אל, אמונה וזהות

כריכה 2

תשעים תורמים לספר היפהפה הזה. אלי ויזל כתב את ההקדמה, המשקפת את עוצמתו של כותב ייחודי. כותבים מהארץ ומהעולם, ( מאבי דיכטר, עליזה אולמרט ומירב מיכאלי, למשל, וגם הסופרת הנפלאה אווה הופמן שספרה "זרה בין מלים" שינה את חיי). ועוד רבים, כולנו התבקשנו לספר על השפעתה של השואה על חיינו ועל מקומה ביצירת זהות אישית. למען קוראי העליתי כאן את הפרק הקצרצר שכתבתי אני.

אפשרות הולדתו של הספר הזה נודעה לי במהלך ארוחת ערב עם העורך מנחם רוזנשפט, שגם לו פרק בספר. במסעדת בשרים ניו יורקית, קיפאון וחשכת דצמבר בחוץ, הוא סיפר לנו את סיפור הישרדותו הלא יאומן של אביו. אחר כך ביקש מאישי וממני ל"תרום" כמו שהוא קרא לזה- כל אחד פרק. אני, שמנסה זה שנים בהצלחה מפוקפקת לנוס על נפשי מהשפעתה של השואה על חיי, נקראתי לפתע לשוב למחוזות האימה האלה. אז שבתי. זה היה מפתה מכדי לסרב. וטוב שכך עשיתי. הספר חשוב ועשיר והוא מביא מגוון התייחסויות אישיות לגמרי, מסיפור של הורים ניצולי שואה ועד לנושא כמו שואה וארוטיקה. יש החוקרים את זה, יש המדברים ומדברים על זה, יש מי שנשמו ועדיין נושמים את זה, ותו לא. וזה די והותר, תאמינו לי.

הפרק:

Whispers of the Dead: from Trauma to Art
By Ilana Weiser Senesh

I often confess that when I don't write I become ill. I actually come down with a fever. Writing keeps me sane. When I write I feel I touch eternity.

My latest novel, “On Tip Toes,” deals with an obsessive character, Daniel. I wrote it five times over long years, during which I wrote many other texts, novels, plays and scripts. Yet this text in particular haunted me and became itself an object of obsession. More than once I was told to find solace in weaving other plots, but I simply couldn't. Something in Daniel's journey into self-destruction required a bold expression and a closure. I had to find out how his growing up in a post-traumatic Holocaust surviving family shaped his personality and affected his life. I had to probe into similarities and differences between Daniel's life and mine.

My fiction often succumbs to characters whose childhood was spent in a home where hushed voices of the dead oozed from the walls. Holocaust survivors and their kids spent their days and more so their nights listening to cries of murdered loved ones. Living families could not offer comfort, nor did they serve as a substitute or compensation for all they had lost. And we, children of survivors, were poorly patched up, fragmented reminders of a bereaved past.

If people cannot express their traumatic experiences, symptoms are bound to emerge. Artists are no exception. The struggle between the need to remember and the tendency to forget bears dissociation, which probably will turn into rites of enactment and somatic expressions. With some luck, and because there is no other solution to the unbearable load and sense of suffocation, artistic production will provide both a means of processing and digestion of those raw materials. It will also envelop the artist with a sense of calm and momentary satisfaction from the impingements of her parents’ traumas, and enables her to better cope with life.

In my novel “An Inner Course,” I further explored the relatedness between life and text, through the work of a writer, Michael, who survived a mother he had not remembered. Michael uses his writing in order to reconstruct an enigmatic, drowned and forgotten life story. Because he is a child survivor his trauma is too terrifying to keep back symptoms of mental illness. Nevertheless, despite the lack of a coherent story, he does manage to carve out a life through the numerous plots he concocts. Yet how do Michael's protagonists help his pursuit of a substitute personal story? Furthermore, how do Michael and all my other characters help me negotiate post Holocaust life?

The interrelatedness between life and art, or inter-textuality between a writer's biography and literary fiction in this case, bears witness to an inherited and insoluble combat against a sense of an inescapable Apocalypse. In my mind art is thus harnessed for the benefit of fictitious souls as well as for healing the real, haunted me.

After reading my first novel my mother asked me in tears: “Was I such a bad mother to you?” I replied that the book doesn't tell a personal story, but rather is an integrated mapping of a traumatic mental landscape that blends the collective with the personal, something that took place in the life of many people I knew as a child, not necessarily in my own home.

The accompanying witnesses of my artistic journey are both the fictional characters and my real readers. Their presence fills in the void left by the Dead. For me this is the way to heal trauma, or at least free myself from its grasp. My fictional characters have to pay the price in order to enable me to live and write.

 

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תגובה אחת בנושא “אל, אמונה וזהות”

  1. לעיתים מרגישים בבית בקהילה וירטואלית של 90 כותבים שחולקים איתך אל אמונה וזהות ולא רק פיסת קרקע ונדל"ן. דודו (כותב הפרק הנוסף בקובץ זה).

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