Passion Never Retires for Leora Skolkin-Smith

What is the best thing that I love about my work? the chance to have my own voice and vision. The chance to have solid, solitary time to pull together the fragments of my rather fragmented personal life and make one essential story out them which would mean finding the truth that binds all those confusing fragments into a whole I can then sort of say : Ahhh! So that was that was about about!

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Writing and life with my husband.

What is my greatest fear? Failure.I have had a lot of failure, in that I had a serious fatal illness which needed time to resolve in hospital settings which pulled me out of ordinary life and circumstances. It’s been a struggle not to feel like an outsider for that reason and for the reason that my mother was born in Palestine in 1922, and virtually noone in my world up until the age of 25 knew remotely what kind of life and place my mother inhabited. The fact that many instead made large assumptions about what Palestine/Israel was and will lecture me about the wars without really any a priori lived experiences. My mother’s differentness formed a lot of the impetus behind my writing. I feel like I had to create a world to fit her into and a lot of my past. And a deep sense of being unheard resounds in my heart. I’m Jewish so I cant say I’m a Muslim Palestinian and have people know at least a little about what that is. I’m not Israeli because all my maternal family lived in a pre-Israel Palestine, and I’m not Israeli because my mother immigrated before the state of Israel was born. My maternal family in Palestine, all Jews were neither Zionists nor immigrants but they had been there already for several generations.My family’s past has truly been obliterated from the history books.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? my depressions and self-loathing

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Margaret Atwood

What is my greatest extravagance? scotch

On what occasion would I lie? never lie really.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? It’s too intellectual

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Working with Grace Paley on my first book Edges about my mother’s historical past and modern Israel.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would like to be able to think more simply.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I’s authenticity

Where would I most like to live? New York City is where I live and want to live

What is my most treasured possession? My husband and my writing.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Fifth Avenue where my father’s office used to be.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Molly’s Irish pub

What books influenced my life and how? Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. It confirmed my own ideas about love, longing, and loss.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Any Mahler

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Marcel in Remembrance of Things Past

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? Obama, Nelson Mandela.

What role plays art in my life and work? Every role

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My husband

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? Judith Gurewich of Other Press,

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017? Margaret Atwood. Doris Lessing if she were alive.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? a new novel based in the Middle East pre-1940

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? Amazon and other online stories, To read my essays go to or

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Some kind of expression that encompasses the way my passion for writing never seems to dissipate or disappear,

How can you contact me? at or through my website at http://www.leoraskolkinsmith

What follows is a message of Peter de Kuster,  the founder of Passion Never Retires

What is Your Story?

Two Day Tour with Peter de Kuster  in the greatest bookstores of your favorite city. In Paris, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Berlin, London and Amsterdam we offer this unique What is your Story? experience.  To (re) write your story about yourself and your work. In the process transforming your capacity to successfully have the creative life and work you love. 

In this journey, Peter de Kuster,  founder of Passion Never Retires explores with you the way we tell stories about ourselves to ourselves — and, most important, the way we can change those stories to transform our creative business and life.

“Your story is your art, your art is your story,” says Peter. As human beings, we continually tell ourselves stories — of success or failure; of power or victimhood; stories that endure for an hour, or a day, or an entire lifetime. We have stories about our creative challenges, our art, our clients, our money, our self promotion, our time, our families and relationships, our health; about what we want and what we’re capable of achieving. Yet, while our stories profoundly affect how others see us and we see ourselves, too few of us even recognize that we’re telling stories, or what they are, or that we can change them — and, in turn, transform our very destinies.

Telling ourselves stories provides structure and direction as we navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and helps us interpret our goals and skills. Stories make sense of chaos; they organize our many divergent experiences into a coherent thread; they shape our entire reality. And far too many of our stories, says Peter, are dysfunctional, in need of serious editing. First, he asks you to answer the question, “In which areas of my creative life and business is it clear that I cannot achieve my goals with the story I’ve got?” He then shows you how to create new, reality-based stories that inspire you to action, and take you where you want to go both in your work and personal life.

Our capacity to tell stories is one of our profoundest gifts. Peter’s approach to creating deeply engaging stories will give you the tools to wield the power of storytelling and forever change your creative business and life.

Become a great Storyteller

That’s why I set up What is your Story? service in the great cities of the world and their great bookstores. A new way to use the power of your story.  To guide you to life-changing, eye-opening but often elusive works of literature, both past and present, the books of fiction that truly have the power to enchant, enrich and inspire.

In two days with Peter de Kuster you’ll explore your relationship with books so far and your unique story identity will be sketched. You will be guided to books that can put their finger on what you want to rewrite in your story, the feelings that you may often have had but perhaps never understood so clearly before; books that open new perspectives and re-enchant the world for you.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of your session and you’ll be given an instant story advice and books to read to take away. Your full story advice and books to read list will follow within a couple of days.


What Can I Expect?

Here’s an outline of the WHAT IS YOUR STORY? journey.

Journey Outline


  • What is your Story?
  • Are you even trying to tell a Story?
  • Old Stories  (stories about you, your art, your clients, your money, your self promotion, your happiness, your health)
  • Tell your current Story
  • Is this Really Your Story?


  • The Premise of your Story. The Purpose of your Life and Art
  • The words on your tombstone
  • You ultimate mission, out loud
  • The Seven Great Plots
  • The Twelve Archetypal Heroines
  • The One Great Story
  • Purpose is Never Forgettable
  • Questioning the Premise
  • Lining up
  • Flawed Alignment, Tragic Ending
  • The Three Rules in Storytelling
  • Write Your New Story


  • Turning your story into action
  • The Story Effect
  • Story Ritualizing
  • The Storyteller and the art of story
  • The Power of Your Story
  • Storyboarding your creative process
  • They Created and Lived Happily Ever After


The “What is your Story?” fee is Euro 2.495 excluding VAT for a private tour with a small group of 1 or 2 people.

Questions? Contact Peter de Kuster at 0031 6 33661772 or mail him at

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