Why Do We Choose Unsuitable Partners?

Having lost a father when we were very young ( I was seven and my sister nine) my sister and I may have felt that men were fragile, that they might easily desert us, disappear, leave not a rack behind. Perhaps we feared that without our help, without us to prop them up, bolster their self-esteem, keep them safe, they would crumble into dust.

How to Avoid Thinking of Oneself as a Victim

When my older sister was killed by her husband after a history of battering, I was in a rage. I sat down and wrote a novel in three months. I wrote out of anger and the sense that my sister had been a victim, an innocent, martyred woman, the mother of six small children, whose husband had killed her by driving a car off the road on a dry night with no other car in sight.

How to Cope With the Envy of Others

My mother was one of four children, three girls and a boy. They came from a modest home. She was the only one of the three girls to marry a wealthy man, twenty years older than she. He lived in a splendid house with fourteen acres of garden, a pool, tennis court, and even a nine hole golf course all kept up by an army of servants.

Does travel truly broaden the mind?

When I was fifteen my mother sent me to stay with a Belgian woman who had been the French teacher at our boarding school in Johannesburg. She told us she was a princess as she had married one of the younger Colonna sons. She had recently started what she called a finishing school in Florence and my older sister was already there.

How To Hold It All Together in Life and Literature

A great editor once told me, "If you do it once and it works, do it again. If you bring in a character once bring him/ her in again. " This might be applied to both life and literature.

When Is It Wise to Confess?

I remember telling my poor children their father was in Bruxelles when my ex- husband was off with his mistress. My intentions were of the best, of course. I hoped to spare my little girls the suffering of knowing of their father's infidelity, which he finally confessed to them much to my ire. But I'm not sure my silence was ultimately helpful to my children.

What Is the Motivation for a Criminal Act?

St. Augustine, who ponders this question in 387 A.D. writes: So when people look for the reason why some criminal act has been committed their account is only rendered credible when it is evident that there may have been greed on the malefactor’s part.

How To Change Your Life

Change, which is so difficult to achieve in life and to portray in literature is often brought about by a catalyst, a stranger, who comes into our lives and makes us see ourselves in a different and perhaps more truthful light.

What Makes a Book Great?

I have been reading “Crime and Punishment” with a group of New Yorkers. Where else could one find a group of people interested enough to meet every week or so and discuss a book of this kind? We are all enjoying the book so much, so that at one point I asked somewhat guiltily if it might actually be considered “trash” rather than the great book history has decided it is.

Why Create Minor Characters in a Novel, Story or Essay?

Russian stories are often filled with a vast number of minor characters whose names we may find difficult to pronounce or remember. So why does Turgenev, for example, in a short story like Mumu ( 1854) give us not only his main character,Gerasim, the wonderful deaf and dumb serf, but the woman he belongs to, as well as a tailor, Kapiton Klimov who is a sad drunkard.

How To Keep The Reader Reading

Suspense often lies in putting a vulnerable creature into a dangerous position. Thus it comes from within ( the vulnerability) and without ( the outer danger) or to put it differently from the character, himself, or from the world outside him.

On the Wisdom of Taking a Lover

When my ex- husband announced he had fallen in love with another woman, he said he still loved me and was not sure what to do. He felt terribly guilty as did his mistress and he had to tell me the truth. We had been married for ten years and were both in our early thirties

How To Write a Thriller?

First, as with anything you write, you have to choose a voice. Who is going to tell your story? Do you want to use the first person as Albert Camus does in “ The Stranger” and begin with the lapidary sentences: “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be quite sure.”

How to Learn the Language of Love

Every time we fall in love it seems so new. We say to our beloved, “I’ve never felt quite like this before!” and we sincerely believe it. Suddenly, it seems, we see the world lit up anew.

The Most Precious Gift My Mother Gave Me

Perhaps the most precious gift I inherited from my mother, the one which led me to become a writer, was her silence about so many parts of her life, the mystery in which she wrapped herself—like a dark cloak—giving only brief glimpses of her true self from time to time.

The Book That Changed My Life

I first encountered Proust’s work in what might be considered rather adverse yet somewhat Proustian circumstances. He was a favorite writer of my ex-husband and his southern mother who had discovered Proust on her own in the library in Kentucky where she had taken out Scott Montcrieff’s translation of Remembrance of Things past, and read it by chance.

On Art And Madness

My mother would often warn me, “Now Sheila, you don’t want to be too clever for your own good.” Obviously she equated “cleverness” with something dangerous. She was much more interested in how people had reacted to my dress after a party, “Did they like your dress?” she would ask, rather than my report card.

On Getting The Right Advice From The Right Person

When my ex husband first told me that he had fallen in love with someone else, I called, of all people, my mother-in-law for advice.

How To Act Most Seductively With A Lover

How To Make Someone Love You Forever.

What Do Women Want From Women And Men From Men ?

Do homosexuals and heterosexuals want different things from their partners?

What do Women Want from Men and Men from Women?

What do men and women want of one another?

How To Reach God

What makes us feel close to God?

How to Avoid the Same Old Argument

How to avoid that old argument that accomplishes nothing.

How Different Is the Artist From the Writer?

Has the image replaced the word?

How to Face Suffering

How to find consolation in moments of despair

What Makes a Book or a Blog Sell?

How to sell your book or blog.

How To Give and Get More From Those Around You

Giving and getting more from those you care about

On Women and Work

How much should women have to work ?

How To Use Place To Tell Your Story

How to use place to tell your story

Story, Memory, and Trauma

How important is it to be able to tell our story?

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