FIFTY-SIX, FEBRUARY 1, 2001
(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)
(Photo by Brenda Saunders )
THE SHAKESPEARE SQUADRON
(PART 9): ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER
Isaac Bashevis Singer lived in a bungalow within walking distance of
Wolfie's, on Miami Beach. He knew
most of the people in his neighborhood, from New York City.
You said that winning the Nobel Prize cut into your time to write. Rather than giving you time to write.
It made you be a public person, which was time-consuming.
And antithetical to what a writer actually requires.
Would you rather have remained obscure?
No. I wasn't complaining.
Just stating a fact.
One time I free-lance copy-edited manuscripts for a publisher of
scientific monographs and journals. It
was piece work. I was paid by the
page. It worked out to be around
the minimum wage, but I could do as much or as little of it as I wanted, and so
it fit in with my writing.
Except I'd work on my own writing like a man possessed and put the
editing off until the last minute. Then
do a slapdash job. They finally
quit giving me manuscripts to style.
I thought of you proofreading the Yiddish newspaper you proofread for
I told you I wasn't complaining.
Do you know who you remind me of, walking around Miami Beach in a
raincoat and a hat? I don't want to
The eternal auslander. The
writer as a gangster. It's not
Joseph Goebbels said whenever he heard the word artist he reached for his
If they don't treat you that way you're doing something wrong.
If they shower you with honors you have to wonder where you pulled your
punches. Were you only a hack,
How did they misunderstand? You
must have sugar-coated the pill.
Yes, I've felt that.
You just have to shrug it off and continue to work.
You can't pay any attention to them either time.
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