On Writing

“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 30 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. As I sit at my
table, for days, months, years, slowly adding new words to the empty
page, I feel as if I am creating a new world, as if I am bringing into
being that other person inside me, in the same way someone might build a
bridge or a dome, stone by stone. The stones we writers use are words.
As we hold them in our hands, sensing the ways in which each of them is
connected to the others, looking at them sometimes from afar, sometimes
almost caressing them with our fingers and the tips of our pens,
weighing them, moving them around, year in and year out, patiently and
hopefully, we create new worlds.”

~ Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize in Literature acceptance speech

3 Comment on “On Writing

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