Now is Galata, now is

November 26, 2013

The birds twirl around and around Galata Tower, it’s like a dance… maybe they are dizzying themselves, maybe they are Sufi birds who are doing a Sema up there, whirling in a birdly way.

A dog is curled down on the stones his nose on his tail, eyes closed, then darting open when someone walks closely, he is beige and black, his forelegs tucked under his chest.

The cute cafe cat just jumped on a chair, flirting her way into caresses and hopefully food.

The sky is gray, in Istanbul, as soon as the cold started to be, most started to wear black. Black looks good against the cobble stones, the old buildings the worn paint, like moving accents in a moving picture.

I’ve been getting gifts lately… Free coffee, unexpectedly, the boys at the cafe refused my money. The next day I was given a jar of chocolate spread, Nutella style from the other waiter there.. a few days earlier, the girl at this other place I go to charged me half the price… dunno why, but I appreciated that.

There are 10 scooters, bikes, lined up in front of the tower. I feel a rhythm, there is a pulse in these thousands of bodies walking in different directions, living seemingly separated lives… maybe that is why we don’t all collide into one another… vectors. Or threads. Big fabric.

I am tired. But I am good. My shoulder hurts quite a bit, I made the mistake of using that shoulder bag… it does something nasty to my neck… but I am good.

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I got news from home, letters are coming in; renewals, reminders of a life that seems so far away. Yesterday again I was talking with a friend and the fact is that I really don’t know what it is I will do. I think it cannot matter now. It’s all OK. Our western minds always want, demand, need to know “what next? What next??? It does not matter what next. What now? Is the question that is. Now, now, now.

I played Karakedi on Sunday. First time in maybe 6 weeks that I played with Eren. What happened told me I was on the right path. What I mean is that I started to sing things I never sang before, my friend Maryam said : “it was middle eastern sounding” My voice, on it’s own, created new sounds and melodies. So that means I am learning something.

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Another thing is happening; I am starting to “flow” again, something I used to do so much, ask Melonai! I would start playing a song on the guitar, then I could just invent lyrics on the fly… Well I had seemingly lost that ability… for a while I could not do this anymore… it’s back… and I am very glad about that. It’s a kind of free falling flight that I just love…

What else, well, I am starting to see and accept what it is I will do with the baglama… and it will be what I always end up doing… my own thing, in my own voice… I met with my teacher last week. We sat and he played and the same thing happened; first I am mesmerized, then he shows me more and more and then I’m overwhelmed because I cannot duplicate everything, and he then shows me more and I start “trying” then I crash and burn in a pile of frustration… I have been thinking this but now I proclaim it: I don’t want lessons. I want to listen, see, absorb, then I will create something out of it. That is what I do… I could not become a “classical guitarist” I could not become a “jazz guitarist” I could not be a “rock guitarist” I could always only be me. It’s a narrow little slice of the music pie, but I can do that well and it is the only thing I can really do well. So I’ll do that.

Oh and yeah… When I played last Friday, it was pretty epic. I had a huge, loving crowd and the performer in me just flourishes… my friend Huseyin said to me : “Why are you shy? You should not be shy on stage.” he explained to me something that I knew but didn’t quite see the way he did. It is the way I have this sideways, apologetic stance, it is a thing of not owning up to what I do, what I am in a sort of false humility. His words were true. Turks have a way of observing and telling things as they are. And they do it with full honesty and without any buttering or sweetening. They have this knack of observing correctly. Then they tell you. I learned to listen to their words. So when I played Sunday I thought : lets not have any subtext of false humility, of fear or lack of confidence come into the performance. What followed, well, it was me being there, powerful, playful, in command…

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So, I am learning, or maybe it is “unlearning”

I put myself in this absolute unknown, in this world that is in some aspects the absolute opposite of what I knew. Where I am a beginner, where I cannot communicate; me who is a communication addict… I see more and more how time will imprint all this newness and how that will come out in creation. Out of the safety of the known, into the unexpected, the unpredictable, you get to really see how you are at the core. Interesting voyage… and it goes on…

Love ya.

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crazy week end…

November 24, 2013

wow… after the drought, the downpour and so it goes with life on earth… I hadn’t had any shows in a while, then it was

“can you come play for Karakedi opening on Friday?”

