Things from life: Nermin Yildirim

8 December 2016 text Natalia Ivanova
Her books are gathering stories of women, seeking for a way to escape their memories, while opening a door to the "social memory" of Turkey. This is why we're not surprised when wee see Nermin's name on projects from Istanbul to Barcelona and Manchester - except a writer, she is also a journalist with her own rubric in Ot magazine and the first Turkish author, invited to take part of the writer's forum, organized by the Cultural Office in Cologne.

Now she's coming to our Literary fest, but before that we're speaking about the most important edition of her book, the ethics of being a human and the holy book, keeping her closer to childhood.

The beginning
I was a shy child without friends. That's why I started to read. And I was believing that these characters of the books I read were my friends. I was not playing outside of home, but I was playing inside of the books with them. After some time I decided to create my own friends myself and started to write. My uncle has done something which probably changed everything in my life. When I was nine, one day he came and said: "Choose some stories and poems you have written. I will make a book for you.” I had many notebooks filled with stories and poems ı have written. I choose some of them, and gave them to my uncle. He typed them with typewriter, copied them and prepared a cover, a homemade book of course. Then he gave me more or less 20 copies of that book and said “Its your first book, Nermin.” I was just nine years old, it was the biggest present that I could have and it made me so happy. I guess I decided right there to have other real books in my future.

The literature
My holly book is Pal Street Boys by Frenc Molnar since my childhood. When I was a child I was believing that all the characters in this novel were real. While reading their adventures I was feeling part of it. These boys were my friends. I was falling love with Boka and Nemeçsek was my best friend. I dont know how many times I have read that book. Well, I am still reading it with the same happyness. A couple of years ago I even went to Budapest to find the places that Ferenc Molnar was describing in this novel. And I found them of course. I have many loved books and writers but I think the most personel and special one is Pal Street Boys because of my personel story about them.

The profession
I choosed journalism because it was about writing. During my childhood and teenage years, writing was my favorite activity. And I wanted to become a writer. But those years there was no any writing department in the university so I choosed journalism which seemed to be closest one to writing. When I was answering questions to the jury in the exam, I said "I want to be a writer." And they aswered "But being a journalist is not being a writer. You are in the wrong place." Then I explained a little bit about what is writing for me and finally I pass that exam and they took me to the university. My favorite lesson was ethic of media and I learnt one main thing in this lesson. My teacher said in the first lesson: The ethics of a journalist is just the ethics of a person. I applied this perspective for many things during my life. I dont have to be a great journalist neither writer but I would like to be a right person, true person. Person with a real heart. Thats all.
And journalism teach me to ask right questions to the people to understand them. I never runned after a news, I just tried to understand people. Then stories shaped within. I believe ın people, I believe in stories, I dont believe in news.

The meeting
I like when people read my books, of course, but I don’t write for the others, this is for sure. For me writing is not way of explaining things, is rather a way of understanding them. So even if I don’t hear anything from anyone, writing is worthy for me. Because all these hours, days, years of writing make my life more tolerable, acceptable. But of course there are some moments when readers make me happy as well. Specially when someone says "I was happy while reading you, because I have felt the same as your character, so I stopped to feel alone myself." This is the best thing literature can do: Understanding others and helping us to dont feel alone anymore.

The inspiration
I take notes. I do more than taking notes. I am living my life with notes. I have small papers, notebooks in all my pockets, bags… While walking, reading, speaking, shopping, even sleeping, I take notes. My routine is walking… Every day before start to write I try to go out and walk a little bit. Taking fresh air, organizing my ideas, taking notes about what I am going to write that day. Then I arrive home, enter my writing room, close the door and start to write.

The traveling
Last year I have spent only 4 motnhs in my actual home, in Barcelona. This year is little bit more, 4 and half. As you can see I like to travel. I visit many places but mostly I am in Istanbul or Barcelona. I call these cities “home”. But I guess I can feel at home more or less everywhere. Last year I was in China for 2 months, and really did not get bored or felt abroad. India, Korea, Cuba or in whatever European country, city, I have learnt how to feel good myself. I like to see new people, meet with new cultures. Being on road is kind of being alive for me. I understand something: Home is inside of you. If you look for it outside, you are forever homeless.

The home

Both are magnificent cities. Istanbul is like a tale, Barcelona is like a dream. I love both of them and always try to skip from touristic areas to touch a real heart of them. Even if I am tourist somewhere, I try to run away from touristic zones, always. To be honest, I feel more free as a women in Barcelona. For example when I bike with my skirt, nobody wonders the colour of my pants and that is a peaceful, good feeling. I am not as comfortable in Istanbul. But Istanbul has many other things that nowhere else has. For instance: Sky. Istanbul has big, great, endless sky, I cannot compare with anywhere else. Istanbul has some taste, spices, bitter sometimes but I need it to enjoy my life. Has some music, makes me nervous and peaceful then. It’s a total chaos and I do like it. And the most important thing is: Istanbul is a warm, friendly city. Hate and love are settled together there. Even if you fight, then you hug each other. Laugh and cry together. It’s magical.

The hobby
Walking. Walking like a crazy. Biking. Biking like a normal person.

The dinner
Friends. For sure, friends.
I can do and enjoy everything alone -and even like better to be alone most of the time- but not eating. Whatever I eat is the perfect dinner for me if I share it with loved people. And even if I eat the most sophisticated dinner of the world, if I eat alone, it is tasteless, meaningless.

The cinema

I am big fan of Roman Polanski. The Tenant is a great movie. Haneke, Godard, Truffaut, Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Nuri Bilge Ceylan are other great storytellers.
Last movie I have seen is Arrival and I like it.

The music
Morrissey is my love. That’s why The Smiths as well. By the way, such a pity we wont have more new album from David Bowie and Leonard Cohen…


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