Seven Great Books that Describe Me

Books are a large part of my life: that may be an understatement. I’ve lost myself in them, found myself in them and traveled to places I could never go in reality. Describing myself in seven books was never going to be possible, so I settled for going through my shelves for books that made deep impressions on me. It wasn’t easy to do, there’s quite a few books to choose from so I limited myself to physical books and Click for more

Perspective on a Scene – Everyday or Exotic?

Ebru dragged the shopping trolley over the paving stones and through the entrance into the market. Spring was just around the corner judging by the fruit tree saplings. She walked through the crowds, looking left and right at the piles of fruit and vegetables on low trestles on either side of the passage. Spring had not arrived to the stalls yet judging by the predominance of spinach and cabbage. Winding a path through the market she stopped in front of Click for more

Proud to be an Expat

Many, many years ago I read an article in a Turkish newspaper asking for contributors for an anthology about foreign women in Turkey. I felt like it had been written directly to me. When I first came to Turkey I shunned all foreign company. That sounds very high and mighty but it really wasn’t hard to do in Çanakkale of the early 2000s, there were very few foreigners to avoid. My reasoning was that I had to throw myself into Click for more

The Unsaid

For the first time in a long time I read a book with a unique voice. We enter the head of nameless middle daughter as she makes her way around a nameless and divided city while reading. This simple act of reading while walking attracts the last thing she wants which is attention. Especially the attention of one man in the neighbourhood; milkman. What follows is a stream of consciousness remembrance of the events jumping from one event to the Click for more

Museum Life

I lived across from the Museum Building for two years but spent four years attending lectures inside it. It had an air of mystery with rows of carvings of plants and animals and the tall wooden door generally closed and guarded by a smoking post-grad or two, sometimes surrounded by eager undergrads. I always got a thrill from pushing open the heavy door and stepping into the cool darkness of the foyer. As my eyes adjusted to the gloom the Click for more

Asking

Reading the Art of Asking I could see myself skirting around the edges of a party too shy to join in, but enthralled, both wishing for and fearing a slice of the spotlight. Amanda Palmer would be right in the centre of that light, thrilling everyone with a combination of courage, shamelessness and vulnerability. She would be fully present out there in the light, singing and playing no doubt. Later when things got quieter, we might have a chat in Click for more

Geography, geology and icebergs

Sometimes a picture can tell you more in an instant than a piece of writing. With a background in geology and an interest in literature, anything combining the two is bound to catch my eye. The title of this piece by Nirwan Dewanto was enough. This Indonesian poet wrote about geography being a metaphor for the cultural space we move in, while geology is the underlying meanings connecting apparently separate things. Geography we see and live through, moving horizontally, while Click for more

Egyptian Girl

One of the few English language channels we have here is NHK World, the Japanese national broadcaster. It’s a good mix of documentaries, tourist features and news so it’s a popular choice when we can’t find anything on any other channel. This happens quite often… On this particular jump we hit a short musical program called Blends. Traditional Japanese instruments are used to play a western piece of music. There’s some information about the instrument, but it’s best to tune Click for more

Joy in Writing

For many years I have “suffered” from writer’s block. The inverted commas are to indicate that I don’t really believe such a thing exists. But writing was not happening. The impulse is to wonder why and here’s a list that may or may not explain it: Lack of confidence Perfectionism Bad time management Avoidance of hard work with a distant result Perceived lack of good ideas Social anxiety/fear of being seen Time spent reeling between terrorist attacks Awareness of climate Click for more

Lonely hamam

Very close to the stand of oak trees there’s a structure that has interested me for many years. Having only seen it as a blink and you’ll miss it structure from the highway I was delighted to go and see it up close. Beside a typical Turkish water fountain with a low trough to allow animals to drink, there are a few rough stone walls. Most interesting are the remains of a dome above some of the remaining walls. It Click for more