Clerestory

Bryan Kam

I'm Bryan Kam. I live in London. I have more stuff online here.

On Feedback

August 12, 2019

Submission, or The SilenceIn the past few months, I’ve written my first fiction. In the past few weeks, I’ve let people read it for the…

I Grant You Ample Leave

July 22, 2019

I’m ahead of schedule on the novel, but today I did not hit my wordcount in the six hours I wrote. Here’s my progress so far.Since I have no…

The Rewrite

July 11, 2019

New beginningsThis week I’ve begun rewriting my manuscript. Although I’m six months into writing this novel, and though I wrote a zero draft…

It Rains on Our Love

June 29, 2019

This week I watched Bergman’s It Rains on Our Love (1946). It’s a twisting tale of a lowly, desperate pair who meet in a train station and…

Everything Static

June 21, 2019

If you're reading this, you're on my new blog...

GatsbyJS

June 13, 2019

Today I thought I’d try to learn GatsbyJS and see if I could turn this blog into a static site.I got Gatsby working in Docker, then tried…

Interstice

June 06, 2019

Today I’m thinking about the need for novelty and the need for security, which seem in humans in constant tension. I saw a literary agent…

On Nicomachean Ethics

May 23, 2019

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is an admirable attempt to define the good life. It is empirical and insightful, and seeks to answer…

Keeping Everything Moving, Everything Static

May 17, 2019

As a brief update I’m back from the Balkans, where I saw unseasonably touristy Croatia, snowy Montenegro, and beautiful Bosnia and…

A Passing Feeling

April 29, 2019

Let this be a placeholder for future thoughts on the topic of events and their contents, their planning, execution, and aftermath.What I…

A thoughtless week

April 22, 2019

I failed either to edit or to write as much as I would have liked this week, though I watched several films, read Vikram Seth’s The Golden…

Arizona

April 15, 2019

I’m writing from a hotel in Desert Ridge, Phoenix, AZ. I flew here on Friday to surprise my parents; I’m flying back to London today. I have…

A fond farewell to freedom

March 31, 2019

Nothing to say in particular this week. I’m dreading editing, even though every time I succeed in starting, I enter the flow state readily…

On Marriage

March 25, 2019

Today I “gave notice” of marriage, which in the UK requires a period of publicity, during which the public can raise legal objections. These…

On Fear

March 11, 2019

I am not a fearful person. Last year, I was ill enough that I thought I would die; I made my peace with it. This experience was useful. It…

36 Questions

February 18, 2019

Tonight a friend arranged a conversation dinner in which people were paired up (with friends of friends) to try the 36 Questions that Lead…

Goals for 2019

December 31, 2018

In a bit of holiday downtime, I’m planning what I’d like to do in 2019. Beeminder is having a New Year’s Resolution Survivor competition…

On choice

December 29, 2018

Lately I’ve been thinking about free will. This is in part thanks to Sam Harris, who has been examining the topic in his new Waking Up app…

On Getting Good

December 18, 2018

This weekend I finished Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Much of it rings true for me. Although it’s intended to motivate and to…

On Improvement

December 13, 2018

I recently read Derek Sivers’ Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur. I can’t remember how I came across it, but the…

On Whether to Write

December 05, 2018

Last night we had our second meeting of the new discussions I’m holding, called Through a Glass Darkly. It went exceedingly well; I wrote at…

Dry November: Day 30

November 30, 2018

My final hours of sobriety; our revels now are starting. Tonight I’ve got a friend’s birthday followed by a Christmas party, and I fully…

Dry November: Day 29

November 29, 2018

On my penultimate dry day, I’m writing in an empty pub on Tottenham Court Road, where the staff knows me, as I used to work nearby. I’m in a…

Dry November: Day 28

November 28, 2018

Let me explain.This morning I attended a session on starting a business, kindly provided by St. Luke’s Community Centre. These sessions…

Dry November: Day 27

November 28, 2018

Tonight was my monthly book club. The discussion was on Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, which I enjoyed. The book takes a number of unexpected…

Dry November: Day 26

November 27, 2018

It’s late so I’ll not say much tonight. It was the first meeting of the Monday evening face-to-face intellectual conversations to which I’ve…

Dry November: Day 25

November 25, 2018

Yesterday evening, during an invigorating and exhilarating exploration of Kew Gardens with a dozen of London’s best and brightest, after…

Dry November: Day 24

November 25, 2018

A major realisation I’ve had this month, mentioned in passing in previous posts, is that even without beer, I adore pubs. This should not…

Dry November: Day 23

November 24, 2018

A week left of November and it’s been going well. I’ve done some interviews this week, with the cycles of anxiety, relief, and regret that…

Dry November: Day 22

November 22, 2018

I’m whelmed. Both over- and under-, the former by a slew of nascent endeavours, the latter by their fruit and lack thereof, by the talk…

Dry November: Day 21

November 21, 2018

On Tuesday I saw Jonathan Haidt speak at intelligence². Emily Maitlis moderated the discussion with Kehinde Andrews, Eleanor Penny, and…

Dry November: Day 20

November 21, 2018

Two-thirds of the way through the month. I spent the past three hours in a pub, conveniently one of the closest to my house, for an…

Dry November: Day 19

November 20, 2018

Tonight I saw Jonathan Haidt speak at intelligence². Although I quite liked the book he wrote with Greg Lukianoff, The Coddling of the…

Dry November: Day 18

November 18, 2018

Our spiritual rapport pervaded the party, to support the commencement of a third, our host of honour. His citizenship was the culmination of…

Dry November: Day 17

November 17, 2018

I’m in the BFI bar, surrounded by booze. A family near me, or rather families, a gaggle, had gotten four pints for the price of two due to…

Dry November: Day 16

November 16, 2018

I’ve also begun Nicholas Ostler’s Empires of the Word, which I’ve been meaning to read for years. It begins with an account of the dramatic…

Dry November: Day 15

November 15, 2018

Halfway there. It’s been a good few weeks and productive, though what to do next with my life is not yet clear. But one day at a time. Today…

Dry November: Day 14

November 14, 2018

After fourteen days dry, I’m feeling suspiciously fantastic. It would be churlish not to give credit to my sobriety, though my diet and…

Dry November: Day 13

November 13, 2018

Last night, after a day at the British Library, a doctor’s appointment, and a catch-up meal with a friend, I took two buses home. I could…

Dry November: Day 12

November 12, 2018

On Thursday night I went to a contemporary dance performance called MK Ultra at the Southbank Centre. Since then I’ve learned that this is…

Dry November: Day 11

November 11, 2018

After brunch we discussed the crisis of meaning in work, one recently mentioned in the Harvard Business Review, whose survey found that 9…

Dry November: Day 10

November 10, 2018

Yesterday, I went to a screening of a pretty remarkable documentary called General Magic. It premiered at Tribeca in July, and has not yet…

Dry November: Day 9

November 09, 2018

Another is that reflection involves the act of recollection, and memory itself seems to have an elegiac effect on my writing. It is not that…

Dry November: Day 8

November 08, 2018

I awoke today with a song from a decade-old album stuck in my head. A noteworthy album, for me at least, by Of Montreal, and memorably…

Dry November: Day 7

November 07, 2018

I dreamt I had a drink. I don’t mean that I dreamt of drinking; in the dream, it had been inadvertent, had already happened. In my fitful…

Dry November: Day 6

November 06, 2018

Last night I saw a dear friend from my teenage years, and her mother whom I had not seen since then. They had finished a ten day cruise…

Dry November: Day 5

November 05, 2018

 Somewhere it is said that man cannot exist without sleep for more than a stated number of hours. Quite wrong! I had been convinced that…

Dry November: Day 4

November 04, 2018

After waking late yesterday, I met the friend with whom I am undertaking Dry November. Because we’d not seen each other for ages, the…

Dry November: Day 3

November 03, 2018

Yesterday I took the easy way out. I don’t mean that I drank, for I’ve done several things to ensure that this way would be hard, telling…

Dry November: Day 2

November 02, 2018

Yesterday was the first real challenge, in a way. It came down to the social question, maybe one more unavoidable in London than in other…

Dry November: Day 1

November 01, 2018

A first stab at conversion