Great speech to give in front of the Israeli president (via Ikeda Nobuo)!
So I have come to Jerusalem. I have a come as a novelist, that is – a spinner of lies.
Novelists aren’t the only ones who tell lies – politicians do (sorry, Mr. President) – and diplomats, too. But something distinguishes the novelists from the others. We aren’t prosecuted for our lies: we are praised. And the bigger the lie, the more praise we get.
The difference between our lies and their lies is that our lies help bring out the truth. It’s hard to grasp the truth in its entirety – so we transfer it to the fictional realm. But first, we have to clarify where the truth lies within ourselves.
Today, I will tell the truth. There are only a few days a year when I do not engage in telling lies. Today is one of them.
When I was asked to accept this award, I was warned from coming here because of the fighting in Gaza. I asked myself: Is visiting Israel the proper thing to do? Will I be supporting one side?
I gave it some thought. And I decided to come. Like most novelists, I like to do exactly the opposite of what I’m told. It’s in my nature as a novelist. Novelists can’t trust anything they haven’t seen with their own eyes or touched with their own hands. So I chose to see. I chose to speak here rather than say nothing.
So here is what I have come to say.
If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg.
Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals.
I have only one purpose in writing novels, that is to draw out the unique divinity of the individual. To gratify uniqueness. To keep the system from tangling us. So – I write stories of life, love. Make people laugh and cry.
We are all human beings, individuals, fragile eggs. We have no hope against the wall: it’s too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us – create who we are. It is we who created the system.
I am grateful to you, Israelis, for reading my books. I hope we are sharing something meaningful. You are the biggest reason why I am here.