Charles Yu

Literary Birthday – 3 January – Charles Yu

Happy Birthday, Charles Yu, born 3 January 1976.


  1. You want to tell a story? Grow a heart. Grow two. Now, with the second heart, smash the first one into bits.
  2. Everyone has a time machine. Everyone *is* a time machine. It’s just that most people’s time machines are broken. The strangest and hardest kind of time travel is the unaided kind. People get stuck, people get looped. People get trapped. But we are all time machines.
  3. All anyone is to anyone is a series of days.
  4. Life is, to some extent, an extended dialogue with your future self about how exactly you are going to let yourself down over the coming years.
  5. I basically wrote the book three times, and threw away the first two versions. I don’t mean drafts—I mean that I had a substantially different version of this book that just wasn’t working, scrapped it, did that again, and then the third time was a charm. (via)
  6. I write mostly at home. I have a library, but my dog has stolen the couch in there, so I often retreat to a desk in my bedroom. My hours are fairly regular—after dropping off the kids at school and walking the dog (the same one who has taken over my primary writing area)—I sit down around 8:30 AM or 9 AM and write until 3 or 5 or 7 PM, with breaks for lunch or dinner. Many days are shorter than that; maybe handball or TV or running an errand takes precedence or my attention away. Or I just end up reading. I write Monday through Friday, if I can. (via)
  7. Read. There are a lot of formulations of this, but at the moment, Stephen King’s comes to mind: ‘If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.’ If you followed only the first part of that, you’d already be 90 percent of the way there. (via)

Charles Yu is an American writer. He is the author of the novels How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and Interior Chinatown, which won the 2020 National Book Award for fiction. In 2016, Yu was a story editor for 10 episodes of the first season of  Westworld. He received two Writers Guild of America Award Nominations in 2017 for the show: Drama Series and New Series. You can find him on Twitter @charles_yu.

Source for quotes / Source for photo: Tina Chiou

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 3rd January 2021