Sheila Kohler: The Meaning of Life

Sheila Kohler by Beowulf SheehanExcellence Reporter: Sheila, what is the meaning of life?

Sheila Kohler: What comes to my mind immediately in answer to this difficult question is love. Without love life has little meaning: love for one’s fellow man; love for one’s spouse and one’s children; love for one’s friends; love for one’s students, for strangers, for those who come from afar. Without this surely life has little meaning.

And linked with love comes meaningful work of some kind. Without the dignity and meaningfulness of work it is very hard to love. We need to feel we, too, are loveable in order to be able to love others. We need to feel we have some intrinsic worth and this often comes through work, whatever kind of work that might be.

In my own case I am a writer and thus a reader and hope with my words to reach out to others as the great writers have done for me. I hope to form a community of some kind, to share my own preoccupations, my insights, and my emotions with others.

As a writer one hopes to distract and to teach and ultimately to uncover some deeper truth about life and share this with others. One needs to aspire to some higher cause, some higher realm. Certainly religion can give our lives it ultimate meaning in its hope for an after life, but above all it seems to me we cannot live in complete isolation and our attempts to reach out to others gives our lives the meaning it needs.


~Sheila Kohler is the author of ten novels, three volumes of short fiction, a memoir, and many essays. Her most recent novel is “Dreaming for Freud,”  based on the Dora case. Her memoir “Once we were sisters” was published this year by Penguin out here as well  as in England and Spain.

She has won numerous prizes including the O.Henry and been included in Best American Short Stories. Her work has been published in thirteen countries. She has taught at Columbia, Sarah Lawrence, Bennington and at Princeton.

Her novel, “Cracks” was made into a film with directors Jordan and Ridley Scott with Eva Green playing Miss G.

You can find her blog at Psychology Today under Dreaming for Freud.

Copyright © 2018 Excellence Reporter

Categories: Writers

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