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On Love

What gives meaning to our existence? Money, success, titles, a career… We spend almost all our waking moments chasing these achievements. What about love? What we all anticipate, desire; quietly waiting to be recognized, discovered… That distinctive sign reminding us of itself in every occasion, all the time; making life worth living… Love is undoubtedly a part of every deed that incorporates passion. As Rumi said: “Love is the whole thing, we are only pieces.” One of the most vigorous writers of Turkish literature, Ayşe Kulin is, without a doubt, one of the best to have ever narrated love…

Kulin has illustrated love in all of its aspects, starting from those romantic times where the feeling was mantled as if it were a pure and fragile gem, to the insatiable fast paced consuming culture of our recent history. This time she wrote for Magnet Quarterly.

Love is a state of “delirium” of exuberated hormones, happiness hormones in particular, in which sentiments gain a certain sharpness. When in love, people are more passionate, more emotional, more jealous, more sceptical, happier, unhappier, better, worse, more compassionate, more ruthless, and definitely unreasonable. Fortunately, this state doesn’t last more than three years, and love goes as it comes, leaving behind disappointment and weariness. It leaves its place to the winds to fill the sails of new loves.

Men and women experience love on different realms. The leading feeling for men is sexuality. Men fall in love with women who excite and sexually arouse them at first sight, and, as long as the sexual yearning lasts, the flame of love blazes away. However, a woman’s love is nourished from more selfish emotions, as per their thousands of years old habits.

The woman’s wish is to get married and have children, to live happily ever after, to remain loyal to each other, and to even lie next to each other in their graves after they die! Generally, the prevailing sentiment is sexual passion in a man’s love and a sense of self-assurance in a woman’s. Luckily, like every other one, there surely are exceptions to this rule as well!

Since love isn’t death, not all living beings have to experience it. However, every living being wishes to experience love even for once, because a life without love is like a soup without any salt. In fact, even if they can’t experience it themselves, people want to hear about other people’s love or read about it. For this reason, love has always covered the vastest place in the literature world. Operas have been composed by the influence of love stories. Love is what inspired composers. Even some wars in mythology have broken out in the name of love.

It is not crucial to experience love to write a novel about it; being a good writer is enough, because the writer’s material is her dreams. On top of that, writers are fed from both their observations and inner worlds. Otherwise, how would it be possible to write love stories for centuries?

I think Shakespeare has written the best lines on love. It has been 400 years since he wrote poems and plays, but each performance is still sold out and, on the other side of the world, a woman (yours truly) can recite some of the lines by heart. The most wonderful lines about passionate love are hidden in Nazım’s poems to Vera. However, when it comes to love in novels, no one can compete with Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina!

Since love is a state of madness, it can turn people into someone else, but only for a short while - until it runs out! When the state of delirium fades away and people return to their normal selves, the ongoing relationship is named as something else; affection, respect, habit, friendship, agreement, or marriage…


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