Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Place of Our Childhood: Paradise Lost?

Sometimes I think that once we leave home, a gate seems to close behind us. When we come back, things are never the same as they used to be. There is a separation, a thin, partially transparent film of memory, through which we see the place. In my mind, this is similar to the story of the expulsion from paradise, which is described in many religions and mythologies as an allegory of the early existence of our culture. Our common childhood. We tend to think of paradise as a garden, not as a home. But in either case, there is that high, unsurmountable fence, and the ever-turning sword that cuts both ways, guarding it: the core of our beginnings. The time of our childhood. Our imagined happiness.

So today I chose to show you a detail from my paper sculpture, called Genesis. This story starts at the bottom, and snakes its way around the curved facets of the paper sculpture, starting with chaos, going through the separation of heaven and earth, creation of the sun, the moon and the stars, emergence of vegetation, life forms in the sea and on dry land, the tree of wisdom, the snake, Eve tempting Adam to eat the forbidden fruit, and ending at the top with the expultion from paradise.

The sculpture is constructed from three parts: 
  1. The foot at the bottom, which I shaped as an elegant, curvy pedestal 
  2. The faceted design in the middle, which I created out of a single sheet of paper, with no cutting or glueing at all (merely by light scoring and hand pressure)
  3. And the multi-pointed crown at the top, where the eye of God looking down on the tumult is painted (not visible here.)   
On each facet of the sculpture, I painted a different scene from the creation of the world. The lines of the design in one scene curve onto the next facet, the next scene. For example, the branches of the tree of knowledge rise into the top facet where the become the outline of the road leading away from the garden of Eden.

Take a closer look. You can click the paper sculpture to see it from more sides.

To see another one of my paper sculptures, click here.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bring It Home

My upcoming poetry book is on three Goodreads lists right now. If you are a Goodreads member, please consider helping Home to become more visible, and vote for Home

Monday, September 24, 2012

Listen to the stories My Father Told Me

"The longer I live, the more I realize that each one is only unto himself... Sometimes I shudder to see how lonely is a man in the universe. Only the noise, the tumult and the constant competition make him overlook this realization. The condition of the artist is immeasurably superior. The joy of inspiration puts his feeling of loneliness at a remote distance, and he imagines that life shall never end. But to create is possible only when a man can trust that he creates for someone or for some thing, that he is not surrounded by lies, and that he is not building upon a deceptive foundation."

These were my father's words to me on-tape, which he sent me when I moved to New York. For some reason, every time I listen they remind my of a time in my childhood: I remember him reading poems for me in languages I could not even understand. He would recite a few verses in Russian, stop, translate them for me on the fly, and continue with the next verse. By some trick, the images appeared before my eyes even before they words were decoded. His voice was grand with pathos. The pages would turn, each one a mystery, each one scribed in symbols I could not decipher on my own.

Of all the poems he used to read for me, there was one I was particularly drawn to: The Song of Oleg,
 written by Alexander Pushkin (the Russian poet whose career had come to an end in a duel, at the height of his genius.)

Oleg, the tale went, was a Russian prince who valued one thing above all his fine possessions: His horse. It was an exquisite animal and he simply adored it. More than that, there was a strong bond between them. But one day, an old prophet came to the prince and lifted the veil of the future for him. “O Prince,” he said, “it is from the steed which you love and on which you ride that you shall meet your death.”

His life was at stake, so Oleg felt compelled to make a painful sacrifice. He determined never to mount this horse or even to look upon it again. So he gave a command that the horse should be properly fed and taken care of, but never again should it be led into his presence.

Years passed, until one day he heard that the horse had died. “Soothsayers tell lies,” he said bitterly. “Their words are naught but falsehood. My horse is dead, but I am still alive.”

The prince rode to the place where the bare bones lay upon the earth. He dismounted, and remarked with a laugh: “Am I to receive my death from this skull?” Then he stood there, lost in abandon, reflecting on all those wasted years during which he and this beautiful being could have been close. Meanwhile, slithering out of the hollow of the skull, a snake crawled forth and with a single spurt, stung him to death. 

