Friday, December 08, 2006

Orhan Pamuk's Nobel speech


In his Nobel speech, Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, author of the brilliant My Name is Red, muses on writers and writing, and about a suitcase his father left behind. An excerpt:

"A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man – or this woman – may use a typewriter, profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I have done for 30 years. As he writes, he can drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time he may rise from his table to look out through the window at the children playing in the street, and, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or he can gaze out at a black wall. He can write poems, plays, or novels, as I do. All these differences come after the crucial task of sitting down at the table and patiently turning inwards. To write is to turn this inward gaze into words, to study the world into which that person passes when he retires into himself, and to do so with patience, obstinacy, and joy. As I sit at my table, for days, months, years, slowly adding new words to the empty page, I feel as if I am creating a new world, as if I am bringing into being that other person inside me, in the same way someone might build a bridge or a dome, stone by stone. The stones we writers use are words. As we hold them in our hands, sensing the ways in which each of them is connected to the others, looking at them sometimes from afar, sometimes almost caressing them with our fingers and the tips of our pens, weighing them, moving them around, year in and year out, patiently and hopefully, we create new worlds."

3 comments:

-K- said...

Altho I've never read anything by Orhan Pamuk,I really enjoyed this.

Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

OMG someone else besides myself have read this fantastic book! It is very insightful to the daily lives of Ottoman citizens and the muslim perspective on art, which typically lacks perspective when compared to Venetian. I thought it was also a great insight to the dervish movements in the middle part of the Ottoman Empire's History and helps explain why modern day turkey is one of the few Islamic republics.

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