The UnReal in Real

Finally, Julie once again moved out of her house. But this time she had a teacher, she had a friend that was inside her. And she had a load of history that she wanted to leave in her old house.

In her new place, everything was a little bit strange. The windows were strange, the little dog that she took in was strange, and the scene outside of the window was strange. Julie was a bit confused, but every time she felt weak, she uttered: “Nare should live.” And kept on working, doing her regular job and living in the new house as if nothing had changed.

She enjoyed taking her dog out for a walk. People in Armenia don’t like when daughters leave their families when they are not married. And they looked at her with strange eyes asking why are you walking alone when your family lives down the block. Julie wished that she would not notice these looks, but they made her even more persistent. They made her believe in her dream of the unreal in real, which had nothing to do with their looks. They made her think that her whole life was a struggle to be whole, to be one and to ignore anything that stands in the way of that wholeness. She was sure that she deserved her separate life for which she had struggled a lot.

Yet the panic of laziness still chased Julie. But there was much Nare inside her. She was more persistent and much more like her teacher. She knew her like her own self, and she could notice the elements of the valley where she lived with Nare in her house.

That was a house of peace and gratefulness.

Gradually, her life started changing. She met people much like the ones in the communities where she was with Nare. These were kind, cheerful people that would share a piece of bread with you. She liked sitting with them and chatting and laughing. There was some Nare in all these people. She was present in every woman and child. Julie knew that, and that made her love these people even more.

The only problem was her old family. They did not like to see Julie separate and happy. For a very long time, they told her that she wouldn’t be able to live on her own. And today when Julie was not only overcoming mundane challenges but was also happy, this made her family somewhat mean.

Julie would visit them, and she felt sad for these people who wanted to control her all her life. She was sad because these people did not do that out of evil but because they thought that they were doing her good. They wanted to decide her fate. They wanted to live her life instead of letting her live it. They wanted to breathe instead of letting her breathe. That had cost Julie a lot. That had driven Julie into depression and caused many many years of suffering. Sometimes the greatest evil arises from goodwill. Julie knew that they had not wanted to hurt her, that in their heart they knew what was right. And they had wanted that right to become hers. It had cost a life, a whole life.

Julie did not hate them. She had forgiven them long ago. Her mission was not to gain revenge for the lost years. Her mission now was to be faithful to Nare. And every day when she woke up, she would look out of the window and see the valley, the valley where she lived with Nare. In fact, all she saw were shops and people passing by, but there was so much beauty that it reminded her of their valley of people and happiness.

Nare was her secret, her inner teacher, her self. She was the lessons learned through tears, and she was the secret hope that one day she would be the one that is capable of magic even in this world. Her new life was part of this magic. Her new life was the beginning of a new story where the queen was Nare inside Julie.

The New Life

Julie could notice more joy and slight moments of pleasure in her new life – ones she had not known before. That was unusual. She enjoyed most of the moments of her being. But she also withered attacks from the old life as well. Sometimes she would feel too lazy to even stand up and look out a window; sometimes she wouldn’t want to take the dog out. But the lesson was written everywhere on the walls of her new house: DO WHAT YOU ARE LAZY ABOUT. It took power, it took willpower to overcome the attacks of laziness and boredom, but she overcame them much more easily.

Was it the beginning of a new start? She did not know. All she knew was that she would not let the misery of the old life conquer her again. When she recalled the days, she was horrified. All the horrors were left in the past. She was not going back.

One day an old man came to her house. He was a beggar. He asked for money, but he did not ask for free money. He gave her a bracelet that had a letter on it. There was a little “N” on it. Tears streamed from Julie’s eyes. She understood that Nare makes her presence felt. That she was not alone. That the unreal life where she traveled with Nare was giving her signs. She held the bracelet in her hand and looked into the eyes of the beggar. They were cheerful, and a happy smile spread over his face as he said, “Keep it. You deserve it.”

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More work by Nane Sevunts (Armine Asyran)

From Uncertainty to Newness – transposing emblem by Nane Sevunts

An Era to Close – short story by Nane Sevunts

Emblems and stories on Armenia

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Armenia and other countries

Credits

Cover photo of Yerevan, Armenia by Levon Vardanyan (Unsplash)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

First Lessons

All the time that Julie lived in the real world, Nare was whispering in her ear. She taught her to do what she really wanted.

Julie wanted simple things. She liked to put her feet into the water and stand for long hours under a shower. When Julie would put her feet into the water, she could feel the presence of Nare. When she stood under the shower, the noise of the water reminded her of the waterfall in the unreal world where they lived with Nare. She also loved music. She would put on earphones and walk in the nearby park. These were elements of Nare. And Julie knew that Nare was reviving her only through these moments. She knew that her soul was flourishing in her when she did what she really enjoyed.

The second lesson that Nare taught Julie was persistence to do things that she was lazy about. Sometimes she would be so lazy she didn’t make her bed. Nare taught her persistence. Julie knew that Nare was not like her. She had will power, and she could overcome the moments of boredom and laziness. Julie cried. She had been taught to be passive. She had been taught not to go after her dreams. She had a sense of responsibility to Nare. Only by being Julie could Nare pursue revival. And Julie cried. She was lazy and without will power. For a very long time, she lived in idleness and boredom and forgot about Nare. But there were days when she would remember that she had a sense of duty to Nare and when she was lazy about doing something, she stood up and made enormous efforts. These were simple things like washing the dishes or going for a walk or doing painting or writing a poem. Two people were fighting in Julie – the one who wanted to do nothing and suffer and the one who wanted to revive. When Julie made an effort and did simple things that she was too lazy to do, something clicked in her heart. She understood that she was in the right. After she made an effort and did simple tasks, she would feel a source of energy inside herself and a sense of joy. So, that’s it! I discovered the trick! Julie was happy, but the laziness was extreme.

DO WHAT YOU ARE LAZY ABOUT! – That’s was Nare’s lesson. Julie was not a diligent student, but Nare was a persistent teacher. Julie knew that Nare would give her a chance even when she was 80. Julie knew that Nare would not give up.

DO WHAT YOU ARE LAZY ABOUT! – Julie was confused. Her whole body wanted idleness, and her soul wanted life, energy.

Nare did not want to take Julie to the unreal world. She wanted to build the same magic in the real world. Julie knew that, but a lot depended on her.