This image of the snake crawling forth to lay its claim upon the victim (who knows his fate and yet denies it) is still with me. This is, perhaps, the reason I hinted at it in a detail you can find at the bottom of my charcoal drawing, The Place Where I Played. Waiting there for me is the snake, ready to sting when while I am idling, yearning for what is gone, yearning for what I wish to have happened.

Such is the venom hidden in the gap between memory and reality.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

You Are My Ambassadors

You are my ambassadors; so wherever you are
Please carry my message, near and far
Let the ripple spread north and south
'Cause all I can hope for is your word-of-mouth

So if you you come here--if you find what you like
Please take your finger out the hole in the dike
Let the flood happen, let me float home
Like, tweet and chirp, from LA to Rome

From Tel Aviv to San Diego, from Sydney to Delhi
Don't hesitate, dear friends: go ahead, share me!

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The Pen: Scribbles from Childhood

When I was a little girl, my father kept an on-going diary in which he jotted down his conversations with me. It was written almost like a play, centered on the dialog between us. Six years ago, when I came back to my childhood home to mourn him (during the Shiv-aa, the seven days period after his passing) I unearthed many of his long lost documents, and among them--the diary. 

It is in a surprisingly great shape, despite the yellowing pages, and even if you don't know a word of Hebrew, you can appreciate his strong, fluent pen stroke and beautiful handwriting. It is firm even in the process of crossing out a few words.

This handwriting must have been on my mind when I wrote the opening lines of a short story, And Then She Left Him:

"He looks at the line. It is written in blue ink, pressed into the sheet of paper—vigorously here, faintly there—with his usual stroke, a stroke that drives through the spikes and valleys in the shapes of the letters at a steady slant. The line reaches the margin, where it is punctuated, unexpectedly, by a red stain. 

Blotting it is bound to leave fingerprints, and so Mr. Schriber  decides to leave it alone. He lifts the paper by its corner—and a drop bleeds down; he lays it down on the desk—and the stain goes on spreading. Going back to his writing, he applies too much pressure on the pen—and the pointed nib digs into the paper. Taking a deep breath, he tries to compose himself. The pen is his weapon. The simple act of pulling it over the soft, white surface has never failed to calm him down. Letter by letter, mark by mark, it will soon draw him into a different state of mind."

Excerpt from Home.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

The Best Review Ever

There are over thirty eloquent, beautiful reviews on Amazon for my novel Apart From Love, but I have received the one I consider the most rewarding of all! Check it out; this is why a writer writes:

I have learned that Jt Sather describes his life this way: "you know...been here...there...done this....and things I won't tell my mother!"  I am very honored by his choice to read my novel and to share it with her, because he is the author of How to Survive When the Bottom Drops Out, a motivational guide to help you through the rough patches in the road of life. His book won five 5-star reviews from readers, so far.

Treat yourself to a gift!
Apart From Love
EbookKindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords
PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
AudiobookiTunes  Amazon  Audible

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to Get the Vibrant Colors You've Expected for Your Cover

Being new to the printing process of book covers, I've learned that it can be a challenge to get graphics with the contrast and vibrancy you would expect. Home is the third cover I've designed this year, after Apart From Love and Ropes, Separation, Tear. In each case, the covers are based on my own art, and their colors (in print) turned up as radiant, and as faithful to the design as can be. It is so rewarding for me to hear the delight of those of you who got the paperback edition of my books.

