Below is Bill's latest response, and the edit. They made very few changes.
How about that.
It strange to think that right now, as I write this, you are on the set at
WGN, in the middle of the news program, perhaps putting a few finishing
touches on your graphics.
Just as I got up a few minutes ago (I got up early, which is the best time
to get through to the line I share [and also because I'm excited[), and at
the exact time I turned on the computor there was a flash of lightening
outside. Then, moments later, just as a healthy downpour began, the muezzin
started singing outside. (This is true, no lie.) I thought to myself I
hope there aren't any more cosmic coincidences (such as a ..., well you
I'll be on line for a bit, so maybe we'll be able to "talk" on this thing
almost as if in person.
<To: "Mark Skilling" <email@example.com<
<Subject: Editing, etc.
<Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 19:20:58 -0500
<Below is an edited version of your piece. We've got a few questions, which
<indicated parenthetically through the story. Most of the editing is
<tighten things a little. And we've reorganized some sentences to clarify
<This is an interesting moment in the writer/editor relationship and I
<that we're experiencing it in cyberspace. It's hard to show you each change
<explain it, but hopefully they'll be more or less self-explanatory if you
<compare the edited version with a printout of the original story. In any
<be of good cheer; this is not an extraordinary amount of editing.
<I'd suggest that you answer our questions and raise any points about
<within the story, just as we have done, and then e-mail the whole story
<I'll try again to call you Friday.
<You'll see some strange characters in the text; they're our computer
<can safely ignore them.
<I did get through on the fax line and sent you both a contract and a tax
<hope you got them.
<By Mark Skilling
<ISTANBUL?From my living room, I look down a hill, over a collection of red
<rooftops, to the Golden Horn. This river, once beautiful and fast flowing,
<now stalled and polluted. On the other side of the Golden Horn are the
<where the ancient city Byzantium?later to be called Constantinople, later
<Istanbul?was founded some 2,500 years ago. Above a cement-colored smear of
<apartment buildings of much more recent vintage, I can make out the
<towers that were part of defensive walls first started in the 6th Century.
<are now rotten with age, though parts had recently been rebuilt for
<Some of these restored parts collapsed during last Tuesday's earthquake.
<ancient parts were left unharmed.
<(We've deleted the following graf because its effect is compromised by the
<that we don't understand the language: Less than a block away is the
<our small, neighborhood mosque. From here you can hear, five times a day,
<"ezan" or call to prayer. That call is now as if a lament. The muezzin's
<seems fuller, more emotional than usual. He sings in Arabic, which I don't
<understand, but I've read that his call reminds the believers that "God is
<great" and tells them to "Come to prayer, come to prosperity." I listen
<carefully, for signs of doubt about God's mercy and compassion. But I
<doubt at all. Instead, it is simply beautiful and sad, and despite not
<understanding what he sings, very moving.)
<In the last few days I have heard many sad, tired people say automatically,
<surprisingly without bitterness, that ``Allah verir, Allah alir [God gives,
<takes away].'' And much has been taken away. The death toll from last
<Tuesday's earthquake is likely to exceed 40,000 (we'll make this number
<with the best and latest wire service reports we have as of Friday), with
<equal number injured. Up to 200,000 have been left homeless. Millions
<of the aftershocks, including me, chose to sleep outdoors.
<All over Istanbul, in the parks and squares, even on narrow medians between
<streets, entire families spent the days and nights on blankets spread out
<ground. Usually, you would expect hundreds of tourists to be milling about
<the grassy Hippodrome alongside the spectacular Blue Mosque and in the
<between that mosque and the Hagia Sophia.But now it was as if a great
<were taking place. Many of the women wore brightly colored headscarves.
<women, despite the heat, were dressed from head to toe in somber black.
<families brought portable propane burners to make their beloved tea. Many
<had lugged pillows and mattresses, others string and rope which they strung
<between trees and posts and used to hang sheets for a bit of privacy.
<On the nights immediately after the quake, I was grateful to receive an
<invitation to join my friend Ismail's family, to spend the night in a
<park in the hills above the Bosphorus Bridge. The Bosphorus Bridge is a
<modern suspension bridge connecting Europe and Asia that looks like a gray
<version of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. With the bridge's hulk
<looming seemingly helplessly (i don't understand, the bridge was helpless?
<loomed helplessly?) below us, I shared a corner of a colorful Turkish
<covering the ground. We drank tea, smoked cigarettes and joked about being
<?MDUL?gocebe?MDNM? [nomads], and about the Turks finally returning to their
<forgotten nomadic roots. I practiced my Turkish with the children, who,
<most adults, were able to correct me in English. During the night, while I
<slept, someone put a jacket over me.
<A week or so later, the rains and cooler weather have come, and the experts
<given an all-clear sign, most of us have returned to our homes. Back in my
<apartment, I glance at my walls, at my ceilings, and find it impossible not
<think of all those still buried underneath theirs. Last night, at our
<tea garden, I joined Ismail and his wife, Dilek, who had just learned that
<of her cousins had died in Adapazari, a town that was leveled by the quake.
<talked about whether people here will ever be able to forget. It hadn't
<raining yet, so we stayed late, a bit nervous about returning home.
<The government, the army and construction contractors are being severely
<criticized in the local press and on the streets (for slowness,
<greed?). There have been other problems as well. (we've deleted the
<because this problem seems sort of trivial: In an open area near the caf? I
<mentioned above, where dozens of families had come to spend the night, an
<man had his shoes stolen.) I was told the story of a Turk in Yalova, one
<hardest hit areas, selling bottled water for 1.5 million TL (Turkish lira
<perhaps?) ($4), 10 times the normal price. The profiteer, however, was
<subsequently beaten by the storyteller himself, while a nearby police
<did nothing to intervene.
<Yet notwithstanding the official response, which has inspired widespread
<the response of ordinary Turks has been overwhelming and impressive. A
<truck from my relatively poor, working class neighborhood was quickly
<with needed supplies -- water, bread, medicine -- and sent to one disaster
< The company of one of my students sent along a similar truckload of
<and has now set up a fund to collect money for the homeless. Efforts like
<these have been going on everywhere. Thousands of people from all over
<have gone to the stricken areas to help, including Kurds who want to prove
<commitment to the Turkish State.
<I recall the criticism I heard after the 1989 San Francisco "World Series''
<Earthquake, which I unfortunately experienced as well. Though admittedly a
<less serious affair, the cries about lax enforcement of building codes were
<similar. Everyone promised to do better, and I hope they have. (We deleted
<following, which seemed a bit off point: I recall my own pathetic plans,
<implemented, to prepare for the next "big one". I had cut an article out
<paper, which listed the emergency supplies that should be kept close on
<Though I kept that list near to the top of my pile of important papers,
<years it simply grew yellow and torn. I finally threw it away at the time
<packed up for my move to Istanbul. Significantly, b) Before I left San
<Francisco last fall, damage from that quake was still being repaired, some
<years later, and complaints could still be heard about the government's
<continuing failure to enforce building codes rigorously enough.
<In the XX months (how many?) I have spent studying and teaching in Istanbul
<that accurate?), I have enjoyed almost unending Turkish hospitality. When
<first came here, on vacation, some two years ago, I met a fine man, Ilyas,
<makes Saz (is this usage correct? should it be a Saz? Should Saz be caps?)
<stringed musical instrument that is as important here as the guitar is in
<America) and bought a beautiful one from him. When I returned to Istanbul,
<time to live (and work?), I visited Ilyas again. When he learned I was
<for an apartment, he took most of the next day off and showed me around his
<neighborhood, eventually helping me find the place I now live. The Saz
<he eventually gave me were free. My friend Ismail has spent countless
<with me, roaming the city, looking for deals on used furniture. He and his
<have also lent me a beautiful rug, a blanket, and several other very useful
<items in my apartment. I occasionally get gifts from my students, and
<unkind word from anyone. After the earthquake itself, several of my
<friends kept in frequent touch with me.
<Several days ago, on the television, I saw and heard a crowd burst into
<applause. A young boy had just been rescued from one of the many collapsed
<buildings. He appeared dusty but unscathed. As they carried him to an
<ambulance a reporter followed, asking him questions. Were you scared?
<korktum [very scared]!'' His response was perky. He was clearly delighted
<be back in the world, by the attention he was getting. Then he was asked
<his family. His eyes grew wide, his face long. "Annem [my mother],
<[my sister/brother], sesleri duydum [I heard their voices]. Duydum!'' By
<time they reached the ambulance, he was screaming. "Sesleri duydum!
<I hope the rest of the world hears Turkey's cries for help.
<?_va2??MDUL?Mark Skilling is San Francisco attorney who is spending a year
<studying and teaching English in Turkey (again, is this accurate?).?MDNM?
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