Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Turks, who are relieved that Orhan Pamuk's Nobel Lecture was just a personal account, must read it again. It's also very consistent with his political remarks. Take this paragraph:

"But as can be seen from my father's suitcase and the pale colours of our lives in Istanbul, the world did have a centre, and it was far away from us. In my books I have described in some detail how this basic fact evoked a Checkovian sense of provinciality, and how, by another route, it led to my questioning my authenticity. I know from experience that the great majority of people on this earth live with these same feelings, and that many suffer from an even deeper sense of insufficiency, lack of security and sense of degradation, than I do. Yes, the greatest dilemmas facing humanity are still landlessness, homelessness, and hunger ... But today our televisions and newspapers tell us about these fundamental problems more quickly and more simply than literature can ever do. What literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity's basic fears: the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears; the collective humiliations, vulnerabilities, slights, grievances, sensitivities, and imagined insults, and the nationalist boasts and inflations that are their next of kind ... Whenever I am confronted by such sentiments, and by the irrational, overstated language in which they are usually expressed, I know they touch on a darkness inside me. We have often witnessed peoples, societies and nations outside the Western world – and I can identify with them easily – succumbing to fears that sometimes lead them to commit stupidities, all because of their fears of humiliation and their sensitivities. I also know that in the West – a world with which I can identify with the same ease – nations and peoples taking an excessive pride in their wealth, and in their having brought us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and Modernism, have, from time to time, succumbed to a self-satisfaction that is almost as stupid."

You can read the whole lecture here:


I ran into a really cool photo exhibition while I was strolling along the Thames on Sunday: http://www.colinobrien.co.uk

And I bought two books from the book market under Waterloo Bridge. And withdrew Euros from an ATM and thought they were Pounds until the guy in the book market rejected them. It was a nice day. Now I'm home, which is also very nice. And 'nice,' although not interesting or exciting all the time, is a good, peaceful thing.


"A writer talks of things that everyone knows but does not know they know. To explore this knowledge, and to watch it grow, is a pleasurable thing; the reader is visiting a world at once familiar and miraculous. When a writer shuts himself up in a room for years on end to hone his craft – to create a world – if he uses his secret wounds as his starting point, he is, whether he knows it or not, putting a great faith in humanity. My confidence comes from the belief that all human beings resemble each other, that others carry wounds like mine – that they will therefore understand. All true literature rises from this childish, hopeful certainty that all people resemble each other. When a writer shuts himself up in a room for years on end, with this gesture he suggests a single humanity, a world without a centre." - Orhan Pamuk, in his Nobel Lecture

I realize that my entries have gotten pretty personal lately. I was hoping to avoid that at the beginning, because I thought personal matters were keeping me from what I really need to focus on (see below entry :) But writing is healing. Knowing someone out there might be reading is also healing. I share my weaknesses with you, only because I have faith in your good faith.

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