Tom Maremaa

Notebooks

Some random notes, blog posts, memories and reflections

Happy New Year 2019! Pamuk Frames It For Writers...

When Orhan Pamuk, the great Turkish writer, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006, he delivered a beautiful speech, entitled “My Father’s Suitcase,” which was translated and reprinted in The New Yorker .

There’s a paragraph in the speech I liked because it went to the heart of things, in the kind of exhaustive detail you don’t find too often in a culture of fluff. 

At the beginning of each year, almost by habit, as a rite of passage, I find myself returning to parts of Pamuk’s speech, mostly for inspiration.  

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Pamuk frames the issue this way:

     “The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite 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 as other people do. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can partake of real life only by changing it. I write because I want others, 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 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 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—as in a dream—can’t quite get to. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy.”

Tom Maremaa