Tuesday, January 7, 2020

#119 Inside the Emotion of Fiction "THE FACE TELLS THE SECRET" by Jane Bernstein

*The images in this specific piece are granted copyright privilege by:  Public Domain, CCSAL, GNU Free Documentation Licenses, Fair Use Under The United States Copyright Law, or given copyright privilege by the copyright holder which is identified beneath the individual photo.

**Some of the links will have to be copied and then posted in your search engine in order to pull up properly

***The CRC Blog welcomes submissions from published and unpublished fiction genre writers for INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION.  Contact CRC Blog via email at
caccoop@aol.com or personal Facebook messaging at https://www.facebook.com/car.cooper.7

****Jane Bernstein’s THE FACE TELLS THE SECRET is #119 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no. If yes, what publisher and what publication date? Yes.  The publication date was October 18, 2019.  Regal House Publishing. 

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I started this novel about ten years ago, but there was a long stretch when I lost confidence and put the manuscript aside to work on something else.  Usually, it’s hard to reenter work that’s been abandoned.  But in this case, as soon as I picked up the pages, I knew I had to keep going.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail. I no longer write in my office, a bright, beautiful space with a sitting and standing desk.  
     Too many distractions, too many reminders of all the tasks I should be completing, the bills I need to pay, the student papers I need to read, etc.  Instead, I sit in a chair (Above Left) in the corner of my bedroom, the least interesting and least distracting spot in my house. 
Summers, when I’m in Maine, I sit on the dock and write on sunny days. (Right)

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I’m a morning person, not one of those super-efficient, waking up at 5:00 AM writers, but someone who tries to write before plugging into a world of tasks and responsibilities.  
On a good day, I’m in my writing chair by 9:00.  The only time I sit in my “sacred chair” is to write. I don’t talk on the phone, use the internet, or do email when I’m in my chair.  That keeps my relationship with this space pure.  I write in long hand, with a stubby old Pelikan fountain pen.  I do all of my early drafts in longhand.  Writing longhand keeps me in dreamland, thinking of nothing except what’s happening on the page.  Once I print what I’ve drafted, I become an editor, which is a really different stage in the process. 

What excerpt of the book was the most emotional for you to write? This excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.
 I followed her down a long corridor that led to an annex.  First there was the pungent smell of chlorine, then air that thickened from humidity.  From outside the closed doors to the natatorium I could hear the echoes of conversation.  Mrs. Silk opened the door a crack and peered inside.  “Shall I give the two of you some time alone?”
“Okay,” I said. “Where will I find you?”
She touched my arm.  “I’ll be in my office all day.  Stay as long as you like.”
            I stepped inside.  It was a large pool, the size of the one at my gym.  No lanes or diving boards. A hydraulic lift to lower swimmers into the water.  Fiber optic tails sparkling on the tiled walls.   A man was in the pool, cradling a limp woman, and he was moving, swirling, dancing with her in his arms. The woman was so skinny and pale in a stretched-out red swimsuit, broad shoulders, small breasts, long salt and pepper braid.  He bounced over to the end of the pool and said, “You’re Aviva’s sister?  Come in!”  
The tile floor was wet.  I took off my shoes and walked slowly toward the water.  And the woman, my sister, her jaw slack, mouth hanging open as if she were asleep.  Long white limbs.  Hands fisted, feet turned in at the ankles.  A being.  The shock of seeing her breasts.  A woman, the body perfectly formed, for what?  The face, her face, like mine, the fluttering eyes and crowded teeth, a being, a woman, a sister, separate from me, part of me.  I had yearned for a sister, but not this, not her.  The air was so thick I could hardly breathe.
The man, now that I was closer, had a puff of white chest hair.  His eyes, too big and blue for his narrow face, were downturned, as if in sadness, in opposition to his cheerful demeanor.  An aide, I thought. A therapist who enjoyed his job, though what kind of person would do this, I could not imagine.  I watched while they danced, and realized there was noise in the room, like the sound in an aquarium where dolphins splashed and played; aquatic sounds that echoed as he sang and twirled in the water.  I wanted to go home.  Away.  Anywhere else. 
The man danced his way closer to me again, Aviva limp in his arms, before I realized that the echo had distorted his words, and he was speaking to me. “Come in.  The water is something else.”
I said, “Another time.”  I couldn’t imagine another time. “I don’t have a bathing suit.” 
The man called out in Hebrew to the lift operator, and a few minutes later, he handed me a blue one-piece swimsuit and pointed. 
The locker room was empty.  Even so, I pulled the curtain shut before I slipped into the well-worn suit.  When I stepped out, I caught sight of my whole self in the mirror.  At first there was a shock of recognition -- I know her!  -- as if I was seeing a long lost relative from afar.  Then, taking a step back -- she’s small! -- another surprise, since living with Harley had given me the illusion that I was a big truck-like woman, a Hummer of a human being, driving over curbs and flattening everyone in my path.  I put my arms on my hips and scrutinized my flattened image.  From a distance I looked like a paper doll.
Someone needs to clothe her, I thought.  A pretty tunic and flowing pants, with tabs to keep the garments in place.  Someone needs to give her a name and a history and imagine a life for her.
Why don’t we call her Vered?
How about if we give her a career. Have her be a maker of pretty things. Beautiful containers.  Nesting boxes.
I imagined myself the second doll of three nesting dolls.  Vered.
This time pushing the “r” to the back of my throat, so the name sounded as it might in Hebrew. 
Aviva was the smallest doll, the one inside me.

