Ari Shavit is described in his book jacket bio as “a leading Israeli journalist, a columnist for Haaretz, and a commentator on Israeli public television.” If you were to summarize a person in one sentence, I suppose this would be an alright way of describing Mr. Shavit, though it does not nearly scratch the surface.
Shavit is on campus today to promote his new, bestselling nonfiction book, My Promised Land, which tells the story of how Israel came to be, using anecdotes and narrative form. This morning, he led a group of ten students in what was supposed to be a workshop on writing and journalism; however, the “workshop” quickly evolved into an enlightening discussion not only about the writing process, but about finding one’s identity and formulating opinions on a campus as polarized and as passionate as Brown’s.
Most, if not all, of what Shavit had to say is simply too valuable – too intriguing – to keep to myself. So, for those of you who weren’t there, here’s a taste of Ari Shavit’s thoughts on journalism, writing, ideology, Israel, and so much more:
On the process of writing a large compositional work, like a book:
“First, writing is like this – go wild. No limits. Eat everything… Don’t censor yourself. There are always stages where you will be able to censor yourself.”
“The first half [of the writing process] has to be very warm, boiling, like lava. The second part is a cooling process… The best way to do it is to give it some time.”
“I know where I am going although I cannot define it… Writing a book is the closest a man can come to being pregnant.”