Music is the ultimate consolation for reality’s letdowns (like being thirteen and still firmly living in the realm of childhood). I would listen to “Venus as a Boy” on repeat in my bedroom, curtains drawn, and imagine Allan’s face, his arms, his chest, his body. ...more
Paul Griner talks about his newest novel, Second Life, his just-released story collection Hurry Please I Want to Know, putting real life into fiction, and whether creative writing can be taught. ...more
In episode 31 of The Rumpus’s Make/Work podcast, host Scott Pinkmountain speaks with researcher/curator Aurora Tang, who has built a career around thinking about sustainability for artists and arts organizations. ...more
Because we’re adept cave dwellers, because we pull down the shades and curl into each other, because we find some sort of domestic bliss in being fake-married for seven days, I think we can do anything....more
Mark Danielewski talks about the "maddening energy of violence" and why he’s writing a 27–volume novel, starting with his first 850-page installment in the series, The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May. ...more
Shulem Deen talks about his memoir, All Who Go Do Not Return, his life as an ex-Hasidic author, divorce and parenting, and how painful he found it to be cast out from the religious sect he'd belonged to for over fifteen years. ...more
Editor and author George Hodgman talks about his new memoir, Bettyville, what makes for a good memoir, and returning to his hometown of Paris, Missouri from New York to take care of his aging mother. ...more
In this weekend’s Saturday Essay, Amanda Parrish Morgan returns to a favorite film of her childhood, Dead Poets Society, as a high school English teacher with a more critical eye. Parrish Morgan ties the sad “martyrdom” of the movie’s hero, Mr. Keating, in with the New York State Legislature’s new, unrealistic standards for evaluating teachers. The unfortunate reality is that: “In most communities, teachers are compensated so poorly and afforded so little respect that in many cases the primary compensation is martyrdom.”
Meanwhile, Ann van Buren offers a review of Paul Muldoon’s collection, One Thousand Things Worth Knowing. Part elegy for Seamus Heaney, part elegy for Muldoon’s lost homeland of Ireland, the book at turns compels and repels van Buren. Obscure references make the collection challenging. “In every phrase of yours,” Van Buren tells the poet directly, “we see a thousand synapses firing.”
Then, in the Sunday Essay, Suzanne Clores has nightmares about her own murder at the hands of her loving husband and wonders where they might come from. The boundary between female intuition and genuine precognition becomes blurred. “In my more sane and confident moments,” Clores writes, “I am certain he is the non-murdering gentleman I married.” But the symbolism is continually frightening.
We’re getting ready to send out our next Letter in the Mail, and it’s from Ben Dolnick! Ben writes a very funny letter about the “strangeness of traveling alone” while his plane is delayed for hours at the Sea-Tac airport.
Ben Dolnick is the author of three novels: Zoology, You Know Who You Are, and At the Bottom of Everything. His writing has appeared in the New York Times and on NPR. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and dog.
We’re sending our next Letter for Kids from Gail Nall! Gail writes about her childhood pen pals and about one of her most embarrassing moments. She says she’s not good at drawing, but has drawn really cool doodles all over the letter!
Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. She is the author of the middle grade novel Breaking The Ice and the co-author of You’re Invited. Her YA debut, Exit StageLeft,will be published in Summer 2015.
That morning, Blume, in a pink baseball cap and sneakers, was taking her daily two-mile walk on a path that snakes along the beach. At 8 a.m., the sun was already strong, but the more Blume talked, the faster she walked, and everything sped up whenever the conversation turned to her new book, “In the Unlikely Event,” which will be published next month. It is set mainly in 1952, when Blume was 14.
Over at the New York Times, Susan Dominus profiles Judy Blume a few weeks ahead of the release of her first adult novel in 16 years.
The lineup for this year’s FYF Fest was released earlier this month, and the more we look at it, the more we have to admit it might be worth bearing the heat of an August weekend in Los Angeles. The festival’s headliners are Frank Ocean and Morrissey, and the lineup ranges from Deerhunter to FKA Twigs, Solange to Spiritualized. Oh yeah, and The Jesus and Mary Chain are going to be there! With Dinosaur Jr.! See what we mean? Check out the full lineup and other details on the FYF Fest site.
As I worked, filing reports every night from a hotel room, the details nagged at me. Her mother, Japa Tamang, was living in an open-sided shed once used to store grain, in hills still shuddering from aftershocks. My husband had the idea of giving her a ride back to Kathmandu and a plane ticket to Delhi, and this idea cheered me up greatly. But when this offer was conveyed to her, she said no, thank you. She did make one request: Could I bring her a bottle of whiskey?
According to Shaj Mathew, novelists are more and more approaching writing as conceptual art, creating “readymade” novels. You can read his take on the “Reality Hunger generation” over at The New Republic.