Thursday, February 21, 2008

more notes toward an autobiography by others

The New Yorker, Dec 25, 2006 issue, includes Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk’s “Nobel Lecture” from that year. Toward the end of the piece Pamuk says, “The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite question, is: Why do you write?”

Pamuk’s answer is a series of statements, some of which could easily be my answer, some of which could be anyone’s answer for doing whatever, washing the dishes maybe. One motivation stood out for me because it’s not one that comes up in every author’s story: anger.

Anger has pushed a lot of my own writing. Sometimes it’s anger at the very piece I’m working on – why won’t it work, goddammit. I’ll show you, you dumb poem, you’ll work if I have to blow you apart with a wild grenade and sew your nasty pieces back together, elbow to nose, tongue to asshole.

Pamuk: “I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at everyone.”

And: “I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy.”

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