As some of you know, I’ve become a little concerned of late with what I consume. The other day, though, I realized perhaps it’s just as important to think about what I expel. Hence these pictures of houseplants. The quality of air in this city is, how shall I put this, diminished. Luckily in an effort to beautify our personal environment, my fantastic wife acquired a number of nature’s most elegant air purifiers. Read More…
Ever notice that tree tops resemble diagrams of the capillaries in our lungs? Lately I’ve spent a lot of time considering tree tops against a naked autumn sky. Perhaps it’s the fact that they really are the lungs of a great smoky city like Istanbul. They’re working their trunks off to provide us with oxygen, shade and a whole bunch of beauty in an increasingly concrete and asphalt landscape, despite the fact we treat them no better than obstacles to a new underpass, overpass or some other ugly piece of infrastructure meant to carry more polluting, carbon-emitting exercises in vanity and wasteful personal expenditure — sorry got into a little rant there … so let me put it another way: ever conceived of an urban paradise that didn’t involve more trees? More green space? Didn’t think so.
This post is dedicated to Nicolas Delsol who has been enduring the conditions in a terribly smog-ridden city in the Far East.
This week the Marmaray Project opened. While I was away, I missed a chance to do a BBC radio interview and publish a photograph in the Globe and Mail. Must admit there’s a side of me which is inclined to curse. Another part of me, instead, looks back at the good people, good food and lengthy dose of extended summer I found in the Aegean region. Mercury is in retrograde.
Hidden in between the confusion and chaos of Maslak traffic and the monstrosity known as Istiniye Park is a small strip of heaven and quiet designated for horse and pony lovers. I am always surprised and pleased with how striking and magnificent horses can be when viewed up close. It’s also difficult not to appreciate how special the bond between horse and rider is. It always seems like such a gift that these awesome and powerful creatures are so willing to calmly carry the burden of another creature around on their backs. For one three-year old, I know it was a particularly giddy new surprise. There are small ponies for the little people and proper horses for bigger and more experienced riders. Memberships and rider training is available for children and adults. I have a feeling we’ll be back soon.
Sorry to have been so long absent. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, look north to vast skies and a windswept place of houses sunken into sand dunes and long, lingering evenings where the light is loathe to dwindle. Sometimes in order to un-clutter your mind you have change your mental address, at least temporarily. Sometimes you even have to abandon social media — believe it — for a while. Still, it’s been too long since I last saw you. I sure hope you feel the same.
This week I made a big mistake, Sof. I sought out an opinion on some of my work. That wasn’t the mistake. But rather than take the opinion in the spirit in which it was intended, which was to help, I allowed it to paralyze me. For a couple of days it stopped me from doing something I really love. That is a stupid mistake. It’s one I’ve repeated throughout my life. While there are times in this universe when something is right or wrong — mathematically, legally, physically — there are other times, especially when it comes to creativity, that there are no rules, only different choices. The other day I let an “expert” opinion stop me from continuing my work. Why? Perhaps my first error was in hoping for some sort of recognition, when doing something I’m passionate about is a reward in and of itself. I let my resulting disappointment derail me, and further my disconnection from the world. It’s good to seek out opinions, Sof. Just don’t let those opinions change how you feel about yourself. And don’t let them stop you from doing something you feel passionately about. Keep working. Keep your wonder alive.
Ever wander past a pay phone that started ringing? Did you stop, ponder the choice to pick it up and then walk on? Or did you pick it up, expecting some sort of portentous voice on the other end? I picked it up. Several times. Unfortunately I’m still waiting for the voice on the other end.
The dogs of Yeniköy occupy a special place in my heart. They go a little bit mental around sundown. The call to prayer can get them going. A passing motorcycle. A hapless homeless man with whom they aren’t familiar. They probably look for just about any excuse to let off a little steam during the gloaming hour. Our evening is a lot like their morning. They sit across from Molka Cafe in the park, sniffing each other’s parts until one nudges another. One mutt probably says to another, “You looking at me?” And the other responds, “No I was looking at your mama, bitch!” And then, the next thing you know, there’s a good old fashioned tussle in the grass. Teeth are bared. Legs are pulled. Eventually five or six have entered the fray. Blades of grass start flying in the air. Girls on top of the boys, the boys on top of girls. But no one gets hurt. It’s simply canine calisthenics. Then, just as abruptly as it started, it ends. Everyone loves everyone again.
I just wonder: how is it that the dogs can have a better sense of humour than most humans?