Earlier this week, Diana Bletter wrote about being not just a writer or a Jewish writer, but a Jewish woman writer. Her novel A Remarkable Kindness is about a quartet of women brought together by the rituals of Jewish burials in Israel. Diana is blogging here all week for Jewish Book Council’s Visiting Scribe series.
I treat my office like a high school hallway. All over my walls are inspirational quotes to keep me going. Writing is a lonely task: it’s being the Sisyphus of sentences. Every now and then, I pretend to invite imaginary cheerleaders (including my best friend’s daughter) to my office before I sit down to write, with them cheering, “You can do it! Go… WRITE!”
What follows are the top thirteen inspirational Jewish quotes I turn to when I feel like I’ve fallen down that deep, dark chute of writing nothingness.
“In knowing who you are and writing from it, you will help the world by giving it understanding.” — Natalie Goldberg
“Surprising things can happen when you start to pray…” — Jacqueline Osherow
“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, Grow, grow.” — The Talmud
“Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand.” — Baruch Spinoza
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein
“Two strides across, the rest is dark…Life is a fleeting question mark…” — Hannah Senesh
“You become a writer because you need to become a writer. Nothing else.” — Grace Paley
“Take your life into your own hands…” — Erica Jong
“Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.” — Golda Meir
“Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen. Had I not been subject to darkness, I could not have seen the light.” — Midrash
“If we survived Pharoah, we’ll survive this.” — Meir Arieli
- Jessica Lamb Shapiro: What’s Your Book About?
- Joshua Max Feldman: The Path from Inspiration to Art
- Essays on the Backstory, Inspiration, and Family Ties