Friday, December 11, 2015

Near Death Experience

My heart is still beating fast. I’m drinking a glass of wine, wishing I had a shot of whiskey because tonight I experienced a near car crash while racing down an Istanbul street at a little before midnight. It’s half past one now. The driver, someone from my school, was able to dodge a city bus swerving into our lane by speeding up to avoid a collision. His car was between the bus and a wall and I’m pretty sure we would have gone splat, or crunch, or whatever onomatopoeia you care to imagine, if he had been a less capable driver. I screamed, “Jesus Christ!” which I consider to be interesting would-be last words for me, given that I’m not a religious person. But apparently, it’s something I scream when I’m really really scared.

This all happened because I locked myself out of my apartment. 

I realized I forgot my keys on the coffee table at home, but assumed the security guards on the campus of my school’s sister school had a spare. They had a lot of spare keys, none of which belonged to my apartment. As it turned out, I had to get in a car and travel way the hell out to “English teacher master key headquarters,” which is where I learned that almost being killed by a bus is not as romantic as Morrissey makes it sound.

For the past few days, I’d been feeling artistically stultified. I morbidly told a couple colleagues, “The artist inside of me has died.” I’m reflecting on my choice of words now that the non-artist rest of me almost died too. Life is what you choose to make it, so I’m choosing to see this experience as a wakeup call. I’m 32 years old and I’ve accomplished very little, as I see it. I’m well-educated, well-read, well-traveled, and well-loved by friends and family, but I haven’t accomplished my dream of writing and illustrating children’s books, composing the short stories and novels inside my head, crossing the Gobi desert by camel and riding horses over meadows in Mongolia. I need to grasp the reins, not to mention a writing utensil. For both writing and riding horses, I love going fast. As long as I’m not being driven around Istanbul surrounded by a bunch of crazy, reckless drivers, I take pleasure in speed.

From now on, I will not say, “The artist inside of me has died.” I will say, “The artist inside of me needs nurturing.” And I vow to do exactly that.

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