A few years ago, Jonathan Carroll posted an excerpt from Orhan Pamuk’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature. I posted it on my personal journal with certain bits of it bolded, and invited my writer-friends to respond and bold the bits of it that applied to them.
It’s interesting to see what different people resonate with, and also interesting that, 2.5 years later, my answers have actually changed.
Here’s the excerpt:
“The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite question, is: Why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write. I write because I cannot do normal work as other people do. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can partake of real life only by changing it. I write because I want others, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all life’s beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but as in a dream cannot quite get to. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy. ”