“Hey, do you know, ‘Begin the Beguine’?”
The modern story of Gobekli Tepe begins in 1994, when a Kurdish shepherd followed his flock over the lonely, infertile hillsides, passing a single mulberry tree, which the locals regarded as ‘sacred’. The bells hanging on his sheep tinkled in the stillness. Then he spotted something. Crouching down, he brushed away the dust, and exposed a large, oblong stone. The man looked left and right: there were similar stone outcrops, peeping from the sands.
Calling his dog to heel, the shepherd informed someone of his finds when he got back to the village. Maybe the stones were important. He was not wrong. The solitary Kurdish man, on that summer’s day in 1994, had made an irreversibly profound discovery – which would eventually lead to the penis pillars of Karahan Tepe, and an archaeological anomaly which challenges, time and again, everything we know of human prehistory.
And no, “penis pillars” is not a typo. But overlook all the jokes you can make – men’s obsessions were ever thus – and read the story. Readers of my site know I used to live in Turkey. I have not been back since my time there, but have often thought how great it would be to visit Istanbul again, now that I am no longer the messy, messed-up young woman I was and have grown into a messy, middle-aged woman. If I am so lucky as to return, I will add Gobekli Tepe to my itinerary.
It is VE Day and, as such, I would be remiss in not promoting my book here. My mother features prominently in the book, so I guess it is fitting to promote it this Mother’s Day, too. (She would be all in favour of trying to push sales, but I must admit, I find it rather cringe, as the kids say.) I would also like to share this song, so get out your Kleenex. I can’t listen to it without thinking of mum – both my parents, actually.
Since I am always late to the party, I finally decided to open a Substack. Not sure how often I will publish there. For now, I transferred all the essays, etc., I had on Medium and transferred them over. Therefore, if you want to read something from my Medium account that I’ve linked to in a previous post here (such as my essay for Holocaust Remembrance Day or my robin story) you will have to see them on my Substack, as I have closed down my Medium page(s).
Such terrible news. Never envy anyone – you do not know their struggles. My oldest brother absolutely loved the Judds, in particular, this song.
A paperback version of my book is available. If that did not make me happy enough (and it did), Canadian historian Jack Granatstein was kind to give me an endorsement/blurb for the back cover. Yay.
Doris Day would have been 100 today. In tribute, here is the column I wrote about her after her death. The initial draft was more about how the Boomers made her sort of a strawman/scapegoat for everything they hate (as they did with John Wayne), but this was too complicated/shocking an idea, apparently, so after some back-and-forth with the very nice and professional editor, I changed it. I so wanted to write about her. Ah well. (The comments are a hoot, btw. People have too much free time.)