(To be continued…)

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More work by Nane Sevunts (Armine Asyran)

From Uncertainty to Newness – transposing emblem by Nane Sevunts

An Era to Close – short story by Nane Sevunts

Emblems and stories on Armenia

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Armenia and other countries

Credits

Cover photo of Yerevan, Armenia by Levon Vardanyan (Unsplash)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Travel with Nare

Nare opened up a world of unlimited possibilities to her. Everything was possible with her. She was the light in the darkness. They created a house in a valley where you could sit on the porch and listen to the songs of the birds. They had a shower under the waterfall in the nearby mountains. They ate fruit and only fruit. Apples, peaches, pears, plums were their nourishment. They enjoyed each other’s company and were grateful to live in a world without limitations.

When they were bored, they would travel to another community where people lived in families. These communities were the happiest groups on earth. They sang when they made food; they sat at long tables and ate together and shared bread with each other.

These were their neighbors.

If they wanted, they could invite actors to show them tricks, and they laughed and ran after rabbits and deer. This was their entertainment.

Sometimes they would decide to put on their backpacks and go to the mountains. Sometimes they traveled to crazily overcrowded places and laughed long hours at the cafes and bars downtown in the most famous cities. Then they would walk and get tired and go back to their room and lay down for a long, healthy sleep.

After every trip, they would come back to the house in their valley and enjoy the true beauty of nature. They were happy, and they did not regret a single moment that they spent together. They could chat, they could be silent for many, many hours, and there were so many words in this silence. It was life – in the full sense of the word, and there was a magical charm in it.

Nare and Julie were one body and soul. They could hear the song of the air, and they could fly to the cosmos if they wanted. But their enjoyment had one limitation.

It was not real…

Reality was the opposite of the world of Nare and Julie. Reality was boredom, sadness, disloyalty, fakeness, and cheating.

From time to time, Julie would leave Nare and return to the real world. She was bored and unhappy in this world, but these moments happened. Most of the time she was in the real world. The world offered nothing to her but wanted her attention and care and love. The world gave nothing to her but wanted every single element of her. And she was exhausted in this world.

She traveled back and forth. Sometimes she would sit in a park with Nare and listen to the birds singing. These were precious moments when Nare would be with her in the real world.

Julie did not know where to settle – in the world of Nare or in the real world. She felt self-realization only with Nare, but these were only fantasies. After some days and weeks of traveling with Nare, she would come back and see the same faces that were full of hatred and humiliation. She would come back to the real world.

Nare was not only a friend. She was a teacher. She wanted Julie to have the same charm in the real world. But there were so many forces that did not allow the magic to happen. Nare wanted to revive Julie. She wanted Julie to become Nare and settle on this planet and enjoy the charm that they experienced when they were together. Nare wanted to rejuvenate Julie, and there was a fight inside Julie. Julie saw the world full of hatred and could not understand how that god-like being could live in the real world. She could not understand how she could help Nare to become a member of this planet. And she was sad. She was sad because she disappointed her friend. Because Nare wanted a world where there were no limitations, a world of absolute freedom and respect inside Julie. Only then Nare could settle in Julie. Only then could they become one.

(To be continued…)

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More work by Nane Sevunts (Armine Asyran)

From Uncertainty to Newness – transposing emblem by Nane Sevunts

An Era to Close – short story by Nane Sevunts

Emblems and stories on Armenia

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Armenia and other countries

Credits

Cover photo of Yerevan, Armenia by Levon Vardanyan (Unsplash)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

The UnReal in Real

I noticed her when she took her first steps. She saw a strange object on the floor and crawled up close. It was a teddy bear. It was the first object with two hands and two feet, one mouth and two ears that she recognized as a being. It looked like her, like her mom and grandma, and she wanted to know what it was like and what it was doing on the floor. It was her first acquaintance with the world. The teddy bear emitted a “buuu” when she turned it on its back. It frightened Julie, and she started crying.

Fear. The first emotion she experienced from interaction with the world was fear. She simply assumed that the world was not a safe place. Later, fear would guide her in many different aspects of her life. A naïve toy like a teddy bear became the start of a journey where fear was a part of something bigger – bigger than the teddy bear, bigger than herself.

I have known Julie all my life. I know what she is like, how she feels and what it means to be Julie. I know it because…. Pardon me, I am the self of Julie. I have been with her since she was a child.

Julie will cry in her bed when no one watches her. She will pretend she doesn’t notice your rude attitude, but her tongue will freeze in her mouth when you are disrespectful to her. Julie will not say anything. Her body will shrink, and she will become a tiny little girl if you upset her. Mentally she will disappear and…. Yes, she will start killing herself bit by bit.

I remember one day she was playing with the other children in the yard. Julie wanted to be with them. She wanted to be one of them. But she was separate. She did not feel part of the group. The other children knew that, and they treated her specially. They gave her specially bad or specially good treatment.

Julie enjoyed the feeling of being special, but being special comes with a lot of hardship. Most often you are alone. You are not like others, and other people will try to prove that you are worse than them. Julie was used to that, but it hurt. She enjoyed being separate and being special and at the same time she suffered.

This is how it continued until the day when she met me, her self.

“Julie, you should be strong,” I kept on saying. She listened to that and made herself determined to overcome all emotional barriers. But her body kept on shrinking every time she saw a violent face or brutal treatment. She became small.

And one day she decided to move away from her family and house and settle in another place. That was a courageous decision, and she knew she was right. She left everything – her job, her place, her family and wanted to start over from scratch. She began teaching English to kids and adults in her new house and earned money for living by teaching in the capital of one of the smallest countries in the Caucasus Region – Armenia. People here were friendly, but they lived in their separate boxes. They could be nice to you but not more than that. Her problems were her problems.

At night she would think of little demons that would visit her here and there. She was idle most of the time and kept on reading different books. The demons became bigger and bigger. They started visiting her more often and even during the day. Sometimes she would shout at them and tell them to go to hell. Things were not right anymore.

The signs of depression were already there. She thought she was being watched and that made her mad. The person who was watching her was someone she did not know. She decided to go to neighboring Georgia to meet that person. Things were not right anymore.

When she was traveling on the train, the people in her carriage knew she was not healthy. The only thing she was doing was reading the Bible. When they asked where she was going, she said she did not know.

