About Başak

 Life is a garden, not a road.
We enter and exit through the same gate.
Wandering, where we go matters less than what we notice.

– Kurt Vonnegut

I was born in Istanbul into an eclectic family of different origins and vast interests, from cooking to law, from photography to astrology. After earning a degree at Emerson College in Film, Writing & Photography, l fulfilled another passion of mine by moving to New York and studying Graphic Design at Parson’s School of Design. I then created my own stationery line that was sold in stores such as Kate’s Paperie and Museum of Arts & Design. After working as a freelance graphic designer, the recession of 2008 forced me to move back to Istanbul, where I irrelevantly found myself in the maritime world, working for the second biggest ship registry. On weekends, I try to satisfy my creativity by contributing as a freelance writer for online magazines.

The reason I’m telling you all this is because when people first meet you, the very first thing they seem to be interested in is your job title and how you got it. They tend to superfically scan through the labels that are attached to you, rather than explore the layers of your personality.

Whenever I get the Vanity Fair magazine (usually at airports), I never skip the last page where they have the Proust Questionnaire. Since no one is ever going to require me to complete one, I decided that instead of struggling to define myself in neatly composed paragraphs, I would do it myself. I believe it will be more revealing and will make a more interesting read.

The Proust Questionnaire

1.What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Drinking wine out in a garden or a terrace at dusk, surrounded by my family and friends, chatting about life till dawn.

2.What is your greatest fear?

Insects. And failure, which I am now coming to terms with the possibility that it might be a mask for fear of success.

3.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


4.What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Unearned arrogance.

5.Which living person do you most admire?

My niece, Irmak, which means river.

6.What is your greatest extravagance?

My home bar.

7.What is your current state of mind?


8.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


9.On what occasion do you lie?

If the truth will hurt the feelings of others.

10.What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My short legs.

11.Which living person do you most despise?

The ruler of Turkey.

12.What is the quality you most like in a man?


13.What is the quality you most like in a woman?


14.Which words or phrases do you most overuse?


15.What or who is the greatest love of your life?

That is a secret.

16.When and where were you happiest?

I’ve had many moments in life that capture a different shade of happiness. But if I had to choose one, it would probably be the day I checked in my dormitory, freshman year of college. It was a moment of total freedom from doubt, overflowing with hope and excitement with a sense of belonging.

17.Which talent would you most like to have?


18.If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I could possess impenetrable faith in myself, which would lead me to persevere  in the face of even the most brutal obstacles.

19.What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I don’t think I’ve achieved it yet. Perhaps I should work on that.

20.If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A neuropsychologist. Or a commercially savvy artist.

21.Where would you most like to live?

In Tuscany.

22.What is your most treasured possession?

Old family photos, recipes and poems…

23.What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being stuck, cornered by circumstances that are out of my control.

24.What is your favorite occupation?

Hosting and listening.

25.What is your most marked characteristic?

I am honestly not sure. Friendliness?

26.What do you most value in your friends?

Sincerity… and sense of humor.

27.Who are your favorite writers?

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Raymond Carver, Patti Smith, Jane Austen, Milan Kundera, Ernest Hemingway

28.Who is your hero of fiction?

Although she is a hero of non-fiction, I have to say Karen Blixen.

29.Which historical figure do you most identify with?

King Edward VIII because against all odds, he chose love over everything else.

30.Who are your heroes in real life?

Anyone who is able to turn their own personal misery into causes for helping others.

31.What are your favorite names?

I haven’t had children yet so I won’t share their names.

32.What is it that you most dislike?

See No 23. Unprofessionalism is up there too.

33.What is your greatest regret?

Not finishing projects that were dear to my heart or essential to my future.

34.How would you like to die?

In my sleep, dreaming about No.1

35.What is your motto?

Everything happens for a good reason.