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Notes on Love: A Pocketbook

Murathan Mungan


1. Every sentiment that makes us feel the world still has a future is related to love. 

2. Love is Creation’s gift to humans. Whether you accept it or not is up to you. 

3. The best forms of love make us discover ourselves. 

4. A fig’s milk, a pomegranate’s seed, dew on grapes—in the right season, they are all love! 

5. The Turkish word “aşk,” they say, comes from the Arabic “aşeka.” It’s the name given to the climbing vine that grows by wrapping itself around the tree, feeds on it and, in time, desiccates the tree.  Nature does not err. 

6. Love is the most durable material in history; look at the poems, songs, stories, operas, novels, plays and film made to understand the undeniable power of love over the centuries. Aren’t you surprised that this oldest of subjects never grows old? 

7. Those who say you love only once assume that the heart is a one-use, disposable object. 

8. When writing about love, you cannot ignore Pascal’s famous words: “Love has its own reasons, beyond reason.” 

9. We ask life for memories, to feel that we are alive.  Love is one of those means. 

10. The ego is not all bad.  A good love, above all, requires a strong ego. 

11. Love is life’s detail work. 

12. I have two hearts; one is mute, the other my translator. 

13. Love always leaves behind stories worth reading. 

14. Often, love owes its written form to having ended. 

15. Regardless of your religion, love is your denomination. 

16. In love’s fever, even your own bones feel like a cage to you.  Your soul mixed with the universe, you cannot escape. 

17. The heart keeps its door unlocked. Love is how the heart periodically updates itself. This is love’s orbit. A cosmic reminder. 

18. Some loves are so good that they cannot last.  That’s why you should know when to draw the curtain. 

19. You wait to get on trains that don’t stop at your station, then ask, where is love? 

20. Love is served when the heart is hot.  Don’t let your heart get cold. 

21. Some loves are like storms that stop all of a sudden.  You don’t understand how they ended either. 

22. The great solitude of unrequited love: stays with you wherever you go! 

23. Intricate games and tricks played with a double deck of cards: in love as in every relationship between two people.  

24. Every sentiment of a mind that affirms love only when it has become obvious raises suspicion. 

25. Perhaps love is merely reincarnation. The re-embodiment of emotions, of past hopes and expectations. Of one’s being inside itself.

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​​​​26. To those who say love is an illusion:  As if everything in the world is real and love alone is an illusion, deception. 

27. If you break up in autumn, it’ll hurt more.  See: The History of Experiences. 

28. Whatever percent of the human body is water, the same is true of love.  Water is life. Thirst scorches.  

29. Love is sometimes just a need for consolation.  All human beings, by our very existence, need consolation. 

30. Can we say, love that turns adults into children turns children into adults? 

31. To assume that our experiences are common to humanity and to name and define them as such is a fundamental deception.  Love too receives its share from it.  We think everything we live through is the common experience of humanity. Yet, at times or often, similarities deceive. 

32. When it’s very cold outside, love is the warmest place. 

33. Some notebooks of the heart never close. 

34. Fear and courage in love too work by the same rules. 

35. I never believed that stingy people could have generous hearts. Weigh everyone on their own inner scales.   

36. Love is an experience in mystery. That’s why some fail. 

37. Keep your love in your blood, your tears for separation... Time knows the time for either to flow. 

38. When in love, some need scarecrows for their scare of heights. 

39. To seek the truth in love is not for the weak-hearted.  

40. Sometimes love is a type of enmity, as enmity is sometimes a type of love. The scale’s bowls keep switching positions. The counterweight that knows not what it weighs with what. 

41. Both love and death show up one day.  Because behind each, there is a life.  The path forward or the life left behind. 

42. Some seek not a lover but an actor to share the lead role with, in a story they author.  This is why their love affairs resemble melodramas or photo-romances.  A similar case: The self-absorbed in search of love who merely longs for an extra in a solo performance. 

43. What some call love is heart flutter, easily managed.  

44. Love has its secret negotiations.  

45. When we fall in love, but truly, head-to-toe in love, all the flaws of the soul, its damaged parts, all the defects of our being come into light. 

46. Where, I wonder, is love in quantum physics. 

47. Some love poems are inscribed in cuneiform - the walls of the heart scarred with nail marks. 

48. Every act of falling in love entails dreams, illusions, hallucinations. It works to fill the emptiness of the unknown with blurry pictures made of the vague lines of expectations.  

49. Just as certain serial lovers we meet in life and art remind us of serial killers. 

50. For some, a new love is like the revised and expanded edition of a book.  You cannot decide which of the two is worse. 

51. Few people touch on this part of the matter: Love is also knowledge. The kind of knowledge you won’t gain in any other way. 

