Monday, December 11, 2006

His father's suitcase

The text of Orhan Pamuk's acceptance speech has been published at the Nobel Prize website (yes, of course there is one). It's a marvellous piece of writing, full of love and insight and closely-observed realities of life.
The writer's secret is not inspiration — for it is never clear where it comes from — it is his stubbornness, his patience. That lovely Turkish saying — to dig a well with a needle — seems to me to have been said with writers in mind. In the old stories, I love the patience of Ferhat, who digs through mountains for his love — and I understand it, too. [...]

As you know, the question we writers are asked most often, the favourite question, is; why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write! I write because I can't do normal work like other people. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at all of you, angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can only partake in real life by changing it. I write because I want others, all of us, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at all of you, so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page, I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all of life's beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story, but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but — just as in a dream — I can't quite get there. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy.

It's a long piece, 6200 words, but don't let that worry you. It flows well.

Make yourself a cup of coffee (or tea, or beer, or single-malt whisky, or diet coke), close the door and grant yourself the luxury of reading something that is truly worthy of your attention.

Go read. (Or download it as a PDF in English, French, German, Swedish or Turkish.)

By the way I found the story that Pamuk mentions, of Ferhat and Sirin and the mountain.



Blogger Savtadotty said...

I read it. Very beautiful. Thank you, Udge.

December 11, 2006 at 3:04:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Jean said...

Thank you. And him.

December 11, 2006 at 3:06:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Antonia said...

yes read it too. good advice, udge.

December 11, 2006 at 5:25:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger brooksba said...

You've got my attention and I'm going to read it now.

December 11, 2006 at 10:33:00 p.m. GMT+1  

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