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you to write? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific scene/excerpt? The Face Tells the Secret is a novel about a woman named Roxanne who knows absolutely nothing about her own history.  She learns that she has a profoundly disabled sister only weeks before this scene takes place, and now she stands before this sister, this twin, who has been negated by the family, forgotten, as if she’d never been born.  I can’t really express in a few words what this scene felt like when I wrote it and the effect it still has on me.  It’s a major part of the story and it takes my protagonist time to get to some place of accommodation. 
I am not my protagonist, but it took me a long time to get there, too.

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I scribble up my drafts in crazy ways with letters and numbers and arrows.  Alas, I don’t think I have any existing versions of this scene.

Other works you have published?
Gina From Siberia, Animal Media, Pittsburgh.  With Charlotte Glynn. Illustrated by Anya Desnitskaya, Animal Media. 
Rachel in the World – University of Illinois Press.

Bereft – A Sister’s Story.  North Point Press/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Loving Rachel Little, Brown and Co., Boston, MA..
Seven Minutes in Heaven. Fawcett, New York, NY, 1986. 
Departures. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, NY, 1979.

Anything you would like to add? Thank you for keeping this site going and for being a reader.

          Jane Bernstein is the author of two novels, three memoirs, and a children’s book she cowrote with her daughter. She is a lapsed screenwriter, and an essayist, whose stories have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, The Sun, and many other journals, and have been anthologized in such places as True Stories Well Told, Love You to Pieces, and Best American Sports Writing 2018. A Brooklyn native, she is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a Fulbright Fellowship and is a member of the Creative Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

001   11 15 2018 Nathaniel Kaine’s
Thriller Novel
John Hunter – The Veteran

002   11 18 2018 Ed Protzzel’s
The Antiquities Dealer 

003   11 23 2018 Janice Seagraves’s
Science Fiction Romance
Exodus Arcon

004   11 29 2018 Christian Fennell’s
Literary Fiction Novel
The Fiddler in the Night

005  12 02 2018 Jessica Mathews’s
Adult Paranormal Romance
Death Adjacent

006  12 04 2018 Robin Jansen’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Ruby the Indomitable

007  12 12 2018  Adair Valerez’s
Literary Fiction Novel

008  12 17 218 Kit Frazier’s
Mystery Novel
Dead Copy

009 12 21 2019 Robert Craven’s
Noir/Spy Novel
The Road of a Thousand Tigers

010 01 13 2019 Kristine Goodfellow’s
Contemporary Romantic Fiction
The Other Twin

011 01 17 2019 Nancy J Cohen’s
Cozy Mystery
Trimmed To Death

012 01 20 2019 Charles Salzberg’s
Crime Novel
Second Story Man

013 01 23 2019 Alexis Fancher’s
Flash Fiction
His Full Attention

014 01 27 2019 Brian L Tucker’s
Young Adult/Historical

015 01 31 2019 Robin Tidwell’s

016 02 07 2019 J.D. Trafford’s
Legal Fiction/Mystery
Little Boy Lost

017 02 08 2019 Paula Shene’s
Young Adult ScieFi/Fantasy/Romance/Adventure
My Quest Begins 

018 02 13 2019 Talia Carner’s
Mainstream Fiction/ Suspense/ Historical
Hotel Moscow