52. Everything heretofore experienced brings you to someone. When he shows up, There he is!  

53. The rest is time spent to realize whether or not he is the one.  After all, to err is human. 

54. Each love is the legend of its beholder.  Personal legend.  As with all legends, it seeks to reproduce itself. 

55. Who wouldn’t want to avoid making the same mistake again? But in matters of love, which heart has ever heeded the scolding of years? Sometimes life forces us to see the same movie again.  Clearly, we’ve liked that movie, no matter how often we were disappointed by its remakes. 

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56. Let me just say, there is something called love’s revenge. But don’t ask, what is it like? Just know as much or you’ll remember it when the time comes. Agreed?  

57. Poems, songs, novels, and films show the parts of love worth seeing. Never mind the rest, you’ll hear them from others anyhow. 

58. Love itself is benevolent. Malice belongs to lovers. 

59. Love is the clever trick of death.  Its face that winks at us.  We remember where we had seen it not while living but dying.   

60. I encountered resistance to love as often as I have resolve to fall in love. Stubbornness lacks variety. They all look alike.   

61. The thrill of hope for a future is replaced in time by the bittersweet consolation of memories. Old loves, what we experienced as love, what we thought was love, we remake them into new loves, with altogether incomparable sentiments.  In time everyone falls in love with the times they were young. 

62. Some loves carry the traces of idol-worship.   

63. Love means never to give up hope. Trust, commitment, belief: these justify the need for hope, its possibility. Love is a close relation to hope. This is why the words, Love and Revolution, go well together. 

64. True love, true poetry, true art and such “true” characterizations are “truly” problematic. Not only do they provoke inconclusive debates, they also ossify misunderstandings. How are you to measure the authenticity of those who start by saying, “Theirs is not true love in the first place”? Isn’t there something fake about their confidence in their authenticity? 

65. Some loves are the consequence of what came before them. They deceive the lover. What’s reflected in the present is the shadow of a story that was previously interrupted or one that could never begin.  The lover mistakes the shadow for new love. What you call “new” is not easy to build inside you. Everywhere is covered with the remains of the earlier dwellers. 

66. Mockery, smirking under the moustache are among the shields that men hide behind.  Love too receives its share from such mockery. That smirk sets fast in some people’s faces when they really fall in love, while in others, the mocking grin gradually overtakes their entire face, hardens, turns ice-cold, freezes. 

67. Love after prolonged courtship sometimes meets a premature end -- in defeat... You have depleted all your material during courtship, like an over rehearsed actor who leaves nothing for the stage...  

68. Some men are afraid not of love itself, nor of falling in love, but of love’s terror. 

69. What people call thunderstruck is not always thunderstruck. It could also be just an ordinary heart reflex that we want to exalt by giving it a mythic label.  If it’s not lunacy at first sight, if reason isn’t eclipsed for a while, and even worse, if this reason isn’t scarred for life, then it isn’t thunderstruck.  I say this not because I know what thunderstruck is but because I know what it is not. 

70. The hopeless melancholy of those in love with people who lack the inner wherewithal to love; soul-scarring despair. The algebra, the geometry of being human. 

71. Short-lived love seems inevitable for those who don’t let their passion ripen. No love can be confined within the boundaries of the present time. Love itself decides when to warp spacetime. Or seen another way: Love’s spacetime itself decides when it can be warped. Poetic logic: can we call this the heart’s quantum? 

72. Some loves turn into permanent memory in one’s life. You cannot get past them or skip over them. They don’t give you grief or pain but just stay there, as unresolved. There and in the coffer of remembrance, always.  

73. Love never stays as it begins. This is true infinity.  

74. A few constants in the flow of time. 

75. Love and separation have their reasons, eyes shut. 

76. The absence that envelops every place: love’s aftermath. 

77. Some mistake their pyromania for love. Yet what scorches their soul is a desire to burn themselves, looking for a surface excuse. The spark of a face remembered an echo...  The envelop cannot contain the letter inside, you are left with nothing but a scorched soul. 

78. Passion is the most dangerous flammable material. 

79. Certain questions by your lover offer you two options: either telling the truth or fashioning a suitable answer that will satisfy them. Depending on the circumstance, either can later be grounds for separation. 

80. The love we have made to wait inside us yearns to be on stage. Right place, right time, right person. If Aristotle hadn’t said it, let me say it: These are love’s three unities. A rule of life that is not always possible to satisfy. 

81. Those who watch from a distance know some love stories more intimately. 

82. The wasteful love affairs of a greedy-heart and the spendthrift’s poverty have much in common. Yet, the paradoxical difference is significant: it is the first who suffers from poverty while the second from lack. 

83. Those who find almost every word spoken about love as adolescent drivel do not even possess the inner strength to question why they see so much depth in words spoken about loneliness and buffed with the sheen of masculinity. Adolescence is best known by its fears. 

84. We had loved each other when love was love, didn’t we? 

85. In the end, love stays alone. One day, everyone leaves.