All posts for October 2016

Mind: Your Own Business Dept.

On not letting my brain lie to me.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/31 08:00

The other night I woke up from a nightmare that was so prolonged and so vivid that it took me minutes on end to reassure myself I was still awake. Even walking outside and looking at the morning sky (see? you're back in the real world!) wasn't enough at first.

A lot of the nightmares I've had aren't in the vein of horror movies; they're more about irreversible social embarrassments or long-buried fears like missing a class. (Is there anyone here who doesn't have some kind of nightmare about school?) What made this one all the more traumatic was how it didn't feel like a nightmare, but more like me remembering some great transgression that was going to boil back up and wreck my life later on. That's also probably why it took so long to come up out of it, because I wasn't sure at first if I was indeed dealing with memory or fabrication.

You see why stuff like this is so horrifying, right? You can't even trust your own mind to tell you what's what. Small wonder diseases that affect the brain have such a specific ghastliness to them.

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Tags: Buddhism neuroscience psychology

Which One's Pink? How About All Of Them? Dept.

On the way a war with one's self is a creative act.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/29 08:00

This is in fact a post about Pink Floyd, sorta-kinda. But it's about using the band as a metaphor for discussing something else, so if you're looking for album review, this isn't it.

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Tags: Pink Floyd creativity creators writing

I Don't Know Much About Art, But I Know Who I Like Dept.

A portrait of the artist as an insufferable jerk.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/23 11:00

The other day my wife and I got to talking about artists we have personal misgivings about, and she mentioned that she can't listen to Led Zeppelin anymore because of Jimmy Page's creepy messings-around with underage girls. (For the record: yecch.)

When a living artist is surrounded in mystery, that allows people to project whatever qualities they want onto the person. Most of the time, though, they seem to be a kind of positive blank space: I don't know much about him, but his books are amazing, so whatevs. Then we find out something about that person that blights the whole of their name, and we take everything they've produced and dump it in a box for Goodwill.

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Tags: creativity creators psychology

The Most Professional Guys In The Room Dept.

More on what "real writers" do (or don't do).

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/18 08:00

Somewhere along the way -- I don't know exactly where, between time and Timbuktu, I guess -- I picked up the idea that "real" writers don't post moment-by-moment progress reports on their work. They just write the damn things and deliver them to their readers when they're done.

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Tags: creativity writers writing

The WDTJSH Problem Dept.

The single biggest difficulty I have as a writer, explained.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/10 08:00

In another forum, there was some discussion along the lines of, "What's the biggest problem you have as a writer?" I chimed in, and the answer I came up with seemed worth sharing:

The single biggest thing I have a problem with is the WDTJSH, or Why Don’t They Just Shoot Him problem.

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Tags: plotting writer writing

Label, Label, Label Dept.

I'm not fond of labels. Unfortunately, we can't live without them.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/09 11:00

Some time ago I said to someone else something to the effect that, "I call myself a science-fiction writer because I don't really have any better label for what I do." I gravitated towards that category to describe what I did because it was the only one that seemed open-ended enough to cover many of the things I was aiming for.

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Tags: genres writers writing

Stranger Things Dept.

More on why weird isn't just skin-deep.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/09 08:00

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review (2016) | Roger Ebert

The characters here are supposed to be delightful—or at least interesting—simply because they’re superficially odd, and it just isn’t enough anymore.

This to me is an echo, and a distillation, of all the things I come back to in my talks about "weird" (see: herehere).

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Tags: creativity creators nonconformity

The Big Shakeup Dept.

Out with the old blog, in with the new blog. Slowly.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/07 15:30

Now that I've just barely managed to avoid being clobbered by Hurricane Matthew, a quick note about what will be happening here. Starting over the next couple of weeks, I'll be slowly transitioning this site to my new blog publishing system. I'm still working out the details of how this will happen, but it will most likely involve having visits to the blog homepage redirected to the new blog subdomain, and maybe also have new posts echoed to the old blog for the time being as well.

But the point is to give myself incentive to ditch the old system, move everything to the new one, and build the pieces I need to make the transition as effectively as possible. And, of course, migrate all the old content in time as well.

If you pick up my blog by way of social media posts, you'll see them reflect the new blog URL when the switch happens, so you've got nothing to worry about. If you pick it up by way of the RSS feed or just hitting the homepage, you'll see a note -- ideally, the last thing posted there -- that will remind you to update your bookmarks 'n whatnot.

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Tags: blogging real life

Hindsight For Thee But Not For Me Dept.

Anything that gets in the way of your work is the way; it just doesn't look like it then.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016/10/01 08:00

"Take 'myself'," Akira Kurosawa is reputed to have once said, "subtract 'movies', and the result is 'zero'."

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Tags: creativity writers writing

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