Ekphrasis of the Schuffeneckers: Gifts Bestowed wins award

Stare at a painting and eventually it will begin to tell its story- that’s ekphrasis, my favorite way to write.

I’ve been working on the novel, An Ear to Hear, about the woman, Rachel, who received the gift of Vincent’s ear after it was sliced from his head. Many secrets surround this historical, almost mythical story. Rachel was not only the recipient of the ear, but also did laundry for the artists, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh in Arles, and became their model. An aspiring artist, she kept a sketchbook and journal which has been passed on to her great granddaughter in America (my fiction).  Only recently translated, Rachel’s sketchbook and journal gives a different voice to the generally accepted story of how Vincent lost his ear. 

I sometimes need a break from the long work of the novel, so I turn to writing short stories and essays. Sometimes I enter them in contests. Sometimes they win awards. Here’s one that sprang from the second half of my novel, after Vincent’s ear is severed and Paul flees to Paris, arriving in time to see a man lose his head, literally… Enjoy this flash fiction piece, and if you like it, sign up for more stories and tips on writing ekphrastically. You’ll also get updates on the novel, along with excerpts and drawings from Rachel’s sketchbook. At least that’s the plan. So far, I haven’t sent out anything- so no worries on being inundated by me!


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