Gary Lutz, who in many circles is already known as a master of sentences, takes it to another level in his new collection, Divorcer (Calamari Press). Some of the sentences are so loaded and wild with commas and compound words, that they’re like an alchemy of what future historians will call the “Lutzian” style–emotionally dense, perverse, and grammatically audacious. It’s like Lutz has turned the volume on his style up to 11....more
Beijing was changing under his feet, and expatriate Alan Paul was changing, too.
A transplanted suburban dad, he was a “trailing spouse” who followed his wife on her promotion and relocation from New Jersey to Beijing. A writer used to watching the kids while working for Guitar Magazine and Slam, the leisure of overseas domestic help gave him time to begin a personal blog, and later, the online column “Expat Life” for The Wall Street Journal....more
I heard about Margaret Murray before I met her: strange rumors about her being a kept woman in LA and a sad, true story of her apartment burning down in San Francisco.
Of course I wanted to befriend her. In the early ’90s we played together in combustible “super-mini-groups”—Job’s Daughters and Heavenly Ten Stems—and I had the chick-bassist slot for two months in (then-named) Caroliner Open Wound Chorale before quitting....more
My sister is six years younger, and as kids we never got along. In high school, I went through a phase that involved a lot of sneaking out to drink coffee and do pink-hearts with my friends. I had to creep past her room and, I always worried that she was going to wake up and sound an alarm....more
Varun and I met shortly before we graduated from college, and then I moved across the country. We remained in good touch until he visited me. We fought and then we didn’t talk for a long while until now.
This was an excuse to ask him all the questions I’ve been wanting to ask him since that fight....more
In the late 1980s, Terri Manning and her sister, Barbara, lived in one of San Francisco’s painted ladies near Golden Gate Park. This lady, a huge, rambling Victorian with peeling paint, opened its door to touring bands, local musicians, artists, and whomever else needed a place to crash or a home-cooked meal....more
We at The Rumpus get bored with reading the same old interviews with the same old people. So, every now and again we like to publish “mini-interviews,” our readers talking with people we wouldn’t normally get to learn about. We like to hear from your friend with a Neil Diamond obsession, your neighbor fawning over his pet ferret, your best friend’s mom; the random nooks and crannies of planet earth....more
When last we heard from Brian he had gotten work as a Xerox copier mechanic in his hometown of Rochester, New York. Robert Tumas’ latest conversation with his itinerant best friend finds Brian on the Island of San Clemente, off the coast of San Diego, where he is currently employed as a wildlife technician controlling the ballooning population of wild feral house cats with .22 rifles, traps, and ATV’s....more
When your mother-in-law pushes aside Elizabeth Street, the acclaimed novel by Laurie Fabiano, and says “She didn’t get it right,” it’s time to pull up a chair and listen.
Christina Randazzo tells great stories that span decades but her most compelling tales date back to her growing up in the 1940s in New York City’s Little Italy....more
My husband, Sam Putnam, is the chef of a popular new restaurant, which I’m not going to name because it’s already gotten plenty of publicity.
I wanted to interview him because I haven’t seen him much lately and people are always asking me how he’s doing. He also tends to be a quiet guy, and I wanted to get him to talk....more
I met Eric Larson (a pseudonym) in a Bay Area writing workshop around ten years ago. He’s had the most intriguing job of anyone I’ve met in that often-myopic fiction-writing world—he’s a Death Row attorney, primarily for clients at San Quentin State Prison, paid separately on contract for each case....more
Three years ago I interviewed a number of friends in their mid-20s, seemingly bright kids with no direction. I lost the digital recordings; here is all that remains from an interview with C.W., 27. We spoke at length in his dad’s kitchen while his sister cared for her new baby in the next room....more
Aaron Wendland is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, where he works on Heidegger and reads widely in the history of philosophy. Originally from Canada, Aaron brought over 1,000 philosophy books to Oxford, which he organizes by height, color, publisher, theme and alphabet, “so far as all of this is possible.”
Over Scotch one night we talked about his previous career in the foundry of a car manufacturing plant in Windsor, Ontario....more
The last time I saw Lucinda was around July 4, 2003. Marching around with sparklers in her back yard, drinking beer and laughing, she showed no ill-effects of being a California parole officer. Lucinda, 41, is now a California state investigator of lifers, and an aspiring roller derby vixen....more
Mohaned works at a small hotel in Palmyra, a desert town in northeast Syria. On the side, he helps a friend pitch taxi rides to tourists. (Mohaned speaks Arabic and English; his friend, only Arabic.) The following is an edited account of our conversation during the three hour taxi journey between Palymra and Damascus....more
I know very little about Richard.
I know that he is from Rhode Island, Jewish, has lived in Puebla, Mexico for 20 years, lives and owns an antiques store with his partner Victor. They have two dogs and 19 canaries.
When I return to the shop a second time to schedule the interview Richard warns me that New Englanders are “very direct.” “I’ll tell the truth, he says....more
John grew up in Hong Kong, the son of a missionary. Before becoming a commercial photographer he was a radio disc jockey, oil field roustabout, pizza delivery guy and funeral home attendant. Now he’s selling everything he owns and is leaving the country for a couple of years at least....more
Ronnie Lucero and I work together at Nelson’s Meats, a small, independently owned meat market in Albuquerque’s South Valley. He is what used to be called a ‘butcher.’ Nowadays they call them ‘meat cutters.’ I sell his handiwork to the public, as well as a few other mammal-flesh goodies....more
Michaela Drapes and Shannon Robertson write the irreverent knitting blog Yarneteria . They create bespoke hand knit garments and accessories for discerning gentlemen at Kindling and Tinder where they believe you should “wear your love like heaven.” I recently got to speak with Michaela:
Martha Burzynski: Growing up knitting, do you remember what was produced as being out of necessity or as creative outlet?...more