"All a writer’s real learning is done alone."By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/04/23 17:00
Thus spake LeGuin:
It is the experience or permontition of that loneliness, perhaps, that drives a lot of young writers into this search for rules. I envy musicians very much, myself. They get to play together, their art is largely communal; and there are rules to it, an accepted body of axioms and techniques, which can be put into words or at least demonstrated, and so taught. Writing cannot be shared, nor can it be taught as technique, except on the most superficial level. All a writer’s real learning is done alone, thinking, reading other people’s books, or writing — practicing. A really good writing class or workshop can give us some shadow of what musicians have all the time — the excitement of a group working together, so that each member outdoes himself — but what comes out of that is not a collaboration, a joint accomplishment, like a string quartet or a symphony performance, but a lot of totally separate, isolated works, expressions of individual souls. And therefore there are no rules, except those each individual makes up for himself.
LeGuin is not talking about the rules of grammar or spelling; those are the plumbing and electrical work in the house. She's talking more about architecture, décor, location-location-location — all the things for which there is no actual codified rule set, but just raw experience that has to be experienced.
Blogging has resumed.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/04/22 20:00
Due to changes with my webhost, my blog software briefly stopped working, although I got it running again even if not quite at full speed. The good news is I've been migrated to a new server that runs much more snappily, and will soon be trying to bring everything back up to full speed.
Aside: My blog and all my other sites are brought to you in big part by the nice folks at A2 Hosting. If you're looking for geek-friendly shared hosting or servers, click that link and tell 'em I sent you.
Tags: excuse our dust
Some recent writing and creative news from these shores.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/04/19 08:00
I've been having both a very busy personal schedule and some technical problems with both my PC and my site, hence no posts for a few days. Things are sort of running again — not quite the way I want them, but we're at least functional. Here's what's new.
My current book bears no relation to its earlier incarnations save for its title.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/04/12 08:00
The Fall Of The Hammer has been in the works for — let's do some fast mental math — about twenty-five years now. Give or take. This breaks one of my little rules, which is "Don't keep a project alive that is from a time when you were essentially a different person." But what it was way back when has essentially nothing to do with what it is now, and not only does that allow an end run around the rule, it's ultimately for the best.
On constraints as creative impetuses, and the fallacies that arise therein.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/04/06 10:00
A while back when reading the new translation of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic, I made mental notes about the way the Brothers Strugatsky had the whole apparatus of Soviet censorship to push against when trying to get their work done. They avoided some of the worst axe blades falling on their necks, in big part because science fiction was considered far less potentially subversive than other kinds of writing, but they still had their work nitpicked to pieces in some of the most inexplicable ways. (The new translations of their work undo the damage, and include some entrancing discussion of what was cut and why.)
"Fish s**t or coffee, sir?"By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/04/06 08:00
This is what I dreamed last night. (Warning, mildly un-worksafe.)
You miss out on less than you think.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019/04/04 17:00
This most likely sounds like get-off-my-lawn-ism, but bear with me, as I try to distract all of you temporarily from the flames leaping from our collective rooftops.
Reading Kenneth Rexroth, by way of his critical works, reminded me why I don't tend to pick something up just because it has an award or critical acclaim to its name. It's because such things have almost nothing to do with a work's actual quality, and everything to do with the social circles the work has traveled in.
Science fiction, rebooted.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind