Austin Bunn talks about his new story collection, The Brink, his latest script for a short film, In the Hollow, working in multiple mediums, and why some novels read like early drafts of screenplays. ...more
In Yearbook #2, Alysia Abbott talks about her memoir Fairyland, a storytelling and community project for children of parents who died of AIDS, and how upsetting is can be to pour through old journals. ...more
For nearly ten years I had lain beside him: the snoring was a blow, but, looking back, it was also a necessary portent, an etch in our story, the fuzzy spot on a picture frame you can’t tell is from the photograph aging or a fingerprint that left its caressing mark on the glass. ...more
Visual artist and writer Peter Witte is unsure whether the killing of a sentient being is problematic, but he wishes that bacon, one of his favorite foods, could exist without all the suffering. ...more
In episode 32 of The Rumpus’s Make/Work podcast, host Scott Pinkmountain speaks with poet and composer Nathan Langston about the origin and development of his most recent project, and the effect it’s had on his creative and personal life. ...more
Author Maya Lang discusses her Joyce-inspired novel The Sixteenth of June, the "illiterate, underbred" epic Ulysses, and the insufficiency of "yes" in an interactive interview with Allison Adair. ...more
Even the animal kingdom is more progressive than the US. Penguins have been forming same-sex romantic relationships for as long as penguins have existed, and none of their compatriots ever batted a wing. The Dodo looks back at some of the most “aww”-inducing penguin pairs, because why not celebrate love with adorable pictures of birds?
When I got older, I discovered that this sense of play wasn’t limited to the young. There were plenty of adults out there writing radically experimental books formally guided by the notion that a book could be more than a book—it could be a vexing puzzle, a winding labyrinth, a stubborn gauntlet, a spooky carnival full of creaky rides, even a sandbox. It could be anything it wanted to be, subject only to the vision and craft of its creator.
Between celebrating how far we’ve come and preparing for how far we have to go, now is a good time to brush up on your queer literature. Over at Lit Hub, Rebecca Brill looks at “the evolution of the Great Gay Novel.”
After the Supreme Court ruling acknowledging the right to same-sex marriage was announced, musicians across the country have spent the weekend expressing their joy. Miley Cyrus said “thank you America for not cutting my chances to find true love forever and ever by 50%,” Madonna declared “The Revolution of Love has Begun,” and John Legend celebrated each of the rulings that came down this past week, saying, “Very happy about the SCOTUS rulings this week! Marriage Equality, Fair Housing and Affordable Health Care!” Alternative Press and Pigeons and Planes have also compiled messages of love from musicians in reaction to the landmark decision, and that just scratches the surface.
Recently, several novelists have criticized the primary curriculum in the UK for teaching a brand of creative writing that is too “complex.” For the Guardian, Ella Slater explains why she agrees with such criticism, arguing that her primary education has made writing simple and direct prose difficult:
As someone now struggling with keeping my prose simple and fluent, I can only say that I regret that the primary curriculum left so much to the secondary. If I had not had engraved in me a long-lasting fear of all things simplistic, I am certain that I would be a much better writer today.
Now, I was wondering if you could help me get something to eat. You wouldn’t be just handing me money to do whatever with — I know that’s a concern for some people. You could go with me to a store — wherever you want. And I wouldn’t ask you to do it all for me; I don’t want to ask too much. I have a dollar and thirty-five cents, and I’d put that towards whatever you bought. You’d be helping me, but I wouldn’t ask you to do the whole thing.
That’s a thing some people ask for, but I want you to know I’ll do my part.
In the latest installment of his “Field Notes from Gentrified Places” column over at McSweeney’s, Vinson Cunningham writes about San Francisco.
Queen mother of lady nerds Margaret Atwood has reaffirmed her status as the OG Cool Chick Carol by contributing to an all-female nonfiction anthology called The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. As if we needed another incentive to support women writers.
For the Millions, Philip Graham considers how childhood traumas can inspire art. In his exploration, Graham looks to works by John Gardner, Rabih Alameddine, and James Baldwin, authors who confront “psychic wounds” and use writing as a method of healing:
We writers are used to looking back, locating in our rough drafts any glimmer that might show the way forward. A story, a poem, a novel, or a memoir won’t reach its best destination without the labor of reconsideration, without the ability to see afresh what is obscure, or incomplete. And neither will the story of our lives.
The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reason and on no grounds whatsoever, the thought suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.
At Lit Hub, Murakami shares the introduction to Wind/Pinball: Two Novels, due out in August, about his twenties and the exact moment he became a novelist while at a baseball game. He shares the story of his first business—a jazz cafe—his first attempt at writing a novel, the cultivation of his style via translation, and more lovely tidbits of reminiscence.
Like a detective novel, these books are characterized by a central mystery and the process of detection that leads to solving that mystery. The mystery, however, is not a crime—it’s a life. A person, usually only tangentially related to the subject (the latter is often deceased), becomes engrossed in the discovery of this person’s life, and in the best of the genre we also discover more about the detective’s self along the way.
Writing for LitHub, Nicola DeRobertis-Theye explores the genre of “biographical detection” and provides a reading list for this newly-named literary device.
Over at the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring talks about James Wright’s famous epiphanic poem Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota, in conjunction with Ann Beattie’s new story Yancey, and the general discussion and controversy of the poem’s famous last line: “I have wasted my life.”
For a nicely surreal twist on the summer outdoor concert, the Storm King Art Center, an outdoor sculptural garden north of New York City featuring works by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Goldsworthy, and Alexander Calder, offer up its annual series. And this year’s lineup doesn’t fail to earn the series’ setting, with The Feelies, Frankie Cosmos, Lee Ranaldo (formerly of Sonic Youth), Porches, and Alex Bleeker and the Freaks carrying its dates through September. The series began this past weekend with Frankie Cosmos and Porches, to be followed by Ranaldo on August 9, and then The Feelies and Alex Bleeker and the Freaks closing it on September 20th. Find details and more via Control Touring.
Amazon launched an online bookstore two decades ago. Since then, the Internet has been changing the way readers buy books. Paris has been a major book-selling city since the 17th century, when the first bouquinistes began lining the banks of the Seine. The 240 bouquinistes sell everything from the rare to the out-of-print, but now they face a serious threat from Internet sellers. BBC takes a look at these unique Parisian booksellers on the precipice of either evolution or extinction.
If you loved Choose Your Own Adventure stories as a kid and still wonder where all that branching narrative magic went, you might want to check out ADJUNCT by Ishmael Gilgamesh, in which you are a writer (of some kind) who may (or may not) become an adjunct to pay the bills. This cheeky postmodern pseudo-adventure lives on Inklewriter, the latest and probably best platform yet developed to host branching narratives on the web. You can create and share your own stories too—but be warned: it’s harder than it looks!