So I can share this with you: here is an excellent article, a must read for anyone interested in getting the best result for their cover in print: Better Color from Print on Demand

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review of Home by Hall of Fame Reviewer

Author of War Songs, Grady Harp is an artist representative, gallery owner, writer of essays and articles on figurative and all Representational art for museum catalogues and for travelling exhibitions, and an Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer. He describes himself as being ever on the alert for the new and promising geniuses of tomorrow. So I am deeply honored that he has posted this five-star review (on Amazon and Goodreads) for Home:

5.0 out of 5 stars Home DefinedSeptember 19, 2012
Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Home (Paperback)
This is the second work by Uvi Poznansky that this reader has had the pleasure to absorb. And as written before in a small introduction to her life, the following is repeated: `Uvi Poznansky wears a coat of many colors. Originally from Israel where she studied Architecture and Town Planning then moving to the US where she studied Computer Science and became an expert in Software Engineering, Poznansky managed to combine the design elements of two studies into unique formats. And she has accomplished the same with the other side of her brain - making visual her ideas (she is an accomplished painter, drawer, and sculptor who has enjoyed exhibitions both in Israel and in California, her present base) and making words in poetry and in short stories and children's books.' And while all that was written before remains true, she has added a new facet to her art. HOME is an homage to her father, Zeev Kachel, an impressive poet who lived in Israel and during the last twenty years of his life he privately, secretly wrote poetry that has never been placed before the public until now. When Zeev Kachel died, Uvi discovered the poems and has translated them from Hebrew, publishing them here in tandem with her own poetry and short stories and embellishing them with her mystical artwork.

The theme is the concept of `home' as perceived by both father and daughter but not limited to their relationship or center of home: Uvi has been living in the USA while her father remained in Israel so there is a special tension within the works that negates space and time and yet celebrates it at the same time.

HOME by Uvi Poznansky, 2012

Sucked in by a force, I'm flying through a tunnel
The tunnel of memory that leads me back home
The past blurs my present, so my vision is double
The walls and the ceiling curve into a dome

From here I can see my home, tilting
And falling from place, all the lamps are aflame
My father's empty chair is slowly ascending
Tipped by the light, outlining its frame

And in A SENTENCE, UNFINISHED, a brief story, she includes the following:

Here is the poet, a man notorious for his contradictions, a man of 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 a cage. This is the place where even the wolf surrenders. The fight is over. No more howling. ........ Here, at last, is my father.

And when we turn to the translations of the poetry of Zeev Kachel, the following is a brief example:

I'm not sorry for the hours that I wasted
Suspended in my dreams and idle thought
I'm not sorry for the days I ruined
The only thing I care about is the luster I did blot

I care that that's the way our lives are going
In power games, for which we'll pay the price,
I ache, because of our misunderstanding
Because that which is between us turned hard as ice

I care nothing for the roses that have withered
Over their fleeting fragrance I will shed no tears
What pains me now is the way I hurt you
And that if I ask forgiveness, no one hears

No way to settle this, to heal the cuts
In this world there's a price for everything
The echo of our steps is the witness left behind us
As the light that glowed upon us is already blackening.

This radiant book is an exploration of the bond between a daughter and father and the book overflows with some of the most eloquent poetic moments in print. HOME is an invitation, a very personal one, and should not be passed over. Grady Harp, September 12

My Father's Work

My father Zeev Kachel, an author, poet and artist, knew many languages, and he knew them because of the trials and tribulations of his history. Born in Russia, he knew Russian, Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew from early childhood. French, German and Spanish came later: He left home at seventeen, moved to France for his studies, and upon the German invasion he was imprisoned. He escaped the camp, and climbed a foot trail over the Pyrenees mountains, which forms a massive divider between France and Spain. He lived two years in Barcelona, until he emigrated to Israel, where he fell captive when the Jordanian forces attacked the electricity plant which he operated.  

My father published three books during his lifetime: a prose book Dams Erupting published in 1957, offering a personal account of events during his captivity in Jordan during Israel’s war of independence in 1948; a poetry book Can We Still Love published in 1961, questioning our capability to give and receive love, having witnessed the inhumanity of two world wars; and a poetry book Beyond The Window, What Day Is It Today, published in 1977, bringing to light an unusual creative collaboration with me. 

