Second year of blogging…

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Good Sunday, dear friends of the reading and writing arts!

WordPress.com congratulates me for “flying” with them. I want to resound their note in a modified way, and thank you from the heart for having been here all this time and for still being here. Your visits and comments are what encouraged and inspired me to write on a regular basis, an interaction with you that I have enjoyed so much, and continue to take great pleasure in. Please feel free to let me know, as to what, in particular, you had liked in the past among my writings. I would appreciate your input with enthusiasm.

As always, I look very much forward to your next visit. May you have a wonderful Sunday and an equally remarkable new week!

hülya

 

 

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Supporting the Written Art and Schlow Centre Region Library in State College, PA

[CAUTION: An unedited text lies ahead of you...]

 

I find the back entrance, park my car where the gate opening gadget used to be, leave the flashers on and unload what I had packed from the night before. Confident that I have thought of everything. I raise my head from my carry-on luggage piece and … am tempted to go right back into my cute red: under the huge tent, every table looks decorated as if touched by a long-time stager, with eye-catching presentation materials everywhere. I pass by the line of tables in slow motion, looking right, looking left, not sure where I am supposed to be heading. Someone who hasn’t skipped a beat to notice who knows what my face looked like, asks me whether I am ____ ( a name other than mine), before I get a chance to answer, a friendly voice rises from the area that I now left behind me: “You are with me!” Her demeanor matches the friendliness of her vocal cords…I make a legal U-turn and am at my table section. She and I will be sharing a table. She has already set up her side, as have anyone whom I can spot from where I am standing. Every time I use the phrase “set up”, please replace it with “donning grandiose details and special effects.” Yes, we have all received the same timely and kind tip as to what to display on our tables. It is obvious: I am the only one who disregarded those well-meant suggestions….Shaking my initial surprised look, I put all that I brought with me on my side of the four-legged multi-purpose platform. “All that” doesn’t amount to much…I see…and can’t deny anymore: I’m ill-prepared. I have only copies of my book and business cards. If it hadn’t been for my dear publisher’s recommendation – my book’s cover as a blown-up poster, stoppers-by or intentional visitors would have easily dismissed me along with those beautiful print products I have my name on. I am petite as it is…

After my initial culture shock wears off (it is my first entry to this part of our world), my two neighboring authors and I start chatting before the crowd comes in: they are both delightful and comforting! It is taking me a while but I begin to stop worrying about what I don’t have with or on me for the potential visitors to my side (such as those attention-getting giveaways, colorful decorations, and prizes all around me). These two beautiful women take me away from my short-lived worries thanks to their calm and calming personalities and their voluntary talks on the genres they specialize in. I learn new things from them also about their experiences in the writing arena. We agree it is a long-time fasting lion-to-unarmed bare-footed-weeks-long-trekking-newborn-place out there. We commiserate – about the state of the various literary genres in our century and how we are subjected to a distinct level of degeneration in the overall interest of the readers (it just wouldn’t do, if we didn’t!) But then we laugh, hard; comment about our expectations for our books’ sales of today – a beautiful day (no storms, not even a mist of rain), critique and analyze ourselves, our passions for writing, and laugh again – best of all, we celebrate. The opportunities we have in our hands; our understanding of and support for one another. Other authors approach our tables and we all communicate, as if we had known one another for our entire lives. At least from my end, this experience is a true pleasure and gives itself in full submission to us as a most memorable time. What display items? What more do I need, I ask myself while no one is looking…

A short while later, my friends arrive and surround me with their “pride” talks directed at “my” event, taking pictures I could not have taken on my own to mark this special occasion in my life (nor would have asked someone else to do). Once again, I laugh – from the core of my being, we hug and (content with how I have been managing myself), they leave to see the rest of the Arts Festival tents and booths. In the early afternoon, another dear friend of mine comes over – despite the fact that she has so much on her tray these days. Finally, my One and Only – my daughter/only child, walks into the tent, pushing my grandson’s stroller, completing my understanding of perfection…

On my way back to my car, my steps feel on water, gliding me away – although I am exhausted from a day quite unusual in its length, intensity and activities. Why my dance-like one-foot-in front of-the other-attitude? For this BookFest hasn’t been about selling books at all! It was rather about exchanging positive energy between people who happen to be readers of this or that genre, making time to meet other people who happen to be writers of such or the other genre. All of whom were ready and willing to connect to one another over one area of their lives, asking and answering questions and laughing together. It was about authentic interaction between people. Period.

