Monday, 13 August 2012

Evliya and Orhan Pamuk

              . . .       this was the one thing we could do to combat the exhausting tedium of this world; 
         because he had known this ever since those monotonous years of childhood and school, he had
         never in his life considered withdrawing within four walls; that's why he had spent his whole life
         travelling, searching for stories down roads that never came to an end.

This is how Orhan Pamuk describes Evliya Celebi in *The White Castle* [Beyaz Kale], published in 1990, translated by Victoria Holbrook.

Searching for stories down roads that unwind endlessly, stopping in remote places to listen and learn what people have to say: Evliya knew that there could no greater antidote to tedium than this. No room, however well stocked with learned tomes, could offer anything like the enlightenment that comes from travelling attentively.

Evliya liked motion for its own sake, especially the rhythmns of horseback travel -- an elevated view of the world, but also an immersive one, responsive to the need for water, food, relaxation, a roll on the grass after sweating, the flicker of a fire after sundown. Take to the road in search of beatitude, as Jack Kerouac did, but know that there are old ways, much older than the speed of cars, from which revelation comes.