The Possibilities of Language

By Ruby Namdar

Language holds endless possibilities, myriads of possible worlds… For me, writing is always ignited by friction, by a unique linguistic gesture that disrupts the routine of language and stands out within its current. This is especially potent when I write in Hebrew, where the many layers of the language and its history are ever present. A strange verb, an archaic conjugation, or an unusual noun may serve as a trigger for a possible literary universe. And then I feel as though an invisible window opens in the room, bringing in new light and fresh air.

Paradoxically, the arc of the narrative always comes to me in its complete form, demanding and formidable, locked against changes or even variations.

I always write the ending right after I complete the opening paragraph of a new work; only then do I sit down to fill the gap between these poles. This tension between the sense of endless possibility and the tightly predetermined arc of the narrative never ceases to intrigue me, and it sustains me through the arduous process of writing.

Ruby Namdar a New York-based Hebrew writer, is the author of HaBayit Asher Necherav (The Ruined House), which won the Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious literary award.

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