My first BookFest.Tek Başıma.July 12.2014

May your Sunday and your new week become a memorable delight for you.

 

 

 

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My guest blog post…

Good Sunday!

I had been thinking about writing something quite different for my reflections column today. When, however, a guest blog post I had written for my friend, Anu Lal at the The Indian Commentator on the subject of higher education in the 21st century U.S. received attention beyond my expectation, I decided to share with you my quite fresh text (posted on 4th of July). I hope you also will think my deliberations (however lighthearted they may appear to be) on the subject matter to be relevant not only in academia but also in professions outside it – as several of my friends on another platform concluded.

I wish you a wonderful day today as well as a great new week, and, as always, look very much forward to your next visit.

And my guest blog post is at: DON’T THINK I AM AN APP!

 

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what is the matter with the world today?

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(Black Rose of Halfeti, Turkey)

 

My heart is heavy today. It has been for a while. Not because of an unfortunate development in my life, or in the lives of my family and friends. It is due rather to an ongoing accumulation inside that red ticking box of mine of the terrifying news from South Sudan, Chibok, Nigeria, Lahore, Pakistan, Southern Asia, Africa at large, Latin America, the Caribbean, Turkey, Germany and the United States. Coming to terms with the extent of violence that has occurred and keep occurring hasn’t been possible for me this time. Then again, I often get this way: become non-functional, if I let too much sorrow from around me seep through me. This time, I had to let it bleed to a poem attempt.

 

what’s the matter with the world today?

 

it is not one sweetest Malala only to feel forlorn

nor a love-filled Farzana helpless outside her unborn

the countless still remaining ageless nameless and faceless

halved alive after witnessing butchery of their newborns

or etched to the bones with their hunters so sadistic

their supplies had mercy to end it all at last

 

i think of

schools

babies

 

scorched dispensable innocents in sky-high districts

in routine safe A to B B to A making-a-living-transits

walking explosives under modesty cloaks in pregnancy disguise

the piloting sons their heroes they may not even a second despise

for mauling to their stone-aged lairs more and more younger child brides

 

i think of

schools

babies

 

papas selling infant daughters

mamas in silence guilty standing by

brothers uncles nephews proud to lend a capable hand

a bowed head from in-lawed blood-seekers no longer a demand

sisters aunts nieces even if at all around

don’t dare or care anymore to disband

 

i think of

schools

babies

 

hülya n yılmaz – June 28, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

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…where the spirit moved me today…

imageThe “Tarzan” of Sinop in Sinop, Turkey

Perhaps it is the arrival of summer in its loyal promise to don its sun just for me, for one minuscule moment of time, flooding its heat over my yearningly aged body with a bright touch of blue, all the way to the tips of my toes…the sensation in me ebbing in waves…or, maybe I am infected with that delicious microbe reappearing in my young self’s eyes yet once again, for no reason at all…I am taken aback by the irresistible chime of the break-fast bell under the wings of a dove about to land on my nostalgia for Sinop…

Can Yücel.semihcelenk_13510967644

Can Yücel is said to have been a lover of serenity, the simple life, whose images always reminded me of the Sinopian in the first picture but even more so after I learned how this famous Turkish poet had preferred to live  - not necessarily in a self-made hut but certainly catering to uncomplicated living. I admit: my obsession with remote areas and simplicity in all aspects of existence tends to overwhelm me when I least expect an ambush of that nature. Such as today. When the air in my study began to thicken taking away my breath, while my desire to materialize their reality intensified. No such luck! Therefore, I spanned overseas where both of these men special in their own unique ways lived and died. What a pity! I wasn’t moved to a new poem I could share with you. However, I lowered my translation bridge to one of Yücel’s poems…

Ukte

Dünyamın güzeli martılar
Sizden nasıl da yok yere korkmuşum
Kaşık Ada’nın orda!

Dalın üstüme dalın
Vurun beni, vurun
Denizanası kokan gagalarınızla!
Ah sizden ben nasıl da yok yere korkmuşum!

Bilmiyordum ki çünkü
Ben hem balığım hem kuşum

Ben ama hala anlayamıyorum ki
Bunca zaman niye sizden ayrı oturmuşum

Regret

My precious seagulls

How I had been fearing you for nothing

On the Island of Kaşık!

 

Plunge into me plunge

Strike me, strike

With your bills of jellyfish smell!

Alas! How I had been fearing you for nothing!

