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The Schmooze

Author Blog: Why I Write

Ramona Ausubel is the author of the novel “No One Is Here Except All of Us,” published by Riverhead Books. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:

Maybe there are four or five people on earth for whom writing is effortless and never heartbreaking. I don’t know those people, and I’m not sure I’d like them if we met. Writers are professional feelers — our hearts should be tender and sore at the end of the day, right?

Still, sometimes it feels as if any other vocation would be easier. I could have studied fresh-water algae, been a long-distance runner, a baby-seal feeder. But that’s exactly the thing that bring me back: writing allows me to live a hundred other lives besides my own. When I was in high school I thought I wanted to be an actress, but there was one small issue — I was shy and not interested in performing. It turned out I wanted the other job where you get to imagine your way into the heads and hearts of other people, feel the world in a new way every time you sit down to work.

Most of the day, we all tend to the usual things. We pay the gas bill, find a parking place, buy cereal, apples, chicken breasts, remember to call our mothers, take the children to the doctor, sort the stack of mail. We do what needs doing. Meanwhile, we lose friends, fall in love with people, teach our babies to talk, help our parents leave the world. Being alive is so gorgeous, so hard, so everything. Writing — and reading — is the place where I get to try to understand some of the 10 zillion strange, beautiful, terrible truths. For me, it is the second half of being alive.


Ramona Ausubel grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of the novel “No One Is Here Except All of Us” with the collection of short stories, “A Guide to Being Born,” to follow. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, One Story, the Green Mountains Review, pax americana, The Orange Coast Review, Slice and collected in The Best American Fantasy and online in The Paris Review.


The Jewish Book Council is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the reading, writing and publishing of Jewish literature. For more Jewish literary blog posts, reviews of Jewish books and book club resources, and to learn about awards and conferences, please visit www.jewishbookcouncil.org.

MyJewishLearning.com is the leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education. Visit My Jewish Learning for thousands of articles on Judaism, Jewish holidays, Jewish history and more.

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