What couldn’t you do without?

Fatma Aydemir, T.C. Boyle

Living on less (Issue I/2023)

  • In theory, T.C. Boyle could do without everything - except wine. Illustration: Melanie Grauer for KULTURAUSTAUSCH

  • Fatma Aydemir could never do without talking to people - about big questions or trivia. Illustration: Melanie Grauer for KULTURAUSTAUSCH

“Everything, absolutely everything, except wine”

I could never live without open horizons, without clean air and water, nor without the other creatures of our earth, those which have been forced to retreat because of our species. That’s why I try to save as much as possible - water, space, raw materials.

My tree-covered garden in the small Californian town of Montecito is a haven for wild creatures, including the endangered monarch butterfly, which has always rested in these trees during its seasonal migration. I try to live a simple life, but my wife thwarts that - she is a carnivore and consumes everything anyone produces. She is also completely obsessed with shopping. She neutralises my efforts!

But, to answer the question finally, what could I do without? Everything, absolutely everything, except wine.

T. C. Boyle is a leading American writer. His most recent novel is “Talk to Me”. In 2022 he published a collection of short stories called “I Walk Between the Raindrops”. 

“The most important thing is conversation”

For me as a writer, and simply as a human being, the greatest and most important inspiration is conversation. I would never be able to do without them.

Talking to people, about the big questions of life, or seemingly trivial things, over dinner, on a park bench, in front of the club toilet, on the internet. They can be conversations with people who are close to me, or people I don't know at all.

The main thing is that they are genuinely interested in conversation, not aimed at advertising or selling things, just simply talking..

Fatma Aydemir is a journalistin und author based in Berlin. Her novel “Dschinns”, which chronicles the life of a German-Turkish family, was published in 2022 and was shortlisted for the German Book Prize. 

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