It’s frustrating that again I’ve managed to go a whole month without writing any posts. August felt like playing a lot of catch-up, which barely left me time for personal writing. But this month began in Albania and closed out in Turkey, which was exactly where I wanted to be. Let’s hope I have a bit more time for personal projects as autumn approaches.
Best Of The Month
The beginning of August was the end of my Albania trip, and it’s hard for me to tease out which wonderful things happened in July and which in August. One late Albania highlight was the lovely place we stayed in Gjirokaster. It was 100 degrees in this beautiful Ottoman-era stone city and I felt like I was melting most of the time, but Erindi Guesthouse was an oasis in the heat. Surrounded by gardens, full of kittens, and run by a truly wonderful couple, it was exactly the sort of place I like to linger.
Also, we took a quick detour to Skopje, Macedonia just so I could photograph Brutalist buildings. It was awesome. (“You were in your element,” said Will.) I never thought I would end up in Skopje twice in six months, but I sort of love this weirdo city. It’s too much of everything, kitschtastic and strange, basically ideal.
Worst Of The Month
Albania was great… but it was also exhausting, and by the time I got back to Istanbul I felt like I was running on empty. It’s been a relief to be home, mostly staying in my neighborhood and getting my work done.
I did wage a grand campaign to de-moth my kitchen, and it was gross and awful but the cabinet moths are gone, inshallah. I hope I never have to do that again.
And all the events in and around Charlottesville were shocking and horrific. I was mostly offline until Sunday afternoon that weekend, so it was just a rush of everything bad when I finally logged on Facebook. I have no wisdom here. Just sadness, and fear.
What I’m Loving
Reads: I’ve struggled to have time to finish either of the books I’ve started this month–ugh– but I’m quite enjoying The Good Spy, a nonfiction book about Robert Ames, a CIA agent who was assassinated in a Beirut bombing in the ’80’s.
Music: I’ve loved this song “A Violent Yet Flammable World” by Au Revoir Simone ever since it was performed in an episode of Twin Peaks. I also made a playlist for a friend based on music we listened to in a cafe. It’s mostly stuff I loved ages ago, but enjoy!
Film/TV: I am deep in Twin Peaks land, fully obsessed and without reservations. It’s felt like a journey with this show all summer, but the excruciating early pace is paying off now and I am so enthusiastically here for it. I also rewatched Fire Walk With Me, a movie I thought I would NEVER watch again, and liked it much more this time around– it makes more atmospheric sense with the third season. I also watched Mulholland Drive for the first time, because if I’m already having David Lynch nightmares, why not go full in?
Also I FINALLY saw the movie Metropolis, a classic silent film, the first major sci-fi, and a true visual feast. I saw it on the roof of Beykoz Kundura, an old shoe factory turned performance venue, and it was scored by a live electronic musician. And it was SO GOOD, seriously, see this movie! I realize that I’m about 100 years behind on this revelation, but Metropolis is completely amazing.
Podcasts: There are two limited run podcasts that I’ve been infatuated with this month. “What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law” is super nerdy and totally fascinating. It’s only aired nine short episodes, each discussing an aspect of constitutional law that is being examined in the age of this president. Though the episodes are only 15-20 minutes long, I learned an immense amount about the constitution. And I do love learning.
The other short podcast is called “Ways of Hearing,” a six-episode series by Radiotopia that’s half-done so far. The first episode hooked me with its discussion of the way analog and digital recording has affected the way we’re conditioned to take in sound and songs. It didn’t hurt that they talk a bit about baseball and the Red Sox.
The Film Files
I shot 11 rolls of film in Albania on my friend Will’s Pentax. And now I’ve acquired a few new cameras that I’m eager to start shooting with! Let’s see how it goes…
I have been obsessed with houseplants. A friend gave me a luscious philodendron that fill my room with joy, and I am on the hunt for a big monstera plant– hopefully I can find one in Istanbul soon. (Also, I can’t seem to keep a geranium alive, and I don’t know why. My second one is fading like the first.)
I am so eager to stay put for a while, but I have a couple of quick trips coming up in Turkey this month: my actual proper computer-free vacation in Kabak, and a few days of hiking with my dear friend Patrizia. I’ve really felt a need to slow down, and staying in Turkey all month is the first step.