Beşiktaş musings

September 1, 2014

What does it take to spark the creative-playing desires and energies and need? I observed many different things over time. Sometimes it’s absolute isolation, quiet. Well it used to be, as I would “mad-science” the process on the computer, multi-tracking, effects, use different instruments, pile up vocals and make mini-self-symphonies. Other times, it’s necessity, deadlines. Other times it’s whimsy, sitting with the instrument and a thread of magic would weave from the ether into the instrument and between the hands… I also found that some homes make you drip creation like sweat on an Istanbul summer day and others completely shut you up.

I moved yesterday. It was unexpected but wished for. I had been so generously given a bed and food by Chillout when I came from Dalyan. They took care of me. For a week I was there, I was offered to resume my job there, but somehow I know that this is not ideal for me at all. This job offers a safe circle but a loop nonetheless where my music, mind, habits, turn me into a non-creating entity, just slugging from morning to morning.

Yesterday I was drinking my daily espresso when the messaging thingy on FB blinked. It was a friend of a friend to whom I had written a message to over a year ago and never heard back from. His ex-girlfriend has a flat in Beşiktaş with two cats and a terrasse garden, cats need feeding, garden needs watering. She is away writing on a deadline for a week, maybe 2.

Besiktas is not a place I would pick… it’s very nice, really nice. And it makes me claustrophobic. It’s too nice. The feeling of being settled, of having a life that plays like a skipping vinyl. Sameness, daily, in a oh so quiet neighborhood, it tightens around my neck like a rope. I’m not sure what this is all about. Since the moto journey, I need the doors and windows to be open, the wind to come in, even the ghetto that was Tarlabasi seems like a form of liberty. Maybe it’s the fact that the conventions are broken down, that people improvise, that it’s all real in real time.

In Beyoglu, there is the wildness, the unpredictability,that is like not having walls or nets. I like to navigate these waters. It’s not so wild so you fear for your life, but wild enough to have the deck of cards disturbed and re-shuffled.

So I sit in this house. Listen to the quiet. One of the cats come in the kitchen, I can actually hear the clicking of his claws on the parquet. Oha… I sat in one spot with the laptop not knowing what to do. I spent hours on Facebook, something I had not done for about 3 months… not good.

I have grown to need so little. In here there is so much… space, things, appliances, stuff everywhere. I still am feeling the motion and emotion of my hitchhiking to Istanbul. I had been longing to do this for months: have my life on my back and just get into forward motion. I had two days of it and now I want more.

The absurdity of life makes this make sense. The things we run after, meaningless, self-centered, rooted into a fear of losing anything could possibly be lost; money, health, possessions, status, home, people, one’s own life. (I know, I know, you care and you want me to be safe, but his is for me, I don’t pretend to tell anyone that they must live like this, if I look honestly, I don’t anything, or very little.. it is my road) Every time I hang onto something or someone, I am being reminded of the uselessness, the illusory nature of doing this. Oh the thing I would really like to keep in my life is closeness, the home of an embrace from someone I love, but that is a gift given by Love and Love has a will that cannot be manipulated or bent by human will.

It comes, you breathe it all in, taking every molecule of joy, then it leaves. Immense gratefulness for the gift. Immense wistfulness for its vanishing. opposite poles. But you cannot just have the one end of the magnet, you cannot have only the “good”. You must have it “All”. “All” encompassing both opposite poles, inseparable, the joy and ecstasy, the lone longing ache.

I feel the chisel.
The nerves respond,
the heart quivers.
Close your eyes,
This too shall pass.

The road calls me… is it the need to erase all feelings, all wishes, all impulses to fight and demand by putting oneself through a long and narrow passage that will grind and erode all the acute extremities,the sharpness of feeling, the sharp toothed bites of life? To walk away from the walls and let the rain and the elements do their work and cleanse the emotional clutter. Or is it the way to get back to the lowest common denominator of self and let go of all the considerations, needs, seemingly so important but which in the end will be lost and anihilated anyways.

I wrote to the Oracle a few days ago, mentioning these two choices of staying or taking the road. Mentioning the realities of mine, the houseless-ness and all the other stuff and he said this:

“Believe it or not – I think you are doing rather well.
You get to choose and are choosing.”

How wise. How perceptive. How correct.

Last night I Skyped a very good friend of mine, the kind of friend with whom you can spend whole nights talking about universal realities, quantum, life and humanity without ever tire… I was talking about finding meaning in my life, in my actions, in my existence. He said:

“I would be very unhappy If I had to have the moment have purpose.”

Friends, the ones who “know” you, see so much more clearly than we ever can.

Clouds over Istanbul. Little rain though. Reminders that “Winter is coming”

I went to dance to nights ago. First everyone backed out then this traveler who was at the hostel said: “Lets go”

We went into this place three streets away from Chillout. We started to dance. To really dance, I was smiling, he would twirl me with much skill. To dance… He lifted me up and we twirled some more. Everyone around was well dressed, honing poses of half-disdain, cigarettes loosely held. The girls, glass princesses with daggers in their eyes, one guy gave us the high five for dancing. Soon a bouncer with a red wire coming out of his ear approached us. I asked if there was a problem, couldn’t hear the answer, “follow me” he gestured, follow him we did. Then, we were kicked out.


“Islam.” said Matheous.

Kicked out for dancing in a dance club. We went to two more places, but they are not fun. Everyone is uptight, giving us dirty insulted looks, a girl elbowed me with her bony arms and indignant stare because we had dared bumping into “her”. How dare we have fun? On the walk back, we took the Balık passag, all the restaurants are closed or closing. Matheous sees a bottle of rakı on a table that a waiter was cleaning, there was about 8 ounces of liquid left in there. He asked the waiter, who just kind of grimaced, and he took it. A few steps later, near Galata Saray, a man approached us, eyeing the bottle. He said some words in Polish, his wife is Polish, and swallowed half of what was in the bottle. Matheous looks at me and says:

“Here, drink some…”

“We should put water in the… OK, I slung the bottle back, took a good sip then a big sip of water and it was actually quite good that way. He did the same.

“Thank you for a beautiful night.” He said.

“Thank you.” I said.

I feel I have a friend here but I sense also that I’ll never see him again. We walk back to Balyoz Sokak, attempt to go to the Marmara Hotel to see the view, but we’re denied. It’s closed they say.

Back to Chillout, all sorts of people hanging out, it’s 4 something AM. I’m up until the Ezan. I go to bed, room 22. Good ol’ room 22, with too many memories in it, some delicious, some horrendous. I climb to the top bunk in the dark, I just take my jeans off. Put earplugs in, it will be crashes and jack hammer rhythms in the morning as they are demolishing the building next door. The pillow is too big, the bed not much wider than my shoulders. I try not to move so the rattley bunk beds won’t squeak and wake up the girls in the room. Tomorrow I need to find a home I thought with much purpose. This is choking me.

And we loop back to the top of this post….

The road… My other choice? Stay in Istanbul. Dig into the music. I want a new guitar… I have no money to get one. I want to be held tight, feel communion and give everything I have, everything I am. I want to feel the wind and see the moon, I want open doors. I want, I want… A settled life is about wants and needs. A life on the road is about the next step and the gifts life drops in front of me and breathing through pain and letting it carve you.

Tomorrow I play. I wish to make the night be like a road, cover the minutes like covering the miles, standing tall, honest, eyes open, with nothing to prove, nothing to need. Just be.


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