He was 9 years old when the officer brought the news. The knock was strong and hard and his father’s footsteps were heavy on the wooden floorboards. The door swung open and the foggy night air brought with it, a dense moisture, the thick smell of dying things and the devil.
Klara was dead, or rather Klara had committed herself to death on her own terms and was found outside the Goldstein’s house, the side of her face blown off, raccoons chewing on her flesh. The boy didn’t cry for his mother, knowing nothing resolves the past better than a resolve for the future.
The Jews had killed her.
They killed her spirit long before she was dead.
Last weekend’s workshop leader Bernice McFadden posed a question to our group. What’s the difference between sympathy and empathy? A sympathetic person walks by a well, sees a sistah stuck inside and says, “Oh girl…damn… I’m praying for you. An empathetic person grabs a rope and joins her in the well.
Who is the most reprehensible person we know? Hitler? Ok Hitler. A good writer evokes feelings from her reader.
The assignment: Put your reader in your character’s shoes or rather in the well. A great writer can make the reader feel empathy for Hitler. The result (in 20 minutes) was the above excerpt.