Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 30 (Justin McCarthy)

The Ottoman Turks
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
McCarthy, Justin
The Ottoman Turks:
An Introductory History to 1923

I think I bought this online, either just after or just before Orhan Pamuk's visit in 2007. As I was reading his work, I came to realize that I knew next to nothing about Turkey or its history, so I decided to give myself a little crash course.

Not sure where to go after the saga of the past week. I feel like I want to keep writing about M., but there is little else to say. I noticed a curious habit of mind as I was writing. I often felt an urge to impute to M. motives that were better ascribed to fate. My bitterness at the fact our friendship ended sometimes led me to characterize him as deliberately malicious in his willingness to let the friendship go.

I caught myself and rewrote the sentences to more accurately reflect the fact that the friendship ended for no good or bad reason, and that there was little either of us could have done to keep it up. Time passed, we changed, we moved on. Nothing wrong in being sad about that, but no need for bitterness, either.

Still, I am not getting at something I woke up thinking I would say. Maybe that friendship has always felt to me like an elusive and slippery thing. When I was younger I clung to it, sometimes desperately, and became bitter when it slipped from my hands. I've never known what to do when friendships change. I often feel like the kid who wants to keep playing soccer long after his friends have picked up their balls and gone home. I always wonder why we can't just keep on playing.

I never seem to get a satisfying answer to that question.

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