Culture is mix. Culture means a mix of things from other sources. And my town, Istanbul, was this kind of mix. Istanbul, in fact, and my work, is a testimony to the fact that East and West combine cultural gracefully, or sometimes in an anarchic way, came together, and that is what we should search for.
Ka found it very soothing: for the first time in years, he felt part of a family. In spite of the trials and responsibilities of what was called 'family', he saw now the joys of its unyielding togetherness, and was sorry not to have known more of it in his life.
We used to be brothers and sisters here. Kurdish, did not know he was. Turkmenians, Germans, they all existed here but never were proud of it. That pride was only distributed by the powers who aimed to destroy Turkey.
But as nothing, western or local, came to fill the void, the great drive to westernize amounted mostly to the erasure of the past; the effect on culture was reductive and stunting, leading families like mine, otherwise glad of republican progress, to furnish their houses like museums.
I wanted to tell a romantic and dark side of Ottoman history that was also slightly political, saying to the previous generation of writers, 'Look, I'm interested in Ottoman things, and I'm not afraid of it, and I'm doing something creative.'
Another time he told me about two mountains—one of cork, the other of marble—which had spent thousands of years staring at each other without any mutual comprehension, and he concluded this tale by telling me about the verse in the Holy Koran which says to build your homes on high ground.
When we lose people we love, we should never disturb their souls, whether living or dead. Instead. we should find consolation in an object that reminds you of them, something...I don't know...even an earring.
If a writer is to tell his own story - tell it slowly, and as if it were a story about other people - if he is to feel the power of the story rise up inside him, if he is to sit down at a table and patiently give himself over to this art - this craft - he must first have been given some hope.
At that moment, I wished my whole consciousness could be erased. I wanted to escape from my own awareness, to wander freely in a world outside my mind, but understanding now that I would always be two people, I realized that I'd never be able to let go.
What was the difference between love and the agony of waiting? Like love, the agony of waiting began in the muscles somewhere around the upper belly but soon spread out to the chest, the thighs, and the forehead, to invade the entire body with numbing force.
As I was looking at myself in the bathroom mirror, it occurred to me that if all else failed, a man could at least kiss himself, and I stared in to the mirror, conjuring up the memory of the couple in the film. I couldn't get the image of their lips out of my mind. But by now I'd realised I'd not even be kissing myself; I'd be kissing the mirror.
We don't need more museums that try to construct the historical narratives of a society, community, team, nation, state, tribe, company, or species. We all know that the ordinary, everyday stories of individuals are riches, more humane, and much more joyful.
With the death of my father, it wasn't just the objects of everyday life that had changed; even the most ordinary street scenes had become irreplaceable mementos of a lost world whose every detail figured in the meaning of the whole.
My mood, as I identify with each of my heroes, resembles what I used to feel when I played alone as a child. Like all children, I liked to play make-believe, to put myself in someone else's place and imagine dream worlds in which I was a soldier, a famous soccer player, or a great hero.
Every person has a star, every star has a friend, and for every person carrying a star there is someone else who reflects it, and everyone carries this reflection like a secret confidante in the heart.
Over time, the persona I assumed in her presence came to supplant my true self. It must have been then I first came to realize that for most people life was not a joy to be embraced with a full heart but a miserable charade to be endured with a false smile, a narrow path of lies, punishment, and repression.
The truly great books are always novels: 'Anna Karenina,' 'The Brothers Karamazov,' 'The Magic Mountain.' Just as with 'Shahnameh,' I browse these books from time to time to remember how a great book works on us or to teach my students at Columbia University.
I thank Allah that, I the humble tree before you, have not been drawn witch such intent. And not only because I fear that if I'd been thus depicted all the dogs in Istanbul would assume I was a real tree and piss on me: I don't want to be a tree, I want to be its meaning.
I consider myself Istanbul's storyteller. My subject matter is my town. I consider it my job to explore the hidden patterns of my city's clandestine corners, its shady, mysterious places, the things I love.