I subconsciously put writing on hold for another 50 or so years, although I do remember writing letters to the editors of our local newspapers in Johannesburg.
When I retired in 2007 I found a group of English speaking writers in Jerusalem where I have lived since moving to Israel in 1979.
I continue to write with the same group mentor to this day although other members of the group have changed over the years staying for shorter or longer periods.
Initially we met at the house of an elderly lady who was 91 at the time. Unfortunately she died about two years later.
We then alternated between another elderly lady and an American couple. Eventually after 17 years living in Jerusalem the American couple decided to return to the US where their 3 children live. This was a great loss to the group as both the husband, a Holocaust survivor, and wife were interesting and charming people.
We continued to meet every two weeks at the home of the other elderly lady, a lady who had been born in Israel, when it was still under the British Mandate. Her family went to Australia when she was a young girl but she returned to Israel in 1949, met a very influential man several years her senior married him and raised 4 children. She has decided to give up being a member of our group due to advanced age and recent poor health, but we still consider her part of our group.
Over the years I met some interesting people, some of whom I liked but others of whom I was less fond.
One lady, most of our members have been women, didn’t like my critiquing. She left the group but not before complaining to our mentor about me. I only remember telling her that she had repeated herself three times in the same paragraph.
Another member, this time one of the few men, an attorney by profession, drew constant criticism for his lack of explanation and necessary detail – a serious defect for someone who writes legal documents for a living.
Some members thought that it was enough to put pen to paper to become writers. One or two of them had good stories, but when the other members of the group didn’t rave about their contributions, they became frustrated and left.
Another lady, religious by conviction, objected to any sex or reference to sex or sexuality in our writing. During her tenure, which only lasted a few meetings, I wrote a story which you can read on my website about my trip as a young man to Rhodesia, known since December 1979 as Zimbabwe. During this trip I saw my first striptease show. This was a revelation as striptease was illegal in South Africa at the time. It was very tame as the young lady remained in a G-string and nipple cups with tassels on her breasts – very much like a bikini one sees today on any beach. She left the group just in time as a few weeks later one of our members wrote a piece about lesbians, which raised a certain amount of mirth among our attendees.
When I started writing the revolution in independent publishing was just beginning. I wrote then, as I write now, for pleasure. I decided to publish my first book Just for Fun because I had written the stories and I liked the idea of having a book on the Internet – not to make money, but if I made money it would be a bonus. My next book Regan – a Love Story is a novella. I asked my long-time friend and well-known South African artist Shirley Israel to design the cover. She’s done a great job. Both books have been well received, but neither has yet reached best-seller status.
I continue to write, my current book is about the earliest Jews to make their way from Eastern Europe to America before the civil war. The book takes us from Myszyniec, Poland to Charleston, South Carolina. The couple Shmuel and Tova have many adventures and hardships on the way. My working title is Out of the House of Bondage, referencing the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. I checked out this title on Amazon and there are at least two other books with the same title, but they deal with slavery in America.