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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.


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For years you’ve dreamed of putting your life down in words. But now you ask yourself, “Is my life really that interesting?” “How do I even begin?”

Just remember! Your story is unique, gripping, and heart-warming, a key to your life. Writing a memoir, short story collection, poetry, or a novel and sending it out to the world (or just to your children and grandchildren) makes meaning of your life. It’s a validation, displaying the passages you took and those you did not.

Through the years, I learned the desire to write is as urgent as the hunger for air…

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

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

Shoshana Kobrin

Shoshana Kobrin is a writing coach, editing consultant, and author. She gives writing workshops, individual consultations and is available for presentations.

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