But she did not reach Georgia. They found out that she did not have an external foreign visa that you need when you cross the border of Armenia. She stepped off the train on the border somewhere near Georgia and went to the church in the little town of Spitak. She met the priest there. He arranged so that she could stay with a family that lived in a train carriage. They had a daughter that she liked very much and spent time with. She was disabled and the most courageous person she had ever seen.

Soon she was back at her mom’s house and ended up in a place where she was supposed to be – in a mental hospital. They gave her pills, and that made her a little bit peaceful. She was grateful for the treatment and did as they told her.

Years passed, she had phases of depression and phases of health. And this is where she met me – her self again. She called me Nare – someone she adored and wanted to be like. Nare became her second “me” and she started a new life where Nare was the queen.

(To be continued…)

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More work by Nane Sevunts (Armine Asyran)

From Uncertainty to Newness – transposing emblem by Nane Sevunts

An Era to Close – short story by Nane Sevunts

Emblems and stories on Armenia

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Armenia and other countries

Credits

Cover photo of Yerevan, Armenia by Levon Vardanyan (Unsplash)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

By Seyit Ali Dastan

After returning home, I told my mom that I was not being very helpful with reminding my father of the past. All night we discussed what to do and, in the end, I suggested that we take a trip through Cappadocia, to the shore of the Mediterranean in Turkey, and ending in Antalya. On the trip, we could make stops that might trigger some memories in him.

After some discussion, we decided not to do it. My mother said that foreign tourist prices were charged for the Cappadocian sites. If the three of us entered the Ihlara Valley, a beautiful, historical area in the middle of Anatolia, which we regularly visited in the past, we would need to pay more than the cost of travelling there. Even the sight-seeing area was subject to a charge, she added. I didn’t insist on the trip since I knew that it might also be full of disappointment. We could no longer visit Burdur Lake or many other smaller ones that were bird sanctuaries, as they had completely dried up. The beaches in the Belek district of Antalya, where we went swimming, were allocated to hotels and no longer open to the public. The forests around them had been converted to recreation areas, with many trees being cut down to open up golf courses.

Rather than making visits, I spent a few more days at home with my father. We took walks during the day and spent the evenings talking about the past. We looked at the photo albums from more than ten years ago. The photos from the more recent period were stored on some flash drives and CDs. The CDs were not readable now, and I was not sure where to find the drives. It was enough to return to our childhood photos when my father was much younger. In one of those photos I was reading a book – probably The Old Man and the Sea. Then my father asked:

“Do you still want to be a writer?”

Did I want to be a writer? “I’m not sure,” I replied.

He was right, but I just didn’t want to say “Yes.” Yet I didn’t want to give him an incorrect answer and continued talking about it:

“Do you remember I once asked you how I should start writing a story; I mean the first sentence…”

“Let me show you something…” he said, and started to search through the bookshelf. Soon he found a notebook of mine from many years ago. He pointed to my handwritten words on the first page. It went exactly like this: He was walking down the cobblestone-paved street to our home. But it consisted of only this sentence. The rest of the notebook was completely blank. He continued with sympathetic self-confidence: “Maybe, I didn’t completely lose my memory.” We laughed together. Then my mother intervened:

“Son, never write on political subjects! Never!”

“Don’t worry, mom! I won’t. I won’t write at all. Today, people don’t have the patience to read more than a few sentences.”

On the morning of the day I was leaving Kayseri, while I was in the bedroom, the telephone rang. I heard my father speaking to a person on the phone. After I left the bathroom, he said:

“Wrong number. Somebody asked for ‘Seyfi’,” he said.

“That’s me!” I replied and abruptly took the phone and dialed the person who had called. After the conversation was over, I saw my father gazing at me perplexedly.

“Did I forget my dear son’s name?” he asked.

“No, dad. You didn’t. I had to change my name.”

“Change your name?”

“You may find it a bit confusing, but I had to change it a bit. The government has published my name in the official gazette, claiming that I am linked to terrorism. I can’t set up new business contacts with this name because people search it in google and see me on that list. Believe me, dad, I could not even rent a flat because of it. I emailed Google and asked them not to list my name like that, but it didn’t work. Anyway, this is not an official name change. You can consider it a nickname.”

“All right. But if you are known by such a name, you cannot get your former name back again,” he said rightfully.

“Sorry, dad. This is the only way to survive.”

“I believe you are doing what is best, son. I trust you…”

While I was packing my bags before going to the airport, my father came to my room and handed over the notebook he had shown me the day before. Beforehand, he smelled it deeply and said:

“Maybe there are not many things left worth remembering, but the scents are the exception, and the scent of the notebook is unforgettable. Take it as a gift.”

“Thanks, dad! But cobblestones are no longer used. This story would belong to period fiction, which you may not remember,” I joked.

“Yes, our lives are all asphalt, cement and plastic now.”

In the afternoon, I got on the plane to Istanbul, where my wife and son would meet me at the airport. All the way, I had mixed feelings regarding my father. His condition was not that bad, and he would get well in time. But the damage was severe, and he might not regain the health he enjoyed before. Losing your memory, whether the good or bad parts of it, is losing your life; and I had not been able to bring back any part of his life again.

As the plane descended, we passed over Istanbul, a city ten times the size of Kayseri. On each of my flights over Istanbul, I realized that the buildings were growing and spreading like vigorous plants. I looked at the city from above and tried to recognize famous spots. I saw the iconic building of Haydarpaşa Rail Station, which used to be the end point for trains coming from mainland Asia to Istanbul, but had now been abandoned without a clear fate. On the other side of the Bosporus, Gezi Park, which had been besieged by expanding areas of concrete and asphalt, was barely visible. The park was the stage for long-lasting “occupy” protests a couple of years ago when people opposed the cutting of the trees and the replacement of the park with new buildings. I understood that they were not merely fighting to save the park, the trees or nature, but more to save their memories. And temporarily, the people were triumphant.

At that moment, I suddenly had the feeling that the apocalypse had already happened, not with a bang, but a whimper; and we are now living in a post-apocalyptic world. This is not the world of Mad Max, for sure. The apocalypse has happened in such a tempting way and so slowly that we didn’t even realize what our world has turned out to be.

