September was the last gasp of summer, and I squeezed as much as possible into those fading summer days– including two quick jaunts to the Mediterranean coast and so much art.
Best Of The Month
I went to Kabak, my annual vacation place in Turkey, for a very quick break. I love going there because it’s so blissfully relaxed; I read a couple of books and went on a hike to a freezing cold waterfall.
Then I returned to the Mediterranean coast the next week for a few days of Lycian hiking with my friend Patrizia, who joined me when I went on the trail for the very first time. We picked a really beautiful, coastal section of the trail, which ended up being a lifesasver– it was so unbearably hot that we usually had to stop hiking around lunchtime, and spent the afternoon swimming in the glorious bays around Apperlae or Ucagiz.
Between those two trips, I attended the opening party for the Istanbul Biennial at the Palais de France. There was champagne and fountains and the whole event felt like a fairy tale. Goal: get invited to more parties like this.
Worst Of The Month
We hiked in 95 degree heat for ten hours… only to end up at a village with no running water. We laughed a lot, and took bucket showers.
Also, my computer has been in the repair shop for 2+ weeks and I don’t know when it’s coming back. This is a big problem.
What I’m Loving
Reads: I read a book this month that made me so angry. It’s called Zeitoun by David Eggers, and it’s about one family’s experience during Hurricane Katrina. It touches on two of the things that poison my country: Islamophobia and the prison industrial complex. I was shocked (though perhaps I shouldn’t be) to learn that in the aftermath of the hurricane, the “relief” included a massive operation to arrest “looters” and keep them in makeshift prisons at the local greyhound bus station. It shows the real sickness of the system, and how hard it is to get out of it– even if you’re innocent, and wrongly arrested. (I learned from Googling that the family’s experience after the book was published has been complicated and problematic, involving more legitimate imprisonments, but I’d rather not say more– read the book.)
I also continued my annual tradition of reading a classic Russian novel every summer with Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov, which is (like all of these novels) a classic for a reason– it’s great.
Music: I am desperate for new music! What are you loving?
Movies/TV: Twin Peaks ended. I liked it, I think. I was certainly glad to spend this summer living in that world, even if it’s a strange one.
Podcasts: Going back to the prison industrial complex: I started listening to a terrific podcast called Ear Hustle, which is recorded by inmates inside San Quentin prison. It’s funny, it’s horrifying, it’s warm and personal and complicated. Everyone should listen to it– I think it’s easy to ignore how messed up the prison system is in the USA if it doesn’t touch you. This podcast lets you in.
Also, the Oliver Sipple episode on Radiolab was truly a gut-punch: unexpected, tragic, and brilliantly told.
The Film Files
I shot a roll of Lomochrome Purple film in a single use Lomography camera while I was in Albania, and I just got it developed– it’s cool! I also shot a bit with an underwater disposable camera this month, which is always fun in the summer.
I did some writing for the Cornucopia blog about the Istanbul Biennial and some exhibits that are going on in the city.
Also, I finally acquired a monstera plant! I’ve wanted one for ages, and a friend finally tipped me off to one in a shop in Besiktas. It makes me so, so happy.
I am SO excited that I’m not planning on leaving Istanbul this month. There’s so much art I want to see and so many things I want to do. I live in an amazing city, sometimes it’s nice to stay here.