“I would be honored!” I said then there was the concert booked at Molly’s place for Saturday night.. then it was

“You have your Sunday’s back at Karakedi…. and then: You are playing this Sunday…”

So here I sit, thinking of the set list for tonight

starting with Friday :

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It was amazing. The joy was palpable, everyone came and celebrated this re-opening. I played to a full to the rafters house with a new drummer, Baran, because Eren was playing another gig somewhere else. it went really well. Nothing like a full room to get me going. It was hot and sweaty and everything this kind of gig should be. After that I danced to the wee hours, met really cool people, hung out with friends and was totally happy. I walked home as the clock hit 6 AM.

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the sight in those back streets is quite something at that time. There is no recycling, so the streets are filled with bottles, detritus and the garbage from the restaurants and bars, which basically fill every hole in the wall in that neighborhood. There must have been tens of thousands of bottles … I mean, I don’t really know but it is astounding. bags and bags upon garbage bags filled with empties… the streets are filthy, the street cleaning crews hard at work straightening out the city before the morning.

Saturday I had many things to do to prepare for the concert. Burn CDs, get equipment, find equipment, go set up, organize with musicians… On my way there Kara Güneş was playing, they are on the street daily… they are about to go to Italy for a tour. here they are:

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and all this for naught… there were 2 of us musicians and 2 people in the room, one of them a friend who had come to help me… I wasn’t upset, a bit disappointed as I had a whole idea of what we were going to do in this intimate, beautiful venue… time to be sublte, go deep… but no. well, I must say, we played for Sarah and Rebecca and it was really cool to sit between these two awesome musicians, Joris and Eren.

Eren had to leave early for another gig… so Joris and I decided to hit the street and Sarah hung out with us, taking photos, making the CDs for sale sign and supporting us. It was fun, we made about 30 lira in 20 minutes or so… not bad…

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After that I headed back to Chillout, chilled out. My friend Ismail showed up, he played some, he is so incredible. the music is his heart… He left, I was going to go to sleep, stayed up, a friend of Onur, the night shifter, came in, we played some more. so quietly in the night, I went to bed at 6 again but then could not sleep this morning… woke up coughing, you know when some particle lands on a lung, I was totally awake, so I got up. Helped clean the kitchen, and now I am kind of fried… I need to get the equipment out of Molly’s place before 5, get some sleep and tonight I play again with Eren. I am looking forward to that..

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of phones and trust

November 18, 2013

Hmmm

I had started to write a totally different thing, then I checked my email and then I found myself sitting here a little bit staggered.

I knew my flight back to LA was to be soon. I was thinking it was on the 21st. I had plans to cancel it, you lose a pretty large chunk of money but you still have some money on account. I had looked at it about 10 days ago and planned to come back online and do that soon… Well, the flight was today, I expected to get a notification the day before or something… but I did not. So I lost all the credit I might have had on that flight. Today my meditation was about not judging any event that would take place because we rarely see the whole picture and the invisible ramifications each incident has. It requested that we trust.

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So I sat here looking at the screen thinking: “OK, I’m not going to judge this one way or another.” I decided to accept that this took place because it was meant to take place and I trust that I am in the hands of something bigger than I am. So to my amazement, I did not panic in any way.

Yeah, I don’t have a way back now, but it’s OK. Totally OK. It is the will of the Gods and I surrender to that.

I have been thinking quite a bit about my phone disappearing. At first I really, really got emotional. I was quite upset. My thing that I loved so, was gone. Then I reasoned that it is but a thing and if it is happening it is because it must. So I made a concrete decision to just “let it go.” be at peace with it. Forgive whoever took it and move on. And it felt genuine. I cut the invisible threads that tied me to this thing, to all the meanings I had assigned to it and let it be what it will be. Let the fact that I lost all the phone numbers of everyone I know in North America be OK. Believe and accept that I don`t know the ins and outs of this but that there is a reason and I will not be left wanting.

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Following this, in this perfect world, yesterday I met with my new friend Sean who was coming through Istanbul on his way to Ankara from Vancouver. He handed me an Iphone….

I said: “Huh???”