The plane landed a few minutes later, and I met my wife and son at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport, which would be deserted in a few months as a new airport had been constructed in the north of Istanbul. Walking through the arrival gates, knowing that it would probably be our last time inside, I hugged my son and caught a whiff of the area right under his neck where I perceived his scent most intensely.

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More work by Seyit Ali Dastan

Uncertain Waters – Short story

Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – Short story

Living in the Pendulum between Turkey and Syria – Short story

Emblems and stories on Turkey

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Turkey and other countries

Credits

Cover photo of Kayseri, Turkey by Attraction Art

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

By Seyit Ali Dastan

The doctor’s comments boosted my morale. Because this was not a disease that continuously deteriorates like dementia. He might not totally recover, but he would get better in time.

As soon as we got back home, I started to think about what I could do to stimulate my father’s memory. I needed to find places where we shared the past together. The first thought that came to mind was to return to the schools I had attended. Since he had also been a teacher, education had always held an important place for him. I knew he really liked to talk about the educational institutions in my past.

Early the next day, we left home to visit the primary school I had finished around twenty years ago. My father once said that he realized I had grown up when he left me alone in the school and watched me walk in the yard. Every time he mentioned it, I could see the emotion in his eyes. With this feeling, I drove my father’s car to the school. It was at the center of Kayseri, and its name was Ahmet Paşa İlkokulu, or Ahmet Paşa Primary School. When we arrived at the place of the school, I was shocked. There was no school building. It had totally disappeared. What I saw instead was a crowded parking garage where you feel the heat of the cars and smell the scent of the tires and old oil. I didn’t understand how this had happened because I clearly remembered the metal plate on the entry gate of the school documenting its establishment in 1865. It was probably the oldest school in Kayseri; now demolished and replaced by a garage.

“Why did we come here, son? Are you going to park the car?” he asked.

“Well… I was just…” – I could not explain it to my father. “No, we won’t park here. We were just passing by,” I replied, and, luckily, my father didn’t really know why we had come here.

I then drove the car to my second school, Küçükçalık Anadolu Lisesi, or Küçükçalık Anatolian Middle School, which was between primary school and high school. My father had frequently come here to talk with my teachers. To be honest, it was a period when I often skipped the lessons and just hung out with my friends. Once one of my friends joked, “Seyit, your father is at school more than you are.” My father was actually showing up at the school to discipline me. It was a period of conflict between an adolescent and adult.

We got out of the car when we arrived. But it was difficult to recognize the place after many years. The poplar trees that used to encircle the school no longer existed. They must have been cut due to the pollens they spread during May. It was a trendy idea recently: Poplar trees should be in rural areas and those in cities should be cut. They were completely wiped out from the cities in a decade. Without them, my school was basically a naked building, however. But it was not only the trees. A new road ran straight across the yard. A newer building behind the school had also reduced the size of the yard. While looking at the school with my father, I asked,

“Dad, do you remember the middle school I used to attend?” – He looked for a while and replied:

“No, not really!”

“Me neither,” I said.

Having failed to find something that could stimulate my father’s memory on the first day, we turned back home. I thought that it would be better to go the Kayseri Fen Lisesi, or Kayseri Science High School, which was a boarding school. My father and I had a lot of memories from there because he had taught physics for more than ten years at the school and we lived in the housing facilities allocated to school staff. Furthermore, I also spent two years there and we shared a lot of memories in each corner of the school.

Early in the morning, teeming with emotion, I drove to Kayseri Fen Lisesi. The school was quite far away from the city center of Kayseri – it took half an hour to reach. When we arrived, a guy stopped us at the outer gate and asked why we had come. I said my father used to be a physics teacher in the school and we had lived here. He apologized and said that it was no longer Kayseri Fen Lisesi; now it was Kayseri Spor Lisesi, or Kayseri Sports High School. He didn’t let us go inside. He also added that Kayseri Fen Lisesi had moved to a modern building in the city center. Since we had driven quite a ways, we at least got out and looked at the old school buildings silently. When we returned to the car, I took a final glimpse at the main building, and suddenly got the strange feeling that it was also watching us beyond the walls and gates.

I dedicated the following day to past sports events and places we had some collective memory of. We went directly to the open fields in the district where we used to live when I was a child. There were areas open to everybody, places where we spent time playing soccer, flying kites, and enjoying many other childhood games. My father was just like a friend I remembered very well: We had spent hours at events together. In comparison to yesterday, I had less hope that we would find the place the way we knew it.

So I was not surprised when we arrived: The soccer fields had been converted to artificial turf and covered by huge tents. Of course, it was no longer free to play soccer, as these facilities were for-profit businesses. People were waiting outside the tents and watching the matches.

“Dad, do you remember when we played in here?”

“Maybe… I remember a bit…”

“This place was completely covered by grass. It was not a regular park, of course. We played games… Mainly soccer… There were no normal goal posts. We used big stones to mark the endpoints of the goal. And there weren’t any boundary lines. It was all in our imagination… No need to wait… Because there was enough space for everybody.”

“And the ground was not nearly as clear of small stones or pebbles… there were even cattle droppings.” We laughed. – The area was occasionally used for feeding cows, probably because of some small backyard stables nearby.

“In the late afternoon, there could be more than a hundred people in the meadow. Fathers, sons, daughters… We were all in there. If it was kite season, like May or September, you could see close to a hundred kites swirling above.”

“I remember, son; our kite was usually one of the highest.”

“Exactly, dad, it was far above the others; and once the string ripped and we had to run after it, street by street.”

Our conversation continued for half an hour. Although I could not completely lift the veil on my father’s memory of the place and period we spent together, he recalled some of what I was describing. Having seen the traces of memory in my father’s mind, I drove the car straight to the city’s sports center where the stadium and basketball fields are located.

After all, I was not very surprised to see that the city’s main sports facilities had disappeared entirely. They were right at the center of Kayseri and had a beautiful location that residents could reach. I had wanted to remind my father of the matches occasionally played at Kayseri Sports Club. The long lines we had at the gates, the sunflower seeds we ate – an exclusively Turkish snack habit –, the chants we shouted together, the regrets after defeat and the joy we shared after victories, the road we walked while going there… All had been left behind…

What I saw was a quite ugly hotel and shopping mall adjacent to it.

