Featured Nonfiction/Hybrid Writer: Karlo Yeager Rodríguez
This issue we are honored to feature Karlo Yeager Rodríguez! Join us as we discuss navigating history (both personal and societal), writing across genres, and disintegration. If you haven't read the piece yet, hurry on up and catch it here!
Ashely Adams: First off, I want to thank you so much for trusting your piece with us. As I was reading your essay, I was really struck by the masterful way you interwove the different elements together–the song, the personal memories, the disasters and oppression of Puerto Rico. Could you tell us a little bit about your thought process while writing this? What made you think to bring all these components into one essay?
Karlo Yeager Rodríguez: Before I start - I'm glad the piece resonated, and you have my thanks for wanting to run it in Lammergeier Magazine.
I wrote Disintegration Loops at a moment where I'd "made it" after years of underemployment and side-jobs, when I had a moment to breathe rather than go, go, go. It was an effort to find meaning in my own past behaviors, but it got me thinking about the moment I felt things started to slip, which led me to think about Basinski's music as both metaphor and metanarrative. History repeating itself is a cliche that's been repeated so often its meaning has been worn down, as smooth and pleasant to touch as a river rock, but as is the case with these things, it's a cliche because it's true to an extent. I wanted to interrogate how both the historical and the personal can both coincide, like the jeweled movements of an intricate mechanism. The idea of loops, of repetition, of watching events you've seen happen before unfold and be almost powerless to stop them was something I wanted to explore alongside how small and fleeting happiness can be.
AA: Another thing that captured me was the feeling of the titular “disintegration”. Not only do we read about the decaying music, but the losses the narrator feels both within their family and in their homeland. How do you think, as a writer, we can approach this sort of acceleration of worsening conditions, particularly when there is no satisfying conclusion in sight?
KYR: The more I try to write something clever or pithy about this, the more I'm humbled by how little I know. Find happiness in the small moments of connection with loved ones; tend to your garden. Perhaps that's answer enough, but I'm unsure.
AA: One of the things we love here is writers that write across genres. I’ve read some of your previous work and noticed it mostly tends towards speculative fiction. How do you think your experience as a fiction writer influences your nonfiction and/or vice versa?
KYR: I've found that good fiction (speculative or otherwise) tends to reflect the world back at us from a different angle. Writing fiction has helped me figure out which angle, whose viewpoint makes for the strongest narrative. It's something that makes for strong writing, and is a good skill to develop for both fiction and nonfiction.
AA: On that note, would you like to share any of your other work or projects with our readers? Give us your pluggables!
KYR: You can find some of my writing on my website, alineofink.com, including How Juan Bobo Got to los Nueba Yores. You can find my dark fantasy novelette, As the Shore to the Tides, So Blood Calls to Blood published at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and my recent horror story, Vanishing was recently published at Seize the Press Magazine.
I also host Podside Picnic, where I and my co-hosts discuss the literature of the fantastic.
AA: Finally, what is your favorite bone?
KYR: At last, a chance for a humerus answer!