Daphne and Rózsika (Didot)

Warning: Contains some mature language.

(Quick note: I’ve bolded this post because Didot is a little light on the eyes.)

Font: Didot

Developed: 1784-1811

Chapter: “Daphne and Rózsika”

Book: Cinnimin

Written: 10 June-18 August 2009

Handwritten

This is Part LII (52) of my magnum opus, at least per the current table of contents. (I now strongly suspect I’ll need to add a lot more to Saga I, the Forties, when I finally transcribe and begin editing and rewriting. Now that I’ve permanently shelved the WTCOAC series and will be significantly restructuring some of the earlier Max’s House books, I have much more free reign to show Cinni’s life in the late Forties, and the full development of her romance with Levon in 1942-43. Those things are just WAY too rushed in the original.)

I wrote this in a 100-page college-ruled notebook, and it’s one of the longer Parts of Cinnimin. Some Parts are more like short stories, long episodes, or novelettes, but this is one of the ones I feel could stand on its own as an actual book. It’s from Saga VI, the Nineties, one of my favorite Sagas to write. Though the older characters continue to prominently feature, I’m primarily writing about peers who grew up at the same time I did. I’m not doing historical research, I’m writing about events I actually lived through and remember.

It’s set from 8 March-6 August 1998, and so much happens over those months. It presents two cautionary tales about two teen couples who think they know so much better than everyone else about their respective situations. One story has a happy ending, the other a not so happy ending that only gets worse later on.

Cinni’s 16-year-old granddaughter Rózsika recently began having sex with her longtime boyfriend Walter. They’ve been caught by a number of their cousins and friends, and keep insisting that going unprotected won’t hurt.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Daphne is blazing ahead with her unpopular plans to marry her longtime boyfriend Berus. Even people who used to be on her side turn against her as her behavior gets worse and worse. 

Some of the many highlights (avoiding any spoilers):

Ernestine walked into her brothers’ room to retrieve a book she had lent John. What she didn’t expect to find was Rózsika bouncing up and down on top of Walter, both of them completely naked. Her shriek made both of them abruptly stop and dash under the covers, grabbing for their clothes.

“Are you really into the whole marriage thing, or are you just gung-ho for the fairy princess wedding and the chance to have sex without feeling guilty?” Phoebe asked.

“This isn’t funny,” Walter insisted. “And you two made me lose my erection.”

Daphne could hear their conversation from the airvent upstairs and was boiling. “Who the hell do they think they are? In two months, I’m going to be Mrs. Berus Amichai Roblensky, and they won’t be able to do anything about it then.”

[Spoken by Kit, of course] “The rig ain’t a homing pigeon. You have to guide it in.”

“Ew, Daphne must think all teen girls have the same lousy taste in music as she does.” Phoebe held up a Backstreet Boys CD. “I hope you kept the receipt so I can exchange it for something more to my liking.”

“This is Samuel Roblensky. I’m sorry to disturb your evening, but your granddaughter Daphne and my nephew Berus thought it would be neat to let themselves into my house while Filipa and I were away, help themselves to my food, and throw their dirty towels on my couch after they came back from the beach.”

“I can’t be expected to love him the same way you love Grandpa. I love him the way any girl my age loves her boyfriend, even when he humiliated me in public with that tiny cheap-ass cubic zirconia.”

“I’d recommend the Hitachi,” Juliet smiled. “It’s like ten thousand men at once.”

“Why are we being serenaded by CDs of MTV pop acts?” Kit asked. “If they wanted mixed CDs instead of a band or deejay, at least they could’ve chosen upscale adult wedding music!”

“There are five positions?” Karyn asked. “I thought there were only like two or three.”

[Spoken by Violet about her lifelong rival Kit] “I called her an old slut, not old in general. Anyone who’s this age and still bragging about her sexual exploits, giving X-rated advice, and sharing her entire sexual history is a slut. Damn, I hope I never share blood with that woman.”

Daphne reached for a bottle of alcoholic lemonade in the fridge. “The marriage formula of yore worked perfectly. Do you even care the doctor they gave me was my great-uncle Sammy? I’ll never be able to look him in the face again.”

“It was so humiliating, Grandma! He said I had no hymen or cysts or anything, but he couldn’t even examine me with the smallest instrument! He told me I just needed to drink wine and relax.”

[Describing Daphne’s efficiency apartment] Kit had been right. It was twice the size of that tiny stateroom in A Night at the Opera.

Crossing the Point of No Return (Calisto MT)

My IWSG post is here.