He said: “Well I told you I had a phone for you.” He did but I did not really register that it would happen and wasn’t really expect that it would.I was standing there with this shiny black thing in my hands…

“Thank you so much… Really???… I don’t know what to say…”

“I had three phones, I gave one to this guy in Afghanistan, one to (I don’t remember who he said) and one to the Canadian girl!”

He went to the bathroom at that point and I stood there with this thing in my hands realizing that I will be able to do all the things I did with my Nokia phone and even more: recording, photos, film, GPS, etc, etc..” I would have never, ever bought such a thing but there it is in my hands. Amazing.

So, the flight… same thing. Not to worry.

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The hardest job we have in this life is to really trust, to really have faith in the fact that we are provided for, that the truth of our existence is that we were meant to thrive, love and be joyful. All the cynics in the world hate me for saying this, they find arguments and some of those I cannot fight, They tell me of the ugliness, the wars, poverty, and the meanness of this world. I can only respond with my limited experience, my own life. In my own life, all the massive ugliness of the world has never materialized. So I cannot answer about that. What I have seen and experience and now know as a complete certainty at this point is that the world I face everyday is the mirror reflection of my beliefs. So I live my life.

While thinking about this some time back I had that question: Well OK, if this is the case, then how can I teach myself to dream bigger than any of my imaginings? How can I imagine the unknown, the unimaginable with the mind I have now? How can I dream bigger about things I don’t know about so my life will be this amazing reflection of my amazing dreams?? Kind of like the theories on materializing what you envision and you make vision boards and stuff like that that only encompass the scope of what your mind knows.

I realize now that it’s now about dreaming bigger, or imagine the unknown so it can materialize. It is about surrendering to the fact that I know nothing. For a westerner, the idea of knowing nothing is not popular. We’re supposed to be so on top of it all… The fact of the matter is that whatever I see, perceive is but a tiny fraction of the whole picture, all the possibilities and the outcomes and that by surrendering, I allow what I could not imagine to happen because I have not decided to know what is. Handing the keys and steering wheel to someone else. Oooooo yeah.. for a westerner that is a big deal.

This in turn changes one’s life into a joyful, innocent exploration. Imagine a whole day without judging, without knowing ahead what anything, anyone is. Let it all speak to you and be willing to listen, be willing to grant to your interlocutor their divinity, their role in your life and that you do not know what it is they can bring to you or you to them.

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We are all intertwined parts of a whole where all and everything has a function. The hardest job is to silence the fear and the doubts, to trust fully and absolutely, to not defend or attack, nothing is that important as to require war. Never be a victim again.

Oh the path of this life.

Since my last post, life has bestowed incredible visions and gifts upon me. It brought so much more than I could have planned. My life is this gentle teacher showing me the way and when I despair and struggle it is not long before it answers me.

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On a less esoteric note, I moved back to Chillout as a volunteer last week. I had the feeling it was the right thing to do, I had the feeling that somehow I needed to get out of my private little life at Bin Bavul and accept the volunteer offer I had been given.

The first night, I wondered if I had actually fucked up. I entered the dorm room I am sharing with two other people and the stark walls and the lack of privacy and the unease of now meditating with others around me and all sorts of stupid little details like this made me uneasy. I lied down on the small bed and it seemed a bit hard, the room was too hot, people were making people noise… then the heater came on. That thing is a convection heater, it is quite big and when it turns itself on, the room glows bright orange, illuminated like the fires of hell! My bunk being the top one, that thing is aimed directly at me frying me like some onion in a pan.

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I got up and tried to silently unplug it struggling with the cord, then succeeded. I climbed back up on my bed, pulled blankets over me as the glow died out and the coolness was already palpable. About a minute after that, I heard a stirring… my roommate was up, plugging the thing back in… We settled the thing by turning the temperature down a couple of nights later.

The first few days I was moving about a bit gingerly, I didn’t have some specific tasks assigned to me other than “social media” and that made me feel guilty, which after a short discussion we realized that we need to have a meeting and build some sort of strategy together, so that meant there wasn’t really anything I could do right away. I don’t want to abuse the situation… be a burden…

But now, after a week I know I made the right decision. The first day, a beautiful conversation I had with a co worker answered some worries so perfectly. The third night, I woke up rested in a way I had not felt in quite a while. There is peace in my heart. I am home. I can help, contribute. My little Istanbul family is here. With all the misfits and the characters and the travelers who course through this place with their visions, missions and quests.

