Füsun A.



Montréal, CANADA
January 12
Freelance Writer - jack of all genres;master of none.
warm and genuine
I divorced my full time career of teaching after 25 years, because meanwhile I fell in love with freelance writing. Ever since, I decided to legitimize my ten-year fling which started in the new millennium. Author of: "WILL OF MY OWN - A Memoir" Available at all major book outlets. For a preview please visit: http://www.dictionmatters.com/


Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 9, 2012 1:09AM

Monkey Appetite

Rate: 72 Flag

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"All human errors are impatience, a premature breaking off, of methodical procedure, an apparent fencing-in of what is apparently at issue."

~Franz Kafka~

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I often wonder whether my life might have been very different if I had allowed candies melt in my mouth until they disappeared, leaving behind a sweet taste – the only proof of their brief existence. Instead, I champed and devoured them to experience the colourful flavour bursts and textures on my tongue, in favour of the promised slow pleasures.

According to Annecim, this was the tell-tale sign of impetuosity and hastiness. And to her, patience was the greatest virtue in life. She believed that patience made us better people and taught us forbearance and self control. That is how she explained the purpose of fasting during Ramazan – as a means of learning to control and moderate our impulses and passions, rather than by forgoing drinking or eating from sunrise to sunset on the longest day of summer. Therefore, neither my sisters nor I was allowed to fast until we were old enough to understand the principle of fasting.

It must have been her self-restraint which helped her endure the four year sentence with a mother-in-law whom she hated with every fibre in her body and soul, before she was freed of her physical presence. It must have been that same virtue which kept her soldiering on through Babacim's financially lean times in Switzerland, living on his research honorarium, not letting my sisters and me on to the reality that we were temporarily quite poor. Just as it is that very same virtuous patience that keeps her looking forward to the day when she'll join her beloved soul-mate, as her body will be delivered into the ground, to rest beside his.

But I don't see this last as a virtue anymore. It has become the obsession of a mind that has been continually cleared and rearranged by an invisible hand, which, at the same, time rewrites herstory. Some of her newly minted vignettes tell me of a life she willed away since the loss of her beloved life partner and fulfils only in her dreams. I no longer try to set the record straight. She looks happier this way; a babyish innocence, a mellowness flicker on her once beautiful yet serious face.

Annecim was not only determined, but also talented; and she wanted me to be determined like her and not give up on what I started.

She knitted, crocheted, sewed, baked, designed clothes, and painted in water colours. She tried teaching my sisters and me all of her skills during our summer vacations from school. We all turned out fine, but my sisters are far better than I am at many of these skills. I used to start something with zeal, and after a while, my impatient nature would get bored and want to move on to something else, before my piece was completed. The life of the next endeavour, depending on its novelty, often followed suit leaving in its wake half finished skirts, drawings, incompleted needlepoint canvasses, or anything else, as I flitted from project to project, like a butterfly in a field of flowers.

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I had a “monkey appetite”, Annecim always said.

“Everything is difficult before it is easy, don't be maymun ishtahli.

Whether she said that to mock me, or to spur me on to staying with my project, I never knew nor asked, even though I did not know what a monkey appetite was. All I remember is picturing in my mind a cute monkey peeling a banana, biting off a chunk, throwing the rest away and jumping off to a new tree branch to taste another fruit.

After my parents became empty nesters at a fairly young age, Annecim found herself at a loss. Those tumultuous years of her longing for her daughters caused her to feel very lonely and seek genuine friendships by returning to Turkey with Babacim in 1975. I was sad, but also happy for her, wondering if that was not her act of rebellion in answer to that of ours.

Time reveals that some rebellions have a purgative effect.

