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Let me help you tell your story.

I believe that stories are the most powerful vehicles to affect change. It is through story that we can share our truth, and inspire masses.

It would be my deepest honor to help you tell your story.

Nearly a decade ago, I began to interview my father, as he revealed untold tragedies and triumphs of his Soviet past. Through myriad interviews with him and those in his orbit, I wrote his memoirs in a voice resonant to him, to enable him to share his journey and his values. Below you will find an excerpt from that project

My expertise lies in facilitating the transmission of your life story, and telling it in a way that simultaneously feels most resonant to you, and will captivate readers. If you desire to record your story in book form, then I would be honored to help you do so. Please be in touch, by email ( or through the contact form below, to schedule a consultation. I look forward to hearing from you! 


jgoldis [at] gmail [dot] com

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          I was no longer the King departing to freedom. The Soviet Union had refused my application to leave, and swift was my firing from my engineering job and conversion to a man without prospects.

          Shurik the Stranded. Shurik of Dashed Hope.

          Shurik the Refusenik.

          And even more bad news: I discovered my old love, Natalie, had gotten married again. 

          Yes, I did not want her. Yes, I wished for her happiness. And yes, in my head was now the lovely Susannah. But one plus one plus one does not always equal three.

          Somehow, I landed a new job at the macaroni factory. I did not want to be classified as unemployed, a “parasite,” and provide an additional escape route for my arrest. This was what my father feared all those years before, when he reported to work on death’s doorstep. I didn’t inform the factory I was a refusenik; I just passed over my credentials and assumed the post. But a month later, my status caught up to me. It had only taken my new KGB tails one month to latch onto my whereabouts. I was summoned to the manager’s office and delivered a monologue likely identical to those heard by my refusenik forefathers: Your performance is no good. You are not working hard enough. 

          It wasn’t the worst thing, in the end. They quickly found a guy to fill my place, and a month later news trickled to me. A guy at the factory had his arm chopped off in a malfunctioning machine. And who was blamed? The manager. My replacement. He was sent to Siberia.

          At least I was not in Siberia.

          But even so, setbacks, and more setbacks. I lay in the pass-through room at my brother's house, feeling very sorry for myself at nearly twenty-eight years of age, that I was living with my brother, a drain on resources. Not to mention that my friends would not respond to my letters. My best friend, Misha, even—no word. I understood their fear to speak to me, in my perilous refusenik state. People were jailed for less, in Stalin’s time certainly, but even in this Brezhnev era. 

          In April of 1978, I returned to meet with General Bondorienko to plead my case to leave the Soviet Union. This time Mama insisted on accompanying me. He’d trumpeted her illness as a rationale for my refusal, and when she’d heard, she’d erupted, “Well! I will come with you and tell him how it is.”

          Her face was mean, like a warrior, the gentle mother erased. We sat across from Bondorienko, and Mama slammed her fist on the desk.

         “Let my son go,” she said to this big, powerful KGB man. She slammed her fist again, sending my hands resting on the table into air. “I want him to leave here.”

          Bondorienko took us in, this enemy-of-the-state and his tough little mother. “I will let you know. Six more months until we render our decision.”

          On our way home, I said, “I can’t believe how strong you were, Mama.”

          She turned to me, the ferocity not dissipated. “You will go.”

          She said it like a promise.

Memoir Co-Writer: Text
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