“There are so many sources and resources for more stories and more stories.” Wiesel’s energy during this week’s visit to Chapman University continues to be incredible. He has written 60 books, the first of which was published in 1958. For him, writer’s block or the lack of subject matter or ideas falls completely beside the point of the writing life. That said, he didn’t start writing La Nuit until a decade after those events had taken place. The sources and resources may take time to sort through. “I needed ten years of silence,” he says, “to think about those lives.” But he’s 85, and he never runs out of reasons to write and stories to tell.
“The birth of something that didn’t exist before—” Though Wiesel talked of personal relationships--including friendships, interactions with other people--in these terms, this notion captures the goal of writing. In fact, this notion or goal may be a profound explanation for any human life, any lived life. “Think higher,” he advises. What is it that each of us can create that did not exist before?