Monday, January 29, 2007

Can Art Rescue Me?

When people ask me if I am happy we came to Turkey—and let’s be clear, we came here because I got a grant of the kind you just don’t turn down in my world—I could answer both yes and no. For my work it’s been great. Other parts have been hard, and sadness/anger (for me, deeply linked) have been building up in me.
Yesterday I read Orhan Pamuk’s Nobel Lecture and took comfort. If you accuse me of anger, you see I am not alone. I have inserted the words in italics in this excerpt:

The question we writers/artists are asked most often, the favorite question is: Why do you write/make art?
I write/paint because I have an innate need to write/paint.
I write/make art because I can’t do normal work as other people do.
I write/paint because I want to read books/see paintings like the ones I write/paint.
I write/make art because I am angry at everyone.
I write/paint because I love sitting in a room all day writing/painting.
I write/make videos because I can partake of real life only by changing it.
I write/make images because I want others, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live in Istanbul, in Turkey, in SoCal…
I write/make art because it is a habit, a passion.
I write/make art because I am afraid of being forgotten…
I write/paint to be alone.
Perhaps I write/make art because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at everyone…
I write/make art because it is exciting to turn all life’s beauties and riches into words/images…
I write/make art because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go to but—as in a dream—can’t quite get to.
I write/make art because I have never managed to be happy.
I write/paint to be happy.

Translated, from Turkish, by Maureen Freely

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