One of the beautiful things about spending the entire month in Istanbul is that there’s so much time, and so much to fill it with. This splendid October was a month of bike rides, early morning runs, open studio visits, coffee dates in the sunshine, and small adventures around the city. Last year, I spent almost all of October away; this year, I’m glad I stayed put.
Best Of The Month
An article I wrote for Cornucopia Magazine ended up on the cover! This was my first time in print and my first time writing a cover story (though I didn’t know it would be a cover story when I wrote it), and it was more of a thrill than I could have possibly anticipated.
Another highlight of this month was wandering the old Constantinople city walls for a day, and finding a very unexpected Korean restaurant tucked in its shadows.
Worst Of The Month
I’ve been having computer issues since the summer, and I finally brought it in to be repaired in mid-September. By mid-October, I’d had no news, and when I started calling to get updates, I was told conflicting (and worrying) information. In a panic, I reclaimed the computer, only to find out that they not only hadn’t fixed it, they’d also completely wiped it. And since the backup drive with everything on it also broke the week before, I’m in a bit of a technological panic. I’m hoping I can get it all straightened out in the US– I have to stay optimistic so I don’t completely melt down over it.
I also came down with a really miserable virus, but luckily it only last about 36 hours.
What I’m Loving
Reads: I read The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, which I loved and which made me nostalgic for my time in India (even though the book takes place partially in Calcutta, not Bangalore). I’ve been reading more non-fiction lately, so it’s a treat to read a really good fiction novel like this one.
Music: I’ve finally started taking advantage of Spotify, and therefore have so much more music I’ve been listening to this month. (I even made a playlist!) I keep hearing Ethiojazz everywhere– it makes sense, it’s perfect autumn music and Mulatu Astatke is wonderful. I’ve also been into Vince Staples– I know it’s not summertime anymore, but his song Summertime has been a favorite.
Movies: Apparently I didn’t watch many movies this month. I always see more when I’m in the US anyway, so I’ll report back next month.
Podcasts: Though I haven’t been watching much this month, I’ve been listening to so many podcasts. (One of the benefits of being home and cooking a lot– so much time to listen!) I was completely sucked in by Dirty John, the LA Times 6-part podcast about a husband who was not who he seemed.
I started listening to podcasts more frequently at the beginning of this year to avoid politics, but I actually added two podcasts to my queue that are all about politics and the present moment. More Perfect is a spin-off of Radiolab, and their in-depth storytelling about the Constitution is riveting and educational. I especially encourage you to listen to the episode The Gun Show, which explores the Second Amendment and the bizarre fetishization of it in modern times. I’ve also been listening to Embedded, which is exploring aspects of Donald Trump’s (and his cabinet’s) background; I try to really limit my Trump consumption, but the stories are fascinating (and therefore horrifying). The first show of this series explored the impact of The Apprentice, and it hooked me.
The Film Files
I’ve been playing with some new cameras this month, including an Olympus Mju Zoom.The first roll I got back was really great, so I’m looking forward playing with it a bit more.
I participated in two Fotoistanbul workshops this year, on Lomography and on cyanoptypes. I mostly joined the Lomography workshop because I knew participants would be allowed to borrow a camera for the day, loaded with a free roll of film, that the Lomo store in Istanbul would develop for free. I spent the day wandering around with their La Sardina camera, playing around with double exposures and generally enjoying shooting film.
I took the cyanotype workshop because I’d never used that process before. The chemical-coated paper reacts to sunlight, and creates monochromatic prints in a splendid cobalt blue. It was a lot of fun, and made me nostalgic for a darkroom.
A year and a half ago, I found an abandoned x-ray on a sidewalk. (I was walking near a hospital, so it wasn’t COMPLETELY random.) This month, my friend Nacho turned it into a lamp for me.
After a beautiful uninterrupted stretch of time in Istanbul, I’ll leave at the end of November to go to California and visit my family. It’s a long trip, as usual, but I’m really looking forward to hanging out in a hammock with my sister.