019 02 15 2019 Rick Robinson’s
Multidimensional Fiction
Alligator Alley

020 02 21 2019 LaVerne Thompson’s
Urban Fantasy
The Soul Collectors

021 02 27 2019 Marlon L Fick’s
Post-Colonialist Novel
The Nowhere Man

022 03 02 2019 Carol Johnson’s
Mainstream Novel
Silk And Ashes

023 03 06 2019 Samuel Snoek-Brown’s
Short Story Collection
There Is No Other Way to Worship Them

024 03 08 2019 Marlin Barton’s
Short Story Collection
Pasture Art

025 03 18 2019 Laura Hunter’s
Historical Fiction
Beloved Mother

026 03 21 2019 Maggie Rivers’s
Magical Mistletoe

027  03 25 2019 Faith Gibson’s
Paranormal Romance

028 03 27 2019 Valerie Nieman’s
Tall Tale
To The Bones

029 04 04 2019 Betty Bolte’s
Paranormal Romance
Veiled Visions of Love

030 04 05 2019  Marianne Maili’s
Lucy, go see

031 04 10 2019 Gregory Erich Phillips’s
Mainstream Fiction
The Exile

032 04 15 2019 Jason Ament’s
Speculative Fiction
Rabid Dogs

033 04 24 2019 Stephen P. Keirnan’s
Historical Novel
The Baker’s Secret

034 05 01 2019 George Kramer’s
Arcadis: Prophecy Book

035 05 05 2019 Erika Sams’s
Rose of Dance

036 05 07 2019 Mark Wisniewski’s
Literary Fiction
Watch Me Go

037 05 08 2019 Marci Baun’s
Science Fiction/Horror
The Whispering House

038 05 10 2019 Suzanne M. Wolfe’s
Historical Fiction
Murder By Any Name

039 05 12 2019 Edward DeVito’s
The Woodstock Paradox

040 05 14 2019 Gytha Lodge’s
She Lies In Wait

041 05 16 2019 Kari Bovee’s
Historical Fiction/Mystery
Peccadillo At The Palace:  An Annie Oakley Mystery

042 05 20 2019 Annie Seaton’s
Time Travel Romance
Follow Me

043 05 22 2019 Paula Rose Michelson’s
Inspirational Christian Romance
Rosa & Miguel – Love’s Legacy: Prequel to The Naomi

044 05 24 2019 Gracie C McKeever’s
BDMS/Interracial Romance
On The Edge

045 06 03 2019 Micheal Maxwell’s
The Soul of Cole

046 06 04 2019 Jeanne Mackin’s
The Last Collection:  A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and
Coco Chanel

047 06 07 2019 Philip Shirley’s
The Graceland Conspiracy

048 06 08 2019 Bonnie Kistler’s
Domestic Suspense
The House on Fire

049 06 13 2019 Barbara Taylor Sissel’s
Domestic Suspense/Family Drama
Tell No One

050 06 18 2019 Charles Salzberg’s
Short Story/ Crime Fiction
“No Good Deed” from Down to the River

051 06 19 2019 Rita Dragonette’s
Historical Fiction
The Fourteenth of September

052  06 20 2019 Nona Caspers’s
Literary Novel/Collage
The Fifth Woman

053 06 26 2019 Jeri Westerson’s
Paranormal Romance
Shadows in the Mist

054 06 28 2019 Brian Moreland’s
The Devil’s Woods

055 06 29 2019
Epic Fantasy
Wings Unseen

056 07 02 2019 Randee Green’s
Mystery Novel
Criminal Misdeeds

057 07 03 2019 Saralyn Ricahrd’s
Mystery Novel
Murder In The One Percent

#058 07 04 2019 Hannah Mary McKinnon’s
Domestic Suspense
Her Secret Son

#059 07 05 2019 Sonia Saikaley’s
Contemporary Women’s Literature
The Allspice Bath

#060 07 09 2019 Olivia Gaines’s
Romance Suspense Serial
Blind Luck

#061 07 11 2019 Anne Raeff’s
Literary Fiction
Winter Kept Us Warm

#062 07 12 2918 Vic Sizemore’s
Literary Fiction-Short Stories
I Love You I’m Leaving

#063 07 13 2019 Deborah Riley Magnus’s
Dark Paranormal Urban Fantasy

#064 07 14 2019 Elizabeth Bell’s
Historical Fiction

#065 07 15 2019 Lori Baker Martin’s
Literary Novel

#066 08 01 2019 Sabine Chennault’s
Historical Novel

#067 08 02 2019 Margaret Porter’s
Historical Biographical Fiction


#068 08 04 2019 Hank Phillippi Ryan’s

069 08 08 2019 Diana Y. Paul’s
Literary Mainstream Fiction

070 08 10 2019 Phyllis H. Moore’s
Women’s Historical Fiction

071 08 11 2019 Sara Dahmen’s
Historical Fiction

072  08 19 2019 Carolyn Breckinridge’s
Short Story Collection

073 08 21 2019 Alison Ragsdale’s
Emotional Women’s Fiction

074  08 22 2019 Lee Matthew Goldberg’s
Suspense Thriller

075 08 23 2019 Jonathan Brown’s
Mystery/Amateur P.I.

