“What writing is for Jewish people, is making music for black people,” said my old Jewish High school classmate Ab a long long time ago.
His statement suddenly came to my mind while seeing a creative book video (see below), which I spotted on the blog De-cluttering my Mind
But is he right about black people? Of course there are lot of black writers out there. UK's Zadie Smith (picture), France's Marie NDiaye and my all time favorite, the American James Baldwin. I remember I had to defend my choice of Baldwin on my English literature list. Baldwin was not considered “literature”, at least not on my high school in Amsterdam.
Back to classmate and Jewish encyclopedia Ab. He added. “The reason why the influence of Jewish people in Hollywood is big, is also because there are many Jewish writers. We create are own heroes. That’s why black people don’t get Oscars.“
This reminds me of the global discussion about the underrepresentation of black people in the movies, and about the problems of black actors on ‘white’ stages. About these problem a black producer once said, “we need black writers who write black stories so we can create are own heroes in plays and films. “But,” he added, “ you need quantity to get quality.” I forgot to ask what he was implying.
But I refuse to believe that what writing is for Jewish people, is making music to black people. If that’s true then black people will be chained to Hip Hop videos forever, and the rest of the planet will create their own stories and transform them into block buster movies.
Chuck D once called Rap music the black CNN. I think I’ve heard enough ‘black’ news by now, I would like to read some of it on paper for the change. And the oral history thing? It’s just another way of saying that we don’t read books.
Back to the video: the video is of course what story writing is all about: creating a reader’s experience. The moment you open a book you must feel as if you were sitting in a train heading west. You see the smoke of locomotive, feel the bumpy railway and hear the train conductor saying: “ tickets please.” Yes, I tried!
And for the one who wants to be a writer, here’s the cliché tip from the writers wannabe class: Read Tsjechov! Read some of his short stories here.
And Ab? He started a Klezmer band. So he was wrong after all.