June 28th, Wednesday Evening, at 5:00 PM, I will be reading from “Pavel’s Violin” at the IONA Summer festival of the arts in Sewanee. Copies of the book will be available.
From Word’s Worth (http://revmoore.blogspot.com/), a blog by Diane Moore, in October 2013:
Yesterday, I attended a reading by local authors of the Autumn Assembly of Authors at IONA Art Sanctuary. I had been invited by my friend, the Rev. Francis Walter, who read from his novel, Goldilocks and the Three Bears at Mobile Bay. Following this amusing reading, I was re-introduced to Edward Carlos, a sculptor and artist I met the first year I moved to Sewanee, Tennessee, shortly after he opened his Art Sanctuary. I had been deeply impressed by his religious and spiritual art, some of which reflected visionary events that he experienced during four visits to Iona, a small island off the western coast of Scotland.
The reading was one among a slate of Fall readings and art exhibits sponsored by Carlos, who was called to “offer a place for writers and artists to share their creative work with each other and the community, and the emphasis is to source creativity and spirituality,” Carlos says. I might add that many Sewanee writers and artists produce rich creative work that isn’t read at the annual Sewanee Writers Conference, which features mostly national luminaries, so Carlos provides an outstanding service for less-recognized literary and artistic figures.
The IONA Art Sanctuary sits atop a hill off Garnertown Road and overlooks a field of dried sedge grass and seven acres of lake and woods. The building is situated on a N-S, E-W axis and offers art lovers a view of colorful sunsets as they exit the 70’x64’ building. The interior of the sanctuary follows the design of a nave with a Celtic cross shape. A 20′ high gate stands in the center of the field of sedge grass and symbolizes an entrance between the physical world and the spiritual world.
Above the entrance on the IONA veranda the sculpt of an angel hovers, part of a scene about the Nativity, which is further carried out inside with a life-sized “Creation Nativity.”
Carlos has also sponsored the exhibits of many talented art students and area artists at IONA Art Sanctuary. Although Carlos lives on campus with his wife, Sarah, and a flock of dogs, he spends his meditative moments at the IONA Art Sanctuary.
I look forward to seeing my blue-eyed host and to reading my poetry next Fall during the Autumn Assembly of Authors at IONA Art Sanctuary, another “thin” place of inspiration and beauty on The Mountain.
From “Pavel’s Violin” Chapter 29, “Touching the Dead”: (c) 2017 Walter William Melnyk, All Rights Reserved:
Radoš lifted the latch slowly. There was no lock. There was no need to lock in a corpse. He backed into the closet and shut the door.
“You guys better not latch it on me!” he called out to them. That had been known to happen occasionally, but Tommy and Giri were ethical competitors, and assured him they’d do no such thing. Rad turned from the door and held his arms out in front of him near the floor, slowly waving them from side to side as he crept forward.
“Nothing here, nothing here,” he said under his breath when he had gone a couple steps. He started to announce that conclusion to his friends, when he touched it.
There was no point in dressing a corpse. Or even wrapping it in a sheet. Clothing and sheets were like gold. Many people had not seen a change of clothes since arriving in Terezin. Many people did not have a sheet to cover them at night on their hard wooden bed, or the cold stone floor. So it was a naked corpse that lay in the dark in front of Rad. And he had touched its rib cage. He drew his hand back quickly in fright.
“There’s one in here,” he called out. “I touched it.”
“Did you touch the face?” Giri asked. “You have to touch the face, it’s the rules.”
“I know, I know,” said Giri in a shaky voice. He started to sweat, even though it was cold in the closet.
“Is it a man or a woman?” Giri asked.
“I’m not gonna try to find out,” Rad answered. Tommy and Giri grinned. There were some things you just didn’t do.
“All right,” said Rad, “Here goes.” He felt his way in the dark, up over the torso, to the neck, and then over to the chin. The mouth was closed. The nose, and then the eyes. The eyes were open! They had lost their natural moisture, but had already begun to putrify. Rad screamed, pulled his hand back quickly, wiped it on his pants, and threw up.
What Readers are saying about “Pavel’s Violin”:
“I am getting close to the end of your book, it’s hard for me to stop reading but I have to sometimes…I was reading till very late last night. Sometimes it’s very heavy reading…but It’s so well written…and it gets lighter when Pavel is speaking or thinking. Thank you so much for writing this!” – L.C. – Prague.
“This book has touched my deepest soul and surprisingly that of my 11 year old Goddaughter who is studying the Subject matter. We have read the book simultaneously with my guidance along the way. We have both laughed, cried and then actually mourned the book characters. A must read for everyone remotely interested in the plight of our Jewish brothers and sisters during the war. As my signed copy reads, “may we never forget.” — D.C., Tennessee
Rated Five Stars on Amazon and Goodreads.
Join us at the IONA Summer festival of the Arts on Wednesday, June 28th, at 5:00 PM. Reception for the artists, and book signing, follows.
630 Garnertown Road (off Sherwood Road, Past Saint Mary’s Center), Sewanee, Tennessee.
All royalties from the sale of “Pavel’s Violin” are being donated to the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Tom Lenda (Tommy Lustig) is Pavel’s son. He survived three years in Terezin, from age 6 to age 9, and plays a role in “Pavel’s Violin.” Tom is the author of “Children on Death Row,” his own story of of his family during the Holocaust. Much of the detail in the sections about Terezin and Auschwitz in “Pavel’s Violin” comes from Tom’s recollections in his book, and I am deeply indebted to him. His book is available on Amazon in several formats. (See Below)
With Tom are Lucie Carlson and her son. Much of the family perished in the camps. These three represent the triumph of life over death. Lucie was my first violin teacher, and she introduced me to Pavel’s actual violin. Tom is reading the inscription in his copy of “Pavel’s Violin”
Original German by Ilse Weber in Terezin, c. 1943
translated by Walter William Melnyk, 2016
When we leave work in the evening,
home lures us with no colorful, shimmering lamplight.
We stand, hesitating, before the door
at the horror of our darkened room.
They have taken our light in punishment,
because someone has done something wrong;
what, exactly, the camp has not learned.
We’ve been living in the dark now for weeks.
So you stand on the porch
looking up at the sky with all the stars.
The evenings are now so beautiful and long –
the whole barrack agrees.
Thus we have only now learned to understand
how wonderfully the golden stars shine.
And above all that you should go to sleep,
so you will not have to cry all night.
When you get your copy of “Pavel’s Violin,” let me know through this website or my Facebook page, and I’ll be happy to send ypou this Signature Book Plate. It bears a photo of Pavel Lustig, on a background of a haselfichte (hazel spruce) board, from which Pavel’s Violin was made.
As it appears in “Pavel’s Violin”
This is the Way to Theresienstadt
original German by Ilse Weber c. 1943
Translation by Walter William Melnyk, 2017
This is the road to Theresienstadt
trodden laboriously by a thousand,
and every one of the thousand has
suffered the same injustice:
They marched him with bowed head,
the Star of David over his heart,
his tired feet sore and dirty,
his soul tormented with pain,
hands bruised with a heavy burden,
driven by harsh commands,
an endless road in the burning sun,
his throat tormented with thirst.
This is the road to Thereseinstadt,
which has drunk our lifeblood,
where many a weary old man collapsed
and died on the rocky road.
It is a road full of misery and darkness
where streams of tears flow;
complaints of children, and moans of women,
are shed in helpless yammering.
Here an old man with poor sight stumbles
in the ruts of the herd.
How many never again return,
because the earth encloses them.