cew_novelsThe-Singing-Fountain‘As the jet taxied down the runway for takeoff, Diane recalled her trip to the Czech Republic four years earlier. It was in the Spring and the chestnut trees along the lane leading to Zamek Castle had been laden with frilly pink and white blossoms. Cool wind had blown down from the snow-capped Jesenek mountains into the valley and the air vibrated with the humming of bees.

Diane felt at home in the Czech Republic. Its deeply rooted, Eastern European lack of pretense suited her no nonsense personality. Despite centuries of conquering nations and outside cultural influences, the Czechs had stubbornly maintained their traditions, progressive artistic spirit and unique, dark humor.’

Drawing by Cheryl Ernst Wells





cew_novelLoves-Lost-&-Found‘ “Fred, you’re a friendly man but you’re naïve about people. In my experience I’ve found that people are basically selfish and good only when they want something.”

“I don’t except that.”

“Accept it or not, that’s your choice. For myself, I expect nothing from anyone. If they behave badly or in self-interest, it’s as I expect. If on the other hand they are kind and generous, I’m suspicious of their motives.”

“That’s a depressing view of humanity, Jean Louis.”

“Not at all. It’s a realistic view of humanity. You believe people are basically good and will be disappointed when they’re not. I expect nothing but the worst from people and am rarely disappointed. Who is the more depressed?”

“So you have absolutely no faith in the inherent goodness of people?”

“Inherent goodness? No, but believe me, in this world some people are inherently bad and capable of very bad things. I know.” Jean Louis suddenly sounded more angry than cynical.’




cew_novelHonour-Redeems‘When she heard Vince introduce her, Honor’s legs began to shake and she feared she might collapse. She was dizzy and her throat felt dry as she took a deep breath and walked out onto the stage to a round of applause. Blinded by the glare of the lights, she couldn’t see a thing out in the hall but she could feel the collective expectation of hundreds of faces staring at her, the audience pressing upon her making it hard to breathe.

Vince counted down Come Dance With Me. As Honor began to sing she sounded weak, uncertain and she had to hold on to the microphone stand for support. The song seemed endless. She was never able to get beyond her nervousness, on the contrary, her nerves and her performance only got worse. By the end of the song the applause was pitiable and she felt a deep sense of shame and embarrassment. She turned to Vince, shook her head then walked off the stage to an audible wave of dismay in the audience, silenced only by Vince and the trio breaking into another upbeat song.’

Photograph by Paul Wells, Paintings by Cheryl Ernst Wells

cew_novelHonour-Redeems-2 cew_novelHonour-Redeems-watercolor



A short story in ten parts

cew_novelWebbs‘ Bobby Lee drove toward the Haight past the tree lined swath of park known as the panhandle. Although it no longer resembled the psychedelic, free love Haight-Ashbury of the sixties, it was the only district of the city that still felt a little like home to him. The once familiar neighborhoods, the Fillmore, Hayes Valley and Union Street, had morphed from family restaurants and small, live music clubs into vodka bars, trendy clothing boutiques and Bikram yoga salons. Old San Francisco was long since dead and buried under the weight of gentrification but the Haight still had the funk, still had a heartbeat.’



A travel journal

cew_novelThreeMonthsInPrague‘‘Certain very old Czech customs prevail even in the midst of rapid change. One is the country cottage or chata. On the weekends the Czechs head out of town for their chaty some of which have been in their families for generations. They range from shacks with outhouses to chalets with all the modern conveniences. This tradition is something the Czech truly treasures. In the Spring the Czech countryside takes your breath away with its little villages and golden fields of rape flowers merging with low, rolling hills of bright, green grass. In the winter, it’s a sea of snow with herds of fallow deer foraging in the woods. Families ice-skating on the frozen Brno reservoir, when viewed from the surrounding hills, become a living Brueghel painting. Hearts must break having to head back into the city on Sunday night.’

Painting by Cheryl Ernst Wells