I have been committed, this year, to posting a blog only a couple times a week. I aim for a regular post on Sunday, and an update on art and creative endeavors on Wednesday. Lately, because it’s summer, and I work long days on the weekends, my Sunday blog has migrated to Monday. Likewise, my Wednesday post can be found on any day around the middle of the week, if at all. I give myself a lot of leeway in the summertime. With expanded work hours, added household chores in lawn and garden, plus frequent visitors, a little grace is in order.
For my Sunday – or Monday – blog, I’ve been using an alphabetical list from the Table of Contents of David Whyte’s book, Consolations. With exceptions. I squeezed in a few other topics, when the spirit moved me; I sometimes used the same title twice, to further expound on a idea; and I took a month away from this list, to write from another alphabetical list. Still, for me, not bad.
I had taken up the Table of Contents list because, after writing a blog for almost ten years, I felt I was running out of material. My life is not that eventful! It seemed like even the weather was repeating itself! So, having a list to draw from would be helpful, I thought. Sometimes it was. Sometimes it was almost serendipitous, how the topic presented fell right in to place with other things going on in my life. Other times it was more of a struggle, but always better than scrambling wildly for something worthwhile to write about. Until today.
Today, the topic presented is “Istanbul.” What?! How can we go from ordinary ideas, like “Heartbreak,” “Hiding,” and “Honesty” to “Istanbul?” And what in the world could I say about that? I know only a few things.
If I dig deeply into my memory, and long-ago Art History classes, I can tell you that the city that is now Istanbul was once Byzantium, and the heart of the Byzantine empire. The Roman Emperor, Constantine, renamed it New Rome, but that quickly changed to Constantinople. It was overrun by the Turks in the 14th century, and became a part of the Ottoman empire. Christian churches, including the massive Hagia Sophia, which had itself been built over the site of a pagan temple, were converted to mosques.
The Encyclopedia Britannica informs me that Istanbul is the largest city and principal seaport of Turkey. That, for more than 2,500 years, the city has stood between “conflicting surges of religion, culture, and imperial power.” And that, “for most of those years it was one of the most coveted cities in the world.” So, there it is: everything I care to share about Istanbul!