Friday, November 30, 2012

When Love was Complicated and Furious

I am truly moved by this review of Apart From Love, written by one of my earliest readers, Angela Davis, whose poems I have been following for the last few months:

5.0 out of 5 stars incredible read!May 26, 2012
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This review is from: Apart From Love (Paperback)
Apart From Love is an inspiring novel by an amazing woman who is a writer, poet, sculptor, painter, and more. This novel spurred me to write again, and delved into my soul in a way that no other novel has done in many years. The intensity of characters, and their interconnections with one another, will entrance the reader, and remind us of the times when love was complicated and furious, yet honest and real. The voices of the primary characters are genuine and touching, and the story will encapture even the most jaded persons. A true voice here, a brilliant search into what can be and what truly is.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I have just finished reading Home. WOW!

How rewarding it is to get a review from a reader who is not only a truck driver who has seen most of the continental US through her work--but a writer as well! Having received an autographed copy of my poetry book Home, Cindy J. Smith, the author of Voices In My Head, has just posted her awesome review on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes and Noble:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Father's MemoriesNovember 28, 2012
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This review is from: Home (Paperback)
I have just finished reading Home. WOW! I could feel Uvi's father's yearning in his poems. Her love for him and her being able to finally understand is evident in the introductory poems also. I was especially moved by Muse. In this poem Uvi sees for herself that her father has now returned to his love, his mother, his muse. Such heartfelt understanding! I'm Not Sorry, by her father, shows how he has found the true things to be sorry for, not flowers picked but hearts broken. With Reparations, I was swept up in the confusion of explaining that the loss of loved ones was more important than the loss of things. Her Father's attempt to share the total loss of being Jewish in WW1. Reading When Life Becomes a Curse, I felt the pain of giving up on life. I felt the unending heartache caused by the loss of family, love and friends.
Such a moving piece of work. Thank you for taking the time to translate these moving pieces to English that I was able to enjoy them.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My characters will come right out of this cover

The party's over... In just a bit
This place will be quiet, and solemn and lit
By the last rays of sun as the evening descends
And I'll miss you all, for now we are friends

And as you leave here, you'll be taking with you
A big part of me, the best, the most true: 
As the pages will rustle, take a good look
For my story unfurls as you open this book

My characters will come right out of this cover
They're now in your hands, mother, father, child, brother
Even in silence, catch the music of words 
Hear me at nightfall... No more chirping of birds... 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Celebration: Amidst the Glow

"Then, all of the sudden, amidst the glow, he finds himself standing at the banks of a lake with his daddy. He lets go of his daddy’s hand, flings a stone and at once he can spot—right there, in the middle of the lake—a ripple taking shape. One circle rises magically inside another, widening, riding out farther and farther until at long last it fades out. White lilies can be seen floating all around. One of them is right here, at arms reach. Only a thin line, the line of illusion, separates the petal from its white reflection. And underneath it, schools of golden fish scurry in one direction, then take a sharp turn and flow elsewhere."

An excerpt from Home.

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"Absolutely Stunning!" "scenes of such exquisite depth and beauty"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's On Your Desk?

One of my readers asked to describe what I see when I look at my desk, to which I said: 

Since I am an artist, poet and writer, the best way to show you the surface is my painting. As a creator, I see myself this way: I paint with a pen, write with a paintbrush. My art strives to tell a story, and my stories strive to bring you into the scene being painted, letting you sense everything my characters touch, see, or hear.

This is an oil painting of my work surface seen from above. My tools are traveling across the surface as if they have some target in mind... I like the reflection of my rag in the painting knife, and the black spill on the floor, which is like a 'thought bubble' coming out of the turpentine jar.

I love describing my characters at their desk, because their manner of writing is so telling. Here is an excerpt from The White Piano:

About a year ago I sifted through the contents of my suitcase, and was just about to discard a letter, which my father had written to me some time ago. Almost by accident my eye caught the line, I have no one to blame for all this but myself, which I had never noticed before, because it was written in an odd way, as if it were a secret code, almost: upside down, in the bottom margin of the page, with barely a space to allow any breathing. 
The words left some impression in my memory. I almost wished he were next to me, so I could not only listen to him, but also record his voice saying that. 
I imagined him back home, leaning over his desk, scrawling each letter with the finest of his pens with great care, as if focusing through a thick magnifying glass. The writing was truly minute, as if he had hated giving away even the slightest hint to a riddle I should have been able to solve on my own. I detested him for that. And so, thinking him unable to open his heart to me, I could never bring myself to write back. In hindsight, that may have been a mistake. 
Even so, I am only too happy to agree with him: the blame for what happened in our family is his. Entirely his. If not for his actions ten years ago, I would never have run away to Firenze, to Rome, to Tel Aviv. And if not for his actions a couple of weeks ago, this frantic call for me to come back and see him would never have been made. 
And so I find myself standing here, on the threshold of where I grew up, feeling utterly awkward. I knock, and a stranger opens the door. The first thing that comes to mind: what is she doing here? The second thing: she is young, much too young for him. The third: her hair. Red. 

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Monday, November 19, 2012

About to Fly Away

Am I a leaf about to drift 
About to fly away, to chance
The cold, the heat, the drop, the lift
Upon the wing of wind, to dance?
Or else, nestled in this tree
Am I to stay, and thus be free?
Here I am, Apart From Love
Flying Home just like a dove

Friday, November 16, 2012

X’s and O’s for Kisses and Hugs

"She locked herself in and started writing letters, some of which were never sent, for fear of revealing too much of her loneliness. Other letters she embellished along the margins, with a hand heavy with years but with the manner of a schoolgirl: She embellished them with pink flowers and long sequences of X’s and O’s for kisses and hugs, and then she sent them to that foreign sounding address, so that her grandchildren, who rarely came to visit, would know she loved them.
How would a doorknob feel to be barely touched, its latch rarely released, the lock always bolted shut? How would it feel to be in the grip of rust? 
She glanced at the doorknob. Would it retain a memory of her touch, even when she is gone? Would it keep, in its own transparent ways and despite all that polishing, the layers upon layers of all their fingerprints?"

This is an excerpt from a short story which I titled Even One Mark. The inspiration for it came from what I heard on a phone call from the other end of an ocean, from Israel: it came on my birthday, so for a moment I thought that congratulations and good wishes would be the topic of the conversation--only to learn that unfortunately, my mother-in-law had just passed away. In the early days of my marriage I perceived her, as most young brides do, as a formidable force, and it took me many years to look past the power game. To my surprise I found out not only that I appreciated her strength and her knack for survival, but that I loved her dearly. And so, I wrote this story to reveal the softer, most volunrable side of her character. 

This is how the story ends:

"The wind whipped the pages out of her lap. They flew around her, some settling to the ground, some flipping higher, flapping into a big clutter in the air, then floating dreamily away across the landscape. In years past she would get up, catch them one by one and stack them back, with a strict attention to order; but now she didn’t care anymore. For a moment she thought she could see that page, the one she had marked X with a trembling hand. There it was, a white glimmer soaring out of reach above her in the wind. And then, in one puff, it was over. 
Somewhere inside, a doorknob broke. A door flew open."

I drew this charcoal sketch a couple of weeks ago with a similar feeling of  loss.

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"HOME is an invitation, a very personal one, and should not be passed over"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Nature of Motherhood

“What matters is only what’s here. I touch my skin right under my breasts, which is where the little one’s curled, and where he kicks, ‘cause he has to. Like, he don’t feel so cosy no more. Here, can you feel it? I reckon he wants me to talk to him. He can hear me inside, for sure. He can hear every note of this silvery music. 
It ripples all around him, wave after wave. I can tell that it’s starting to sooth him. It’s so full of joy, of delight, even if to him, it’s coming across somewhat muffled. Like a dream in a dream, it’s floating inside, into his soft, tender ear. 
I close my eyes and hold myself, wrapping my arms real soft—around me around him—and I rock ever so gently, back and forth, back and forth, with every note of this silvery marvel. You can barely hear me—but here I am, singing along. I’m whispering words into myself, into him.”

What she is envisioning is motherhood, which is the subject of my sculture by the same name. It is hard to imagine this is actually bronze, because the patina is made to look like marble. I polished the piece until it became completely smooth to the touch, as if nature--by gusts of wind and the flow of water--has buffed this rock over time, the way pebbles come to be. 

But in the back, I 'carved' into the piece, so as to make it look as if it has broken. This makes for an interesting balance, as if you try to make a rock stand on edge. But more importantly, it is symbolic, for self-sacrifice is the nature of motherhood.