Last night I ended up doing the night shift as someone quit minutes before their shift was supposed to take place.

It was a magnificent night. I played music with my violinist friend Yoris from 10 to 12, then the thing with the shift happened and I stayed there, kept playing until about 3 after everyone went to bed. For once I was all alone and the music on the sound system was turned off. the hum of the fridge and the many different machines in the building quietly purring in the building. I cleaned up the tables, washed the dishes, put the hostel laundry in the dryer, all in order. Then I sat down again with my guitar and played.

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At some point, Bartin showed up. We had good conversation in the quiet space. Then at around 6 AM I prepared us some breakfast, olives, cucumbers, bread, butter, cheese, boiled eggs and tea. We ate, it was good. I felt filled with beautiful contentment. I am so happy to be out of my bubbled up Western life… to be with these people. To learn of their ways, culture, to see how they view the world. Yes, I am learning, more and more everyday. I even have a spot to practice now… that was a worry I had, I thought that maybe I would have to rent a rehearsal space but no. At night the kitchen is empty, it is in the basement and the walls are two feet wide. So no one is bothered, I can play for hours. These last three days I finally was able to play as much as my heard needed. 3, 4 hours.

So, no worries, all is in line, aligned, I am on this learning path, living path. I have amazing friends. I am loved and I love this city, this place with all its chaos and craziness. It’s motion and energy feeding me, allowing me to be and live the way I feel is the most real to me, to my wild heart and my need for wind.

so right now I sit in this cafe, been writing for a couple of hours. One of the street cats came in, getting pettings from all and everyone, then it came close to me, jumped on my chair, I always sit at the edge of my seat when I write and laid down in the space between my back and the back of the chair. I feel the warmth from its tiny body. Galata tower is in front of me, the open doors let some cool air on the front of my body and the heaters heat my back. I am so grateful. It is amazing. Just amazing.

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Ah, writing…

heaven and hell, vision and blindness, rantings and truth. What will it be today?

I am on the edge of change, tomorrow I will move again, from this room, this place. It is time. Can’t quite explain it but I know it to be right. I’m not sure what awaits me but I know in some strange way that leaving this place now is right.

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What have I not told you lately? Many things, of little or more interest I guess. Who cares? Says that editor in my mind. Ah well at least, if I am the only one looking back at this down the road, it will allow me to see if my assertions were right or pure bullshit.

Tidbits? Lately, last week more precisely, my phone was stolen out of my room. I had not been locking my door. Trusting. Last Tuesday I had cleaned up my room, vacuumed everything, put the few objects I own in their proper place and left, taking the laptop to work on the book, (yes I have resumed that project) 4 hours later I came back. My door was wide open. I leave it unlocked but never wide open. I had a bad feeling. I walked in, I felt a bad energy but did not notice anything wrong. It is later, just before going to bed that I noticed that the phone was not where I had left it. I looked everywhere and there isn’t many wheres to look into and it definitely was gone.

I got a huge feeling of loss. I was distraught. This phone had been a gift from my love at the time. I really liked it. I could not use it as a phone here but it was useful in all sorts of ways, for recording, as a dictionary, as a place where all my contacts were, as many more things a smart phone can do. But now it’s gone.

The next day I told people and they were not believing that someone would have come inside and took this, I must have misplaced it. I sure wish I did.

Fast forward 5 days later, I get a message on my FB music page. Someone has my memory, all the photos that were on there… Someone in Iran… In Maku… Wild. Really? I wrote back. Then next thing I know, they keep insisting to get my email address, and now they are asking for money, and even asking that I go meet them in Iran. Ha! Ha! Ha! Really?

Then I wrote back. I said multiple times what they did was against the laws of men and God. What they did would have made them lose a hand in some not so distant past. I told them that by buying the stolen memory from his “friend” that it makes him part of the crime. I told them I had nothing. I have no money to give them and I’m certainly not going to Iran to get a phone from strangers who want money from me. I told them I wish their black hearts would see some sort of light. I told them I would not write back. If I lost the phone, then it was the will of God and so be it. I let it go. They on the other hand are stuck with their Karma.

