Books are like old photos

Introducing his new book to his readers, Murat Şahin says: “These stories were not written to process the past, but to be remembered with longing and to remind the reader of our childhood, which has always been with us, and they will continue to be written.”

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We spoke to Murat Şahin bringing the 90s into the 90s, reminding him of those days and keeping those days alive about his book Love is Old Beautiful published in Biz Kitap and his storytelling.

Your books have interesting names. So are your story titles. The Last Train, The Artisan Restaurant and now To Love Is Old Beautiful. How does the thinking and decision-making process work?

There were times when I spent minutes, hours, days, and weeks trying to find the phrase that best described what was going through my mind while writing a story. My problem was never to say the best, the most beautiful. I’ve always looked for the most natural. I wanted to touch not only the reader’s sub-reading, but also their daily life and past. I’ve always wanted to build a bridge between his heart and his mind. I take the reader on a journey into their past that they have carefully cleaned/forgotten. Some do this with the cinema, the dream screen of our childhood, and some with a picture frame. I’m with words… I always meticulously combine the magical letters that take them back in time. The reader listens to his own story of mine. That’s why it feels so familiar and familiar. There’s a saying: “Your story is told” As my grandmother used to say: “Did you know?” My story names are part of life. Doesn’t he get on the last train the day he leaves his beloved or someone who has to leave his country or his city? The owner of Esnaf Lokantası is the shop owner of our street and neighborhood. Don’t we think that love is old in this time when love and love are nightly and hourly?

In your stories/narratives we mainly read about your childhood, i.e. the 90s. For me those were childhood years. I refresh my memory while reading your writings. I remember many things that I had forgotten and I am happy. Why do narratives always hover in childhood or those years?

How beautifully Edip Cansever said in his poem Second Letter to Manastırlı Hilmi Bey: “Something like heaven, this childhood is going nowhere.” We must start from our childhood to keep our collective memory alive. How beautifully you wrote in your question: “I’m refreshing my memory while reading what you wrote.”


When you find my childhood (actually all of us’s childhoods, as you said) in the lines, go back to your own past. Memories, events that you have long forgotten become an image, a film and begin to move in your heart and mind. You see, your childhood is here. It hasn’t gone anywhere. Childhood is very important to all of us. When we meet up with our old friends, we always remember our childhood, the windows we broke, the plum, oleaster and mulberry trees we entered and dived into our neighbor’s garden, and ours Uncle Ekrem detonating our bullet. Nobody talks about the day, or very little.

What did the poet say in the same poem “My name is Cemile, I love my name very much / A person’s name is his childhood.” These stories were not written to settle accounts with the past, but to be remembered with longing and to remind the reader of our childhood, which has always accompanied us and will continue to write.

They almost confirm the poet’s lines: “This childhood is something like heaven, it goes nowhere”. Was our generation luckier when it came to childhood than it is today? Or is that how we want to see it? The warmth of relationships, sincerity, sharing, etc. Can today’s children feel the same feelings?

Our generation will be luckier and luckier. As I just mentioned, a 79-year-old person can read my stories and say, “Son, you took me back to my childhood.” I’m half that person’s age, but there isn’t much of a difference between us and the generation before us. The technology wasn’t that advanced. Now there is a big difference even between the next two generations. CRT TV/LED TV, computer/laptop/tablet, phone/cellphone… It is impossible to keep up with the speed of technology, we would fall out of a tree and break our arm. Today’s kids get caught in game console cords, breaking their heads and arms. Street culture is over. The bad times wiped our children off the streets. The garden culture of our house has left its place in our apartment on the balcony of our apartment. Because we used to play in Ali’s and Ahmet’s garden. We’d be on our heads, dust and dirt. Our hands would be muddy from the oak game. This mud would pierce our skin with cold. No matter how many times we washed it, it would always leave marks. Here is the trace of that childhood. Unfortunately, our children’s eyes are damaged by looking at the screen, so there are only traces of glasses.

“Books are like old photographs,” you say in one of your stories. That’s an expression I like a lot. You have a moving story that has been printed. Since every photo has a story, every book has a photo, right?

On a rainy day in Izmir, I bought Attila İlhan’s book of poems The Flower of Trouble as a gift for the woman I love. I was abandoned before I could get the book out of my bag. It was actually a breakup date. Years later, I returned to the day I saw the book with the edges wet from the rain. You’re right, although not every book has a story and photo that’s mine. For example “Book of Hotels” by Ferhan Şensoy, “Girl Kissing Tail” by Nazlı Eray or “Dol Karabakır Dol” by Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu… Countless.

When I come across an article signed by Murat Şahin, I read it and wonder what I will find about my childhood. Will these years be reflected in new stories in the future?

I love to write about my childhood/childhood. Even if the reader gets bored, I will keep writing. Like the sky it goes nowhere and to me is an endless sea.

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