The short stories I write often contain characters resembling aspects of myself. I have a character imagined for one of my short stories- which as of now does not have an ending- but contains the character whose soul most resembles mine. Maybe it’s a mistake but I don’t often think about the appearance of my characters at first. What I think and write about is the spirit and essence of the being. What their interests are and how they make the people around them feel. The latter for me is the most important. So, this character, whom I have named Leyla for now shares my interest in all things relating to culture, most importantly my love for languages.
I developed a love for languages prior to leaving for an exchange study period in France two years ago. During this period, I met so many incredible people from Europe, Asia, Latin and North America that made me want to meet more people like them and I knew that language was my only barrier. I already knew how to speak English and Turkish and had taken French classes in high school and German in university. Aside from that, I had plans to learn Spanish, then Portuguese followed by Italian. I wanted to travel and speak to people in their native tongues and because I loved to read, I wanted to be able to read the works of Marquez, Modiano and other authors in their original versions.
Watching foreign films and listening to Bossa nova or the Spanish guitar always lifted my spirits. I felt in a meditative state simply by turning off the lights, lighting some candles and turning on a Spotify playlist of Spanish accoustic guitar. Though I love statistics and interpreting data, I was never as interested in linguistics as I have in engaging with the language itself. I loved the way the languages made me feel and I never really felt the need to understand why that may be.
Leyla, like me, appreciates the eccentricities of life and rarely feels the need to make people accept her decisions and dreams. She simply wants to lead a beautiful life and to her, it consists of the pursuit of cultural understanding. What distinguishes our characters is that for Leyla, learning comes much more easily. She has the money, time and means to go on searching for answers to her queries while I take it one day or week at a time in trying to make a dent in a language. Sometimes it’s watching more foreign films one week and other times, it’s reading about the backgrounds of a culture and trying to understand their history. Maybe Leyla will be a difficult character for many people to connect to because it seems, at a first glance, that she has it easy. But if you really listen to what she has to say, you will see that her path is not always clear to her and that sometimes an abundance of knowledge or material goods can deter us from our preferred path. I hope that I will be able to continously follow my passions and I would love to hear from you what passions you devote yourselves to.