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and as a side topic, if you read this and are one of my friends in Canada or America, please send me your phone number in a personal message because I have lost your number. I cannot find any backup anywhere.

Other than that, Oh yes, change, I was talking about change. I am moving tomorrow. A little while ago Chillout had offered me a volunteer position in exchange for a free bed. I mulled it over for a while, and decided to take the offer. This room I have is expensive in Turkish terms. I am not really making any money. If I can save the 700 lira a month for a few months, then I can make some plans for the new year.

Yes, Go somewhere else. I am thinking of trying to organize a tour in Europe, nothing fancy, but something that would connect me to all the awesome people I have met who come from Spain, France, Germany… I will start working on that. Contacting them, see if I can line up home concerts or small venues. I don’t know when I’ll go, or if I can even manage that. But I’ll try. The other thing I am considering is India it keeps coming up on the radar. I heard of someone who was able to live there for a year on about a thousand dollars.

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Settling down?

I can’t see it. Not for now anyways.

I am at an interesting junction. I am now looking at my coming here to Turkey, the motivation I had, the dreams, the vision. In Canada and America all the Turks I met were amazing. I had fallen in love with the music, the culture, the baglama, I played for endless hours everyday. I felt this immense affinity for the country. Then I came here and somehow all of this affinity didn’t really find anything to hold on to. I mean, I love Istanbul but it seems I cannot connect with the people. I am a yabanci, a foreigner and I stay a foreigner. I am on the receiving end of beautiful moments, days, acts but I cannot seem to learn the language, I cannot practice it as people are either switching to English and not giving me a chance or simply get annoyed by my bad Turkish and dismiss me as dumb or something.

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I cannot connect with the musicians it seems. I think it is part cultural part paralysis on my part. Culturally I am a woman and men here have a hard time being with women and vice-versa. The paralysis? I can’t explain it. But in short, I feel unworthy and deeply ignorant and I have this terror of exposing this to the world to see. So I tried to study alone at home in a method and what I am doing now is not music, it’s a lame plucking of black dots on a page, without heart or meaning or soul. I lost the thread of this instrument I loved so and I stand in the darkened forest of my misunderstandings.

So I question. Endlessly. Yesterday a friend brought up a good point: To be here or anywhere for that matter, and be happy, I have to be me no matter what. Being me here now is a difficult proposition, especially when I can’t even communicate. Have I failed? It is a very hard thing for me to consider. As much as I have enjoyed this amazing place, it seems I have failed to reach or even approach one if any goal I had coming here. There is a distance I cannot seem to be able to breach. Yes, yes, yes, there has been some personal victories that have made everything worth the efforts. I do not regret. Not at all. It is just that I don’t know what I can possibly consider becoming by staying here. I had thoughts about going out of Istanbul and see what else I could find and I promise myself to travel in the spring and see the actual country. But after the dust is starting to settle, from the excitement, from the newness, I am maybe starting to see that I need to realign with the path that was mine.

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I am starting to see a little bit beyond my own delusions. I am seeing that a part of me has been trying to fit in. That never works. I am seeing a bit of the veil that distend and discolors what truly lies behind it. I am afraid and I don’t want to be seen a failure so I hang on to the concepts and the whys I came here. So I have to dig deeper, rip the veil and try to see what it is that truly is my path. It is hard to recognize the illusions from the truth sometimes.

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I started to work on the book again, it was a thought that I followed through not quite seeing why I would do such a thing right now. It is shaking me deeply. To go back to 2010, where this all started. To see my progression. To read my thoughts, feel my feelings. To relive all of what brought me eventually here with all the distance that there now is. I cannot dismiss all this.

I have to own up everything I am. Honor it. I mean to myself. Not as a public thing, but as an inner personal thing. I have to keep moving on the way I believe is my way. My function in this world, what will make me useful, what will give my existence meaning is unique to me. It will appear in the way that I will perceive as acceptable. Which is very likely not the same way it would appear to another. All of us have different paths to their function in this world.