Font: Calisto MT

Year created: 1986

Chapter: “Crossing the Point of No Return”

Book: Cinnimin

Written: 15 September 2010 onward (put on hiatus several times)

Handwritten

This is Part LVI (56) in my current table of contents for my magnum opus, and begins on 23 October 1998. I was writing up a storm on it, but I put it aside to write Little Ragdoll, and then had a whole host of other things I was writing and editing. I didn’t regularly get back to it for a long time. It’s hard to regain momentum after you’ve been away for so long, even if you still remember how the story was supposed to unfold. (I also have another chapter entitled “Crossing the Point of No Return,” in Justine Grown Up, but chose this one to spotlight.)

In Part LVI, a number of the teen couples leading the current generation get much more serious. Not all of them go all the way, but they all cross their own point of no return in regards to the path of their respective relationships. Leading couples include Oskar and Etke, Phoebe and Onan, Iósifa and Samson, Xena and Ollie, Randi and Perseus, Adah and Alyoshka, and Ivy and Chester.

And meanwhile back in Hawaii, Ophelia and Serop’s marriage is falling apart faster and faster. Though there’s been trouble in their household for a long time now, and their youngest children, their only boys, are brats with sky-high egos and attitudes, I never dreamt they might actually divorce or even separate someday. Ophelia chased Serop, four years her junior, for years, until finally, at age 16, he was won over. They were truly in love at one point. But having 10 kids, the first eight girls in a row, has its way of taking a toll on a relationship and one’s finances.

Some highlights so far:

“Don’t ask me why the rules changed.” Iósifa pulled down the front of her red halter dress to show more cleavage. “And I’m wearing strawberry-flavored lip gloss. I hear Samson loves strawberries.”

Phoebe didn’t own many sexy or even stylish, cute underwear. Vanilla had always bought all six of her daughters boring, utilitarian underwear, assuming they’d graduate to more adult styles when they were married and had someone to actually wear lingerie sets, lacy thongs, G-strings, or even cute patterned underwear for. Now Phoebe wanted to throw all those dull, old lady-style things in the rag pile or garbage and buy fashionable new ones.

Yehudah Barak came up to the door. “You can tell us, Onan. It’s just us guys here now. Are you masturbating?”

Isaac looked down at him in surprise. “Where’d a little sprout like you learn a pornographic word like that?”

“Yes, that was the logic thirty years ago, when everyone was married by twenty-one and the official stance was that only married people had sex.”

[Cinni’s 11-year-old granddaughter, who already knows she’s bi and polyamorous] “I hope you’re not jealous that I like Aviva more than you,” Dafna smiled. “You do know that when we’re old enough to date, both of you will have to share me.”

“What about classics?” Dora asked. “It’d be nice to watch an old film without the twins wrinkling their noses and saying, ‘Ew, a gray movie!'”

[Phoebe] “Don’t you think this stuff is disgusting, Liv? Old ladies and nerds wear this stuff, not high school or junior high girls. These should be cleaning rags.”

“Trust me, what we wear sucks. If Onan ever saw that stuff, he’d think I were a loser. I bet Liam would laugh at you too.”

“More than bland! Why make an effort to wear nice outfits and do your hair and makeup if you’re just going to wear bras and underwear suit for our great-grandmas? It’s like matching a baseball cap with a wedding dress.”

Rózsika laughed. “I”m sorry, but is this the same Onan who still plays with Legos? And he thinks kissing is babyish?”

“I didn’t even look for them,” Dora said. “And I might get in trouble if I let minors watch porn or erotica. Raspberry Ann says a lot of porn nowadays is unrealistic and boring anyway.”

“Nice turn signal, Grandma!” Dora shouted at an old lady going at least twenty miles below the speed limit. “You’re such a good driver!”

Dora glared back at someone belligerently honking. “Just for that I’m staying put till the light changes. We don’t have right of way.” She rolled her eyes as the car cut around them and made a turn dangerously close to oncoming traffic.

Sweet Saturday Samples—Agnieszka and Ezra

This week’s excerpt for Sweet Saturday Samples is from Saga VI, Children’s Children, of my magnum opus Cinnimin (which will end up as one book in 12 volumes, all of it bar the opening and finale handwritten). It’s now September 1994, and Cinni’s granddaughter Agnieszka is volunteering on a Haifa kibbutz after high school.

Agnieszka has had a huge crush on the young kibbutz director, Ezra, since she saw his picture in the brochure, but now she’s starting to feel like she were dreaming if she ever thought she stood a chance with someone so handsome, who’s not a virgin, from a different culture, and four years older. Her cousin Toni and her friends Lillian, Raina, and Nate are trying to tell her they think Ezra likes her back and not to be so quick to rule out romance, but Agnieszka has made up her mind to leave with Lillian as soon as Rosh Hashanah is over. Her plans, however, are soon derailed when Ezra finds out about them.

***

Lillian had just changed her hair color to peach and was looking through the yellow pages for tattoo parlors. Then Ezra came into the room looking for Agnieszka.