How did this happen? When I was in my teens, my father said to me: Uvi, give me your poems, lets publish them. I resisted, because to me they were intensely private. He said, these poems, locked in your desk, are not yours anymore. The minute your ink left the pen, the words exist on their own. They belong to your readers! 

At last he prevailed, and a poetry book with his work and mine was published. And now after all these years, the upcoming book titled Home celebrates once again the spirit—and the action—of joining forces.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Carousel

When first I spot it, all seems still
But in my heart--a sudden thrill
The cables sing with a raspy sound
And into place I am now bound
Now being lifted, faster, faster
No longer of my fate a master
My mouth gaped open--but not a scream
The ground's dropping, beam under beam
A beat, then silence, then a beat
I'm nearly flying off my seat
The beating quickens in my heart
My limbs are stretching part from part
Round and round the carousel
Rise to heaven, sink to hell--

Friday, September 14, 2012

Book Review for Home: Deeply Moving

Dolores holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology as well as teacher certification in Manitoba, Canada. During her teaching career Dolores furthered her education by completing her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology from the University of Winnipeg. Her self-help books--It's Not Perfect and It's OK, Growing Up and Liking It, and UP THE "DOWN" LADDER--are written in retrospect based on a proven recipe, one she has incorporated step by step into her own life. So I am honored that she has just posted this review, which she titled Deeply Moving, for Home:

5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Moving!September 14, 2012
Dolores Ayotte (Winnipeg, Manitoba) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Home (Paperback)
"Home" by Author Uvi Poznansky is a well-written compilation of poetry and prose. She shares some of the works of her father Zeev Kachel as well as her own talent.

This is the second book that I have read and reviewed by this gifted author. It is hard to put into words the emotion one feels after reading her work. There is a great sadness found here...almost sorrowful in its content. Her writing touches my heart to the core as I sense the courage it takes to show such deep feeling and pain. Yes...the release of pain is what I hear in her words. Her artistic gift is the expression of Ms. Poznansky's experiences. Perhaps, she is vicariously living and writing through the eyes of her father and touching our lives with her unmistakeable ability to share her feelings as well as her dearly departed father's innermost self with her readers.

Ms. Poznansky does not shy away from dealing with some darker subjects nor does her father. It is apparent to me that Zeev Kachel, the author of many of the numerous poems included in "Home", suffered a great deal. His poetry shows the depth of his loneliness in his later years and the therapeutic outlet he embraced in his poetry. In doing so, he is able to release some of his pain as well as share his talent. It is obvious to me that father and daughter share a common artistic gift. Ms. Poznansky is showing so much of both their talents in this thought-provoking and touching book.

"Home" is not for the faint of heart. It is meant to reach deep inside the reader's soul and stir those raw emotions that not all can...or want to, identify with. It appears to me that Zeev Kachel suffered a great deal throughout his life as he so poetically states "Now I cry out of a burst of pain and howl in darkness out of loneliness."

Yes indeed...Ms. Poznansky has captured not only the depths of her father's despair and turned it into a masterpiece, she has shared her prose and poetry as well. Once again, she has put her artistic talent out there for all to read and see. There are no "masks" as she shares her gifts with those keen enough to feel the true essence of her efforts. I wholeheartedly agree that, "Now after all these years, "Home" celebrates once again the spirit and the action - of joining forces". Father and daughter have done just that!

A Literary Symphony

Ashley Fontainne is an avid reader of classic literature. She is also the author of Zero Balance, Accountable to None, and Ramblings of a Mad Southern Woman, and the host of a Blog talk radio show, which is dedicated to interviewing Indie writers. So I am honored that she has just posted a review of my novel on Amazon. Ashley titled her review "A Literary Symphony" which makes me happy, in part because of the presence of the white piano in the story, and the musical themes it touches on, and in part because it tells me how Apart From Love touched her heart. This is what she says:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary SymphonySeptember 14, 2012


This review is from: Apart From Love (Kindle Edition)
Uvi Poznansky has penned a literary symphony, complete with a cast of likeable yet bruised characters.