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So, I am moving out, opening myself again to change. reducing my footprint. Simplifying. I am glad I can help at Chillout. I will finish the book, self publish it. I will prepare this tour, look at India. I am even thinking of South America. On my bike. I really don’t know yet. but opening that way will help me see.

I have to abandon all the wishing and get into the doing. Be willing to surrender attachment. I have to say no when I feel no. I have to say “bullshit” when I see it. I have to act as if nothing matters, because nothing does but one thing: Friendship. I see it more and more, what matters most is the friends. They are what life is about. And if I can be lifted enough out of my own belly button to share my love, my little light with all my brothers and sisters I meet on the road then yeah, who cares? I am on the path.

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Yesterday I went to the cafe, I saw “my dog” I went to pet him. He loves it, he’s so content. I left him and went to sit at the cafe around the corner. My friend Sarah showed up, we were chatting, then comes running my beautiful dog. He stopped at our table as if he came just for me, I talked to him. He then laid down at our feet, I petted him some more. My gorgeous dog, free like the wind. It made me so happy. I was just beaming. We left, he left, all of us free. I think this is what it’s all about. It’s so simple. No ties, no expectations, no rules. Just the light in the other’s eyes.

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November

November 6, 2013

Oh, it’s been a while again…

I wanted to write last Sunday morning… I went to a concert organized by Karakedi with the Uninvited Jazz Band and the Cherkezi orchestra… I was completely blown away. The party invitation said : starts at 9 PM ends at 6 AM and it was true… and I was there for the whole thing.

I also had a new friend with me, a friend of a Vancouver friend, Sean who lives in Ankara but travels regularly to Afghanistan. He had a 12 hour stop-over in Istanbul and we met at 5 PM, had dinner then headed to The Mekan where the party was taking place and he left at 2 AM or so. It was really nice to meet him.

And it was so good to see all the Karakedi faces anew… I missed everyone since Karakedi closed. The music was out of this world. The UJB opened the night, I have seen them many times, but it’s always amazing to see how much difference it makes to have a nice stage, good sound and lights for any band.

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The Cherkezi orchestra is from Macedonia, I had welcomed them the night before as I was working at Chillout. What I saw, I never saw anything like it before… Tubas… 3 tubas, drums and 1 trumpet… well, it was mind blowing. They looked Mexican to me, the music at times was sounding Mexican… but really… after a long set, they came off the stage and headed into the terrace and played there, without amplification, and with extra friends from the audience; another trumpet, another tuba, a djembe. What happened was what music can do, join everyone in a massive wave of energy… it is undescribable, and my camera ran out of memory at that point so I have no visual but my memories…

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at around 6:30 I headed home, I met the guys of the band on the way back, I walked with them to Chillout, then chatted with Feza, the night shifter, then headed home around 7:30 AM. I could now hear my footsteps… in the quietness of the morning. It had been a very long time since I had experienced that. Early week end morning quiet, everything was so beautiful. Another moment of magic that is a bit hard to describe, it is too simple… too ordinary in a way.

So my month working at Chillout is over, I’m a bit out of sorts because I’m back to not being part of anything. Just me in the big wide world. We’ve been treated to gentle weather, it’s warm. I hear the end comes in two days… rain will come, winter will come…

Today I realized my cell phone has disappeared, not my Turkish phone which is an ancient Blackberry with a scroll wheel, but my Nokia, the gift I had received from Kemal. I remember putting it by the side of my bed after I clean up yesterday. I went out without locking my door because I trust and when I came back the door was wide open, it gave me a bad feeling… then, later when I went to use it (I had no SIM card in it but I used it as a recording device, GPS, dictionary, alarm clock, timer, phone book… well it was nowhere to be found.

It upset me. My beautiful phone. I have very few things; my two instruments, the laptop, the small amplifier and two pedals, a few rags to wear and a few music gizmos.. that’s it. That’s the sum of all my possessions, everything has a function, meaning, history… each thing is special. This phone was special to me… and now it’s gone… I’m not so upset now, a bit sad, yes… it’s just a phone… OK, let it go… like everything in this life, it gets taken away from you one way or another. I have a piece of music gear with me that belong to my friend Zal and I am VERY glad they didn’t take that, as it would have cost a fortune to replace… and fortunes I don’t have at this moment.

