Sunday, December 24, 2006

Literary Inward

Pick up the Winter Fiction issue of the New Yorker and read the Nobel Lecture by Orhan Pamuk. It's amazing. A sampling:


"When I speak of writing, the image that comes first to mind is not a novel, a poem, or a literary tradition; it is the person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and, alone, turns inward. Amid his shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man--or this woman--may use a typewriter, or profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I do. As he writes, he may drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time, he may rise from his table to look out the window at children playing in the street, or, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or even at a black wall. He may write poems, or plays, or novels, as I do. But all these differences arise only after the crucial task is compete--after he has sat down at the table and patiently turned inward. To write is to transform that inward gaze into words, to study the worlds into which we pass when we retire into ourselves, and to do so with patience, obstinancy, and joy."

These words just did it for me. I kept thinking: yes, yes, YES! It also is a piece about his father. This is the third holiday season without my dad. I still miss him.

(Oh, I was caught by the New Yorker cover. It's quite striking. Notice the lesbian kiss on the lower left.)

5 comments:

Liz said...

That's a great excerpt. I'll have to go pick that up tomorrow when it's (hopefully) safe to venture out to a store again.

Jason Phoon said...

there are too many things that distract oneself from turning inwards.

perhaps our lives would be better if we do that more often.

merry christmas noel!

William said...

Thanks for this posting! I'm going to get this issue of The New Yorker this afternoon!

Happy Holidays!!!

Sundry said...

Thanks for the tip. I will pick it up!

I was a little startled by the cover... It looks so much like a New Yorker cover that I used years ago (to decorate my hardbound writing journal) of a woman on a subway, holding the strap and reading a book. She was in that same dress! Must be the same artist, because there was a similar amount of busy disinterest going on around her.

Very cool.

Sundry said...

Ooh, I found it. It was from June 26, 1995 and it was done by Owen Smith...so was the current one. She's appeared several times in his covers.