The Passions of the Soul

This is Sister 3's entry for the Gallery / Writing Workshop mash-up.
The theme is 'Emotions'.

Renee Descartes defined the six primitive passions as love, hatred, joy, desire wonder and sadness. Any other emotion, he said, is a combination of those six, of varying intensity. Although Descartes did not think emotions should be eradicated, he believed, like the Stoics, that emotions could be mistaken, just like perceptions, and if they were they ought to be cured.

So when the Princess of Bohemia, his philosophical correspondent on the topic of mind and body for over six years, contracted a low fever, Descartes blamed it on depression and recommended she read the Stoic Seneca, all the while reflecting on how much stronger the mind is than the body.
Surprisingly, it didn't go down all that well.

Here are Sister 3's interpretations of Descartes' Passions:



Max is afraid of dogs. Two years ago, we holidayed on the beach, near Izmir. Early mornings, I would grab a book, a cup of tea, and a camera and leave our room to lay on the sand just outside. Max would join me and play in the sand quietly. But some mornings, the owners' dog would be out too. He would be sleeping by the shade of a palm tree. Occasionally walking past. Max would see it and shriek, jump on me, or - if he felt he was close enough - run back to the room to be protected by his Daddy. If we met the dog in the day time, Max would instantly climb on his father's shoulders.

Two Thousand and Sixty Two

This is an entry for the Weekend Assignment. The task this week is to describe what the world will be like in fifty-one years' time. Well, America, not the world, but I'm editing to fit my abilities here! Hope Carly and Karen who set the assignment won't mind. Also, I hope they won't mind that I've changed the logo!

 In 2062, my son Max will be 59. His friends Imogen and Julius will be 55 and 53. My bloggy friends' sons Jacob and HRH will be 59 and 53. Hopefully by then mid to late fifties will count as late middle age! But I'm not so much worried about their physical conditions. I've got some other more pressing questions: where will they be in 2062? Will they be hiding out, alone, in bedsits? Scared to come out in a world they still don't really understand and that definitely doesn't understand them? Will they be shunned by society? These are not crazy worries. This is the world many adult autists live in now, and unless some pretty hefty changes take place in the next fifty years, it's not going to be any different for our kids. And, let's face it, in fifty years' time, we might no longer be around to help them.


Back to London, leaving the zombies behind.

This is another guest post by the young Mary Wollstonecraft. 

We have just arrived at Hoxton. Our boxes are yet unpacked, and the house has not been cleaned for us. Eliza and Everina are presently dusting and scrubbing with our maid. But I have been allowed some rest time because I said I was suffering from the headache. I do not like to lie, and in truth I do have the headache, but I must admit I do not perhaps need the rest as badly as I have given to believe. However 'tis all the same to them. Mother has gone straight to lie down, and father out to investigate the neighbouring ale houses. I am left in charge of my sisters. My older brother Ned is already gone to the house of our uncle where he is to learn the business, and my younger brothers,  James and Charles, are bringing boxes in the house, still. All are accounted for but Henry.

I think sports hate me

I started playing tennis when I was 4 years old and my mother finally agreed to let me stop when I turned 14. I can hear you thinking, "my, she must be pretty good ". Er, no. Not really. I think I disliked it instantly. Not tennis per se, but the whole running everywhere after a ball, going there every Wednesday when I could have been at home playing or annoying my sisters, you know, kids stuff. But she insisted, just like she didn't allow me to quit playing the piano, which I studied for 10 years, also. And , er, no I can't play the piano, by the way. I'd really like to learn again now, doing what I want and not just classical pieces. I'd learn jazz and I'd be able to play by ear -something which I was able to do really early on, but was never allowed to pursue because of 'discipline'.


I don't like football. It's a feminist issue.

I don't have anything against football, really. I hear it's very popular with little girls in the United States.

I don't have much of a reason to complain either: my husband isn't a great football fan - he can take it or leave it. He's more into cricket, and, as he points out, that's the ideal spectator sport for a family man: you just put the radio on and get on with your day to day business. So this rant is purely on your behalf. Selfless. 


Sticks and Stones may break my bones.

Yesterday I posted on this page about a letter I had received from a close family member that was accusing me of criminal neglect towards my son. I am now removing this text, not because I think I shouldn't have posted it in the first place, nor because it is too personal, but because it involves people other than me, people who may be have a chance of developing a better relationship with this person. I know - I made it sound as if maybe it wouldn't be worth having any kind of a relationship with him. But people can change, and, more to the point, you can have really terrible relationships with some people but not others, and I don't want to take this chance away from anyone. People know, they know. That's enough.



