Thursday, 15 July 2010

"Banditry enhanced my life."

At least for now.
Yesterday I sent the final version of the manuscript to my editor, accompanied by a style sheet (got the idea for a style sheet from Kate Mosse's blog - it's a handy way of keeping track of names, places and foreign words, especially in a novel full of Kurds, Turks, Germans and French people).

I'm a bit worded out now, so let me just share this wonderful passage by Yashar Kemal, author of "Memed, my Hawk".
The book, which traces Memed's journey from a harsh childhood in the thistle-covered mountains of eastern Anatolia to life as a feared and loved outlaw, became a global bestseller when it was first published in 1953. It doesn't seem to be that widely read these days - at least not in Western Europe. The introduction, in which Kemal explains why he became a writer, may offer some comfort to those of us who feel that writing is a bit like banditry. My friend Wendy has written a non-fiction book on Georgia called "Stories I Stole", and even as a fiction writer, I sometimes feel like a thief, stealing mannerisms, anecdotes, phrases I overheard on the bus.

However, after reading about Kemal's rather unusual family history, I wondered if being a bandit writer might not be such a bad thing:

"Back in eastern Anatolia, my mother's father, uncles, and brother were local bandits. I heard of their adventures from my mother and I listened to the songs the town bards composed about them. One is enhanced by what life brings," Kemal writes. "Banditry enhanced my life."