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
Author Antonio Ruiz-Camacho speaks about his new collection, Barefoot Dogs, breakthrough stories, the writing process, and why translating his book for readers in Mexico feels like a homecoming. ...more
"On Nonfiction" is an attempt to combine comics and the essay. It forms a part of Will Moore's larger work-in-progress that includes, among other topics, meditations on pants, noises, friendship, and Miley Cyrus. ...more
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.
After the heartbreakingly gentle song, “John My Beloved,” ends, Sufjan Stevens takes a single audible breath. The breath, like many of Stevens’s choices on his revelatory new album, Carrie & Lowell, beckons the listener in by virtue of its strangeness. The record is a complete work of art no matter how it is viewed, but the breath suggests something unfinished. Though “John My Beloved” is a remarkable love song, Stevens leaves us wondering for whom it was written, man or deity, and if they will ever reply.
Thursday 5/21: Oregon Humanities presents poet, activist, and professor Walidah Imarisha to lead a discussion for their Think & Drink series. Alberta Rose Theatre, 6:30 p.m., tickets start at $10.
Tin House and Portland State University’s Creative Writing Department welcome Mary Reufle for a public reading to top off their Spring semester seminar on her writing. Reservations required. The Little Church, 6:30 p.m., free.
To celebrate the release of his memoirs, Deal, Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann will discuss not only the stories in the book, but also the insane three-year process behind writing it. A moderated Q&A segment will be followed by a book signing. Kreutzmann will be joined in conversation with Benjy Eisen. Powell’s at Cedar Hills Crossing, 7 p.m., free.
The 13th Floor Elevators are one of those groups that seem to perfectly articulate their genre; a psychedelic band that disbanded in 1969 but whose records have a place in the core catalog of any kid trying to get to know that decade today. If you haven’t happened upon them yet yourself, suffice it to say, the Elevators are one of those bands that keep coming up (like here and here), and rightfully so. Roky Erickson, Tommy Hall, John Ike Walton, and Ronnie Leatherman performed together for the first time in forty-seven years at Austin’s Levitation Festival last weekend, playing songs spanning the band’s discography, and making just about everyone cross their fingers and wish the reunion wasn’t only a one-time thing. Watch the full performance after the jump, and you’ll see what we mean. (more…)
Leslie Jamison and Benjamin Moser tackle a long-debated question for the Bookends column: “Should There Be a Minimum Age for Writing a Memoir?”. They both agree there isn’t—you can read their reasoning over at the New York Times.
It’s meaningless to me. I found, as the years went on, I was very lucky not to have a bourgeois bone in my body. I don’t want anything, and that has really stood me in good stead. If you’re a writer and you’re living on the margin and you hunger for the so-called good things in life, for material stuff, you’re really in trouble. And I discovered I don’t. All I ever wanted was to just make enough to stay alive. So yeah, sex, money—and age and death, to my amazement, don’t hold my attention either.
Emma Sulkowicz graduated from Columbia University yesterday. She might have gone unnoticed had she not also been carrying around a mattress.
In her sophomore year at Columbia, Sulkowicz was raped. Like many rape victims, Sulkowicz considered her attacker a friend, and he was someone she had slept with twice before. On the night of the assault, Sulkowicz says she had not been drinking. She and her attacker were in her room having sex. Then Sulkowicz says that she was slapped, pinned down, and penetrated anally. She screamed for it to stop, but it didn’t.
Sulkowicz hesitated in reporting the assault until two other women who had been victims of her attacker encouraged her to speak up. Sulkowicz first filed a complaint with Columbia University. (more…)
Miss Marple’s strength as a mystery novel heroin was inseparable from her character: that of a nosy, small town spinster. Far from taking those identity markers as pejorative, Alice Bolin has written a stirring defense of Miss Marple (and her creator, Agatha Christie) as a champion of a particularly feminine brand of sleuthing: one that requires intimate knowledge of relationships and the domestic habits of her British village. Bolin breaks down the underlying misogyny of popular mystery critics, and celebrates Christie’s accomplishments, noting that “Miss Marple nudges blustering, blowhard cops in the right direction demonstrates how the Queen of Crime inherited just as much from Jane Austen as Arthur Conan Doyle.”
Serial novels are nothing new, especially in genre fiction designed to keep readers shelling out money for the next phase of a story. But the sudden, rapid success of fantasy genre series like George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and the adaptation of Tolkien’s hobbit epics to the big screen has meant publishers want to cash in on the double-XL titles. The Guardian looks at how these mega-novels are hurting the genre and need to be reigned in before readers tire of them:
A deluge of multi-volume epics has been published over recent years, each one in turn hailed as the next Game of Thrones, only to disappear within a few months as disappointed readers found reality didn’t match the hype. Some were by excellent writers who don’t quite have the breadth to tackle a full mega-novel, telling stories that would have been better told in a single volume. Most were by debut novelists, often interesting writers with some good short stories under their belt, pushed far beyond their technical abilities by an industry hungry for instant commercial success.
(n.); soft, delicate, tender; from the Old English hnesce (“soft in texture”) or Gothic hnasqus (“tender; soft”)
“Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth over the merits of print versus digital books so many times, it’s as if I were in an abusive relationship with myself. But my mother’s passing and the sentimental value of her library have finally put an end to that debate in my head.”
–Nick Bilton, “In a Mother’s Spirit”
We’re all more than familiar with the raging debate over the “digital revolution” allegedly rocking the publishing world. There are manycompellingarguments for why print books provide a superior reading experience; likewise, there are just as many eloquentrebuttals in defense of the new reading mediums. Last week in the New York Times, self-professed e-book convert Nick Bilton offered a delicate and touching introspection on the balance between digital and print, and on living a life “filled with beautiful words,” be they in print or digital.
Since recording “Baltimore,” written in response to the deaths of Mike Brown and Freddie Gray, Prince has returned to the Internet. We at The Rumpus were captivated by Prince’s last Twitter experiment, only to be disappointed when he shut the account down within its first month. But it looks like the artist is coming back to us: on the same day he released “Baltimore,” Prince launched a new Twitter account (verified, of course). And now the entirety of Prince’s Dance Rally 4 Peace is available to stream on his new SoundCloud. Also: the performance is gorgeous, peppered with the big hits, tracks off the new record, a performance of “Baltimore,” and some thoroughly touching messages from Prince to the crowd. “It don’t matter the color,” Prince said in his sign-off, “we are all family.”