The Key Words of MyFace Book: Multiplicity and Diversity

by Leyla Yücel Veynhagen* 2014

I believe, “multiplicity” and “diversity” are among the key words that could best define Yüzüm  Kitap 2012 (MyFace Book, 2014). The book invites the reader to a kind of polyphony or, in other words, to listen to diverse voices pouring out of the same mind. As one should be patient when they are reconstructing a puzzle, the reader of MyFace Book needs to have the same patience while reading the text that is “for now” scattered into pieces but “soon” will reach to wholeness thanks to the cooperation of the text itself and the readers themselves. Briefly, there is a special need for a performance while reading this book.

One day, our writer moves to an attic where she sees and watches the sky each time she lifts her head up and where she turns around herself as a way of meditation. There she finds an "effaced notebook". Moreover, she finds it as if she herself put it there someday. Thanks to these kinds of narrative dynamics or effects, MyFace Book could direct the reader to a diverse (even contradictory) reading experience. Some of the readers would “retrace” the deleted letters of the effaced notebook, some of them would “replace” some letters and words, some of them would step over the deleted letters and would “rewrite” the story from the beginning, and some of them would  “reinvent” their own letters or the story itself.

In this book one faces a spiral of stories in one story in which everyone is in the act of writing or is related to writing. Book, thesis, e-mails are written; letters to the madman of the village are written; impossible tales are written; wishes are written on the trees that are written too. Some of the stories may be packed up and sent to anywhere in the world. Song lyrics and poems are written down continuously. Written texts are hidden in the chests. Notes folded in layers are found in an owl. Papers are found under the carpet laid side to side in the attic. A lost author and an effaced notebook want to be found by someone. A poet cuts papers on which he writes poems. A little boy writes, erases, rewrites all he wants to write in a form of numbers that he writes in his handwriting and calls “handnumbers”.

The writer inhales these sentences : “If you could not go and look into mirros, if could not face yourself often enough during the day, life could separate you into particles with its own particles, then when you would like to bring the image of your face back together in your mind, it wouldn’t work, you couldn’t do it” (p.167). Is the mirror something that might help us confirm the wholeness of “our own being” in a world that is scattered into pieces. Is that why the book often refers to Facebook at times when it questions its being. Is that why people look for and find themselves in a collective photograph, then look at themselves for a long while, then want to be “liked”, shortly to be “confirmed” so that they could feel that they exist in that gathering, that they are not lost yet. Çiğdem’s “witnesses” would ask all these questions and many more to those who might fall asleep while reading. Yes, “the beloved reader”, Çiğdem has invented “witnesses” to her story or stories. And, this reminds us of the “poke” button of Facebook.

"Like" this or not, among such a lot of voices one also witnesses the voices of the witnesses. Those witnesses don’t escape by thinking “let’s get the hell out of here, they might count us as witnesses”. They like being “here and now” of Çiğdem. Some might be confronting some others. Frankly, I liked Çiğdem’s witnesses very much. If one has done something good (The mother to whom MyFace Book is dedicated is always saying “there is no such thing as evil”), then it is hilarious to have some witnesses to it. MyFace Book is a walk of over three hundered pages and in such a post-modern walk there is no road/ way/room for passivity or inertia. You are face to face with a text that demands active reading. It is a textual formation that urges you to talk, to write, to get alienated to the situations, which you are acquainted with and then get inspired to have a different perspective on the same situations. This textual world is still in the course of being formed;

- because, MyFace Book is presented to be first piece of a QUARTET that has four pieces.
- because, this formation is recreating itself as long as it has new, changing, multiplying readers.
- because, the writer is warning and waking you up: “Unless I create, I get created  then” (MyFace Book p.323)

The answer to the following question is hard to figure out but is worth the wait: Will the world and the soul reach to a cosmic harmony, in other words, relief when the QUARTET which is scattered around like the pieces of a puzzle “for now” is finished? By the way, you had better not take all this as a postmodern joke, because at the end of MyFace Book there is a theoretical manifesto that puts forward the principles of such a world.

I wish you to catch Cigdem's (who says that she is waiting for the day she will be a pyschoterapist out of distant learning)  "Multiple Reading Disorder" and discover her "Multiple Writing Disorder". 

Enjoy your reading! 

What is “Bookperformance”? What could it be? How one can handle or face it?

We were invited to sit on diverse chairs that were placed on the stage, situated in the basement (the opposite place of the magic attic where Yüzüm Kitap was written) of a cultural center called De Centrale in Gent. Nobody told: “The stage is yours”; but I felt: “The stage was ours”.  The circle was formed and it did not have a real center, but still it had an initiative spot for it to take its turns. It was a spot that created echos to the verbs, to the words that we were reading aloud, in other words, recreating with our voices. It was a spot that announced the need to feel the word when it is seen, watched, whispered, spoken, heard and understood, so enjoyed in Çiğdem’s terminology . It was a spot that was telling us to read as if we were strolling in a garden.

The DeCentrale turn of MyFace Book Performance was realized through the readers most of whom seemed and sounded to have encountered both the book and the writer for the first time at that space and time. The spontaneous talks carried the readers from the book to the stage and from the stage back to the book. Presumably, until the second bookperformance is published, it is MyFace Book that will turn into diverse performances of readers and the author. Still, one should not suppose that there will always be same discussions during the performances. I believe, each performance will be something else depending on the readers, their backgrounds, what they get from the book and what they want to give back to the book.

*Leyla Yucel Veynhagen, an academic in literature at Gent University.