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Chaim Potok Quotes

A book is sent out into the world, and there is no way of fully anticipating the responses it will elicit. Consider the responses called forth by the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare - let alone contemporary poetry or a modern novel.

A non-fiction writer pretty much has the shape of the figure in front of him or her and goes about refining it. A work of non-fiction is not as difficult to write as a work of fiction, but it's not as satisfying in the end.

All of us grow up in particular realities - a home, family, a clan, a small town, a neighborhood. Depending upon how we're brought up, we are either deeply aware of the particular reading of reality into which we are born, or we are peripherally aware of it.

And these two elements are at odds with one another because Freud is utterly adversary to almost all the ways of structuring the human experience found in Western religions. No Western religion can countenance Freud's view of man.

And yet there are some magnificent things from Freud, profound insights into the nature of man.

As a species we are always hungry for new knowledge.

But today we become aware of other readings of the human experience very quickly because of the media and the speed with which people travel the planet.

Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.

Each work seems to give me the most trouble at the time I'm working on it.

Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a 'universal' without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere.

I don't work on my Sabbath. I write five-and-a-half or six days a week.

I get up around 6:30. I work from about 8:00 to 1:00, take a break for lunch, work again until about 5:00, and then go for a long walk and have dinner. Then, if my wife and I have no previous plans, we decide what to do for the evening.

I think most serious writers, certainly in the modern period, use their own lives or the lives of people close to them or lives they have heard about as the raw material for their creativity.

I think that to a very great extent we are partners with the divine in this enterprise called history. That is an ongoing relationship, and there is absolutely no guarantee that things will automatically work out to our best advantage.

I think the hardest part of writing is revising. And by that I mean the following: A novelist has to create the piece of marble and then chip away to find the figure in it.

I'm constantly revising. Once the book is written and typed, I go through the entire draft again.

I'm not altogether certain that a fundamentalism of necessity has to argue that it is the only reading of the human experience in order to stay alive.

If I had a plot that was all set in advance, why would I want go through the agony of writing the novel? A novel is a kind of exploration and discovery, for me at any rate.

In other words, Judaism is not Calvinism.

It is impossible to fuse totally with a culture for which you feel a measure of antagonism.