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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman: Cigdem y Mirol


I have always preferred reading books that are sincerely written for their own curious readers that could somehow find them even if it may be difficult. It has always been more interesting for me to go after these kinds of books instead of reading “the books” that have been popularized, objectified or depersonalized by being presented as “the best seller”, as the one that tops “the most read” lists so they have all the rights to occupy all the bookshelves in the bookstores, so all “the readers” could buy and read them on the bus, on the metro, on the way back from the school or from work, still presented proudly and talked about repetitively.

Still, it has been rather difficult to find Yüzüm Kitap, 2012 (MyFace Book, 2014). Its writer, Cigdem y Mirol, is said to be against forms and conformists. That must be why the people working at the bookstore could not find her book easily. I told it them it was “a novel”; they had registered it as “an essay”, its writer named it as “a bookperformance”. She even defines it to be “a practical theory”, which I could not figure out and I wish good luck to those who are interested in theories and so...

I would like to start my discussion about this “book” and “performance” with regard to its name. As everyone could easily understand, it intelligently refers to the most popular social media site Facebook: MyFace Book. Through this game in the name, ( or you could say “play on words” - Owen) Cigdem y Mirol, shares with her reader an autobiographical story of the writer-narrator who has turned her face to the books. An even more interesting element is that the writer turns the Facebook profile into a text that has a fictional unity. Mirol does not reveal this information at any point in the book, surely because she thinks that we live in an age where such a resemblance can’t escape anybody.

Mirol is portraying a writer  “profile” by “sharing” diverse texts including the one that she wrote in her dairy as a child: “My heart is hungry, the rain is not raining, I want to be a writer when I grow up, then, only then, my heart won’t go hungry, the rains will always be raining” (412).  Without fail, “the friends” that are the essential components of Facebook come up as “witnesses”, most of whom are siblings and close friends of the writer, yet could be any reader. These witnesses, just as the friends in Facebook, “like” or “comment on” the texts that are continuously being shared with them.  Briefly, they use the “like button”, which is a breakthrough in communication for many.


As a matter of fact Cigdem y Mirol is a writer who plays diverse games with her readers. Any piece that are left outside the text, such as the way she is using her own name or the drawing that she made for the face of the book ( the “book’s cover” ) are the outer examples of the games that continue as soon as the book is opened.  “The book’s being aware of its existence”, which we witness in almost every corner of the narration, is revealed by making the character utter the page number she/he is passing through (reminds us of Fowless as well), or foreshadowing the happenings that will happen frequently later.  While the writer is telling her auto-biographical-story, the book is telling its auto-scripting-story.  While the writer and the book are often the same entity, there come moments when the book is consoling its writer, who is continuously concerned about being understood: “You are my writer, don’t get sad, your book is nice, nicer even than you, you the mad, even if they haven’t found me yet, even if they can’t or don’t or may not understand, I am still alive, you see, I am not yet dead” (392).

What gives the most taste to the book, what thoroughly occupies it as well, is parody and pastiche, which always appeal to post-modernists.  Just like those paintings that are opened into one another, the book forms itself with the stories that are opened in poems, poems that are opened in plays, letters that are opened in essays that are witnessed by the reader, who is reading the book as if he/she is watching a painting that is painted in front of their eyes.

Besides the texts that the narrator remembers from a previous time and adds to the book or is actually writing as the book is textually being formed, some songs also enter into the book. The narrator often repeats her admiration of radios: “There is also that thing that is called radio. I guess it is an important detail in my life, or theoretically speaking I see it as something like a lifetime motto. […] It is something like a miracle how these radios help us out not only at places where we are unable to express what we want to say openly but also in countries where we are unable to enjoy music without its lyrics surely! Isn’t it something like a wonder how fast they come to the rescue at the moments of emotional crises!..” The songs broadcasted by the writer every now and then play with the emotions of the reader as well.

All in all, one may think that MyFace Book is an autobiographical story, but it is surely not one we have ever encountered until now. Because, in the case of MyFace Book, the structure counts as much as the story does. Considering the theoretical and practical claims in MyFace Book, it is perhaps a kind of an answer to those who are for “the novel” and its conventions. Indeed, I would say, it is a portrait of a young woman as an artist, who skillfully employed post-modern narrative techniques, who here and there twinkled to Joyce and Woolf, thus painting her own portrait with “the stream of consciousness” that she colored with post-modern brush touches and bravely left it open to anybody for any kind of “retouch”. “Unless you read this story, I cannot exist”, says Cigdem y Miro, somehwere in MyFace Book. I believe she is worth existing. 


ReaderAuthor Performance by Aysegul Keskin. Written in Turkish, and published at Kirpi Literature online platform. Here it is read in Turkish. 

by Ayşegül Keskin - 07 Oct 2013
Tags: Cigdem y Mirol, MyFace Book, Yüzüm Kitap, Bookperformance, Kitapperformans, Aysegul Keskin