I googled the new place for the stadium. It was far away from the city center. As I check the search engine hits, I saw the mayor’s comment: “Not a single lira paid by us for the construction of the new stadium.” But he didn’t mention what happened to public space at the heart of the city and in turn why this place was allocated to new business owners.

“Why did we come here, son,” my father asked.

After taking a deep breath to gain time, I replied, “Mom has some orders; we need to go into the mall.” Luckily, he didn’t resist, and we did some shopping inside.

(Part 3 to follow on January 25…)

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More by Seyit Ali Dastan

Uncertain Waters – Short story

Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – Short story

Living in the Pendulum between Turkey and Syria – Short story

More on Turkey

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Turkey and other countries

Credits

Cover photo of Kayseri, Turkey by Attraction Art

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

By Seyit Ali Dastan

He was walking down the asphalt-paved street to our home. I was waiting on the side, following his slow steps with my eyes. Just like any other summer day, he wore a blue T-shirt. He seemed so carefree and calm that I envied him for a second. We had celebrated his 65th birthday six months ago. But as he got closer to me, he seemed younger than I recalled. This was the first change that I noticed. My impression was that his facial expression had become smoother. He recognized me only when he was quite close. When he saw me, he became very pleasant; we hugged each other as if we were two friends. He was my father Mehmet and had recently had a brain hemorrhage that had wiped out some of his memory.

I went to see my father two weeks after what had happened to him – because my mother didn’t let me know initially. Only after he was discharged from the hospital and started a new life did my mother call and explain the situation. She said that there was nothing to do at the time – it was all medical staff. The doctor said my father would recover but needed some help. “You should talk to the doctor,” she said.

We scheduled a visit the day I arrived at my parents’ home in Kayseri, a major city in central Turkey. But that evening I tried to understand how extensive the problem was by sort of interrogating him.

“Dad, do you know what happened to you?” I asked.

“Not really, your mother says that there is bleeding in my brain. This caused me to disremember some things,” he replied.

I viewed the answer positively because, if at least he knew he would be able to remember things, that would help him regain his memory. I then asked about some events from our family’s past.

“Do you remember my sister’s wedding?”

“I know she is married, but I don’t exactly know for how long.”

“Do you remember her husband’s or my wife’s name?”

“No,” he said, “But I could recognize them if I saw them on the street.”

The interrogation continued all evening. I realized that he had largely forgotten what had happened in the last 4-5 years. He had almost completely forgotten politics, which he had really liked to follow. The sad events, like my uncles’ death two years ago, had also been lost. He thought that my uncle was alive. Having comprehended the extent of the damage, I asked:

“Do you know where I am working now?”

“You are working in Ankara as a government official.”

The answer led to a moment of silence in the room. I was not sure what to say. Then my mother intervened: “Mehmet! Seyit lost his job after the coup two years ago. The government issued decrees and removed more than a hundred thousand people from their jobs.”

I was not sure whether to say this to my father so directly and tried to stop my mother. But she continued:

“Don’t worry son; your father has also forgotten how to be sad. He doesn’t care about it.”

Indeed, my father did not seem affected by this information. I recalled how he had been glum and anxious when he first heard that I had been ousted after years of service. Now he was completely indifferent.

We continued talking about what I was doing and how I was earning a living. At the end of the night, when I went to bed, I realized that my father had really forgotten what it means to be sad. This was the most upsetting part because if you cannot be sad, that means it is not possible to be happy either. Forgetting cannot be or should not be the cure for anything, I thought.

We woke up early the following day and went to the clinic where the initial procedures had been performed. My father and I visited the doctor who knew his story. The doctor said:

“Mehmet Hocam will get better in time.” – I understood that he knew my father was a teacher, and called him Hocam accordingly. – “The bleeding stroke was in the memory part of his brain. As the bleeding stops, he will recover. But we can’t guarantee the extent of his recovery. When they brought him to the hospital, he couldn’t even remember his wife’s name. As I see now, he has improved greatly in just two weeks.”

“Is there anything we can do to help with this process,” I asked.

“The recovery depends on mental activity. I suggest you encourage him to use his brain. He can solve some puzzles and visit some places you already know. Just try to stimulate his memory by reminding him of past events and venues. But don’t push him and don’t try to teach the past to him.”

(Part 2 to follow on January 18…)

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More by Seyit Ali Dastan

Uncertain Waters – Short story

Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – Short story

Living in the Pendulum between Turkey and Syria – Short story

More on Turkey

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Turkey and other countries

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Over the last three years we have collected texts by international authors on a range of topics that define our time.

In 2017, the topic was instability; during 2018 we looked at uncertainty; and throughout 2019 we published essays, documentaries and short (in part) fictional stories on polarization and extremes.

As regular readers or participants in the perypatetik community know, the international writers come from every part of the globe: from South Africa to America, from Argentina to Mongolia. For the most part, they are also non-native speakers of English, although generally work with the language as translators or in other creative capacities.

Besides learning about the international nature of modern-day phenomena, we have also witnessed a type of transposition.

In literature, transposition involves retaining the form of an original work (usually each sentence) and altering the content on the basis of the change in context. For example, a story by Jane Austen in eighteenth century England is transposed to America today by retaining (fundamentally) all of the sentences, but shifting the content so that it is consistent with our contemporary environment: Rather then travelling to London by horse and buggy, the characters will drive or fly.

The transposition of instability, uncertainty, polarization and extremes was similar. The topic itself (instability, uncertainty, etc.) assumed the place of the independent variable “form,” while the content varied from context to context.

Now we will begin with a literary transposition set entirely in the present-day world. This international transposition will initially consist of independent, unrelated stories similar to what you can find in various other publications (albeit written by non-native speakers in our case). These core stories will then be effectively serialized, with future parts containing parallels across narratives. For example, it is likely that each fictional piece will continue in 2021 with a derivative centering on or involving childhood. As such, each story currently isolated will become a transposition in 2021 when they all depict, examine, reflect… on childhood in their respective countries. Although not yet conclusively determined, this will continue in 2022 with a text involving the same characters as in the first two years, but in relation to some plot involving e.g. relationships or suffering or, perhaps, simply the next stage of life after childhood.

To start, however, we will experience these authors’ views of life in their respective countries. More of their work can be found at our website http://www.perypatetik.net, where their contributions, along with others, have shaped our understanding of the contemporary, neobaroque age.

