How Authentic is Your Life?


I recently spent a few hours at the fantastic Nail Kitabevi (bookstore) in Kuzguncuk that I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. Everything I wanted was there. Books, silence, my notebook and pen, and reading corners furnished with comfy pillows. My feelings were comparable to those I’ve had at Shakespeare & Company, which holds a special place in my heart. In sum, I was very happy.

Across from me is a couple. They are sitting across each other reading with their legs stretched out and sometimes pausing to share some commentary. Sometimes I hear them, sometimes I’m too deep in the world of Ayfer Tunç. After a while, they leave. I’m alone. I’m still in a wonderful mood. After about half an hour two young girls walk in. They walk in smiling. They’re clad in coats, scarves, and hats. One by one they take them off and begin to look at the books. “I could live here.” A familiar uttering, which I sometimes believe wholeheartedly, and at other times respond to with a sneakily cynical smile. This time I believe it. In fact I say, how beautiful.

After scanning through the books (I’m presuming only the covers), they choose one each and just as they should be selecting a place to sit down and read, the “shoot a photo of me like this,” “and like that,” commands begin flying through the air. “Shoot me as if I’m not looking,” “shoot one as if I’m reading,” –as if. After great exertion silence ensues, and so I presume they’ve both shot a satisfactory image (where they look good). Well at least they’ll start to really read now, I say to myself. I lift my head and see that they are both getting dressed. That was it. Since the photos were already captured and hash tags, containing such themes as ‘books,’ or ‘love for books,’ were also mentioned, what was the point of actually spending time there?

Oh man, again? When there is such joy derived from loving books, why this buffoonery over loving the love for books!

And worst of all, why this struggle to live someone else’s life when, not even knowing when you’ll be leaving this earth, you could well be living your own? Don’t postpone the feeling of freedom you’ll gain when you are honest with yourself, any longer. Leave books to be read by those who really love them. And find yourself something else that you truly love doing. When you stop pretending ‘as if,’ then you’ll see that life will generously share those things it has, until now, withheld from you.

Begüm

 

Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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