Born on this day in the Bronx, writer Cynthia Ozick (1928-) once confessed to creating her "courageous" drafts in longhand.
"For many years," she explained, "I was devoted to a fountain pen." After longhand, she composes her next draft on a first-generation Smith Corona electric typewriter. Then she enters her words on computer.
"The engineering is secondary to the vision," she said, calling her first novel Trust (1966) "unreadable." In an interview about her career, she revealed that she stopped writing poetry at forty and favored writing fiction to essays.
"When you write fiction," she explained, "you don't know where you are going-- sometimes down to the last paragraph-- and that is the pleasure of it."
Proud to be Jewish, much of her fiction explored the challenges of Jews struggling to maintain their heritage in a Gentile world. She wrote The Shawl (1989) to honor Holocaust survivors. The story, an O.Henry Prize winner, is filled with sadness and truth.
Fervent about her creativity, Ozick has said, "To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination."
Releasing her sixth novel, Foreign Bodies (2010), a tribute to Henry James, Ozick described herself as “young for an octogenarian."
Art is an act of courage.