076 09 02 2019 Chera Hammons Miller’s
Literary Fiction w/ suspense, concern with animals & land management
Monarchs of the Northeast Kingdom

077 09 09 019 Joe William Taylor’s
Literary Mystery
The Theoretics of Love

078 09 15 2019 Linda Hughes’s
Romantic Suspense
Secret of the Island

079 09 19 2019 Max Elliot Anderson’s
Middle Grade Adventure/Mystery
Snake Island

080 09 22 2019 Danny Adams’s
Science Fiction
Dayworld: A Hole In Wednesday

081 09 24 2019 Arianna Dagnino’s
The Afrikaner

082 09 29 2019 Lawrence Verigin’s
Seed of Control

083  10 05 2019 Emma Khoury’s
The Sword And Shield

#084 10 07 2019 Steve McManus’s

#085 10 08 2019 Sheila Lowe’s
Mystery/Psychological/Suspense with Scientific Bent

#086 10 10 2019 Jess Neal Woods’s
Historical Fiction

#087 10 11 2019 Karen Odden’s
Historical Suspense

#88 10 14 2019 Kate Maruyama’s
Love, Loss & Supernatural

#89 10 17 2019 Sherry Harris’s

#90 10 18 2019 Linda Mooney’s
Science Fiction Apocalyptic/ Post Apocalyptic

#91 10 19 2019 Jayne Martin’s
Flash Fiction Short Story Collection

#92 10 22 2019 Janice Cole Hopkins’s
Inspirational Romance

#93 10 29 2019 Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s
Short Story Collection

#94 11 01 2019 David Henry Sterry’s
Fiction: Sexual Violence

#95 11 03 2019 Jay Requard’s
Dark Fantasy/Horror

#96 11 04 2019 Caroline Leavitt’s

#97 11 06 2019 Kelsey Clifton’s
Science Fiction

#098 11 13 2019 John F Allen’s
Urban Fantasy Tale

#99 11 16 2019 Damian McNicholl’s
Historical Novel
“The Moment of Truth”

#100 11 19 2019 Stacia Levy’s
Mystery/Suspense Novel
“Girl Crush”

#101 11 24 2019 Charlotte Morgan’s
Fiction Novel
“Protecting Elvis”

#102 11 26 2019 T. L. Moore’s
Children’s Christian Fiction
“Ed On My Shoulder:  Maria & The Candy Trail”

#103 11 27 2019 Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg’s
Coming of Age Literary Novel
The Nine

#104 11 29 2019 Charlotte Blackwell’s
Adult Paranormal

#105 12 07 2019 Mike Burrell’s
Satire Novel

#106 12 09 2019 Phil McCarron’s

#107 12 11 2019 Wendy H. Jones’s
Crime Fiction/Police Procedural Novel

#108 12 13 2019 Sandra Arnold’s
Historical Literary Fiction
“The Ash, the Well and the Blue Bell”

#109 12 16 2019 Amalia Carosella’s
Historical/Contemporary/Duel Timeline/ Women’s

#110 12 19 2019 Laura Bickle’s
Weird Western/Contemporary Fantasy

#111 12 27 2019 Brian Pinkerton’s
Science Fiction Thriller

#112  12 28 2019 Sandra de Helen’s
Lesbian Thriller

#113 12 29 2019 Jo Wilde’s
Vampire Thriller

#114 12 30 2019 Sam Richard’s
Short Story Collection of Weird and Transgressive
“To Wallow In Ash and Sorrows”

#115 12 31 2019 Duncan B Barlow’s
Literary Fiction Novel

#116 01 02 2020 Allison Landa’s
Young Adult Novel

#117 01 03 2020 Pablo Medina’s

Literary Satire Novel

#118 01 06 2020 William Trent Pancoast’s
Historical/Literary Novel

#119 01 07 2020 Jane Bernstein’s
Contemporary Novel

“The Face Tells the Secret”

No comments:

Post a Comment