30 October 2014

on fire

One of the books I've been living inside these past few weeks is Larry Brown's On Fire - possibly because I've been thinking a lot about Oxford and even went over to Oxford one day, something that was pretty much a disaster for my happiness - discovering once again that I can't live in Oxford at the moment. But I love this book about the years he was working as a fireman and writing and actually publishing books, and I'm finding so much inspiration for the process of hanging on to a career you've got while you make another one - or as Larry Brown puts it "what it was like to live through those years, and the way two totally different careers had to mesh and make room for one another until one of them finished first." I hope you'll look at this clip of the award-winning documentary by Guy Hawkins simply for the pleasure of hearing Larry & Mary Annie Brown's voices.

29 October 2014

camping in yalova

Don't ask me how to get to this place from Istanbul. Don't ask me what the name of the campground where we camped. Just click here and be seduced by the sound of Istanbul. All I know: Four years ago a Turkish high school needed an English teacher and I said yes. In October the school needed a female teacher to tag along on a camping trip for students. I said yes. I barely knew the other teachers and had no idea how the weekend would go but I said yes. We took a bus for a long way out of Istanbul then took a boat across the Black Sea while we drank tea and the students played on the deck then took another bus to wind around hills to a campground where it rained most of the weekend. A cold and misty Saturday of hiking landed us in a place of deserted summer houses where my friends from work magically produced a coffee pot from a backpack and made lunch on a deserted front porch of someone's summer house. One of the more magical lunches of my life ...

28 October 2014

it's my life [prison break]

~yalova, turkey october 2010

I've reached that point again where every story I write here could be a popular song title - a good thing so I'm not going to apologize for it. I've also reached the polar opposite point where every story I write could be a blues song that would make you cry into your beer.

Those are the stories you won't find me telling these days.

Stretched in between these two opposite points are stories so gorgeous that when the time is right to tell them you'll say ohhhhhhhhh that's so sweet and you'll forget all the blues songs I've ever sung for you so spoiler alert new songs & stories coming up.

The first time I reached the popular song title point [well after I was a teenager] was at the end of my 40s when I was living in this house and about to go to Istanbul although I did not know I was going to Istanbul because that was back when I fell madly in love with Fate and started letting Fate call all the shots in my life which meant falling deeply in love with all the mysterious plot twists and turns my life suddenly started to take and all the beautiful exotic people and stories and places that suddenly start springing up around you as if by magic once you decide to break out of the little prison you've built for yourself to live in.

I don't mind telling you that I've spent much of my life in prison - the prisons of other people's ideas about how I should live my life and who I should be and then of course the prisons I've built for myself.

Like the one I'm currently living in.

I don't mind telling you too that living in a prison every day is no way to live.

This is all pretty cryptic stuff and I had no idea this story was going to go this way - I really meant this story to be about how I came across these photographs I took when I went camping one October weekend when I was living in Istanbul.

But maybe these two stories are connected.

Although there's no way I'm going to break out all the details about what is going on at this moment although I do hope the whole being in prison thing makes you say

yeah I'm in prison and I'm tired of living like this

24 October 2014


Do you hear songs on the radio and think they're speaking to you? True confession. Last night while I was driving down a long dark highway home I heard two songs on the radio that made me feel so good about being alive and living such an imperfect life. Hope you enjoy & have a great weekend ~

                                                                    phyllis nobles

23 October 2014

the two o'clock in the morning kitchen

One of the few things I miss most about the barn is my two o'clock in the morning kitchen life. Now that I'm living in a roommate situation - I don't feel at home in the kitchen. So when I wake up at two o'clock in the morning I just lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and berate myself for not having my own place OMG how completely grownup of me. But just a few minutes ago I broke out of feeling like this is not my kitchen because I do pay half the bills here so I made some grits. They weren't very good because I've lost the top to my one boiler and you need a heavy top to make decent grits. This made me think it's time I bought some new cookware in anticipation of finally "settling down" at the end of this teaching contract. Thinking about buying new pans made me think of the barn and the mornings I made gourmet meals inside the kitchen at two o'clock in the morning. Because I do not have time to photograph the grits which I'm eating out of a paper Christmas cup and besides grits don't photograph well we'll just have some left-over wheat pasta and spinach today. And I can promise you that the next time I wake up at two o'clock in the morning - it's going to be on like Patron. And I think I know just the recipe I'm going to serve up.

22 October 2014

istanbul street picnic

you can go through a real slump post mid-term in october - what with so much intense work and no fall break. you can go through blogging slumps - what with difficulties involving connecting with people who get you. who appreciate you. the past few mornings i've woken up thinking

why blog?
why teach?

and this morning it occurred to me that if did not teach i would never have gone to istanbul. or to paris. or have great holidays to spend with my daughters & family. and even with all the insanity of being a high school teacher today - when you think about it

i get paid to read shakespeare

and if i did not take photographs
or write little stories here that i hope inspire someone besides me

my life would be nothing more than

go to work
go to the gym
go to walmart
 do laundry
pay off student loans

and i'm sorry.

that would not feeling like living to me.

21 October 2014

losing face

I had a personally painful incident at work yesterday that ended up with me losing it. I was going to say that yesterday ended up with me crying at work - but the word crying doesn't the moment justice.