May. 4, 2011

Orhan Pamuk: “A writer is…”

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 thirty 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.

— Orhan Pamuk, from his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature, December 2006 (via)

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