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I was born in South Africa to parents who survived the horrors of Nazi Germnay. Growing up during the apartheid years, my parents stories sensitized me to matters of social justice and concern for the less fortunate in our society. No matter where I travelled or lived, the treatment of others and their dignity was always on my mind. The dictum "remember the stranger, for you too were strangers in the Land of Egypt," had a major influence on my worldview and included civil disobedience against apartheid.
My path has meandered through music, clinical psychology and writing. Music is not only about great melodies, but an artistic means to embrace the other. That is why I admire composers like Schubert and musicians like Yo Yo Ma, who bestow a form of nobility to their art. By nobility I mean a certain humility outside the grandeur of the concert hall-akin to the nobility of Mother Theresa. For Schubert, his Schubertianas with diverse friends that included Synagogue cantor Sulzer. For Yo Yo Ma, playing a cello for a South African Khoisan (Bushman) and having the fellowship and honour returned with his form of music, though neither understanding each other's spoken language.
Also, many years working as a clinical psychologist, I utilised my musical listening skills, as well as adopting the richness of music as a metaphor, such as in the second movement in Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concert in couples therapy.
And finally, as a writer of both non-fiction and fiction, both of which complement each other, the latter, a narrative with a dark message as in my satire, "The trombone man: tales of a misogynist."
My ventures have never changed as such. I simply added on.
Many fine articles and books have been written about just about every topic in the world. I often see the world in terms of paradox and humour, which is reflected in my writing. My humour can be provocative and certainly not politically correct, which is precisely the point. I am the little boy who exclaims "but the emperor is not wearing any clothes!"
It goes without saying, that I question mindless populism and political correctness which I believe has transformed genuine liberalism into a fake version. I am also mindful of the populism that fueled hate that resulted in the horrors of war and the Holocaust in Europe or the Farhud in Iraq, to name but two. In my liberal world, the treatment of women, Jews, minorities, LGBTQ, prisoners and animals is a benchmark of a society's degree of civilization. My book is called a "paravel," a neologism I coined, that is a hybrid between parable and novel. My stories can be provocatively outrageous, but they hold a dark message that is relevant to our times. In the "Trombone man: tales of a misogynist," misogyny is used as a metaphor for antisemitism, for discrimination, for populism and its cousin political correctness, that can and do have unintended consequences. Often a message is conveyed through humour and the absurd.
I look forward to your comments!
About my book