Provisionally collected under the title of !¡! In the Middle !¡!, these stories will appear in weekly installments like the transposing emblems in recent years, but with one author featured each month.

Here is what’s ahead:

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan
February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran
March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez
April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel
May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko
June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas
July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk
August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido
September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández
October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino
November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake
December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Transposing emblem by Ana Boričić

Introducing Montenegro to someone who has never heard about this small country is always challenging and interesting in so many ways. Everything from the nature and culture to its religion and national structure make Montenegro a land of many extremes. A quick glance at demographic facts on Montenegro shows how everyday life is naturally shaped by many differences and great diversity:

• Its population of a little more than 620,0001 citizens is comparable to a city or part of a metropolis in most countries.
• In one day you can go sea diving and be at top of one of the highest mountains (Bobotov kuk, with an elevation of 2,522 m2).
• The territory of Montenegro covers 13,4503 square kilometers and makes it the 41st4 smallest country in the world.
• There are two alphabets, used as equal, Cyrillic and Latin, and five native languages in official use, with none of them being English.

Kotor, Montenegro – The Bay of Kotor – TMP – An Instant of Time

Being Montenegrin means enjoying a mostly “sunny” life within the borders of national, religious, economic and political differences. Talking about Montenegro lifestyle is difficult because it depends where exactly you find yourself in the country. Despite its small size, the south and north of Montenegro are very distinct when it comes to the lifestyle a person has in these areas.

Budva, Montenegro – Old town – F8 studio

If we start with economic factors indicating the quality of life, there is a big difference in terms of how the economic situation in these areas is developing. The southern belt of Montenegro is attractive to tourists for its wild beauty and for foreign investors because of its economic potential. Although the history of all of Montenegro is very unusual in terms of the number of governments in this Balkan region, the southern part of Montenegro had its own peculiarity and authenticity also in periods when Montenegro did not have its independence, but was part of other state structures (in recent history: the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, etc). Legacies of the cultural heritage (Illyrians, Byzantines, Venetians, Austrians, French, etc.)5 are still present and stunning. Combine that with beautiful nature and this part of Montenegro can be considered unique. Due to the increasing amount of foreign direct investment, the development of infrastructure, as well as many years of priority investments and reliance on “sea” tourism, this part of Montenegro is steadily developing and expanding, sometimes even damaging natural beauty and its resources.

Przno, Montenegro – Vacation – Alexey Oblov

When it comes to the economic aspect of life on the coast, the growing numbers of foreign tourists, investments, as well as the opening of the economy to new international companies has caused this region to be characterized by economic stability. The abundance of sunny days, its proximity to the central (economic) area of Montenegro, good infrastructure and higher salaries are some of the benefits of living by the seaside. Although the tourists during the summer months cause a certain amount of hectic, traffic jams, impede day-to-day obligations, and increase retail prices, these are the costs of generating revenue during the summer, which in many cases is enough for a stable life for the rest of the year. The average resident of Budva, one of the most famous coastal cities in Montenegro, has a very moderate, peaceful life (due to less cultural, social and other urban activity) during the winter, but usually has at least one property/room for rent, which generates substantial passive income.

Perast, Montenegro – Locals relaxing – Danil Voronin

Moving along the road to Podgorica, the capital, and further north, we find that the economy, society and nature differ substantially from the south. Although the northern belt of Montenegro covers more than half of the total territory, the sporadically settled area and poor infrastructure make it inaccessible and therefore less favorable for daily life. Although the beautiful nature is very diverse, and the area has many natural resources, which are also suitable for economic exploitation, the region is underutilized and has suffered from insufficient development. Low salaries, closed factories, few start-ups (despite tax breaks) in this economically backward region have driven young people to migrate to the central and southern part of Montenegro. Although a large percentage of the inhabitants work in agriculture and animal husbandry, these industries are usually at the level of meeting personal needs and are not aimed at further market exploitation. The north of Montenegro holds untouched beauty, diverse in nature, with beautiful scenery, deep canyons, vast pastures, fast rivers, mountainous plateaus and, as such, it is very suitable for developing tourism. The tourism potential of the northern region is steadily being realized, but this has not stopped the exodus of people from this part of Montenegro.

Dobrota, Montenegro – Fishing – Karina Bostanika

The north is becoming more and more empty, with net migration in the period from 2003 to 2011 being minus 17,1616 inhabitants, which is a very significant figure for such a small country. If you live in Mojkovac, a town in the north with 8,622 residents,7 you do not have the opportunity to go to the cinema to watch a movie, enroll in college, play water polo, etc. The only option would be to go to the closest urban town, which is about two and a half hours away. When we consider this distance, it is clear why a certain person would not choose to lead a peaceful life in the north and prefer the central part of Montenegro. The great diversity of the north, the extensive inaccessible rural areas as well as the wild nature make it difficult for the inhabitants to connect. This is unlike the south, which, due to the warmer climate, has “lighter” main roads and is better connected and therefore more visited, culturally richer, more economically stable and connected to the rest of the world by an airport.

Kotor, Montenegro – Climbing together – Karina Bostanika

Not only are there significant differences in the natural beauty of the two landscapes, views of life and opportunities, but the mentality of the inhabitants in these opposite regions also diverges, starting with their cultural heritage and extending to the historical background and past in different state structures. Montenegro’s geographical position places it between the East and West: The collision of different cultures, nations, as well as religions, is not alien to these regions, and it is therefore difficult to generally define the mentality of a particular region since both have a heterogeneous structure, which, in my personal opinion, enriches every aspect of life in such a small country.

Žabljak, Montenegro – Here and there – Maurice Lesca

Despite these differences, all citizens of Montenegro share similar hopes. They would like a highway to connect all the regions of the country. This would mean connecting the north and the central part, and therefore the south of Montenegro, so a higher percentage of young people would stay in their hometowns and a richer social life would be achieved in every sense. The idyllic dream is to connect the sea with the mountains, the sunshine with the snow, the shoreline with the pasture. In this dream, Montenegro becomes a place where, regardless of our birth, cultural heritage or social environment, we have, we will be able to enjoy, the same opportunities and a somewhat harmonious lifestyle.