In spite of deeply rooted friendships she made, embracing the country she so regretted leaving merely a decade ago, and in spite of all her broken dreams, Annecim talked her soul-mate into returning to where they had left their daughters behind. By then we were scattered to Delaware, Ontario, and Québec. Montréal had been a city of heartbreak for Annecim, so she selected the capital to resettle. Her congenial nature gained her many friends both within and outside of our culture in a short time. In Ottawa she started painting with water colours. She took up art classes at Carlton University where Babacim taught part time, and kept herself occupied. I look back at that as the brightest hour of her life in Canada. I loved searching for special gifts in classy art stores in St Lambert Village to take to her on my visits with my daughter and son. I remember her explanations of her inspiration, the subjects in her paintings, her using a blow dryer for drying the water colours before applying another shade. The priceless look of Babacim's pride and happiness – his smile at listening to her. . .

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Then one day, she stopped painting.

She offered no explanation other than that she found painting too tedious with all the different sized brushes, blending colours, waiting for them to dry, and the paper that piled up. Perhaps crocheting would be better, since the materials were togetherly kept, she voiced. We encouraged her to continue. So much. But she never returned to her art. And she did not crochet like she did before either. She knitted a vest or two a few years ago. She doesn't do any thing any more, except spend most of her days in bed, awaiting her journey at the end of which, she says, Babacim is calling her name.

Some of her paintings are framed and they hang in my sisters' homes. She never took herself seriously as an artist and did not keep many of her works. Few are dated or signed. When I showed her these photographs of her creations she looked at them for a while and said, “They are so nice. Very nice. Did you make them?” She didn't believe me when I told her that she was the artist, until I enlarged her signature. Then that detached look came over her face - the look which hints that her thoughts are starting to take flight into paths I cannot fathom.

Later that evening when I tucked her in and kissed her good night, she asked if tomorrow I would make a copy of the photograph with the vase of flowers to keep on her night table.


Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2012


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In beloved memory of rahmetli Babacim♥
What wonderful full memories. I love that red bouquet painting. Life goes so quickly. Taking a long look at it like this is so revealing. I think your monkey nature is very creative. I jump around too and I like it that way. Sounds like in the end we all forget.
What beautiful paintings; she was most certainly a serious artist. Do your sisters have them all and not you? I'd want to have at least one, especially for when the day comes that she answers Babacim's call.
"Everything is difficult before it is easy"

How many times I've had to relearn that. =o) I see that Annacim loved to paint flowers too, which are some of my favorite subjects. what a pity that she stopped painting! I think Margaret is right that you ought to have one of her paintings too, before she leaves to join Babacim.

Those are beautiful portraits of flowers. She left you some wonderful memories.
A lovely memoir. I think that it's a good thing to have a monkey appetite. Perhaps it will keep dementia at bay a little longer. -R-
Fusun, you say so many things well here.
I always learn something well reading your posts.
For I got a monkey appetite too...
Esteemed Colleague: A heartfelt and enlightened reflection like this only shows that not only are you a devoted and loving daughter, but your mother inspires love and devotion that far exceeds what is due from a daughter. I am taking several things away from this piece, and I admire your mother's talent--not only for art, but for dispensing life's wisdom by word and example. I echo Christine's comment about your monkey appetite. You are such a blessing to your mother, and vice versa.
"Then that detached look came over her face - the look which hints that her thoughts are starting to take flight into paths I cannot fathom."

A lovely tribute; I believe that, contrary to what you say, you have the gift of writing, that, like your mother's gift of art, allows us to sample what those of us with different monkey appetites might otherwise never get to taste.
incredible memory-piece as you do so very well r.
Good morning, Fusun.. what a wonderful tale of inner strength, acceptance, perseverance, and loss. The paintings are so like some I have had, 40's, just exquisite. I love that she asked for one back! Sweet, sweet. R, Heart.
I am so reminded of my own mother. She was the talent with the brush and the needle, pots and baking pans. (please read LIKE BEA).
In her diminished state, she too could not believe that she painted the pictures... now, hanging in both of my homes. I gave up on the embroidery and shiver at thought of sewing a hem.

Absolutely wonderful essay. Hope you get front page and EP.
This is a beautiful passage and tribute Fusun! I know my parents wanted me to slow down too. I think we are all born with different energies, gifts and talents and we sometimes don't fit the mold. At least I never did!
These are wonderful paintings. Thanks for sharing them!
Monkey appetites...I see it in my child and remember it in myself. Who among us doesn't still feel the pull of that impatience? Of the many responsibilities and even burdens we face as adults, though, surely slowing down, being aware of and enjoying life's moments...soaking in "the promised slow pleasures", is surely one of the sweet privileges of a grown up.

