He was a cornerstone in the foundation of the United States. He discovered practicable uses for electricity. He was America’s first great satirist. He founded the University of Pennsylvania. He invented bifocals. He was a legendary ladies’ man. He was all of these things... and he was so much more.
We’ve addressed Muna’s fear of bombs falling on her street or near her children’s schools, the sound of war planes overhead, of abandoned apartments in neighborhoods deemed unsafe, of the surreal quality of a city where on the surface the old way of life continues apace, but we have never spoken directly about the Assad regime or the insurgency.
An extremely valuable addition to a very tiny, yet strong subgenre of graphic novels that tell the stories, autobiographical or imagined, of girls becoming women, women that neither society nor themselves imagined or wanted them to be.
This is where most of my relatives still live; or the place to which we always return. I have so many relatives buried in the Nonsuch cemetery. Here the roots of my family tree are deep. Here, among the people of Nonsuch, I know that I belong.
In my twenties, as the Clash and Techno Pop filled the airwaves, I set out to see the world with my friend Wendy, landing on the southern Aegean island of Kos, one of the Dodecanese or Twelve Islands that hug the Turkish coast. On our first morning, while eating breakfast in a taverna overlooking the sparkling Aegean with a bruised-blue crown of Turkish mountains before us, we met Andreas, a dead ringer for John Travolta with caramel-brown eyes. Andreas’s mother and father owned the taverna and Wendy and he fell quickly into lust.
A decade later, in May of 2012, I sat with an American friend who lives in Istanbul, at the rooftop bar of the Anemon Galata Hotel overlooking the pedestrian area in the trendy neighborhood of Beyoglu. A new city ordinance had banned restaurant tables on the sidewalks. “It is because this is where people socialize. Here, they can smoke while having drinks and dinner,” my friend explained. “And this law caused many restaurants to go out of business.”
When I was a child growing up in the Bahamas, my grandmother came to visit from Germany. One day, while we were building sandcastles on the beach, she paused to tell me about East Prussia – a place of great beauty where Trakehner horses pranced across dandelion meadows and elk herds swam in green rivers.
“Ost Preussen,” she said, with a soulful sigh.
Hearing the sadness in her voice, I glanced up sharply.