I tried to hang out with my peer group, Defne, Murat and Yudum, but was unable to assimilate myself to their mode of being. They seemed always to be waiting for something, for the removal of some obstacle – for a business to open, for the sun to move, or for someone to come back from going to get something. Whenever they actually did anything, like go in the water, eat lunch, or walk somewhere, they did it in an abstracted, halfhearted way, as if to show that this was just a side diversion from the main business of waiting. All they talked about was when the thing they were waiting for was going to happen. But whenever that thing did happen, nothing seemed to change. The sense of provisionality was the same, it just gradually found a new object.
It was weird what was enough to make you feel good or bad, even though your basic life circumstances were the same.
I wanted to know how it was going to turn out, like flipping ahead in a book. I didn’t even know what kind of story it was, or what kind of role I was supposed to be playing. Which of us was taking it more seriously? Didn’t that have to be me, because I was younger, and also because I was the girl? One the other hand, I thought that there was a way in which I was lighter than he was – that there was a serious heaviness about him that was foreign to me, and that I rejected.
Your atom, I think it will never go back to peace, to cereal or rocks or anything like that. Once it has been seduced there is no way back, the way is always ahead, and it is so much harder after the passage from innocence. But it does not work to pretend to be innocent anymore. That seduced atom has energies that seduce people, and those rarely get lost.
But the Beatles turned out to be one of the things you couldn’t avoid, like alcohol, or death.
Most people, the minute they meet you, were sizing you up for some competition for resources. It was as if everyone lived in fear of a shipwreck, where only so many people would fit on the lifeboat, and they were constantly trying to stake out their property and identify dispensable people – people they could get rid of… Everyone is trying to reassure themselves: I’m not going to get kicked off the boat, they are. They’re always separating people into two groups, allies and dispensable people… The number of people who want to understand what you’re like instead of trying to figure out whether you get to stay on the boat – it’s really limited.
I kept thinking about the uneven quality of time – the way it was almost always so empty, and then with no warning came a few days that felt so dense and alive and real that it seemed indisputable that that was what life was, that its real nature had finally been revealed. But then time passed and unthinkably grew dead again, and it turned out that that fullness had been an aberration and might never come back.
Even though I had a deep conviction that I was good at writing, and that in some way I already was a writer, this conviction was completely independent of my having ever written anything, or being able to imagine ever writing anything, that I thought anyone would like to read.
“It’s life that matters, nothing but life—the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, from The Idiot, translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett (1964)