No. 36 January 2004

Shades of the Winter Solstice 

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Shades of the Winter Solstice

Well, I know that there has been what is called a hiatus.  I didn’t write a column in November or December, and I have never, ever not written a column.  Not in three years.  (Except for a brief period when I was looking around for another place to publish it after Istanbull… magazine folded.)   This column is No. 36, by the way and that means that I have written the column for precisely three years. 

I didn’t write because I have been going through (and am still—damn it—going through) what Californians used to call “changes.”  (Since I haven’t been back to the U.S. in thirteen or fourteen years I have no idea if they still say that.)  Anyway, for reasons I adamantly will not go into here, I have been going through changes big time.  And I couldn’t write.  Just couldn’t.  Please forgive me.  The fact that I am actually sitting here, writing these words is a sign that I am once again on the right way, albeit bruised and wounded, and never mind that it feels as though I am walking over broken glass in bare feet.

In September I got a new job, as Assistant Professor in the American Culture & Literature Department at Fatih University.  It has been an absolute joy to get back into a real classroom again—no more “This is a pencil.”  “Open the window.”—and I spent the entire fall semester luxuriating in the feeling that comes when ideas are bouncing around the room and students’ eyes are lighting up.  (You are welcome to go and see the website my friend and colleague helped me to make for the students in the Renaissance class I taught this fall.  http://www.pythagorean.org/k-c/ He is the same wonderful person who helped me to create my personal website http://www.istanbul-yes-istanbul.co.uk/ ) Fatih University is also planning an international congress on the topic of education in the 21st century which I have gotten involved with planning and next month, when the official congress website is up and running, I will tell you more about that.  I believe this even will help put Turkey on the world map, and for much, much more than terrorist bombings, the Blue Mosque and the covered bazaar.  

I have a new project for my house which I am really excited about.  Regular readers might remember the October 2003 column where I wrote about the experience of going to the hamam.  Well, I realized recently that although my house is lovely, my bathroom, though always very clean, is decidedly less than lovely.  So, I decided to change all that and embarked on an Internet search to find just the right shower and just the right sink.  I found them.  The only problem is that both are made by British companies and both cost a fortune.  I downloaded the pictures, printed them out and am now searching for a glass üsta and a brass üsta to help me copy them.  I know what glass and brass cost.  And I have some idea of what a real üsta’s labor costs.  My plan is to get them made here.  The project is rapidly moving from the realm of the potential to the actual.  Someone will come today to give me the lowdown on under the floor heating and now, whenever I actually go into the bathroom, I swear that I do not see it as it is.  I see it as it will be!  A place not unlike a hamam, in the sense that it will be a real refuge.  A place for rest, relaxation and renewal.  This is all good, and at this writing it appears that it will all work out, and, just as in the case of the congress, I will keep you posted.

What else?  This fall I finished up several writing projects which all had deadlines.  It feels wonderful to be out from under all of that.  Now I am working on polishing a translation of a French poetry book, working on a book about the intercultural with a dear Turkish woman friend, and two other books of my own.  One is about spiritual alchemy and the other is about something I call ‘feminine’ gnosis.  Basically, my professional life is going very well.

I have been thinking.  This is the eleventh winter I have spent in Istanbul.   The eleventh time I have experienced the winter solstice here.  The eleventh season in which I have seen how the sky over the Bosphorus changes during a storm.  The eleventh season in which I have heard the bozaçý’s cry piercing the cold, dark night.  For me, this place remains as magical and as full of causal efficacy as ever, even if it is now also mixed with unutterable sorrow.  I still dream of Istanbul once again taking its rightful place as one of the world’s capitals.  You know the dream of Istanbul isn’t a dream at all.  It is a lived reality.

Some of my readers have written me and more than one has said that they missed the November and December columns.  Let me say publicly that it was very, very good to hear from you and to know that the columns were missed.  It made an enormous difference to me.  Thank you.

For the rest, all of you, take care and stay warm.  I will “talk” with you again, next month, in February.  No more silence.  That’s a promise.   
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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