A Sultan, some chaos, Lala's answer and a meme for good measure

Photo by Trytophan

Some years back, I made a wonderful friend who is originally from Argentina, and on a trip to visit her in her home country I was introduced to a whole clan's worth of her family members (we Latin Americans are totally family-centric). It seems unfair to say so but amongst so many nice new people I was being introduced to, her grandmother who was one of them, shone like no other. Lala has to be the coolest grandmother I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She lives in a little house by a lake all by herself, but within a car ride's distance from all her children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews. In this little house, so warm and picturesque, there is one of everything. One kitchen, one bedroom, one bathroom, one tiny living room and yet, I remember that it seemed like the kind of place that gave the impression of layers. Of things hidden that could not quite be seen. Of more rooms and more space than bigger homes have by dint of sheer size but that her own home had, because it felt like it lived. I loved it. I thought then that should I ever get to Lala's age and still be by myself, I too would want a home like hers on the edge of a lake whose second name means Peace. The Lake Carlos Paz.

During my trip I had unfortunately too little time to get to know everyone better but I've often remembered my friend's grandmother over the years. She made quite the impression on me. Today, I am writing about her because of a meme. A new friend I've made through my blogging has tagged me for one. More about the meme later but a little bit about my new friend now.

She calls her blog Vie Chaotique, which literally translates from the French into English as Chaotic Life. The blog is an extension of her marvelous store in Charlotte, North Carolina. A place I hope I might someday visit. Vie Chaotique showcases whimsical and practical finds in a wide range of products (I'm not making a plug-in here, I'm just telling it like it is) but more than that, she is an insightful, obviously well-read and conspicuously un-chaotic writer. She says that she and her husband Mark use the term Chaotique as an alternative to the word eclectic and her tag line says that from chaos comes beauty. That statement speaks to me. I don't know if it speaks to you but here is where this post will coalesce from chaos into some form which perhaps, though not beautiful, will hopefully make more sense to you.

You see, Lala (my friend's grandmother that I was telling you about previously) had a ritual. She explained it to me thus: I ask myself a question almost on a daily basis about something that I need an answer to and then, she said, I take a book, whatever I am reading at the moment, I let it drop to an open page and where my eye falls on a particular sentence, then that is what my answer is. But Lala, I countered, that makes no sense. What if what you ask has nothing to do with the sentence you read?

She gave me one of those sage looks that interesting older ladies who have lived a been there, done that kind of life can give, and she answered that I would be surprised at how many good answers to her questions she had gotten in just such a fashion. Sometimes, she added, it might not make sense initially but it works itself out in time. That moment I shared with Lala and her literary magic eight ball philosophy, has since remained stuck in my head and I am sharing it with you today because of Vie Chaotique and her meme. Here's what I am supposed to do:

1. Take a book I'm reading.
2. Go to page 123.
3. Skip through the first five sentences on the page and,
4. post the following three for you.

What you make of the following three lines, I would simply LOVE to hear. Do tell.

None of the grand vezirs could bring order to the chaotic regime, and eventually all parties agreed that Mustafa must be deposed and replaced by his nephew Murat, Kosem's eldest son. The end came on 10 September 1623, when representatives of all factions confronted Mustafa and convinced him that he must give up his throne in favour of his nephew, who ascended the throne as Murat IV. Murat was aged fourteen years and twelve days when he came to the throne, after having been confined to the Old Saray since the death of his father Ahmet I nearly six years before.

This excerpt from a book titled Inside the Seraglio - Private lives of the Sultans in Istanbul by John Freely which I have been reading in fits and spurts for the last two weeks.

Did you notice how it contained the word chaotic in the very first sentence? Is that chance or something else?


  1. Dee Hock - who has the distinction of being the planet's one CEO to start a company that went on to do more than a trillion in transactions (he founded VISA), says that creativity comes from the intersection of order and chaos - what he calls chaordic.

    And yes, the appearance of chaotic in the first line is odd.

  2. I wasn't really sure it WAS the exerpt BECAUSE of the word chaotic. How funny (and coincidental).

    I'm sure a whole movie could be made about the way she makes her decisions. How free-thinking.

  3. If that's true (from chaos comes beauty), then my work area at school is GORGEOUS! Only teasing, of course. I do like to embrace this quote, however, because my life, my home, my classroom is chaotic, but in a good way, I think :)

    Some people seem more alive than others...more connected. I love meeting such people (young and old). :)

  4. You probably know this, so a reminder then. "One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." --Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

  5. I love this post, it's given me chills. Thank you. I loved meeting Lala. (My mom's name was Laly, I come from a spanish background too) And the fact that the paragraph started with Chaotic is of no surprise to me. I also love the things that others have said with regards to chaos. Best,

  6. Ron: I had actually never heard of Dee Hock but that chaordic concept makes absolute sense. I think it's a word I'll incorporate into my daily vocabulary since, now that I look at it, my days are chaordic in the extreme. Strangely, it was the book on top of my whole pile of books. I read several things at the same time so that was the one I grabbed. Serendipity.

    Amy, you don't know the half of it. What a lady for seeing signs in uncommon places Lala was. I was so bowled over by her.

    Half-Past, agree with your comment about some people seeming more alive than others. Lala was (is) just bursting with aliveness.

    Peg, I hate to betray my ignorance but no, I had never heard or read such a beautiful line. I've never read Thus Spoke Zarathustra and though I do know who Nietzsche I've read very little of his writings. Perhaps it's time to change that. Thank you for stopping by.

    Vie: Is that true, your mami's name was Laly? How weird is that? You know I did it exactly like you asked. No cheating. You could have knocked me over with a spoon when I saw the word chaotic there. I counted three times just to make sure it was the first line after the previous five ones and sure enough. That was the very first. I must have been channeling something don't you think? Anyway, thank you too for sending me the meme. I feel like a veteran now. That was my second meme ever.



Leaving a Leaping Thought's worth