 

For I knew not

A fish also a bird I am

 

But I still can’t understand

Why all this time I lived apart from you

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…on Madiba (and myself): a post-humous poem…

Before I knew even an approximate location of his village of birth on the world map (for lack of geographic vision on my behalf), I had heard about the “freedom fighter Nelson Mandela of Africa” while I was still on Turkish grounds. My undergraduate years helped me intensify my admiration for him – though still not at all with any in-depth understanding of what he meant for humanity at large. Only later was I to attain the appreciation of his gift to people everywhere. Below, I am sharing with you a poem I wrote from the perspective of a little girl. While I refer to her as “a little girl”, she embodies the young woman who became the object of ridicule on account of her interest in a far away continent but also for behaving as if she were a native disciple of a most prominent world leader. She then meets Madiba, her object of adoration, after all. And when she does,  she complains to him about her unsuccessful attempts to connect with him – this time, her mannerism is that of a spoiled little child. In despair, she concludes she arrived too late. It was her lifelong wish to see her Madiba, after all. However, for her (unversed) celebration of integrity, dignity, fairness, persistence, love of freedom, peace and humanity - the makings of life’s aorta she learned from this legendary human being, there is no lateness. As she realizes it in her grown matter. For she is “no longer the same”…

 

what, did you say, your name is?

 

neither an African nor with any other honor

yet

i

dared

to wait for my turn…

Sir

 

too many call you father brother “our leader”

i have for long been reading their proud demeanor

from the ever so negligent sidelines

cursing my whiteness along most times

 

i, too, have known you all my life!

spreading your word has still been a strife

ridiculed when in my native land

to the mundane most would rather clap a hand

no one could utter Xhosa even the word

Zulu or Afrikaans? nowhere to be heard

 

i am grateful better yet in a daze

in disbelief of my timing of seeing these days

i beg of you imagine, Sir: Qunu

why did i deserve bunu*

i trekked ocean crests and river beds

slept in caves made tree tops my nests

doves and eagles flew with me to find my way

not even once did i go astray

 

tears now flood in me in red

from Sinop to Eastern Cape

what use? i am so gravely late!

 

 

Madiba Sir? my name?

 

hülya n yılmaz, no longer the same

 

*Impersonal pronoun in Turkish in the accusative case meaning “this”

[Inner Child Press Mandela anthology]

~ ~ ~

Before I sign off for today, I would also like to refresh an announcement I made to you a few weeks back regarding the launch of my part-time freelance writing and editing business. Instead of adding another blog, I ended up creating my own webpage, Services for the Professional Writer.

As always, my best wishes are with you for your Sunday and new week. I look forward to your next visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As inspired by…

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 search

 

A few days of the past week, I have been working on a foreword for a collaborative anthology honoring Rolihlahla Mandela – Nelson Mandela, or Madiba, as he has been called affectionately by many people. Unfortunately, I had missed out on the chance to be one of the contributing poets to this book that is very dear to me. For, what I always focused on has been the humanist efforts of this “last great liberator of the 20th century (US President Barack Obama).” You have known my struggles along the way to accept the countless violations of the members of humanity across the globe as one of life’s most brutal realities. You also know a few of my scattered attempts to write against or about them or on account of them. Today is not different. Here I am, with your most appreciated visit, aiming to do exactly that: drafting a poem inspired by Madiba’s actions throughout his life. Should you desire to lend me feedback, I would greatly appreciate your kind act. It is a draft…so please, allow your comments to be as harsh as you would like them to be…

As always, I very much look forward to your next visit and wish that the rest of your Sunday as well as your new week will meet all your expectations.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

a mere twelve-year-old

when most of our youngsters

opt to bond with their electronics

for the sake of higher capacity, a newer model

amid extensive comfort and ease

only and always themselves to please

 

with no parental guidance

in a forgotten earthly place

he knew there was more to chase

how life at large needed his grace

 

against all odds…as we cluelessly say

 

he trekked through ordeals  infinitely rare

they must have appeared as could he no longer bear

he thought

fought in thought

in tireless patience

endeared his homeland for worldwide acceptance

justice soon followed for the separated

alienatists’ treasured thrones colors faded

 

“We can’t afford to be killing one another.”

 

it is likely Africa was his referent

the call for peace though spans far beyond

his soul after all wasn’t known as indifferent

he was aware of nations forever ghastly pawned

 

if killing one another is no option

then…

 

if i don’t she he doesn’t

lest they do or we

who in defense of justice for humanity will ever be

 

© hülya n yılmaz (June 7, 2014)

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