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New Year’s Day to July 2008—–The best view I’d ever had. Boats drawn while sitting up in bed looking out at the Marmara. I loved living on the the edge of Istanbul’s Old CIty, over the ruined palace and the sea, with little support but a fondness for old stone. This book includes a lot of drawings of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It’s the oldest continuously-occupied city in Europe, going back 8000 years. It fell to Philip of Macedon a mere 2500 years ago. It’s had many names, but Plovdiv is actually Bulgarian. I went there by train for one day every three months for four years, to renew my Turkish residence visa. During that time I was paying huge rent by freelancing, so one day was all I could afford. It was bliss to wander about Plovdiv drawing with no thought of anything else.

My bedroom over the railroad, looking out to the sea.



I live for the mornings – My Dark Places – James Ellroy – New Year’s Day 2008—–After a summer of bullying and financial terror, I’d enjoyed a wonderful holiday which reminded me of who I am. So I found a fine apartment far from creeps and moved into it. My balcony and bedroom overlooked the old Orient Express rail line, the ruins of the Boukoleon Palace, and the Marmara Sea. Then Obama won the Presidential election. My cup ran over on this splendid day, spent lounging in the new bedroom with the new view, the cats, and a good book by an old cohort.


-Lingering lonely in the cold by the side of the highway-Boukoleon Palace out my window-First snow-January-2008—–The Boukoleon Palace was built by the Iconoclastic Emperor Theophilos in the 9th century. Originally clad in vivid multicolored marble, later studded with statues, it rose up out of the sea, ships sailing right up below its stunning portals. We can glimpse one of them from the back of this surviving colonnade. The Palace was burned by 4th Crusaders in 1204, dynamited by the British in 1871 to build the Orient Express, and semi-demolished by the Turkish Republic to build the highway in 1962. Now it’s a dog run.


By day he’s Levent but by night he’s NIKKI WILD, the coolest rocker in Turkey.-Cihangir-6 January-2008—–A Turkish friend, seeing this, said, “Oh, THAT guy. I know THAT guy!! Everybody in Istanbul knows that guy. Back in high school, no scene, so lame, but there was that guy!! Nikki ran for years the cleanest rock club in Beyoglu. I hope he’s happy.


-The Gatekeeper at Ağır Kapi: He nods and touches his hat to every car and person through the gate. Istanbul abounds with ghosts and although he grinned at his portrait I am not sure he hasn’t always been there, so I drew him as part of the wall. The other old man is just coming through the gate—–All the diverse elements of Istanbul: 4thC Byzantine sea-wall, topped by 15thC Ottoman turrets, modern highway, the massive ship out in the Bosporus. Why not a ghost? He’s in the wall at left, above the arch.


-Out my front window January 08-2008—–  High glee with every snowfall. Later the belidiye salted the hill. Safer but no fun. Spectral light over the Marmara out my back window, snowball fight in front. A happy time!


I made these little portrait djinns for the Kybele Hotel Christmas tree. Here they are, the three Akbayrak brothers, former owners of Kybele Hotel: Sultan Alpaslan, Mystic Hasan, and Djinn Mike on his flying carpet.

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