NO 29 APRIL 2003 

April and Hope, Again

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ISTANBUL? YES, ISTANBUL

Karen-Claire Voss No. 29 April 2003

Do you know that this is the third April in which I have written a column?  There is something incredibly and deeply satisfying about that.  It's a fact that somehow has a shape; it seems round.  Oh, never mind.  OK.  Enough of the metaphysical things.  Moving right along here . . .

This month I feel like writing to you as if I were writing a letter to a friend.  The events connected with the war have unsettled me—my head is incredibly tired—and I think this is a big part of the reason why the column is late again, for what I think is the third time in a row, as well why I cannot for the life of me conceive of writing about one topic in anything like a focused way.  So, dear reader, allow me to plunge into this "letter" to you.  

There is some news I do want to share this month about our film, The Dream of Istanbul.  Awhile back I wrote that we were in the post production stages.  What this meant was that a really nice young man I'd met who works with what he told me was the largest television production company in Turkey saw the film we made, liked it, and promised that his company would help by sponsoring the post production work on the film.   I still think he is a really nice young man, but unfortunately he has been just too busy to get to it.  It's true that he's genuinely busy, not feigning, but I'm beginning to be afraid that I've done  it once  again—invested time and energy in a project that—for one reason or another—

will never come to fruition.  Anyway, we're making a demo version that will be up soon.  You can go and see it at http://www.silkroadhotels.com/film/main.htm.  The plan now is to get it as ready as possible and then show it in some film festivals abroad before making it available for sale.  I would love to see it shown on the fast boats that leave from Eminounu and incoming Turkish airline flights—it really is beautiful, even if it isn't state of the art Stanley Kubrick quality, but this is almost surely just a fantasy.  However, I am determined to make the most of what we have and you are welcome to write me with your ideas. 

I'm almost afraid to say this "out loud," lest really bad weather start again, but I do think the rain is about to stop—at last—and then, spring will definitely be here.  It's true; this is the first cold April I can remember in all the years I've been here.  But it's also true that once again the bird whose name I don't know is singing his deep throated song in the garden in the mornings and once again one can catch that indefinable something in the air.   Spring is coming.  Regular readers know that spring is the season when I take out the summer clothes and wash and iron them, move all the winter clothes into the huge walnut trunk and sprinkle them with mothballs, clean everything within an inch of its life, paint the garden walls with red ochre toprak boyasý and put the flowers in.  

For the rest, though, I have resolved not to think further about the CURRENT MESS WE ARE IN because there isn’t a damned thing I can do about any of it.  Instead, I am focusing on my scholarly writing and have a number of projects in the works, all with editorial deadlines. (1)  The fact of the deadlines is good, because I do have this tendency to procrastinate.  I’m also writing a paper which I’m scheduled to present at a conference in Cyprus in June. (2) 

In between bouts at the computer and the time I spend outside earning my daily bread, I am occupying myself with domestic projects.  There is the aforementioned work involved with the garden and getting summer clothes ready to wear, but I've also resolved to take care of several things I've put off doing.  For example, there is a small cabinet that sorely needs refinishing, a shelf just made for jars of spices is crying out to be made, and I'm determined to think of new and interesting uses for that staple gun.  This summer I want to cook more and I want to spend more time enjoying the garden. 

Not very ambitious as projects go, but I think that all of the activity will function to enhance my writing.   And that reminds me of something Katherine Mansfield wrote which I want to leave you with

 "I want to work.  At what?  I want so to live that I work with my hands and my   feeling and my brain.  I want a garden, a small house, grass, animals, books, pictures,  music.  And out of this, the expression of this, I want to be writing . .But warm,  eager, living life -- to be rooted in life -- to learn, to desire to know, to feel, to think, to             act.  That is what I want.  And nothing less.  That is what I must try for."       

Now, in the aftermath of all the horror of war, this is what I am going to try for too.

Notes:

1.  Once, long ago, I was given advice concerning the process of ignoring what I couldn't do anything about and concentrating instead on what I held in my hand.  "Keep your eyes on the violet," I was told.  I always forget.

2.  The conference, Inscriptions in the Sand, is the Sixth International Literature & Humanities Conference at Eastern Mediterranean University.  For further information you can visit   http://www.emu.edu.tr/elh/index_confer.html While I very much like the idea of getting out of Istanbul for a few days, I confess that I am struggling with the thought of actually getting on a plane to go anywhere.  I thought of avoiding this by taking the boat to Cyprus; however this is definitely not a solution.  We did that once—thinking it would be ever so romantic—and let me just say that it was anything but.  The boat to Cyprus could be a glorious trip.  Instead, what happens is that you are herded into a very old boat shaped rather like a metal box—a very noisy metal box.  There is no deck; only a tiny, tiny space big enough for two people to stand and look out at the sea.  The passengers are for the most part definitely not the kind of people you would want to spend any time with and nothing is very clean.  So, it looks like it will have to be a plane.   

 

No.1- April 2000 No.11 April 2001 No. 20 July 2002 No 29 April 2003
No.2 June 2000 No.12 May 2001 No. 22 September 2002 NO 30 MAY 2003
No.3 July/August 2000 No. 13 June 2001 No. 23   October 2002  NO 31 JUNE 2003
No.5 October 2000 No.14 July 2001 No 24 November 2002 NO 32 JULY 2003
No.7 December 2000 No.15 August 2001 No 25 DECEMBER  2002 NO 33 August 
No.8 January 2001
(No. 8 Ocak 2001 - Türkçe tercume
NO 16 September 2001 No 26 January 2003 No 34 September 
No.9 February 2001 No. 17 April 2002 No 27 February 2003 No 35 October 
No.10 March 2001 NO 19 JUNE 2002 No 28 March 2003 No 36 January 2004

No 37 February - March 2004 No 38 April 2004

 

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