompanies the life of a nomad.

★ Inspired by poetry? Treat yourself a gift ★

"There are vignettes, streams of poetry, and scenes of such exquisite depth and beauty that I found myself taken aback at the skill of the writing and the power it had to touch my heart."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New 5-Start Review from Melodie: "Painfully Captivating"

A new 5-star review of Apart From Love, this time by the beautifully musical name of Melodie K. Starkey (of Chicago, IL) appeared on Amazon last night. Melodie must have been moved by one of my posts on Facebook, because she headed off to get the book. Later, I knew she was nearing the end, because I noticed a comment she left on another one of my posts. I must say this kind of close reader-writer interaction would not have happened, had I gone the route of traditional publishing. By going the Indie way, I get to meet so many wonderful readers and engage in conversation with them.

5.0 out of 5 stars Painfully CaptivatingJune 16, 2012
Melodie K. Starkey (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Apart From Love (Kindle Edition)
Reading this novel is like gawking at a tragic crime scene; you know you are intruding into something way too personal, but you NEED to know all the details--who was hurt and how, who was the guilty party, and most importantly how do I avoid this?
To me, the biggest strength of Apart from Love is the author's ability to craft these three seriously damaged characters in a way that makes us react to each as individuals, caring what happens, shouting advice from the sidelines, and feeling anger, pity, frustration, sorrow in turn. For all their flaws, Ben and Anita are like children that you want to shelter and save, while Lenny's small redeeming dedication to his ex-wife doesn't begin to counterbalance his overall dispicable character.
Written with a depth of language bordering on poetic and with laser sharp accuracy for penetrating to the core of your emotions, Apart from Love is a story that will continue to haunt you long after the dangling ending.

Curious to read more about Melodie, I went to her reviewer page on Amazon, and found this endearing, tongue-in-cheek note:

"I will never forgive my mother for naming me this stupid name, plus misspelling it."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blazing Points of View

New 5-star review of Apart From Love, this time by sallsol, titled 'Blazing Points of View', appeared last night on Amazon:

"Author Uvi Pozansky's juxtaposition of her characters'thought is fascinating. She shows their ongoing beliefs about themselves, their relationship to each other, and their relationship to the woman whose memory has been wiped away by Alzheimer's disease. Her characters maneuver their thoughts into the words which they think will bring them what they need or just want.

These unique characters are layered with complexity. In addition to the relationship between the three of them, they have been tragically influenced by the woman who has Alzheimer's disease. Her former husband, son, and rival react in disparate yet authentic, and for us the reader, edifying ways.

Pozansky's artistic talent gives us rich descriptions. When the uneducated Anita is watching Ben, her elderly husband's adult son, she thinks,
"His entire body is like, burning up. And his eyes, they're fluttering around me until--like a moth heading, in a roundabout way, into a light source--they connect with mine. I can sense his hate some times, and at once pull back from him, `cause I spot how hard his jaw is set, and even, how murderous the spark right there, in that shadow under his lashes, which reminds me of some animal, getting pretty tense, like, getting ready for the kill."

I was right there, with each of them, from beginning to end."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

We Were Born in Darkness

Written by Zeev Kachel

Translated from Hebrew by Uvi Poznansky

We were born in darkness, crying a fit
Like grains of sand, countless stars came up, lit, 
We wanted to turn back to the warm womb  
Instead we were wrapped by chill and by gloom

Born in darkness, we labored so hard
To find our way in this universe 
We were greeted by its hug, the cruelty of its curse
Its predators' jaws... We were forced to traverse. 

Ma, why did you fool me, what was it for,
When you sang me a lullaby, not a song of war?
Oh why did you hide the ugly truth from me
We were born in darkness, our life--not to be?

★ Inspired by poetry? Treat yourself a gift ★

"As the title suggests it is a journey that takes you inside shadows 
lurking somewhere in the deep domains of 'Home'"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New 5 Star Review: "A Fascinating Narrative"

A new 5-star review, this time by a reader named Sharon, was posted on Amazon last night. It calls Apart From Love, "A Fascinating Narrative":

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating NarrativeJune 12, 2012
Sharon "Sharon" (Santa Monica, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Apart From Love (Paperback)
Apart From Love
Uvi Poznansky is a Renaissance woman - poet, fiction writer, sculptress, architect, software engineer. Her first novel APART FROM LOVE reflects her many talents. It is full of unique visual imagery; some of the scenes read like exquisitely dressed stage sets. The cover art is also hers. Metaphors of art and music abound and support the novel's themes of passion, identity, and fractured family relationships.

Other reviewers have commented on the novel's plot; I won't reiterate those remarks. No "spoilers" from me! For this reader the most remarkable aspect of APART FROM LOVE is Poznansky's manipulation of the complicated narrative strategy in which three characters - Ben, his father Lenny, and Anita (Lenny's young second wife) - share the telling of the story. Ben and Anita are the primary narrators, and later we learn that Lenny is the "author" who secretly is piecing together their tape recorded narratives. He thinks of himself as a "keeper of secrets," yet it is the secrets of Ben and Anita that are revealed to him. Since the narratives are fractured and then, we suppose, "translated" by Lenny, the reader is left in a kind of suspense about what really happens. The lack of coherence created by the audiotapes - some of which have been written over multiple times - creates a fascinating, puzzle-like narrative in which the philosophical question of the nature of truth and reality is spun out for the reader. Each of the narrators has a distinctive voice; others have commented on the fact that Anita is uneducated and her language is unsophisticated and slightly crude. Personally, I found her refreshing - and perhaps the most honest of the three tellers of this ironic and painful "love" story.