The story unfolds as each central figure takes center stage, allowing the reader to slip inside and vicariously experience their true emotions--no matter how damaged they are.

The story centers around Ben, his father Lenny, and Anita--Lenny's new wife. The underlying currents of a myriad of emotions are woven throughout each chapter as each of them struggle to deal with their new role and place in the broken family dynamic. Although Ben is an adult, he still feels the pain of the divorce of his mother and father years ago and holds an almost religious awe of his mother in his memories of her. He also harbors deep resentment toward his father for the demise of the marriage.

Enter Anita, the vivacious, and younger, new wife of Ben's aging father--and the reason for the divorce of Ben's parents. The family unit was shattered the day Anita came into the picture, and for years, the relationship between father and son simply did not exist. However, time, space and tragedy tend to soften deep-seated anger, and Ben reunites with his father after Lenny's most recent bout in the hospital.

Upon Ben's arrival back to the home he fled years ago, the tension he feels toward Anita is immediate for a variety of real and imagined reasons. Even as an adult, Ben finds it difficult to come to terms that another woman attempting to perform the role of wife and step-mother--and the fact that he finds himself inexplicably attracted to her.

This eloquently written tale provides a look into the damage caused by infidelity and the long-term emotional scars a broken home leaves on everyone involved. It also shines a light on the testosterone filled battle that each father and son share as they pursue more trophies to add to their internal mantle.

This book was lyrical--the words graced the pages like a tragic opera. It is apparent that Ms. Poznansky is a talented artist, painter and lover of the arts in each delicately crafted sentence.

This novel was a true pleasure to read and I recommend it to anyone that loves a compelling story of family struggles and affairs of the heart.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How Good It Is to be Here: A Place that Honors Indie Writers

The Cover Contessa and Never Too Old for YA Books (a group on Goodreads) are continuing to honor indie authors this month. Today they welcomed me to the group and blog to chat about what it is being an author.

You can read the interview here
Never too old for Y.A. Books discussion

Monday, September 10, 2012

Home: Interior Design of a Book

You may ask, what is the 'interior design' of a book? It is the graphic arrangement of the text, and of every piece of information printed in it, from the title page in the front to the period on the last page. This includes the choice of font, the size of different fields of text, the white space around blocks of text, and the indentation of the first paragraph in the story as compared to the indentation of following paragraphs--all of which create a graphical balance; an environment for you, the reader. 

In the case of my new poetry book, Home, I have focused on several interior design details, which I illustrate in the two pages below. The odd-number pages bear the title, Home, centered at the top. The font I chose for the entire book is Baskerville (more on this font and why I prefer it to others will be posted on my blog in a separate entry.) The first letter of each story, each poem in the book is unique, in the traditional manner of illuminated manuscripts. This special attention to the first letter signifies a beginning of a new thought, and an invitation to the reader to pause before delving in. 

 I chose a fancy font for the first letter, called Kokonor. Furthermore, I placed it carefully, like a piece of art, in relation to the following letters. This can be seen in the page below, where the tail end of letter N carries the following letters, ow, embracing them. This can not be done simply by typing the letters and selecting different fonts, but rather by adding a 'text box' and carefully placing it on the page. 

The even-numbered pages of the book bear the names of the writers (my father's name, Zeev Kachel, and mine.) To eliminate confusion, the first half of the book contains my creations, the second half--his, and I credit the writer under each individual piece, as you can see in these two pages.) 

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Home

What is the Next Big Thing? It is a ripple of creativity, spreading across the new writers of today! Each one gives an insight to her upcoming work, then tags her fellow writers to do the same. The fabulous Deborah Batterman tagged the talented Rossandra White who tagged yours truly... So here is a glimpse into my upcoming book:

What is the working title of your book?

My book is titled Home. It will be available in paperback edition as well as Kindle edition. The launch is scheduled for October 10, 2012. To join the celebration, come one, come all! Click here!

\Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for the book ripened over six years, looking at my short stories and poems and realizing that a selection of them relate to a central theme, a theme of longing for a place that exists only in memory. Then I realized that the same longing can be found in my father’s later work. This book combines two bodies of work.

What genre does your book fall under?

This book is a poetry and prose anthology, around the idea of home. 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

For a book containing poems and stories, that is not an easy question. My father’s writing is always autobiographical in nature; you can view it as an ongoing diary of his life. My writing is rarely so, especially when it comes to my stories. I delight in conjuring up various figments of imagination, and fleshing them out on paper. So there is one short story in this book, titled ‘A Heartbeat, Reversed.’ It is cinematic and somewhat strange, if I say so myself, because it allows time to go backwards... So for this particular story I would love for one of the most skilled actresses of our time, Meryl Streep, to play the lead role.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Expressed in the voices of father and daughter, you can hear a visceral longing for an ideal place, a place never to be found again: Home.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Like my novel Apart From Love, published earlier this year, Home is self-published too.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

This is not easy to answer, since there are two authors here. My father’s poems were written during the last twenty-four years of his life. He had published three books during his lifetime: a prose book Dams Erupting published in 1957, offering a personal account of events during his captivity in Jordan during Israel’s war of independence in 1948; a poetry book Can We Still Love published in 1961, questioning our capability to give and receive love, having witnessed the inhumanity of two world wars; and a poetry book Beyond The Window, What Day Is It Today, published in 1977, bringing to light an unusual creative collaboration with me. But the new body of work, which I found during the mourning period for his passing, had never been shared with anyone.
As for my contribution to the book, most of the poems and stories were written in the last ten years, and selected for inclusion here either because they relate directly to my father’s life, or because they relate to the idea of home.

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

In a way this is similar to Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, by Billy Collins, which is described as a dazzling new anthology of 180 contemporary poems, selected and introduced by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Six years after that moment of discovery, which happened in my childhood home while mourning for my father’s passing, I present a tender tribute: a collection of poems and prose, half of which is written by me, and half—by my father, the author, poet and artist Zeev Kachel. I have been translating his poems for nearly a year, with careful attention to rhyme and rhythm, in an effort to remain faithful to the spirit of his words.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Coming back to the states after my father’s funeral, I recreated the sketch I drew of my childhood home, from memory. In my new drawing I used a fish-eye perspective. What does that mean? Like regular perspective, the horizontal lines converge into a vantage point in the distance. But—here is the difference—the vertical lines are not straight, nor are they parallel. As you look up, vertical lines converge to a point up there, beyond the edge of the paper. You can call it Heaven. And as you look down, the vertical lines converge to a point below, call it Hell. Which makes the entire perspective embrace you, as if you are in the middle of a fish bowl, seeing the world curve around you.
And looking though such a perspective, what did I see? An earthquake, really, in the aftermath of my father's death. Books falling off the shelves; the lamp swinging like a pendulum; the little side table (in the front) overturned, so my father will never lay his pen upon it; and instead of the persian rugs that used to adorn this space once upon a time, I floated blank pages on the floor; pages he will never again use for writing.
In my next sketch I let the lamp swing even higher into the air. The place has completely tilted, and my father's armchair is ascending above the rest of the furniture. This is the sketch I used for an oil painting called My Father's Armchair, which later became the cover of this book. 


Now it’s my turn to tag people. Please visit their blogs. They will be publishing their answers to the questions in week 13 (between the 18th September and 24th September)

Message for the tagged authors and interested others: 
Rules of The Next Big Thing:
  • Use this format for your post 
  • Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) 
  • Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
  • What is the working title of your book?
  • Where did the idea come from for the book?
  • What genre does your book fall under?
  • Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  • Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
  • What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  • Who or What inspired you to write this book?
  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
  • Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

Be sure to line up your five people in advance.