Ramona Ausubel is the author of the nov­el No One is Here Except All of Us, pub­lished by River­head Books. She will be blog­ging here all week for Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing and is JBC’s May Twit­ter Book Club selection.

Maybe there are four or five peo­ple on earth for whom writ­ing is effort­less and nev­er heart­break­ing. I don’t know those peo­ple, and I’m not sure I’d like them if we met. Writ­ers are pro­fes­sion­al feel­ers — our hearts should be ten­der and sore at the end of the day, right? 

Still, some­times it feels as if any oth­er voca­tion would be eas­i­er. I could have stud­ied fresh-water algae, been a long-dis­tance run­ner, a baby-seal feed­er. But that’s exact­ly the thing that bring me back: writ­ing allows me to live a hun­dred oth­er lives besides my own. When I was in high school I thought I want­ed to be an actress, but there was one small issue — I was shy and not inter­est­ed in per­form­ing. It turned out I want­ed the oth­er job where you get to imag­ine your way into the heads and hearts of oth­er peo­ple, feel the world in a new way every time you sit down to work. 

Most of the day, we all tend to the usu­al things. We pay the gas bill, find a park­ing place, buy cere­al, apples, chick­en breasts, remem­ber to call our moth­ers, take the chil­dren to the doc­tor, sort the stack of mail. We do what needs doing. Mean­while, we lose friends, fall in love with peo­ple, teach our babies to talk, help our par­ents leave the world. Being alive is so gor­geous, so hard, so every­thing. Writ­ing — and read­ing — is the place where I get to try to under­stand some of the ten zil­lion strange, beau­ti­ful, ter­ri­ble truths. For me, it is the sec­ond half of being alive.

Ramona Ausubel grew up in San­ta Fe, New Mex­i­co. She is the author of the nov­el No One is Here Except All of Us with the col­lec­tion of short sto­ries A Guide to Being Born to fol­low. Her work has appeared in The New York­er, One Sto­ry, the Green Moun­tains Review, pax amer­i­cana, The Orange Coast ReviewSlice and col­lect­ed in The Best Amer­i­can Fan­ta­sy and online in The Paris Review. 

Ramona Ausubel has been pub­lished in The New York­er and One Sto­ry, and has received spe­cial men­tions in Best Amer­i­can Short Sto­ries, Best Amer­i­can Non­re­quired Read­ing, and the Push­cart Prize Anthol­o­gy. She is a recip­i­ent of the Glenn Scha­ef­fer Award in Fic­tion and a grad­u­ate of the MFA pro­gram and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Irvine.