Når sant skal sies, tror jeg ikke det finnes noe endelig "svar" på spørsmålet. Men det er verdt å utforske. Hvert lille forsøk på svar er som en murstein - som sammen med millioner av andre mursteiner i sum former et byggverk og rommer et "svar".
Så her kommer en ny "murstein".
Sønnen min, Vegard, studerer INDØK ved NTNU. INDØK er et fag som er så avansert at jeg knapt skjønner hva sønnen min driver med der oppe. Diskret matematikk, for eksempel. God almighty, jeg må bruke seriøs tankekraft for å løse matteoppgavene som må til for å legge inn en kommentar under innleggene her på bloggen - mens Vegard utvikler dataprogrammer fra grunnen av. Gudene vet hvor han har disse genene fra. Meg er det iallfall ikke. Til gjengjeld klarte kona alltid å løse en Rubriks kube på én-to-tre
der hvor jeg endte opp med å bruke skrutrekker og fysisk makt. Jeg har IQ på nivå med et skrukketroll.
Vegard er heldigvis ingen matte-nerd, selv om han vil bli uteksaminert som en mellomting av siviløkonom, sivilingeniør, bedriftsleder og datageni. Og han har lest mange flere klassikere enn meg. For dere som er kjent i Oslos kinoverden: Vegard vil på Gimle mens jeg vil på Eldorado. Vegard er, sitt faderlig opphav tatt i betraktning, et vandrende bevis på Darwins teori om evolusjonære endringer.
Jeg nevner dette fordi det var Vegard som gjorde meg oppmerksom på Orhan Pamuks vakre nobelforedrag. Og fordi temaet far-sønn er så sentralt i Pamuks tekst. Den innbød, på sin måte, til å snu perspektivet.
I sitt nobelforedrag - som sant å si minner mer om en novelle enn et foredrag - skriver altså tyrkiske Pamuk mye om sin far. Beretningen kunne jo i seg selv danne utgangspunkt for en storslått roman: den feterte forfatter som åpner en koffert med farens uleste manuskripter.
Men han skriver, ikke unaturlig, også om hvorfor han skriver. Ja, hvorfor skriver en nobelprisvinner som Pamuk bøker? Her en Pamuks egne ord:
As you know, the question we writers are asked most often, the favourite question, is; why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write! I write because I can't do normal work like other people. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at all of you, angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can only partake in real life by changing it. I write because I want others, all of us, 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 all of you, 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 of 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 - just as in a dream - I can't quite get there. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy.
Videre deler han disse tankene med oss:
A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man - or this woman - may use a typewriter, profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I have done for 30 years. As he writes, he can drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time he may rise from his table to look out through the window at the children playing in the street, and, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or he can gaze out at a black wall. He can write poems, plays, or novels, as I do. All these differences come after the crucial task of sitting down at the table and patiently turning inwards. To write is to turn this inward gaze into words, to study the world into which that person passes when he retires into himself, and to do so with patience, obstinacy, and joy. As I sit at my table, for days, months, years, slowly adding new words to the empty page, I feel as if I am creating a new world, as if I am bringing into being that other person inside me, in the same way someone might build a bridge or a dome, stone by stone. The stones we writers use are words. As we hold them in our hands, sensing the ways in which each of them is connected to the others, looking at them sometimes from afar, sometimes almost caressing them with our fingers and the tips of our pens, weighing them, moving them around, year in and year out, patiently and hopefully, we create new worlds.
The writer's secret is not inspiration - for it is never clear where it comes from - it is his stubbornness, his patience. That lovely Turkish saying - to dig a well with a needle - seems to me to have been said with writers in mind. In the old stories, I love the patience of Ferhat, who digs through mountains for his love - and I understand it, too. In my novel, My Name is Red, when I wrote about the old Persian miniaturists who had drawn the same horse with the same passion for so many years, memorising each stroke, that they could recreate that beautiful horse even with their eyes closed, I knew I was talking about the writing profession, and my own life. 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. The angel of inspiration (who pays regular visits to some and rarely calls on others) favours the hopeful and the confident, and it is when a writer feels most lonely, when he feels most doubtful about his efforts, his dreams, and the value of his writing - when he thinks his story is only his story - it is at such moments that the angel chooses to reveal to him stories, images and dreams that will draw out the world he wishes to build. If I think back on the books to which I have devoted my entire life, I am most surprised by those moments when I have felt as if the sentences, dreams, and pages that have made me so ecstatically happy have not come from my own imagination - that another power has found them and generously presented them to me.
© THE NOBEL FOUNDATION 2006
Om det du nettopp leste tente den aller minste gnist av interesse i deg, anbefaler jeg deg på det varmeste å lese foredraget i sin helhet her:
(Bildet er av George Orwell)
Her er linkene til den forrige debatten i, håper jeg, kronologisk rekkefølge: