I really can’t say when it began, but I can say it began here in Baku, Azerbaijan. Back in March I realized, in the midst of conversation, that our language had shifted to Woolx-speak. It happened as follows, something I immediately wrote down: “Hey, did you check online for the temperatures today?” “Yep. Cool again.
The subways of North America are very functional. Build an underground railway to haul people about and that is what happens. Down we go, on board we shuffle, out and up and into the streetscape. These great tunnels in a subterranean nowhere-land seem simple enough, yet hopelessly pragmatic. Riding a subway seems to be the
The tinge of smoke drifts down narrow streets and through alleyways that connect apartment buildings with the small produce shops and grocery markets that carve out their existence in the irregular spaces between. Small boys rush by, laughing as they push and jostle one another. The gathering darkness, however, seems to hold no alarm. Men
What a place of wonder Baku on the Caspian must have been to the ancients. Smoke belching from the ground, fire leaping up from fissures in the earth, strange hissing noises all around, pools of water hot enough to cook meals in. While we might associate this with the literature of science fiction, notions of
It’s been a haul. The famed city of Baku, distant and mysterious, is not a place found just down the street. One way to reach Baku – nearly 6,000 miles and nine time zones east from New York – is through Istanbul. From Istanbul the next path of flight cuts eastward, straight across Turkey, skirting
The line to get in is long but at least it is moving, a determined stretch of curious winter-clothed tourists along a solid, tall wall covered by yellow-beige plaster. Voices ebb and flow in various languages from the patient crowd, their banter competing with the street cacophony of
“Harlem!” “Harlem!” The accented voice rose above the din of the crowd pressing in the alley. “Over here! Hello! Come and see!” My backpack emblazoned with the New York standard had done its work again. Among the vendors perched among their spices and sweets a hand waved and then beckoned. “Yes!” the voice shouted.
One of my favourite cooks in one of my favourite haunts here in upstate country shocked me several weeks ago. What he said made my sizzling kebabs slip from my fingers. “I’m going,” he announced in his soft, delightfully accented Turkish voice. “Going where?” I queried from my counter stool. “Finished for tonight?” “No, all
Bang, slam, whump. Screech, clang, crunch. Man, we humans are a noisy bunch. Over the years it’s become more and more difficult to find a place of perfect solitude. I keep a special place in my heart for David Thoreau, who saw the evils in industrialization already in the 19th century. While Ralph Waldo Emerson
There’s something to be said about the feel of a small town. Successful novel writers know this and have used the small town theme endlessly for all kinds of good reasons. Thorton Wilder wrote a rather successful play about life in a small village in New Hampshire. Over in Maine, a place E. B. White