Yesterday I met with another friend of a friend, her name is Bahriye, I had met Christina back in June or early July at Chillout, she is a Canadian who was doing a masters on Kurdish music. Months ago we had communicated on FB but it fell apart. Yesterday we met, Bahriye is Kurdish, she wants to learn English. So we got together over tea and I tried to help her. It was fun. It was refreshing to meet someone “real” … how to explain? Someone who is living their life here, normal, not a tourist or an entertainer… or maybe it’s just who she was, but it was really special. She wants to get together on the week ends and learn English. She says she dreams of going to Canada. I am glad to help her.

My week ends are getting filled… guitar teaching, now English tutoring, I will also meet with Samira, a girl I had met at the Turkish class who is a singer, we will look at music to play together. I also want to play at Chillout…

I started to work on my book again. I found information about self editing that makes total sense and decided to give it a go. Last year when I stopped I felt I couldn’t add anymore to it. Now re-reading I find much to fix, improve, edit out. That makes things quite strange. I plunge into the motorcycle journey, into America, into another me… Then I look up and I am in Istanbul… I decided I will finish it. The self publishing tip is to do 4 drafts (I am on the fifth) and then read it out loud. Makes sense to me, that is what I always did with my translations. If you can read it out loud, then it will be understood. I think I will publish online, available to those who want it. Finishing these things is always good, it frees the creative sensors sending them into new directions.

I also started to study a new bağlama method written by Arif Sağ and Erdal Erzincan, both musical legends here. It is a great method, I think I will get a lot out of it. At exercise 13 I can already see that I am heading into another musical world. They developed new ways of writing the music so you can actually see how to interpret the music properly. Most of the songs you find written have a very minimal amount of information written. The Turkish music has all sorts of embellishments, fingerings, and picking that make all the difference in the way the music is played. A bit like a jazz song is written without the “swing” and if you just read the music as it’s written it will sound really square… So I am on a slow road, but it’s very gratifying. I have heard and seen enough baglama players to see that this book will take me on the right path.

A friend introduce me to a new motorcycle brand : Keeway. Seems it is more reliable than the Chinese ones. I’m still day dreaming of traveling through the country on motorbike this spring.. and if I can make some money in the mean time. Looks like I could find a 250 model for around 2000 lira, which is roughly a grand. That or a Honda CB 150. That is if I can solve my vertigo issues… those have me slightly worried… Worried that I won’t be able to ride again… scary thought… I read in many places that the vertigo is easily solvable with the Epley maneuver. Cross your fingers for me…

So life, life goes on.

I am, as usual, questioning everything… I had a look at my finances and it’s slowly but surely dwindling… I live very economically but still, more goes out than comes in… I have been teaching guitar but have been charging very little or nothing at all… I have been taught for free and feel I have to give back… the gigs on Sundays were paying my weekly food but that has been gone for a month…

I don’t know if I should travel… leave Istanbul and go to? India? Iran? Europe? Or stay here? I can’t seem to find the balance… all or nothing… sometimes I imagine being highly mobile, go play in different places, travel with music, explore… but the actuality of it means I have to be a better business person and make things pay for themselves and that thought is wearisome… I don’t know that I really want to be working on a “career” and all that implies. I like the anonymity. Or maybe I just haven’t imagined the right format. The other thought that keeps tickling at me is that in the back of my awareness it seems, I should go somewhere, a smaller place.. but I don’t know where… When I consider leaving Turkey it feels absolutely like the wrong thing to do at the moment.

I was offered a volunteer position at Chillout, help them with social media and in house events, in exchange for a free bed. I am thinking about it. I paid my rent in my room for November so I have a bit of time to decide. Financially it would really help, socially it’s always a great place to be as you meet so many great people… I will likely miss my room once in a while.. the privacy of your own space can be priceless…

I guess I am at that point where I have to ask myself what it is I really want… And maybe I can’t know what I would want now because there are many things I have not experienced yet…

So it is a competition between status quo, doing what you know and jumping into a new reality… I think and think… dunno yet…

In the mean time, Istanbul the beautiful with its dogs, cats, people, horns, simits, endless nights is still a beautiful mistress to worship.

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