It is not difficult to dream a life ...

The Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk is movingly modest and candid about his urge to write. In the essay “The Implied Author” (published in “Other Colours” ), he talks about his need to write as his daily fix to make it through the day.
“Literature does not allow a writer to pretend to save the world; rather, it gives him a chance to save [his] day”.


And then he recalls a critical theory speaking of an “implied reader” through whose reading the meaning of a novel truly emerges.
By analogy he muses that “for every unwritten but dreamed novel there must be an implied author. […]”. But since so many practical interruptions and earthly trivialities conspire every day to keep one from becoming the dreamed book’s author, he concludes:


“It is not difficult to dream a book. […] The difficult thing is to become your dream book’s implied author”


Now for any pensive reader this begs of course the variation:


“It is not difficult to dream a life. […] The difficult thing is to become your dreamed life’s implied author”



4 comments:

Phoenix said...

...a rough first draft might be doable. :-?

ffflaneur said...

:-D perhaps .... one with a hundred revisions & strike-throughs .....

ABxl said...

Talking about moving and modest, these are the exact words I would use to describe Pamuk's Nobel Prize speech - such a beautiful text, if you let me modestly add a third adjective to laud his words at that occasion. I was lucky enough to hear it on a radio podcast I did not even know I had downloaded.
And talking about dreamed novels, in theory there is no such thing! In fact all novels ever dreamed or even written are all there, in the library of Babel which the astonishing (forgive me another adjective!) Jorge Luis Borges has dreamed up, and I'm lazy enough to copy-paste the wikipedia summary of that short story of his: "Borges's narrator describes how his universe consists of an endless expanse of interlocking hexagonal rooms, each of which contains the bare necessities for human survival—and four walls of bookshelves. Though the order and content of the books is random and apparently completely meaningless, the inhabitants believe that the books contain every possible ordering of just a few basic characters (letters, spaces and punctuation marks). Though the majority of the books in this universe are pure gibberish, the library also must contain, somewhere, every coherent book ever written, or that might ever be written, and every possible permutation or slightly erroneous version of every one of those books. The narrator notes that the library must contain all useful information, including predictions of the future, biographies of any person, and translations of every book in all languages. Conversely, for any given text some language could be devised that would make it readable with any of an infinite number of different contents."

ffflaneur said...

Ah, abxl, that speech is the closing chapter of “Other Colours”, I do envy you having actually heard it! And dare I introduce another couple of adjectives: wise? human?

Thanks for the Borges-summary , so poetic an image – so dizzying an idea. A library full of books containing all possible variations on a few basic characters ....

The idea & the very words remind me of another book: Richard Powers’ "The Goldbug Variations". A grand, humanistic work (hey, I’m not afraid of adjectives either!) , weaving genetics, evolutionary theory ,art, music , history, ... into one compassionate story.

Using a musical metaphor for the mere four bases whose combinations make up DNA molecules, Powers writes: “what could be simpler, we all derive from the same four notes”. And : “faulty copying, random tinkering” with the genetic code goes on “innovating stray variations pointlessly forever” . “Just how many permutations of the four basic ‘letters’ – G,A,T,C – life is condemned to examine, experiment with over time. […] What exactly is lost, destroyed, with an individual’s death? Just a permutation put to rest. A combination, devastating, never to be reassembled”

PS – maybe one day Wikipedia will contain every idea that has ever been or will be thought