“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.” Isaac Bashevis Singer
Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Polish born Jewish writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978.
A prolific writer with nearly 20 novels, 14 children’s books, numerous memoirs, articles and essays to his credit, this statement is attributed to him. It is interesting to ponder why a successful writer would say this. It gives me hope.
Isaac Bashevis Singer was born in Poland in 1902. He was well into his 80’s when he died in 1991. The son of a Hasidic rabbi, he grew up in a turbulent time in eastern Europe. During World War I, his family split up because of the hardship of the times. He lived with his younger brother and mother in his mother’s hometown while his father and older brother stayed in Warsaw. He returned to Warsaw in 1921 and entered the seminary. Not rabbi material, he left school and tried to support himself by teaching Yiddish. Failing that, he went to work for his brother who was an editor. Isaac became a proofreader.
In 1935, he emigrated to America due to the nearby threat of Nazi Germany. In 1939, Poland was invaded by the Nazis. Meanwhile, Isaac Singer settled in New York and became a journalist and columnist for “The Forward,” a Yiddish-language newspaper.
Many of his stories reflect his experiences as a child in eastern Europe and his Jewish heritage. Some of his stories became movies including “Yentl” a popular movie in the 1970’s starring Barbra Streisand as a young lady disguised as a boy after her father dies. She poses as a male so she can learn the Talmud.
As I contemplate the life of Isaac Bashevis Singer, I am amazed at his talent. Yet, he, too, expressed the angst that I have as a writer, that of putting down on paper the visions that are in my head.