Obviously, when I read Tara's theme for the week, creatures, I was sorely tempted to put in another picture of my husband. 
But right now, especially after the 6th photo tag, I don't feel I can use him...

So here is my interpretation for this week: 

This is a creature you will meet at my house
He is French, so opens his mouth a lot...and can't play football.


Friends will be friends

Right. Friends will be friends. Freddie was right, once again. It's just that he could have added : "but make sure they're your friends, before you sing the song". I don't think I'm very good at that, recognizing a true friend. I befriend people easily. I mean, I don't have 300 friends on Facebook, but I do have quite a few girlfriends, male friends (as in, real friends with whom I do not want to sleep), and I love them dearly. They're very important in my life, they fulfill me.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Very Bored in Catalunya is going around interrogating people, and she tagged me. So I'll answer her questions (under pressure - no! Don't bring out the comfy chair!) and then tag a few hapless bloggers with questions of my own.

1.  If you could possess one super power for a day, what would it be?

Ooh, that's a good start! VB is handing out super powers. Hum, let me think. Eyes at the back of my head? Got that. Ability to be in two places at once? Ditto. Oh I know: I'd like total immunity against sun burn and mosquito bites. Please get it to me by the end of the


We're back!

Before I left for our trip to the south of Turkey, I asked God to give me a sign. Then two things happened.
I'll never know what these things were because as the woman sitting next to me started to type the first bullet point the steward came and asked her to switch her blackberry off.
No, madam, it has to be switched off completely during landing. Please switch it off completely now. Please. Yes, Madam, like that.


6th picture meme

We've been tagged by Charlotte from Charlotte, Guillaume et Lucie en Turquie for a 6th photo meme.   You have to dig through your archives and find the 6th picture you posted and then comment on it. After you've done that you should pick another six hapless bloggers and tag them for the same, remembering to name and shame the person who tagged you in the first place. 



Here's one from the beach!

For this week's writing workshop, I chose this prompt : 'What qualities or traits do you think your children have inherited from you, you partner, or even from your extended family?'.
I really wanted to do the thing on magical powers, but I don't want anyone to be jealous, cause, you know, I have so many. Oh, I can hear you oohing and ahhing and also thinking 'right, she's totally nuts' (especially my evil sisters). And since I want to prove you wrong, I'll tell you a few. The first one that comes to my mind is that I attract lunatics. Not you average weirdo (I live in Paris, it's a big city, we all are weirdos, anyway) but the real crazy ones. Trust me, if there is ONE looney around and you're with me, fear not, he or she will come straight to me. For instance, I was in a bus in the 7th arrondissement, probably listening to music or typing on my dear Blackberry when a lady came really close to my ear, as in, I could feel her breath on my neck and said 'I like your scarf'. I thanked her, trying to get away without sitting on my neighbour's lap, and she came even closer and said 'Will you give it to me?'. I have to say she had a very personal breath and her eyes were wide open, she was smiling but not with your friendly kinda smile, rather the Nicholson's The Shining one. I considered giving it to her but chose to tell her 'no, I can't do that, I quite like it', instead. She smiled back, and then she left me alone. She had her normal face back on, people turned their heads back to whatever they were doing and it really seemed as if nothing had happened.



This is our entry for Tara's fabulous galleryat sticky fingers. The theme this week is Motherhood.
Please please, forgive the strange ways of speaking (writing) ! My sister Sandrine is not here to translate this week. This is why there will be much more pictures than text this week !

1944, my grand mother with her firstborn, my mum


Meet the Rabbits family!

Back when I was quite small, I loved little people. I had a dollhouse, partly furnished with stuff I'd made out of matchboxes and bits of fabric. I had a small penknife with which I wanted to carve bits of wood to make my own little people. I don't remember going very far at all with that project. But all the time, I was hoping that real little people, finding my dollhouse handy and comfortable, would move in. They didn't.

My daughter never was into dolls in a big way. She never asked for a dollhouse. But our son seemed to love little people right from the beginning. At the beginning he would pick them up and simply reenact something he'd seen on tv. Then, slowly, he started to create his own scenario. The very first time was in the pediatric psychiatrists' office, where he made a mummy and daddy doll bathe and put to bed a baby doll. And then more. Then when he started to go to play therapy, we noticed that he spent a lot of time playing with the dollhouse there.


We are going on a summer holiday!