Such talent your mother has...and wisdom. I know seeing her at this stage of her life must be very difficult for you.
Oh Fusun,
This was so beautiful and what an artist she was. I forgot she came back to live in Ottawa.. And the daughter Fusun is as talented as her mother.

"Everything is difficult before it is easy"

I am going to try and remember that.
You have the most magnificent way of writing your memories. You do not paint them with flowery words but at the end I feel as if I have just seen a flower bud, open and bloom.
rated with love
HOw beautiful and eloquently written
I fear that I have become a bit jaded by the excellence of your work here. I can find nothing but praise to offer and the paintings are very, very good.
So much rich material here. I think you mother might be right about patience but I am too impatient to ever truly find out.
It seems that when all is said and done Annecim wanted only the best for you, and your sisters, and that is why any resenments will never turn into full blown hostility. I have no real idea but that's my take. It appears that she is now patiently waiting to go to heaven to be with her soulmate, and that is very powerful and sad too. The desire to set the record straight is a strong one, but good that you have learned to just let that slide when it makes Annecim happier that way ;)
Zanelle - As Shakespeare wrote, "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more."
Thank you, dear lady.

Margaret - I have a couple of smaller ones too, but even if I didn't, the memories are more important for me. Thanks for coming by.

Shiral - I wish Annecim continued painting too. She was in a different world when she did.

Kate - You must do a lot of water colors too. :o)

Phyllis - Thank you, she did indeed. A whole life time of memories.

Esteemed Colleague: Your remarks humble me and all I can do is thank you from the bottom of my heart for honoring my post with your visit and comments. Thank you for your editorial note which I appreciate much.

John B - Thanks for visiting my page, John. I think we should pay tribute to those we love as we feel it in our hearts.

Jonathan - Thank you, friend.

Songbird - I understand how an artistic soul like you would appreciate Annecim's art. Thank you dear heart.

Ande - The biggest satisfaction in sharing a piece like this is touching others' hearts as I seem to have done yours. Thank you so much.

Susie - Thank you for sharing equally.

Smithery - You understand, and I appreciate. Thank you. You were missed.

Linda - Yes she lived in Ottawa from 1977 and 1992,if memory serves me right.

Poetess - Coming from you, I am humbled at your comments. Thank you.

Accidental Dad - Thank you very much for your words and visit.

Bobbot - If "jaded" is the word, than it is mutual, my friend.

Fernsy - Dear Ferns, I understand what motivates you to set the record straight, and that is totally different from what is between a mother and daughter. In your case, you have every right to be impatient and I hope you will set the record straight very soon.
This reminded me of how my father used to take me out into the countryside to do watercolor landscapes. We all still have his work hanging on our walls. Lovely writing, lovely memories.
This is rich and wonderful. The end...is the beginning of mystery, is it not? Though we all will go there, it seems such a foreign, unlikely land. You've given a loving glimpse. Very fine.
you tell this in a dream state, very appealing, fusun.
I'm no artist nor art critic, but I think those paintings are beautiful! I wonder if your mother is aware of the changes in her mind. I always wonder that about the aged.

Lovely, Fusun. Your posts always bring me joy. R.
Touching and beautiful. A beloved memory as noted.
Lovely post. How nice that you and your sister will have this very personal part of your mother always. As for your impatient nature, you just hadn't found your gift yet; you are a writer. And being interested in lots of things at once can only help you in your search for subjects and descriptions.
We are all on a journey. Your family has many talents and it is a pleasure to see her work, read yours and imagine your father and his life too. There is an exotic feel to these paintings. Thank you for sharing them all.
Someone else touched on this, Fusun, you are the writer, the history taker, the torch carrier. You bring your wonderful stories of your beloved parents to the next generations and to us. Your mother's work is lovely. I wish her peace until it is her time.
Beautiful, moving, sad and inspiring. Who but one with a Monkey Appetite could pack so much difference in so little space? Life lessons aplenty here in a wonderfully written style.

