Monday, October 25, 2010

Orhan Pamuk /John McGahern ... Inspirational Gems to Share

Orhan Pamuk

Just as in music, one chord, one note, a syncopation, or a simple modulation can hit you so hard in the heart, that you are hooked forever to the piece, and perhaps, initially because you wish you had composed it; or that  because of your enormous appreciation of its beauty, (even though it is available to a whole galaxy  of listeners) there is a rather ridiculous belief that somehow it belongs to YOU. With that 'possession' follows an excitement and an overwhelming desire to share. I have  found myself wanting to 'share' lots of music of late. Next blog!

So to writing, which creates quite the same kind of scenario. I bought a book recently called Arab Society and Culture: An Essential Reader edited by Samir and Roseanne Saad Khalaf. I have only just started to read it, but within the introduction, I met up with Orhan Pamuk for the first time.

Pamuk, a Turkish writer and lecturer was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. (The first Nobel Prize to be won by a Turk)  The Nobel Lecture, that he delivered in Stockholm, called My Father's Suitcase, inspired the editors of the above book, for inclusion.

For those that love to read; to write; or for those who might even aspire to being called a 'writer', I found myself wanting to share two snippets of Pamuk's mindset... two gems, that hit me smack bang wallop in the chest whilst only reading the introduction! 

'It is discontent, Pamuk suggests, along with the need to escape that remains the starting point of true literature'.

'Pamuk soon realized that to "read, to write, was like leaving one world to find consolation in the otherness of another, in the strange and the wondrous." But as an authentic writer, he must have the artistry to tell his own stories as if they were other people's stories, and to tell other people's stories as if they were his own.' 

Wow! That's just the introduction. Can't wait to read the rest!

                       John McGahern

From Pamuk, I fly to John McGahern, one of the most important Irish writers of the latter half of the 20th Century, who died in March 2006. Recently, I was studying a small extract from his book Memoir 2005, which describes the countryside of his native home in Co. Leitrim. Want to share one sentence, one gem from this piece, which caused me to sigh deeply, with a heaving of the shoulders, wishing I could write like this.

'The hedges are the glory of these small fields, especially when the hawthorn foams into streams of blossom each May and June.'

The use of the word 'foams' is simply delicious! The round compact stroke of a round shaving brush, lathering white eventually, the whole chin and the cheek ... born out of one singular circular movement of the wrist. It creates a wonderful metaphor of the micro versus the macro; one single round white floret, loops up with another such fragile beauty, then another; eventually presenting the perfect face of hawthorn, frozen for a moment, in a burgeoning, but benign mob of white heads.

And of course, by the time you have instigated the excited process of sharing, in the hope that the recipient experiences, to some extent, the joyous pain of the instant, piercing recognition, that you felt; you will have already resigned yourself to the fact, that your 'love for or fascination with' that something, may, in actual fact, remain indefatigably unrequited!

Not to worry darlings ....!  It merely adds to the glorious excitement of it all!

Ciao for now!

Khalaf, Samir and Roseanne Saad, Arab Society and Culture: An Essential Reader. (Lebanon. Saqi, 2009.
McGahern, John. Memoir (All Will Be Well) 2005

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