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"About the Work" with Robert Osborne

In our "About the Work" series, Olga Mexina and Gbenga Adesina ask recent contributors for insight into their writing or for current sources of inspiration. Read Robert Osborne's story "Swing" in SER Vol. 41.1.


I travel to Serbia for work often. I’ve made friends there, and I’ve noticed a kind of stoicism that goes hand-in-hand with a flicker of hope, the belief that things will get better. My friends were children and teenagers during the wars of the ’90s and the NATO bombings. They’re reluctant to talk about their experiences–the scars are deep. I also saw that the LGBTQIA+ community there, while more accepted than in the past, still live under the threat of violence. I wanted to write about these things, but I couldn’t come up with a cohesive idea until I was chatting with a friend who, earlier in his life, had been an Olympic-caliber rower. He described both training for and then missing the Olympics because of the NATO bombings. He used the term “the swing” to describe when all the rowers in a boat are in perfect unison. The phrase really spoke to me, and everything came together in that moment. I would write about loss and striving to find those times in life when everything is in perfect synchrony.


ROBERT OSBORNE is a consultant to not-for-profit organizations. His fiction has appeared in Witness, The Tulane Review, and The Dickinson Review. He is a well-known international speaker and workshop leader, focused on topics related to fundraising. Robert lives in New York City with his wife, son, and three cats.


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