Thanks for raising the bar for me.

This is exquisite and tender. You say foreign words yet speak in universal language.
What a beautiful memoir, Fusun. Simply, a lovely post. R
How sad that she lost her desire to paint, to crochet, to create...to live?
But what gifts she left behind for you, in her teachings and those luscious paintings! I love that she wanted a copy of her own work, that she acknowledged it and "owned" it near the end. Your memoir-writing is never delivered in monkey-bites...it is always thoroughly meted out in precise portions of wisdom, enlightenment, and melancholy, to be savored and digested slowly.
This is not the first time your writing has reduced me to tears, but in the best way. R
I'm impatient too Fusun, so maybe I have an "monkey's appetite" as well. I hope you have some of your mother's painting in your home as well. Happy New Year to you.

OS is acting up. I tried to rate this, hope it stuck. Very nice post.
What a great piece. The discovery of your mother's desires and motivations, an appreciation of her talents and her understanding of you, too. We are all complex creatures, aren't we? Even if we are monkeys!
Beautiful touching story, thank you
"I had a monkey appetite..." I like that. You're not the only one.

Oscar Wilde once said that the best way to conquer temptation is to give in to it.

Her pictures are lovely! (r)
An interesting illustration of the nature versus nurture topic Fusun. Regardless of how much your mother tried to inculcate certain habits and approaches, her influence only went so far, to no one's discredit. "Monkey appetite" is putting it a bit harshly. I'm sure she didn't mean bonobo.
Your piece is so sad in expressing the diminishing of personal essence, yet lovingly gentle.
Sarah - I'm happy to have evoked lovely memories of you and your father,especially today.

Spike - Thank you for your poetic perspective.

Dianaani - I was hoping that you'd respond to the art, as an artist yourself. Thank you.

Lezlie - Art is subjective,as is literature. Annecim knows that she is becoming forgetful and sometimes when she makes up the past and I correct, she gets upset. So I stopped doing that. I know it is frustrating for her - like displacing one's reading glasses and not being able to see the print before you.

Erica - Thank you. :o)

Elizabeth - Thank you both for your visit and words.

Sheila - I appreciate your artistic perspective.

Rita - Welcome my poet friend. We all carry different legacies from our ancestors. Your father's spirit lives through your poetry.

D'Owl - Thank you, wise friend. Your absence was felt lately.

D. White - Thank you for your kind words.

Thoth - Thank you, my friend, as always.

Natalie - So nice to see you hop, skip, and jump. Tears of empathy.

Scarlett - Yes, OS has been weird for a while. I had to go back and make sure mine stuck. My mother's paintings, like her words, are in my heart. Good to see you here.

Bellwether - How true you speak! Monkeys, after all, are man's ancestors. But Annecim's is a saying in Turkish, anyway, not meant with ill-intent.

M.C.S - Thank you, my Canadian friend. I hope this was not difficult for you to read at this time.

Judy - Wilde was right, though he was a bit too wild. Thanks for passing by.

Abrawang - No, she didn't mean, whatever "bonobo" is. As I replied to Bellwether, "having a monkey appetite "is a saying" in Turkish. I just didn't know it when I was young.

