Literary Birthday – 17 April – Cynthia Ozick

Happy Birthday, Cynthia Ozick, born 17 April 1928.

Cynthia Ozick Quotes

  1. All writing is presumption of course, since no one knows what it is like to be another human being.
  2. What we remember from childhood we remember forever – permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.
  3. Because if I don’t start, I won’t get going. And sometimes starting is so difficult. Because it’s all chaos… It could be a scene in your mind or it could be some kind of tendril that you can barely define. So I have to force it. And then after – and this is real compulsion, real self-flagellation – it kind of takes off. But there’s a lot of agony before. And sometimes during. And sometimes all through. But just before the end and revelations start coming, that’s the joy. But mostly its hell.
  4. Resentment is a communicable disease and should be quarantined.
  5. Advice to aspiring poets: Poetry is not letter-writing cut up into lines. Become familiar with the poets that are the infrastructure of literature; read, read, read.
  6. After a certain number of years, our faces become our biographies.
  7. If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.
  8. Writers’ invisibility has little or nothing to do with Fame, just as Fame has little or nothing to do with Literature. (Fame merits its capital F for its fickleness, Literature its capital L for its lastingness.)
  9. To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination.
  10. Writers are very dangerous people. You shouldn’t know them.
  11. If I could do it again, I would step out of the furnace now and then. I’d run around and find reviews to write, articles; I’d scurry and scrounge. I’d try to build a little platform from which to send out a voice. I’d do, in short, what I see so many writers of your generation doing: Chasing a bit of work here, a bit there, publishing, getting acquainted.
  12. Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression.

Cynthia Ozick is a Jewish-American short story writer, novelist, and essayist. She received the O. Henry Award for The Shawl in 1981.

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 17th April 2014