The novel has some comic relief - again ironic - in the characters of Aunt Hadassa and her sisters who function like a Greek chorus, or Shakespearean "weird sisters," or the Fates, appearing generally at Anita's side at dramatic moments. The novel also has an appended chapter of "Editorial Notes" written by Lenny's lawyer, Mr. Bliss. These notes - an attempt to explain his editing of the scattered materials that make up the story - remind this reader of the attempts of Emily Bronte's narrator Lockwood to understand the passions of Heathcliff and Catherine in WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Psychologically, he is not up to the job, but even as we know this, we learn that in a way he stands for the reader, someone whose passions cannot hope to match those of the main actors in the drama. Uvi Poznansky has done this here as well. See for yourself; read APART FROM LOVE.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Truth in Fiction?

When reading a novel, most readers would skip anything called 'Editorial Notes'--not so in Apart from Love, perhaps because you notice that it was written by one of the characters in the story, Mr. Bliss, Lenny's Attorney, or--more likely--because the end is slightly open ended, by design, which leaves you hungry for more.

Mr. Bliss is a minor character: He is briefly introduced earlier in the story, and you will note that his name is ironic, because each time he appears turns out to be a time of misery... And so, he opens his discourse making an honest attempt not to sound like a lawyer, which fails at once:

"In writing this Introduction I shall make every effort to avoid making it read like a legal brief. As an attorney at law, I claim neither knowledge nor any kind of experience in the task of literary editing. However, the body of work that my longtime client, Mr. Leonard Kaminsky (hereby named The Author) left behind him, which was found, rather unfortunately, in a fragmented and highly unfinished state, made it necessary for me, for professional as well as personal reasons, to rise to the task.
I served the author for nearly thirty years. Smart and tightlipped, he gave me the impression of someone who is likely to conceal some secret affairs, someone with a healthy appetite for the ladies, an appetite matched only by his experience. Which at the time, I considered enviable."

He then describes the 'back story' of the story, which I am not going to give away here... What is clear is the fact that he is hard at work, attempting to make sense of the events, and to arrange the various accounts of the other characters, so as to gain a fuller understanding of the story. Here, then, are his last words: 

"Until the very last moment before submitting this text for publication, I plan on reading and rereading it, looking for gaps in chronology, logical misalignments between fragments, even outright errors, which might have escaped me. I am still tormented by my own doubts as to this editorial guesswork.
Therefore I would not put it past you, the reader, to sense some dissatisfaction, as I do, in the current state of this book. It was unfinished, and still is.
I wish I could be more confident of its veracity and completeness. I wish I could do more. This, I suppose, is the nature of the quest for truth—even if it is truth in fiction.


"There is an air of mystery about the book that runs from the beginning to the final pages, but that also draws the reader in and makes the book difficult to put down"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apart From Love Found a Home in Palos Verdes Library District

So excited! Deb Ripley, the Adult Services Librarian in Palos Verdes Library District of Rolling Hills Estates, has just let me know that my new novel, Apart from Love, has recently been added to their collection! The book is now appearing in the "New Fiction" section.

If you live in or around Rolling Hills Estates, check it out!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Can We Inspire Each Other?

This is a story of collaboration between three artists: Albert SettonEttore Andreani, and yours truly, combining forces to create a single, cross-inspired project. In the beginning, we decided that each one of us will crawl back into his or her cave to create an initial sketch. What would it be about? We didn't know at first, but because we share an affinity to mythological themes, we agreed to have the sketch refer to one of the stories in Greek mythology. Also, we decided on the overall size of the paper; so by the time we met, we had three art pieces, each 30"x24".

Next we had to make a decision how to put the three pieces together. Would they be placed side-by-side, like an altar triptych? In what order? Should we cut and paste pieces of them together, to create a new whole? Or should they be arranged in a vertical column? Who's on top?

Stacking the pieces vertically seemed appropriate, because my piece--a figure floating in space like Dedalus who lost his wings getting too close to the sun--lends itself to be up there above the rest. It is a metaphor for my own fragility; indeed, the fragility of all of us who dream of soaring... The middle piece, painted by Ettore Andreani, describes the plight of Prometheus, doomed for eternal suffering for daring to give fire, which is divine, to mortals. Down below, Albert Setton's piece, depicting the Minotaur in his cave, which is perhaps the way he views himself. This piece lends itself to be underground.   

Now we had to combine the three pieces--not only graphically (by eliminating superfluous detail and adjusting the overall composition) but also in terms of the overall narration. This we did using Ariadne's thread, which runs through all three panels, twisting and turning through them. We decided on the following narrative scheme:

Top panel:
Ariadne is seen dancing with the thread, which connects the three panels together.

Middle panel:
Here, the eagle itself is the blazing fire of the gods, the same fire the gods wish to deny us, mortals.

Bottom panel:
Here, the Minotaur is waiting for Theseus, his slayer, while holding the end of Ariadne's thread.

The Minotaur, a creature part man, part bull, lived at the center of the Labyrinth until it was killed by Theseus. On his arrival in Crete, Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and gave him a ball of thread, so he could find his way out of the Labyrinth. She is seen above, dancing with the thread, which connects the panels together. Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mortals. He was punished by being bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver, only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. Here, the eagle itself is the blazing fire of the gods.

I let the Minotaur hold the end of Ariadne's thread. He knows his fate. Perhaps he is waiting, with a philosophical look of acceptance, for his slayer to come in, following the trail of blood, and the remains of all his victims. Death is imminent...

But alas, in this entire three-panel painting, the slayer is missing. Instead all we see is Prometheus chained to the rock, and no one else is visible to bring an end to the desperately waiting Minotaur.