Posts by: Lauren ONeal
In an interview with addiction website The Fix, reprinted at Salon, memoirist and poet Mary Karr discusses getting clean, flouting rules, and how sobriety shaped her relationship with David Foster Wallace.
You’re present when you’re not drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel’s every day.
What a cool way to celebrate Ireland’s storytelling tradition: a new Irish stamp features the text of an entire short-short by 17-year-old Dubliner Eoin Moore.
Moore’s piece, about how “[t]he city embodies the people, and the people embody the city,” won out over “a host” of other entries at Roddy Doyle’s Fighting Words Centre....more
Loneliness is more than just a feeling, according to an article in the New Republic. It’s a biological process that activates your physical pain responses and trashes your immune system.
Here’s one of many fascinating (and, okay, probably depressing) examples of the very tangible effects of loneliness, from a study of gay men with HIV during the ’80s:
The social experience that most reliably predicted whether an HIV-positive gay man would die quickly, Cole found, was whether or not he was in the closet.
“Achebe A Celebrated Storyteller, But No Father Of African Literature, Says Soyinka.” The headline sound sensationalistic and snipey, but this interview with Wole Soyinka about the death of Chinua Achebe is nuanced and comprehensive, if more than a little prickly.
Soyinka discusses what it’s like to lose a friend and colleague—and what it’s like to deal with the media’s wrongheaded notions about the relationship between the two men and the literary scene they were a part of....more
The Rumpus is teaming up with San Francisco nonprofit Quiet Lightning to present a live literary mix tape, and we want you to join us!
Submit a piece less than eight minutes long for the chance to read at the event, or just join us as a guest for an evening of short readings from a variety of fantastic writers....more
On a blog for the Wall Street Journal (where else?), Emily Oster gives advice based on economic theory. For example:
There is a model in economics called the “sS” model. It’s not often applied to relationships, but I think it should be….If something really good happens, or many good things in a row, it pushes you over some threshold (this is the “S” threshold) and you get married.
It’s always fun to compare your culture’s inexplicably expensive and complicated customs with another’s and realize that nothing makes sense anywhere in the world.
For example, at the Billfold, Jia Tolentino relates a conversation with a Kyrgyz friend about weddings:
In Uzbekistan and Tajikistan there are new laws where they send a police officer to every wedding to make sure that no one spends more than, say, 15,000 som.
Crackerjack writer, porn actor, and Rumpus contributor Conner Habib has posted the latest in his “Guys I Wanted to Fuck in High School” series.
It’s erotic and expansive and poignant, and you should read it right now. A preview:
Do you want to hold my hand?
Before you get back to the grind, savor these last bits of the weekend.
And an interview with Susan Steinberg about crossing genres, reversing VIDA stats, and the importance of bucking formula....more
Some scientific experiments can sound ridiculous, especially to us writerly types—like, for instance, a study measuring mosquitoes’ attraction to limburger cheese.
There’s even a fake prize dedicated to mocking such studies: the “Ig Nobel,” which the aforementioned mosquito story won several years back....more
Want to see the new film version of The Great Gatsby but afraid it won’t live up to the book?
At The Millions, five English professors pass judgment on the success of the adaptation.
Read it to find out what additional source material Baz Luhrmann drew on and whether Carey Mulligan breathed a life into the role of Daisy that “honestly, Fitzgerald didn’t.”...more
These etymological origins of words related to insults are so strange and wonderful that some of them almost seem made up.
For example, it seems there used to be enough people writing “snarky epic poems” in Scandinavia that their title, skald, became synonymous with censure, eventually giving us the word scold....more
As science and technology dominate our lives more and more each day, those of us in the humanities find ourselves increasingly on the defensive.
One way to demonstrate the humanities’ relevance is with neuroscience. Brain scans not only show us concrete evidence of the ways novels affect our thoughts and emotions, but also give us exciting new insights into how we process literature....more
Poet, memoirist, and Beat figure Hettie Jones is, like most of us, unhappy about sexism in the publishing industry.
In a blog post on the subject, she discusses VIDA statistics, Deborah Copaken Kogan’s Nation essay, and (drumroll!) Elissa Bassist’s amazing Funny Women essay “Writing the Next Great American Woman’s Novel.”
Jones calls Bassist’s humor “indelible” and ties it into the “frustratingly sad” larger picture....more
For Merriam-Webster’s website, Peter Sokolowski details the history of spelling bees and the etymology of the term itself:
This kind of spelling duel was carried over to America, and Benjamin Franklin himself recommended the practice in 1750, with the addition of a prize given to the victor: “a pretty neat Book of some Kind useful in their future studies.”
A pretty neat Book!...more
Arguably, no other story has been made to express absolute black and absolute white as clearly as World War II. So how can an artist integrate the textures of grey that make a story truly poignant?
In an essay for The Millions, Charles-Adam Foster-Simard reviews an Art Spiegelman exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery called “CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps.”
It’s as good a reason as any to explore the medium of graphic novels and the difficulty of making art about the Holocaust, and Foster-Simard does so in a way that really illuminates Spiegelman’s impact on comics and literature....more
If Americans roll their eyes at each other for pretentious uses of British English like “flat” and “queue,” Brits are just as likely to look down on compatriots who use Americanisms like “take-out” and “shopping cart.”
But are the UK’s pet peeves really so trans-Atlantic?...more
The new media landscape might tear writing as we know it apart—or it might give us opportunities to find thrilling new niches.
Tomorrow night in NYC, join writers and editors from Columbia University, Tin House, and more to hear how they’ve “carved out a new media approach to old school storytelling,” and how you, too, can “find your niche.”
See their Facebook event page for more details....more
We hope you were so busy taking your mamas out to brunch and showering them with love and appreciation that you simply had no time for The Rumpus this weekend.
We celebrated Mother’s Day with two very different interviews that ended up being the same in many ways....more
As Elissa Bassist’s recent Funny Women column “The Next Great American Woman’s Novel” reminded us, books by women tend to get treated a little…differently from books by men.
What would it look like if male authors’ novels were treated like Bassist’s hypothetical feminine masterpiece All the Single Ladies Just Wanna Have Fun?...more
If you enjoy the coffee Dan Weiss brews every morning, you should hear the music he makes by night.
His band, longtime Rumpus favorites The Yellow Dress, are playing an album-preview show tonight at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, along with spooky folksters Low Magic and East Bay DIY hip-hop/R&B band Jaberi & Deutsch....more
Oakland art gallery MOCO, a vital and exciting venue for visual and performing art outside the mainstream, turned one last Sunday.
Unfortunately, there was no celebration: a few days earlier, the gallery’s owner, Eli Reyes, was the victim of a brutal hit-and-run attack that broke her femur and landed her in intensive care....more
Ella snorted a last bit of smoke from her nose, like a dragon, and flung her butt in the creek. “That’s not a job, Soph. That’s slavery. There are child labor laws. I bet you could call social services on your mom and they would take you away like that.” Ella snapped her fingers.
Attention, New York readers who love literary criticism and women and literary criticism by women: come to SHARP: A Discussion of Women and Criticism tomorrow night at 7:00 at the Bookstore Cafe!
The event will feature female critics, including Rumpus contributors like Michelle Orange and Michelle Dean, in conversation about “the women they’ve been inspired by, the challenges of being a woman of sharp mind and pen, and the question of whether women have a distinct purpose as critics at all.”...more
Bowling scenes tend to pop up in films that fizzle, Mr. Bruzzese, 39, continued. Therefore it is statistically unwise to include one in your script. “A cursed superhero never sells as well as a guardian superhero,” one like Superman who acts as a protector, he added.