I was born under two shadows; antisemitism and apartheid. Neither was discussed in my family or in the wealthy suburban bubble of English descendants and Jews where I was raised.
My grandfather, Nathan, was born in Ponevez, Lithuania, in 1879. When I was four years old, he died, so I know him only from photographs and family legends. A photo shows him as the prosperous businessman he was, puffing at a cigar. Confident and self-assured, he beams from behind his steel-rimmed spectacles. The chain of a pocket watch drapes a complacent stomach, and a pleated kerchief adorns his waistcoat.
Antisemitism was rife in Lithuania. At the beginning of the 1880s, many Jews from Ponevez immigrated to South Africa. At eighteen, Jewish boys were drafted into the Russian army and sent to Siberia, where they often died. …
This morning I felt alive, perky, eager to send out those words waiting in the wings.
Not like yesterday. I woke irritable and miserable. Churning about that email from Susie, my editor. Critical, putting me down. I wanted to strangle her. I pay her; she should be supportive, right? Would I ever be a decent writer? Might as well give up right now.
I’ll bet, as with me, your emotional states amaze you with their variation and power. Shock you with their random intensity, swinging between sadness and joy, anxiety and contentment. Guilt, fury, and love.
A chaos of emotions
Emotions influence our relationship with ourselves, others, and the world. …