I always say to myself, "I'm just going to write something fun," and of course it always turns out to be far more than that.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/10/15 17:00
A couple of real-life things have kept me away from the keys in the last few days (and may continue to keep me away), but I've at least been at work on Fall Of The Hammer in the background during that time. What I thought was going to be a nice, fast romp through a straightforward story, wellllll, kinda got away from me. Not that it's no good, just that it's going to take at least one more draft than normally required to beat it into shape and paint it to match.
I always say to myself, "I'm just going to write something fun," and of course it always turns out to be far more than that. In the same way John Cage and David Tudor noted that whenever they tried to create something conceptual where there was no "composition" going on, it always ended up being melodic in some way. You can never take yourself, whatever you are, totally out of the picture. In my case, it's not that I'm allergic to fun; it's that I'm always conscious of how for me the fun is a starting point and not an actual destination by itself.
I write fiction because I do not want to die feeling I have had no control over my life.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/10/11 17:00
"I started writing," Hubert Selby, Jr. once said, "because I did not want to die having done nothing with my life."
When I read those words for the first time, many years ago, I took them for my own almost immediately. I too did not want to die having done nothing with my life, living as I did in a world where I was painfully aware of how easy it was to do just that. But over time I expanded on Selby's vow, and in time replaced it with a different one: I write because I do not want to die feeling I have had no control over my life.
So much media, so little time. Again.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/10/02 08:00
The other day I took stock of all the things friends and people whose tastes I trust have all advised me to watch or read. Some of it is things I should have picked up on my own by now, like The Man In The High Castle (given what a Phil K. Dick fan I am, but I never got around to it); some of it is left-of-center but has elements that are up my alley (The Good Place); some of it is stuff that's a long shot for me but I'm willing to try anyway (latter seasons of Black Mirror). I haven't managed to start with any of it.
With all the things I'd like to write about, I have to put my fiction first, if only because there's no one else who can do it.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/09/30 08:00
The very early incarnations of my online presence, mainly this blog, consisted of me watching and reading stuff and writing reviews on it. Much of that material was not good. Over time I got better at it, although there's only so much of it worth keeping, and so I kept little of it.
Around 2015 or so, though — right around the time I changed jobs and moved cross-country — I fell almost completely off the wagon. Some of that was because I created a sanctum specifically for my Japan-themed discussions, Ganriki.org, and once I did that I had little incentive to talk about anything outside of that context for my own sake.
Some of it was also that I felt obliged to be more focused in my use of time, to spend more of it writing the things that were entirely irreplaceable, mainly my fiction. I still come across things I'd like to write about in detail, and don't, if only because of the investment of time involved. But my creative work comes first, if only because there is literally no one else to do it.
I'd rather have people sincerely interested in things, whatever cultural level they live at, than be wannabe tastemakers forever jonesing to expand their reach.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/09/29 13:00
Another busy week and change — traveling for work, various household things. The Fall Of The Hammer continues, if with some interruption, so that hasn't fallen off the schedule; it's just been tough to keep a regular pace with all that's happened. I spent much of Saturday the 28th getting caught up. I also made things difficult for myself and came back from the bookstore with new distractions: more Alfred Döblin (Berlin Alexanderplatz was only the tip of his iceberg), more Proust (something for Christmas break, I guess), and more, period. None of which is going to end up feeding into what I'm working on now, but that's fine; it doesn't have to.
How our lives slip through our own fingers.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/09/23 08:00
In Peter Cowie's essay on Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries, there is this description of a key theme: "the phenomenon of old age wherein childhood memories return with ever-increasing clarity while great stretches of the prime of life vanish into obscurity."
I know a little of what this is like. I am not all that advanced in age — I need stronger glasses than I did before for driving, but at least nothing else is out of whack (yet) — but I know how there are already swaths of my life from not all that long ago that are being bleached out by time's sun.
Creative paranoia: when you know, just know, your work is worthless in a way only others can see.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/09/21 17:00
The last few days were a multi-car pileup of work, family things, a few long-overdue household details, and so on. Not much time to get to the keys; it was only the other night I got any actual work done on Fall Of The Hammer. Of everything I've worked on until now, this story has easily had the most drawn-out and fragmented genesis; I suspect I'll be polishing it non-stop until its final release.
Some of that has me worried if, until now, I've been writing badly and just this project, because of its peculiarity and intractability, forced me to level up to a point where only now am I writing anything halfway okay.
Science fiction, rebooted.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind