Planning a Book

As soon as I decided it was finally time to write a book I knew I should revamp my blog. The truth is that I only started blogging when Veken, my boyfriend at the time, discovered my interest in possibly writing a book. He ask me how I intended to sell this future book. “I assume people who are interested in the topic will buy it,” I said naively. His reaction, which included wide-eyed amazement, told me I needed more than my fuzzy thinking about the matter.

This redesign conveys my love of clarity and simplicity. Good ideas don’t need filler, they need to be told plainly in order to have the widest impact.

It’s a big deal that I want to write a book, because I haven’t really been interested in the book form until now. I love books but I found their form conventional. After I discovered blogging, I didn’t look back because I loved the rhythm, speed, flexibility, and openness, even its editing feature.

I’ve shied away from the idea of the autonomous text for decades, preferring a more mercurial one that spills across platforms and incorporates images, hyperlinks, and mediums. In the 1990s I would photocopy and print out pages as objects, and I appreciated this physicality — I still have many andthey were mostly personal projects, sometimes poems, often designs (I was very into graphic design theory at the time), and sometimes they most resemble journal entries. The ephemerality of these clumsy pages, made into finite paper objects, gave the works and images what I perceived as an urgency. I created one book project, FutureHype/Kitabet, with the students of Beirut’s Haigazian University in 1998 but that was zine-like in its format, particularly in the way it was brought together as an object (a flawed one unfortunately as the printshop screwed up the final publication).

In the aughts, I focused on the internet, and after many pointless experiments I settled on my personal blog as the hub for my work. As a blogger, I began to write in a more fluid and urgent voice that was spurred by the tragic assassination of Hrant Dink — an event that infuriated me. Dink meant a lot to me, as a reporter of Armenian heritage his work to uncover truth in the face of societal orthodoxies inspired me. I was working at the time in the Armenian nonprofit community in New York, and I had the tragic distinction of being the last person to interview Dink. I remember him being kind, wise, and thoughtful in our interview. He seemed impressed that someone in New York cared about his thoughts. And the truth was that most people around me (including Armenians) had no idea who he was. He died the month after that interview was published.

My blog eventually focused more and more on contemporary art. So, here I am, on the trail of a book I intend to write. I figure it’s time to reuscitate this space as it has been far too long since I wrote here. I’m excited.

4 responses to “Planning a Book”

  1. Holly Crawford Avatar

    I think the best way to write a book is to start at the beginning and write to the end. Then go back to the beginning and rewrite it because you probably made some discoveries along the way. It worked for me. I did have 8 binders, with the images and text related to that art and artists. That was it. The book was Attachec to the Mouse. It was about all the artists who used Disney images, asking the question how and why? I put together the archive. Good luck.. Just start writing.

  2. Claire Sexton Avatar

    Great to see action here again, I had forgotten I’d signed up for inbox delivery ~ probably way back before Hyperallergic!

  3. hv Avatar

    Amazing, Claire. You knew me when …

  4. Sarah Avatar

    I won’t pretend to offer any real advice, since your way of writing clearly works well for you, and I don’t contain any real advice. But after you’ve sorted out the tricky bits… wouldn’t it be fun to (use random numbers to) autogenerate shifting limited edition print versions of the text? All of the adjectives could trade places within each copy you print. That way, readers would be part of the text’s own undertow. Accurate quotations would become nearly unverifiable, quelling the orthodoxy of “bookness”. It would also relegate the possibility of remembering the text in unison with others to a solitary exercise, like a memorial, with only the aboveground pieces available for shared experience. Looking forward to whatever it becomes…

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