Who's really worth pleasing when you're writing? (And why?)By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017/08/16 08:00
Been away from the keys for a few days, not much time for blogging; also fighting off the last of a cold I picked up.
Not long ago, a friend of mine picked up Flight Of The Vajra, and I made the mistake of apologizing pre-emptively for the book. Not in the sense that I thought it was evil, but that it was flawed, and that the flaws in it had become all the more prominent to my own eyes since I'd finished it. But he loved the book anyway, and I realized once again I had made the mistake of trying to second-guess, and ameliorate, someone else's reactions to my own work.
Art isn't profound just because it hurts.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017/08/09 19:00
I doubt that an artist of Picasso’s sort ever raises his or her account of humanity to a higher power simply by purging, or repressing, what had been dangerous or horrible in an earlier vision. There must be a way from monstrosity to tragedy. The one must be capable of being folded into the other, lending it aspects of the previous vision’s power.
Constant readers will be familiar by now with my notion of the Endurance Test Philosophy Of Art: If it doesn't scar you or make you want to puke, it isn't "real" art, because "real" art has IMPACT!!! Or something along those lines. It's twaddle, but it's the sort of twaddle that is easy to make a case for, easy to subscribe to, and easy to find plenty of allegedly valid examples of.
Our site's feeds got munged. Look within for answers.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017/08/09 17:00
Somewhere along the way one of our RSS feeds fell out of the bottom of the bucket. We originally had two -- an RSS and an Atom feed -- and I eventually consolidated on a single RSS feed, http://www.genjipress.com/rss.xml. But a lot of Feedly users, and perhaps other folks as well, were using the Atom feed. For the last couple of weeks they haven't been seeing squat. My bad.
If you're using some kind of feed reader, remove Genji Press entirely from it and re-add it using either Genjipress.com or the above-linked RSS feed.
You'll start to feel better almost immediately!
On the problems inherent in "living in the moment".By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017/08/09 08:00
Some twenty or so years ago I was grousing to someone close to me about how lousy things were in my life at the time. In all honesty, they weren't that bad, but everyone always experiences problems in a personalized way; everyone's suffering is always only their own. I was suffering. Ergo, things sucked; Q.E.D.
My friend was trying to be empathic and positive, and he started talking about "living in the moment". I don't blame him for attempting to feed me what amounted to a Zen 102 mini-course, and my memory of his exact words are distant enough that I don't want to attempt to critique them. But I do remember my reply in perfect detail: "'Live in the moment'?" I scoffed. "What if the moment sucks?" (I feel all the more bad for my friend now; he was just trying to help.)
On not second-guessing audience responses to your work (again).By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017/08/06 19:00
I think some things appeal to people – even with flawed models of behavior and world – due to audience participation.
My take: At that point it's not the work that holds the appeal anymore, but rather the community that has formed around it. (There's more to Steven's discussion but I'm chomping out this piece here specifically.
This is one of those things that can get very tricky and very counterproductive if not approached right. I think the fact that communities of specific kinds of enthusiasm form around certain cultural products is a wonderful thing, but also not something you can engineer or anticipate.
Just because something's in your story doesn't mean that's what your story's about.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017/08/05 08:00
"Writing is never solid," writes Steven Savage in his follow-up take on the way the ideas you cling to in a story can just weigh you down, like so many rocks. His take is that you go where the story demands, not where the artifacts of your story are dictating you go.
This reminded me of how easy it is to confuse the elements or ingredients of a story with the actual themes or meaning of a story.
What storytelling can do that a straight rundown of facts can't.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017/08/03 19:00
My friend Steven Savage normally writes self-help, career-management, and creativity-wrangling books. (Go read his series on worldbuilding, it's really good.)
Recently, he's dived back into the fiction end of the pool, and one of the discussions we had around that process unearthed the insight that some kinds of analysis and insight are more readily accomplished through fiction than nonfiction. I agreed with that, and I have a few theories why.
Science fiction, rebooted.
Other Lives Of The Mind