Ana Boričić

Works cited:

1. https://www.destatis.de/Europa/EN/Country/Candidate-countries/Montenegro.html
2. https://www.summitpost.org/bobotov-kuk/152989
3. https://www.destatis.de/Europa/EN/Country/Candidate-countries/Montenegro.html
4. https://www.countries-ofthe-world.com/smallest-countries.html
5. https://me.visit-montenegro.com/main-cities/kotor/kotor-history/
6. Strategija regionalnog razvoja Crne Gore za period 2014-2020. godina – nacrt, Ministarstvo ekonomije, Crna Gora, maj 2014
7. http://www.mojkovac.me/o-gradu/stanovnitvo

Credits

Snapshot 1: Budva, Montenegro – The transparent sea – Naeblys (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 2: Kotor, Montenegro – The Bay of Kotor – TMP – An Instant of Time (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 3: Budva, Montenegro – Old town – F8 studio (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Przno, Montenegro – Vacation – Alexey Oblov (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Perast, Montenegro – Locals relaxing – Danil Voronin (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 6: Dobrota, Montenegro – Fishing – Karina Bostanika (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 7: Kotor, Montenegro – Climbing together – Karina Bostanika (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 8: Žabljak, Montenegro – Here and there – Maurice Lesca (Shutterstock)

Cinemblem voiceover: Talia Stotts

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes – Lebanon. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Antonyan, Hayk. Polarization Does Not Equal Extreme – Armenia. September 2019.

Awdejuk, Pawel. Pole-arization – Poland. June 2019.

Awuah, Kwasi Amankwah. The Family: Bringing Us Together, Tearing Us Apart – Ghana. November 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies – Ukraine. May 2019.

Butt, Kashif. Shrinking Space for Dialog – Pakistan. October 2019.

Cannarella, Daniela. A Past-Present Dicotomia – Italy. June 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Corzo, Martha. The Struggle for the Working Class. December 2019.

Dastan, S.A. Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – Turkey. August 2019.

Deiana, Sarah. The Unbearable Weight of Being a Woman – Italy. September 2019.

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. The Illogic of Extremes – Uruguay. May 2019.

Escobar, Christian. Between the Sky and the Earth: Looking for Love – Columbia. October 2019.

Gomez, Javier. The Canyon Inside Us – Argentina. July 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019.

Husseini, Maha. Bilingual Par Excellence – Canada. August 2019.

Israyelyan, Mania. Polarized Within Ourselves – Armenia. June 2019.

Julber, Lillian. Difficult to Understand – Uruguay. July 2019.

Kanunova, Nigina. Role of Polarization in the Life of an Individual and Society – Tajikistan. July 2019.

López, Virginia Sanmartín. Why Live on an Edge? – Spain. August 2019.

Milivojevic, Stevan. Polarizing LGBTIQ Life – Croatia. November 2019.

Molnar, Zoltan. Are You Willing To Be the Judge? – Hungary. December 2019.

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Mwangi, Kenn. Religious Extremity and Exploitation – Kenya. October 2019.

Pavicevic, Nikolina. The Law of Silence – Montenegro. September 2019.

Protić, Aleksandar. Linguistic Balkanization as a Means of Polarization – The Balkans. June 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization – Italy. April 2019.

Ray, Sanjay Kumar. At the Crossroads – India. August 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Çakir, Peren. Needing a Sustainable Future in the Midst of Political Polarization – Argentina and Turkey. September 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sekulić, Jelena. The Polarizacija of Serbian Culture – Serbia. June 2019.

Sem, Sebastião. Brandos Costumes – Portugal. July 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Stotts, Talia. A Polarization of Family Values – America. November 2019.

Tammpuu, Mari. Thoughts of Two Generations – Polar Opposites? – Estonia. November 2019.

[De Los] Santos, Aura. Social Polarization – Dominican Republic. November 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity – The Balkans. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity – Argentina. April 2019.

Uusitalo, Kristin. There’s No Justice, Just Us – Philippines. December 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children – Peru. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Williams, Jazz Carl. Unfinished Episodes – Spain. May 2019.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. Feminism – Russia. August 2019.

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Transposing emblem by Zoltan Molnar

It did not surprise me when she turned away on the subway. Once we were friends or at least I thought so. Now many of them have turned their backs on me. She bent over her child in the stroller and kept ignoring me, although I was just a few seats away and we saw each other. I no longer had the motivation to stand up and explain the truth. Peace had already descended on me. I followed the easy steps to calm down: breathe in, breathe out. Friends are friends only until they start judging you – I told myself.

Hungary – Lake Balaton – Paulo Ferreira

There is a path in life to be followed, according to society. We finish our studies somewhere between the ages of 18 and 24; we start working and piling up money; we try out different professions and different relationships. Around the age of 30 women get annoyed by the question of when they will finally find the father of their future children. If you are a man, your father and uncles start joking about self-sacrificing wives or their opposite, feminists, then promote the institution of marriage even if they are unhappy with the constraints of it, for example, shared finances or staying together only for the sake of the kids.

Budapest, Hungary – Liberty Bridge – Daniel Olah

So by the time we are 33, we ticked all the needed boxes on the imaginary list:

A degree – check
A high-paying job with a year-end bonus and allowances that make friends jealous – check
An apartment or house bought with a mortgage – check
A partner whom we plan to stay with forever – check
And 1, 2, 3 children.

We are ready for a happy life. Now we are the stars among our friends; many say how lucky we are to have finally found the right partner, a stable job, and how happy our family life is. Our partnership becomes more envied once offspring populate the home.

Gyor, Hungary – On Baross Gabor street – Dante Visual

Mothers usually change their circle of friends to those who are mothers themselves. The topics to discuss will change immediately as well: what was the first/second birth like, what does the newborn eat, how do the kids sleep, and oh, whose baby is cuter.

Fathers will not distance themselves from old friends so abruptly. There is no competition among men regarding family as there is among women.

Probably outsiders who do not have a similar relationship and lifestyle to ours will drop out by themselves within a few months after the first child. Are they jealous? Sad about their status in the competition of “maturity”? Or do people change in personality as they start taking care of their children?

Budapest, Hungary – Food festival – Stanislav Rabunski

Let’s jump a few years ahead.

The star parents are 35, the daughter is 4 and the boy has just started walking. Dad has succeeded at work and been promoted. Mom is thinking about looking for a part-time job because she needs some more company and a change of environment from constantly being at home.

There are garden parties every month; some old friends have reached the maturity level to be able to spend time with us again. We smile, you smile, we like you, you like us. This is a textbook case of a happy life, right? Facebook is the place where we can find millions of happy family pictures. As if there were no bad days or anxiety in the background. Many use social media to present themselves as stars. The best mother. The cutest baby, etc.

Szeged, Hungary – After the rain – Dante Visual

And then, the mother calls her best friend at nine in the evening. She is sobbing uncontrollably; her words can hardly be understood. It turns out the father left her and the kids.

What would a best friend do in such a case? Provide a shoulder to cry on, lend an ear to her. In the first instance everyone would comfort the forsaken one, right? Most of us stand on the side of the person left behind (regardless of their gender) and urge friends to accompany the victim in the crusade against the violator of the peace within the family.

But, there are questions looming in the background. What happened? What led to the breakup of the ‘holy’ family? What measures were taken to avoid the fall? Can the separation be blamed on only one person? Do we have to agree with everything the mother slanders the ‘traitor’ with? These questions are forgotten as soon as we let our minds be overrun by our emotions: “If the trophy mom has just been left, it might happen to us soon as well! We must support her!” Most people would follow such a line of thought instinctively. Fear influences and rules our daily lives.

Hungary – Above from below – Szabina Gerencser

Friends of the mother only hear her story and are not interested in the father’s version. It is very rare that we confront those close to us by explaining that there are two sides to the same coin. And it is fairly uncommon for friends to learn the story from both sides. It is highly questionable whether people have enough information to know the factual reasons for the breakup.

When a family falls apart, all the members need to adjust their lives. Friends take sides or they don’t, and just gradually disappear.

We, the outsiders… do we have the right to judge? Do we want to judge? Are we sure that if the same thing happened to us in the future, we would still be thinking the same way? Or are we only quick to give an opinion because it does not affect us personally… yet?

Before we take sides next time, let’s have a moment of silence and think the situation over. In all likelihood, the best thing to do is simply to listen. Our remarks would just confuse our friend who has enough thoughts to deal with.

Hungary – Cranes – Zdeněk Macháček

I sat there and buried my head in the newspapers till we reached my stop. I stood up and nodded her way, wished her all the best in my mind. Wishing bad luck to others is not my style, everyone has highs and lows. I just would like people to not be so judgmental. Life is a complex matter. There is no such thing as good or bad. It’s all based on our values. We all try to live the best we can imagine in a given situation. And we cannot entirely understand the reasons or the motives of another person. Everyone has their own unique background, with different motivations, set of emotions and triggers.

Zoltan Molnar

Credits

Snapshot 1: Budapest, Hungary – Hortobágy, Maďarsko – Zdeněk Macháček (Unsplash)

Snapshot 2: Hungary – Lake Balaton – Paulo Ferreira (Unsplash)

Snapshot 3: Budapest, Hungary – Liberty Bridge – Daniel Olah (Unsplash)

Snapshot 4: Gyor, Hungary – On Baross Gabor street – Dante Visual (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Budapest, Hungary – Food festival – Stanislav Rabunski (Unsplash)

Snapshot 6: Szeged, Hungary – After the rain – Dante Visual (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 7: Hungary – Above from below – Szabina Gerencser (Unsplash)

Snapshot 8: Hungary – Cranes – Zdeněk Macháček (Unsplash)

Cinemblem voiceover: Nathan Jackson

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes – Lebanon. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Antonyan, Hayk. Polarization Does Not Equal Extreme – Armenia. September 2019.

Awdejuk, Pawel. Pole-arization – Poland. June 2019.

Awuah, Kwasi Amankwah. The Family: Bringing Us Together, Tearing Us Apart – Ghana. November 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies – Ukraine. May 2019.

Butt, Kashif. Shrinking Space for Dialog – Pakistan. October 2019.

Cannarella, Daniela. A Past-Present Dicotomia – Italy. June 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Corzo, Martha. The Struggle for the Working Class. December 2019.

Dastan, S.A. Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – Turkey. August 2019.

Deiana, Sarah. The Unbearable Weight of Being a Woman – Italy. September 2019.

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. The Illogic of Extremes – Uruguay. May 2019.

Escobar, Christian. Between the Sky and the Earth: Looking for Love – Columbia. October 2019.

Gomez, Javier. The Canyon Inside Us – Argentina. July 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019.

Husseini, Maha. Bilingual Par Excellence – Canada. August 2019.

Israyelyan, Mania. Polarized Within Ourselves – Armenia. June 2019.

Julber, Lillian. Difficult to Understand – Uruguay. July 2019.

Kanunova, Nigina. Role of Polarization in the Life of an Individual and Society – Tajikistan. July 2019.

López, Virginia Sanmartín. Why Live on an Edge? – Spain. August 2019.

Milivojevic, Stevan. Polarizing LGBTIQ Life – Croatia. November 2019.

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Mwangi, Kenn. Religious Extremity and Exploitation – Kenya. October 2019.

Pavicevic, Nikolina. The Law of Silence – Montenegro. September 2019.

Protić, Aleksandar. Linguistic Balkanization as a Means of Polarization – The Balkans. June 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization – Italy. April 2019.

Ray, Sanjay Kumar. At the Crossroads – India. August 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Çakir, Peren. Needing a Sustainable Future in the Midst of Political Polarization – Argentina and Turkey. September 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sekulić, Jelena. The Polarizacija of Serbian Culture – Serbia. June 2019.

Sem, Sebastião. Brandos Costumes – Portugal. July 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Stotts, Talia. A Polarization of Family Values – America. November 2019.

Tammpuu, Mari. Thoughts of Two Generations – Polar Opposites? – Estonia. November 2019.

[De Los] Santos, Aura. Social Polarization – Dominican Republic. November 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity – The Balkans. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity – Argentina. April 2019.

Uusitalo, Kristin. There’s No Justice, Just Us – Philippines. December 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children – Peru. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Williams, Jazz Carl. Unfinished Episodes – Spain. May 2019.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. Feminism – Russia. August 2019.

Forthcoming

CW 52 – Montenegro – Ana Boricic
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed