Illustration by arch. Matteo Pericoli
Most of my writing time is spent forming the next sentence in my imagination. When my mind is busy with words, all by itself my eye moves away from the page and the tip of the fountain pen.This is the landscape I have gazed upon through my Istanbul window for the last 15 years. On the left side is Asia and in the middle the Bosphorus and its opening to the Sea of Marmara, as well as the islands I have been going to each summer for 58 years. To the right is the entrance to the Golden Horn and the part of the city that Istanbul residents refer to as the Old Town, home of the Ottoman dynasty for four centuries, including Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
I sometimes proudly declare I am a writer who wrote a historical novel, “My Name is Red,” set in a location constantly before my eyes. To the popular question inquisitive guests and visiting journalists ask — “Doesn’t this wonderful view distract you?” — my answer is no. But I know some part of me is always busy with some part of the landscape, following the movements of the seagulls, trees and shadows, spotting boats and checking to see that the world is always there, always interesting and always a challenge to write about: an assurance that a writer needs to continue to write and a reader needs to continue to read.
Orhan Pamuk is the author, most recently, of “The Museum of Innocence.” Matteo Pericoli is an illustrator and the author of “The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York.”