Isaac Bashevis Singer (b. November 21): “The waste-paper basket is the writer’s best friend.”

21 Nov

SingerIsaac Bashevis Singer (born 21 November 1902, died 24 July 1991) was a Polish-born Jewish-American author. He was a leading figure in the Yiddish literary movement who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.

Quotes on writing:

  1. The waste-paper basket is the writer’s best friend.
  2. When a writer tries to explain too much, he’s out of time before he begins.
  3. When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am grown up, they call me a writer. 
  4. A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.
  5. Originality is not seen in single words or even in sentences. Originality is the sum total of a man’s thinking or his writing.
  6. Actually, the true story of a person’s life can never be written. It is beyond the power of literature. The full tale of any life would be both utterly boring and utterly unbelievable.
  7. Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper.
  8. The very essence of literature is the war between emotion and intellect, between life and death. When literature becomes too intellectual – when it begins to ignore the passions, the emotions – it becomes sterile, silly, and actually without substance.
  9. The storyteller and poet of our time, as in any other time, must be an entertainer of the spirit in the full sense of the word, not just a preacher of social or political ideals. There is no paradise for bored readers and no excuse for tedious literature that does not intrigue the reader, uplift him, give him the joy and the escape that true art always grants. 

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