Going to Yalta After the Apocalypse: Author's afterword (and full EPUB)
This text is not a part of the novel already! Just a few final things to say.
So, that’s it, I guess.
I started the book on May 1 and finished it, just as planned, on Dec 1 (well, deep into the night of Dec 2, but who counts).
A lot of things changed around me through those seven months, but the main ones didn’t: the russian invasion still ongoing, and Ukraine still fights fiercely.
I am still in Kharkiv.
My routines stayed the same most of this time: work, family, volunteering, news, air raid alerts, occasional blackouts. And a chapter every single night. (Well, with two missed nights during the most prolonged blackouts, but I caught up the following weekend every time.)
Here is the whole novel as a single EPUB (still unedited and with “texts from author” in it).
I can’t really say whether I am happy with it. It is not even due to some self-criticism or approval-seeking, but because I don’t think about it this way. It was a big project: I planned it for three years before writing for seven months. It is finished now—and about that, I am definitely happy.
As a text, it didn’t come quite as I imagined it—but that’s always the case with big texts. One can say that’s the point: if the final result can be imagined in full detail beforehand, why would you bother with writing it?
In my experience, it is the process of writing which defines a lot about the form and direction of the text—be it a novel or a programming project. That’s what keeps me in trade.
As a public writing project, it was definitely a fail: this mailing list has just a few dozen subscribers, and I estimate the amount of those who really read the text—whether keeping up with the pace or falling behind, but with the intention to finish—is barely third of those.
But that’s what I should’ve expected starting the project in May. The initial idea of “public writing” implied some social networks activity, probably interaction with other writers on Substack and elsewhere, preparing intermediate “promo” materials or looking into potential communities of readers—
Of course, it all was pre-invasion plans. When I decided to start writing in May of 2022, despite the war, I knew I wouldn’t have a resource for anything other than the writing itself.
Would I follow the initial “publicity” plans, the text itself might’ve come out differently—more engaging, probably? Or maybe I wouldn’t be able to achieve those additional goals, whatever resources I’d put into them. Who knows.
Now, I plan to slowly move towards publishing the book.
In January, I’ll scrub it from the Internet (including this mailing list’s archives, but not the mailing list itself) and start self-edit. After that, I plan to look for a professional (paid) editor and then for a publisher. It might all sound too far-fetched, but then, writing for 215 days in a row felt far-fetched by light years, and yet, here we are.
I’ll probably send an occasional update about how it goes to this mailing list—if there would be any news to share, that is.
Thank you for being with me on this journey!
Speaking of which...
This book is the kind of weight I would not be able to lift alone.
First and foremost, the book would be impossible without my wife, Irene. Not only did she read every single chapter as soon as I wrote them, but she also provided enough precious feedback to be considered a co-author of the whole thing.
I am thankful to my dear old friend Lu who also read along, and to another dear old friend Nastik, who didn’t—but only because she was occupied with editing my previous novel.
To Olha L., an incredible translator whose views on text and language are always insightful (and who told me that a good translator should always hear how it sounds—which gave me inspiration for a whole cartridge’s optics).
To other members of a small international online community, let’s call it M, who protected me from loneliness all those months and taught me valuable lessons through the last years. (I would like more of you to read it, but still!)
To a few online acquaintances who actually did read the texts and made it visible through likes, comments, and personal letters. It was nice to feel like a writer who is read not only by his wife and close friends!
To my school friends of the 90s and people with whom I’ve shared those amazingly free summers in Fox bay at the beginning of the 2000s. Of course, I am still thinking of you. (I tried my best not to exploit our precious shared memories in the text, but you’ll probably recognize some elements.)
And last but not least important, writing this book would be impossible if not for Ukrainian Armed Forces and civil services. They are literally the only reason that the people I care about and myself are alive, free, and well.
Please donate to the “Come Back Alive” fund or another of a multitude of trusted funds and organizations.
Since August, I have been working with the Kharkiv volunteer group “Volunteer 68” (the site doesn’t have an English version yet, but will soon, I promise). We are working on supporting civilians in frontline and deocuppied territories, as well as in Kharkiv itself: delivering food, helping to evacuate, and patronage for the weak, disadvantaged, and disabled. Donations are welcome, too!
My home pond on Nov 30, the day when the last novel’s “photo” was written