This is the first and last time you'll see me naked on this blog.
Actually, not quite naked: what on earth am I wearing?


Our trees through the seasons

We don't have a garden. We have a largish balcony, but because our flat is on the ninth floor and faces factories we don't use it very much. On some days we have a beautiful view - we see the Anatolian landscape for miles, hills after hills after hills. But on most days, the pollution means that our view stops at the factories.

On the other hand, we have a big campus, which, despite the fact that we are in central Anatolia, a semi-arid region, which is often covered in snow for three months and completely dry for another four  or five,  is a green green campus full of trees. You can imagine the amount of water that gets wasted keeping that up! But we do love it and especially enjoy the way each season is clearly marked by changes in the landscape.


I've got the wrong kind of hallucinations and the wrong kind of intelligence. Great.

It's been an unusually stormy few weeks, which means I've had a lot of migraines. I thought I'd gotten it under control lately, taking my feverfew tablets regularly, and generally getting used to the variations in humidity, pressure, and the large quantities of electricity in the air. I was beginning to feel blasee about distant thunder, thinking I could handle it. Didn't get so far as to laugh at the sky, or look the storm in the eye, but I was gaining confidence. And then it came back. This morning.


Papers and tiny computers. That's all. You can dump the rest.

I'm writing this on a piece of paper. With a pencil. Well, clearly I'm not, otherwise it wouln't come up on the screen. And I could say that I did and now I'm just copying out and so the creative process happened with the pencil. Except for the last two sentences. Three now. Four. Meh.

So let me try again. I started to write this on a piece of paper. With a pencil. I was lying on my lego-strewn, not exactly clean, not exactly antique but certainly old, rug from Kars. I was surrounded - still am, I'm just sitting there now instead of lying - by old wooden chests and tables, more rugs, and antique metal artefacts. The shelves on the wall opposite me are filled with books way beyond their capacity. One small segment of the shelf has a small cubic black tv on it, with a dvd player and a satellite box. Wires are dripping from that shelf like the guts out of a deceased StarWars monster. Disgusting.


More proscrastination.

Yesterday I packed a case for my daughter. She's spending the week in Cappadocia with her class. It was easy: the teacher had made a list! I'd shopped during the week to make sure she had everything she needed, plus a few extras like a Hello Kitty wallet to put her pocket money in. We wrote her initials on all her clothes (even the socks!) with pens that don't wash off. (Like I'm ever going to sew labels. Right.) We put everything in our smallest case and that was it!

She's coming back friday night and sunday morning we're all flying to Izmir to meet up with Marianne and co, so we'll have a tight deadline for the packing! But what it means, is that I don't have to worry about it till then. Other reasons why I don't have to worry: we're only going down to Izmir for a few days, not travelling around Britain and France for six weeks. We're flying, and taking cabs, instead of our usual night train plus three buses. So yeah, it doesn't matter how many cases we have, and we only need beach stuff. Easy!

So here's what I did. Instead of sitting here worrying about cases, like I was supposed to because I suggested we do as much to my sister,  I went for a walk with Max.


Baggage claim

Sandrine and I were supposed to write the week end charter on packing. She found the theme, she suggested it - she does that a lot, maybe I should think more about WE charters, let's put this on my list of notes to self, shall we? and I agreed.

Then, my life took a rather disturbing turn and I had to decline the invitation and forget about this blogging thing. Later on today, I read her brilliant post about procastinating, thought about how we can't just be one thing. And then I thought about that whole packing thing. And I came up with this.


Let's have a bit less of that simplicity nonsense, shall we?

I've been reading a lot of self-improvement, life-help kind of things lately. Don't ask why. They just crop up. Well, actually, there's one blog I really like that talks about that, and I've been clicking on a few links it gave, and before you know it, my google reader is full of Zen and stuff.

Now I'm all for Zen and stuff. Kinda. I like decluttering. But I also like clutter. No contradiction here, or conflict. Some particular clutters I count as my friends, some just bother me. Right now, one clutter that's bothering me is the number of posts I'm reading on simplicity.


A still life and a nature morte.

This is Sister 3's entry for Tara's Gallery at Sticky Fingers. This week's theme is Still Lives.

This week I was over at Marianne's - the real third sister - when I found out what the theme was.

I was dismayed.

You see I always try to treat  Tara's themes with humour or irony. It's my editorial policy, says Marianne.

But this week's theme presented a fairly big problem: in French, a still life is a Nature Morte which sounds just like the opposite of still life ... and yet, means exactly the same.
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