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"It's so refreshing to read a novel with lyrical beautiful writing"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Thin Border to Hold Your Sanity

I dreamt a dream that I'm still a child,
Here's home.
In a minute the door will open
Letting in my parents, my sister.
I'm foolishly beguiled!
They were all swept off by a gust, into the wild
I'm alone
No longer a child.

When my father wrote these words, which to me are profoundly heart wrenching, he still knew the difference between dream and reality. The door, he realized, would never open, and it remains there as a poetic symbol of hope, of yearning for something that can never happen, not only because of his advanced age--but also because his parents and his sister perished during the holocaust. 
But during the last year of his life, that border between what is real and what is a dream, a poetic symbol, became thinner and thinner, and thus more illusive to him. He would crouch by that door, banging his fist upon it and begging his mommy to open that door. Then, as a mercy to his sanity, he passed away at the age of ninety four.

This was, and still is, quite painful to me. Having witnessed it I wrote several pieces--some poems, some short stories--about the thinning of the border in his mind. These pieces are all inspired by my vision of his life, as I saw it in retrospect when I came to mourn for him. This vision also inspired my oil painting which became the cover of the book, Home. Here is a detail of it, showing the door and his armchair, ascending in the air above the turmoil, the grief...

So here is an excerpt from one of the poems in Home, which highlights the vision of the door as a thinning border:

That door sealed him off, away from all danger
Except from the depth of the danger within
No one could intrude here, except for the stranger
Who would carry him off to where his end would begin—

The poet, who’d mourned the loss of his mother 
Would then, somehow, be reduced to a child 
He would crouch at the threshold, and call, call, call, call her 
Knock, knock, knock at the door; no more held back, but wild

And here, another excerpt, this time from a short story about my father:

"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, 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."

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"Absolutely Stunning!" "scenes of such exquisite depth and beauty"

My writing style is layered, much like Lasagna

Michelle Bellon is a young yet prolific author, whose books, Embracing Me, Embracing You, Rogue Alliance, and her newest, The Fire Within, are thrilling to read. She graciously invited me for a chat. One of her questions was, "Describe your writing style," to which I said, "I would describe my writing style as layered, much like Lasagna, with each layer having a different flavor and a different texture that complements the entire dish. How do I achieve this? The process, for me, is very similar to the way I sculpt--"

Please check out our chat, which she titled

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our Family Tree

Here is a fun activity, which happened in my book event, Our Family Tree.

I asked you to post images on the event page, images that depict you and your mom, you and your dad. I brought your images together into this scene, a scene of a garden party happening around this tree, which stands for the name of this event: Our Family Tree. In this place, which I hope will embrace all of us, we touch each other. We celebrate and give thanks.

The images could be your painting, your sketch, or an old photograph from your family album. They could depict your father wagging a finger at you while you are pulling a cat's tail; or you and your mom planting flowers in the back yard; hugging or having a discussion on a recent visit. Anything goes. 

This is a celebration of my books Home and Apart From Love.

Images Contributed by
Richard Lane (a caregiver, now residing in Bowley's Quarters, MD)
Lisa Ann Thomison (a writer, living in Borger, TX)
Marcia Quinn Noren (author, living in Soquel, CA)
Aniruddha Sastikar (author, India)
Sheila Deeth (mathematician and author)
Driftwood Ashore (a poet, New Delhi, India)
Elisha Fraser AKA Shebat Legion (writer, Temagami, Ontario) and her mom Klarissa Kocsis (art teacher and painter, Campbellford, Ontario)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Wonderful World Where Words Are Like Music

I am so delighted to find this new 5-star review for my poetry book, Home:

5.0 out of 5 starsStunning and PoeticNovember 6, 2012
By Michelle Bellon - See all my reviews5.0 out of 5 star
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Home (Kindle Edition)
Not only does the author take the reader into a wonderful world where words are like music, ebbing and flowing with a rhythm that is captivating and beautiful, but she also gives life to her father's writings as she pays tribute by translating his work.
As a writer myself, I relish the moments when I find an author whose prose is so exquisite that it inspires my own creativity and drives me to strive to do better with my own expression.
Poznansky gives life and breath to emotion that every reader can feel in their core.
"Now I cry but not with tears;
After long, long years
Of holding it
Now I cry
Out of a burst of pain
And howl in darkness out of loneliness
Now I give my pain its full release..."

Reading this book is an experience that I highly recommend!