Insights Spurred by Paris

I joined the world community in my disbelief and abhorrence of the events in Paris just a few days ago. My research for ‘Schicksal’ opened the way for a deeper understanding of trauma, war and the effect of these on the future lives of the survivors.


Often in the midst of the chaotic and disordered circumstances superimposed by war; people show remarkable resilience and tenacity. They continue to walk the streets shopping, going to church or visiting an ageing relative.

There is little choice.

What happens inside? Deep inside the person changes are taking place, hope faith and especially trust are tested. Little cracks appear in the veneer. Do they heal? Completely?

Knowing my parents the survivors of WWII, a war which left them standing adult orphans too, left my father displaced for three years; I had a unique vantage point from which to write.

Fore I knew them better than any one else.

I shared with them the aftermath, the new beginnings and the foibles. With the mind of a child I didn’t even know to question or compare. In adolescence, I noticed differences which I put down to our migrant status. It was about me.

Writing forced me to look first inside myself, then inside my characters. They survived but brought and amazing array of colour with them. The scars from war lay buried deep within, yet they lived on.

Everyday part of the past had to be reconciled.

Excerpt from ‘Schicksal’:

Every morning the unlikely combination of relief and fear ran successively through Reine’s body. Despite the passage of time fear still predominated, an ink blot on the purity of each dawn. It took a concerted moment each day to firmly push the fear underground. Although wifely duty expected her to rise and make the morning coffee, the successful suppression of the serpent, remained the first priority. Watching her daughter sleeping innocently, Reine focused on Miriam erasing the familiar aftertaste of the everyday battle.

In my ideal world, we would look outside the “I,” and consider what our actions might do. Like a ripple, our harshness might radiate outward and inward creating and re-creating a past that won’t disappear.

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