Stim - Very kind words and once again, happy birthday.
I think the key word here is "appetite." I know too many people who have none!!! Great piece. Rated.
FusunA, this is so touching.. very moving... thanks for sharing these beautiful memories..
Oh, this touched me. What a blessed woman she is. One who endured so much but kept a piece of herself and expanded the world with her gifts. I love that she will have a copy of her painting next to her bed. This was wonderful. R
I always said mother knows best and then again sometimes she can have an off day..
P.S. Congrats on the front page and Editor's Pick! R
This broke my heart. What a brave and eloquent exploration of your mother and yourself.
A true artist is someone whose work simply takes your breath away with the beauty of their creations.....she was very much an artist in every sense of the word.
Your piece is such a lovely memoir of your dear mother. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Simply lovely! Thanks so much for sharing, Fusun.
What a tribute to your gift of writing that I feel both an ache for what was and a joy for the same thing. And she has left the gifts that come in many colors...
Such strong family ties and a very privileged look into the life of your sweet mother. Perhaps the painting of the flowers in the vase, in particular, bring her back to a time that resonates to her sense of herself in some way...more than the others. The vase seems to hold some significance, other than the beautiful flowers she so effortlessly painted. You, like your mother and perhaps even more so, possess so many talents and creative gifts that leave an imprint and a legacy for your family. Your writing, your recipes...your 'joie de vivre' in everything you say and do, is such a testimony of enduring family bonds. Lovely post, Fusun.
FusunA- I left a comment on this beautiful piece yesterday...but it went missing. OS is having more issues the last few days than I am. Anyway, I love this piece and I understand what you describe here. I watched my beloved grandmother slip away piece by piece until her spirit was free. I send you good thoughts during this process.
Loving tribute and much talent in your family. Thanks for sharing the photos.
Wonderful read. The two of you were blessed to have each other. My mother always prayed for patience. I inherited her disability.
Thank you for sharing your parents with us in this beautifully told story. All you did not say, did not try to square away, infused the lines you showed me with an aching richness, with the mystery of the many departing points of paths no one can fathom but the one who walks it. I'm sorry I took so long to come to this post. Thank you for letting me know about it. A privilege.
You write so well and what a beautiful collection of art and memories. How wise your Annecim was to prevent you from fasting until you knew what it meant. Privation as a means to understanding. Thank you for reminding to come read this. I thought it might be a post about dieting. :) R
The beauty of the writing, the poignant weaving of two stories into one, tells me that a monkey mind can't be so bad if it can produce something that leaves the reader breathless. So many works of art in one post. Nicely done.
We've talked about sharing this road with our parents as they age, but you write about it so much more perceptibly than I can express in my own words. Our own very wise Green heron once left a comment for me that has remained in my mind, "Recognize and forget, recognize and forget, over and over. Wisdom arrives first, then practice, practice, and then (perhaps) habit."

Ergo..."Everything is difficult before it is easy"~ so perfectly and succinctly said.
@Seer - Your words of wisdom are welcome guests. Thank you for telling me now that you like stories of Annecim and babacim.

@Midwest - Appetites can be for various calls, and answering them is what keeps many of us interested in life.

@anniestone - Thank you for coming by to share them with me.

@ Rita - Thank you. Your kind words touch me deeply.

@Algis - We're all human.

@jlsalthre - Thanks very much.

@Alysa - Thanks.

@Kathy - Thank you.

@JR - Once again, you humble me with your words and the generosity of your heart. I will miss you.

@David - Wisely spoken, my friend. Thank you.

@Joanne Harper - I appreciate your visit and your kind remarks.

@ Jennifer P. - Very welcome. Thank you for reading.

@ Outside Myself - It's wonderful to see you after a long while. I'm happy that you can feel the joy as well.

@Cathy GF - The vase does indeed play an important part as one reads in my memoir. Thank you for your generous comments.

@Maureen - Thank you for your understanding and good wishes.

@Liz.777 - You are welcome.

@beauty1947 - I think we develop patience as we grow older.

@ Maria - My privilege to see you here.

@Rodney - You picked up the essence of something very important; thank yo for your insight.

@Annie K - What makes good writing is its potential to how much it can evoke in the readers' response to it. Thank you for your response.

@Gabby Abby - In favor of cherished succinctness: Thank you!
Love the beautiful portrait of your mother and your relationship with her that you so artistically painted with your words. This wonderful tribute warmed my heart; thanks for allowing us a peek into your world.
Painting is like poetry in colors worked on canvas.
I remember seeing a docu. on how drawing or painting opens memory channels in the elderly and gives them a positive feeling of accomplishment. These are beautiful paintings.
What a beautiful post about your dear mother. Her paintings are lovely and the way you ended this essay is unforgettable. My own mother is 91 now and my husband's father is 92. I know how much I treasure the embroidery she did for me that hangs in our dining room.

You are a wonderful writer.