“Isn’t it just a little bit odd for a kibbutz director to pay so much attention to a volunteer?”

“With any luck, she won’t be a volunteer forever. Third time’s the charm. I want her to meet my parents. They came here for Rosh Hashanah, and my brother Alon.”

“Did you know Agnieszka goes to services at your synagogue? She told me and Toni she’s seen you there.”

“She goes there with some of my residents?”

“There and back, alone. You’re the only resident who gives us the time of day.”

“I can’t let that continue. She could be raped or killed walking alone at night. Nobody would dare harm her if they saw who her escort was.”

“Yes, she’s always talking about how well-built you are, like a Greek god. I’m sure everyone notices it, but it’s sure made an impression with her.”

“Does she say anything else about me?”

“She’s my second-best friend after my cousin Crystal. I can’t betray her confidences.”

Agnieszka came into the room wearing a low-cut blue silk dress. Ezra turned into one huge smile.

“You’re even more beautiful than usual. I’m going to insist you walk with me tonight. I don’t want some lowlife to rape or murder you. My parents and brother are here till the holiday ends on Wednesday night, but they’re staying in a hotel. I can walk you back to Beit Alizah tonight without them. I’d also love to show you some of the scenery at night.”

“How many directors are that nice to volunteers? Out of all the current volunteers, you’ve picked me.”

“I felt an instant connection to you. Like déjà vu. And you’re also beautiful.”

“I’ve never had a problem walking alone at night. And you’ve only known me for two and a half months.”

“I hope I get to know you for the rest of my life.” Ezra took her by the hand and led her into the main house, where his king-size room was located. “I want you to meet my family. That’s my fifteen-year-old brother Alon, and my parents Talia and Dov.”

“Is this your girlfriend?” Alon asked in Hebrew.

Confident that Agnieszka only spoke English, Russian, Armenian, German, and Hungarian, Ezra spoke back to them in his native tongue. “She’s a volunteer from America, in Atlantic City. She’s here with her friend Lillian for two years, and I fell in love with her the moment I saw her sleeping her first morning here. Tonight I’m going to tell her how I feel.”

“A volunteer?” his mother pestered. “There are no women in the city, or other residents?”

“That’s why it’s so strange. I can think of no other reason why I’d feel such a connection to a volunteer besides she was divinely sent here. I think she’s a keeper!”

“You’ll probably be rejected again. I’d be highly surprised if she cares for you enough to remain here and not go back to her life in America.”

Agnieszka walked out of the room into the evening. She didn’t care that Ezra walked after her trying to get her to come back. Nobody had ever heard of a director lavishing so much attention on a volunteer. It was too good to be true. She had nothing over a local girl. Perhaps he even had an ulterior motive, like Pete had for being nice to Octavia. The thought repulsed her.

The Heartbreaker Hop—Meet Ezra

The Heartbreaker Hop is asking what constitutes a heartbreaker, what happens when a hero isn’t so perfect, and what he can do to make it better. For the list of participants, click on the link above, as WordPress doesn’t support Javascript. You have over 300 chances to win some great prizes, by commenting on each participating blog and leaving your e-mail address. I’m offering a 10-page critique. First grand prize is a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, second prize is a $100 Amazon or B&N gift card, and third prize is the following swag pack:

DSCN1367

I’m offering a post from the POV of one of my heartbreaking heroes, my sexy Israeli Ezra Arnon Skoloda.

I’m Sgt. Ezra Arnon Skoloda, and my beautiful wife Agnieszka and I run a kibbutz called Beit Alizah, House of Joy, in Haifa. I was born and raised in Tel Aviv, but after my mandatory military service, I moved to Haifa and became the director of a kibbutz. It was a dream since boyhood to live on a kibbutz. And I was hoping to find a wife in Haifa too.

I had my heart broken by two women I was dating, and then I met my Nessa in June of ’94. She and her best friend Lillian Hitchcock had just graduated high school in America and come to volunteer on a kibbutz for two years. At first I was annoyed when I saw one of the new volunteers was still sleeping when I came to meet her, but only till I saw how beautiful she was. Because she was only 18, and I was 22 and with more experience, I didn’t tell her how I felt at first.

It turned out Nessa was in love with me too all along, and had actually fallen for me when she first saw my picture in the brochure. I wish I could say our relationship was perfect, unlike my previous experiences, but real life isn’t about happy endings with hospital corners on silver platters.

I know I caused her no small amount of grief because I didn’t take things to the next level as soon as she wanted. I made a huge mistake by giving my virginity to some girl who didn’t mean anything to me when I was 17. I always told myself that the next lover I took would be my soulmate, and that I had to take time to make sure the relationship was lasting and leading to marriage.

