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Elie Wiesel: First Person Singular Elie Wiesel: First Person Singular Elie Wiesel: First Person Singular
The Life and Work of WieselLife in Sighet, 1920-1939Annoted BibliographyNobel Peace PrizeTeaching GuideWiesel ResourcesProduction Team
   
The Life and Work of Wiesel
How I Work — By Elie Wiesel

"I don't sleep much. I sleep four hours a night. I get up very early in the morning, around 5 a.m. I work four hours. That is usually my fiction work, and then afterwards I prepare my other work, which is non-fiction. I always write simultaneously, fiction and non-fiction. And then I have meetings and travelling. And I love concerts; I love music to this day. I occasionally go to the theater, but music is my life. When I write I need music, and a very special kind. It must not be symphonic because I cannot concentrate with symphonic music, but chamber music or choral music, requiems, which are my favorite musical compositions. I like to meet friends and laugh with them and remember, and of course spend time with my family, my son and my wife; what you call today quality time."

"I write every book three times. The first time I just write without re-reading. I just go forward. If I have the first sentence, that means I have the first page, and then the book goes smoothly. But sometimes it takes me weeks to find the first sentence, so my wastebasket is full every day. After I finish the first draft, I put it in a drawer. And I wait a few months and then I do a second draft; wait a few months and then a third draft. It always gets smaller and smaller. My passion is to concentrate, to condense...I believe that if I could, let's say, do the book, the novel — mainly the novel — without a (certain) chapter, the chapter goes out. If the chapter has a page that could go out and the chapter would be good without it, out goes the page. Which means that the unnecessary part must always go."

"And then I believe that even those pages that I don't keep remain. They are the silence which I would like to introduce in every book. Because I believe, in my books at least, that the weight of any one of my novels is the weight of its silence, as much as the weight of its words."

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