We came close one night in the summer of ’95, when we got back together after Nessa had dumped me a few weeks before. She saw my one-time lover Irit, and was so upset at putting a face to my sexual history. I sent her pleading love letters every single day, and finally took matters into my own hands that night. I managed to stop myself before we crossed the point of no return.

Then I upset her by waiting too long to propose. Even her grandma got on my case about not marrying Nessa soon enough! I’d bought her a ring when we were in America for some family celebrations a few months earlier, but I hadn’t gotten up the nerve to give it to her yet.

It’s so cliché, but I found a goodbye note one morning in September ’96 and raced to the airport to stop her from getting on a plane back to the United States. I proposed to her in front of everyone, and took her back home to Haifa. Of course, in those days airport security wasn’t what it is today, so I was able to go all the way to the boarding gate as a non-passenger.

In 2003, I did something I perhaps shouldn’t have, and caused Nessa a great deal of torment. Until just recently, some terrorists were stalking us and trying to kill us, and now my Nessa is in a dazed, unconscious, coma-like state. The doctors say she’s just suffered a series of huge shocks and needs time to recover.

One of my Nessa’s little sisters made aliyah in June 2003 after she graduated high school, settled on the kibbutz with us, quickly met a young soldier and fell in love, and was married by the fall. Tragically, my new 18-year-old brother-in-law was murdered while serving in the West Bank. He wasn’t killed in the line of duty. He was murdered by terrorists.

I was so furious I went over there myself, tracked these three assassins down, and killed them. I wasn’t thinking with a cool head. I just wanted to revenge the great wrong done to my 18-year-old sister-in-law. Not only is she a teen widow, but she also found out, shortly after the murder, that she was pregnant with triplets.  That poor kid doesn’t deserve all this. 

Some relatives of the murderers then tracked my family down, and began terrorizing us. They broke into our home on several occasions, and I thought they’d killed my Nessa and our twin girls after the first break-in. The second time, I came in to find one of these punks about to rape my wife, as our girls watched.

I thought Nessa would be happy I saved her, but she decided to leave me. She blamed me for bringing this menace into our lives, and was going to take our girls. She even told her sister that she didn’t think she loved me anymore. Thankfully, she changed her mind soon after, but the thugs were still after us.

Maybe a week ago, these terrorists captured us in the marketplace. Haifa is Israel’s best-integrated city, so this kind of situation is very unusual for us. Normally all five major faiths are friends here. They forced us onto our knees and held us at gunpoint, and refused my pleas to kill only me and let Nessa live. We weren’t even allowed to hold hands in our would-be final moments.

As one of them had a gun to my head, there was a rain of bullets, and Nessa passed out. I flung myself over her, and found she was still unconscious when the rescue was over. Ironically, the man who organized our rescue is the grandfather of these scumbags. 

Nessa briefly came to at the police station and again at home, but quickly lapsed out again when she thought I’d been killed. I can only hope she comes to soon. I’m about to go to Jerusalem to pray at the Kotel for my wife’s recovery. Maybe a miracle will happen after I get home? This is after all the land of miracles and wonders, the land whose continued existence and survival is a miracle.

What Writing Looks Like Blog Hop


Today is the What Writing Looks Like Blog Hop, in which participants post pictures or print screens of a first draft. It can be written on any medium, with any medium. Posters will share a little bit about what they were writing and why they chose those particular media.

I handwrote a lot of my first drafts, in the days when we only had one computer and I had to wait my turn to use it. Later, after we had several computers and my parents gave me the older models (the ’84 and ’93 Macs were mine and mine only after they were replaced), I continued handwriting some things. Handwritten first drafts include all 8 (novella-sized) books of the now-shelved WTCOAC (We the Children of Atlantic City) series, Max’s House #1, #3, #7, and #8, the four books of the introductory Atlantic City series (none of them anywhere near novel-sized, except the first, after a significant rewrite and restructuring), and, of course, Cinnimin.

99% of Cinnimin is handwritten, and has been since I began it in September ’93. I really began it in December ’91, but the little I’d written is long since lost, and I later recreated what I could remember as a short Part I (one of the VERY few pieces that’s computer-generated). Yes, I’ve been writing a 12-volume book by hand since age 13, for 19 years and counting. I’m not like most people!

Here’s a recent page of writing, from Part LVI, “Crossing the Point of No Return,” Saga VI (Children’s Children). It’s late October 1998, and some of Cinni’s granddaughters are having a sleepover weekend while their troubled parents are extending a recent vacation to Hawaii.

Two shots of the same page. The top half of the page is written in one hand, and the bottom half is in another hand. Can you guess which hand wrote which? Hint: When you’re writing with your right hand, you’re pulling the pen across the page, but with your left hand, you’re pushing it. Some letters also have to be formed at different angles, like how A and O are counter-clockwise with the left hand.