Grief can flatten you. What is its purpose?...more
Posts Tagged: death
A collection of short pieces written by Rumpus readers pertaining to the subject of “Haunted.”...more
I could not bring myself to talk about losing my last living grandparent, because talking about her would mean talking about the literal and figurative ocean between where I come from and where I am now....more
Surviving suicide is like balancing on the edge of a blade. Either way the knife flashes, you’re going to get cut....more
“I wanted to be sexual/sexualized, but not fetishized. But was becoming someone’s fetish the only way? How was being fetishized different than being desired for having a unique, unrepeatable shape…or would the one leg always and forever be the only thing that mattered?”...more
The history of the whole world can be told as the stories of conquerors and the conquered—the former consumed with thoughts of destiny and tyranny, the latter knowing only the persistence of time and the pure grit of bodies....more
Over at Buzzfeed, Leigh Stein paints a portrait of two lovers before the fall:
Jason and I met in 2007, at an audition for a tragedy. I was 22 and wanted the role of Medea. He was 18 and didn’t know what the play was about.
“The wants and desires of dead people, the one’s they didn’t get to fulfill—that’s what slays me…What if they wanted more? What if they didn’t want to leave behind the things they left behind?”...more
The Southern Review recently excavated a poem by Aliki Barnstone from 2002, “My Friend Steve Asks if I Believe in the Afterlife.” It begins:
When a boy delivering her eulogy / first uttered “mother,” a baby sparrow/ landed on his head .
A house is just a set design, and sometimes we run lines with ghosts....more
During the last handful of years of his life my father became one of those unruly cool dads, perhaps exceptionally unruly. My sister and I had no curfews and he would congratulate us when we regaled him with stories of crazy nights out.
The mountains of Alabama are small mountains—foothills, really—but they are mine like a sports team is mine—like a football game (which I have for so long been near but have not really, really seen) is mine—as in the phrase “We scored! We scored!”...more
Saeed Jones published a book of poems, Prelude To Bruise. Over at Buzzfeed, he’ll tell you why he wrote them, too:
“My mother had a fatal heart attack the night before Mother’s Day in 2011. The experience of losing her broke me down.
Paul Moran began collecting John Updike’s trash in 2006, three years before the writer’s death. He found discarded photos, story drafts, and honorary degrees. The acquisition of curbside trash seems perfectly legal in Massachusetts, even if Updike and his wife took measures to dissuade Moran’s efforts....more
I want to leave the party through the window and find my uncle standing on a piece of iron shaped into visible desperation, which must also be (how can it not?) the beginning of visible hope....more
The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Monday nights at 7-9 p.m. EST in New York City....more
The day my father died was the day I started falling in love....more
Over at The Hairpin, Isabelle Fraser interviews Ann Wroe, obituary writer for The Economist. Wroe has written obituaries for J.D. Salinger, Aaron Swartz, and the 25-year old carp that was “England’s best-loved fish”. On Marie Smith, the last person to speak Eyak, an Alaskan language, she relates:
“She was the only person left who remembered all the different words for all the parts of a spruce tree.
My mother died suddenly at a dining room table, in the middle of a wonderful meal, surrounded by a large, extended family that loved her. One minute she was completely immersed in the world—talking, laughing, eating—and the next minute she was gone....more
Does it seem now like I believe in God and he is a comfort to me? I don’t, and he isn’t. And yet this story is a comfort to me....more
My mother’s body horrified me. Nine years old, I watched her dress. Her belly was rippled and sagged and scarred—a used-up bag of nothing....more
Death is messy and time-consuming and exhausting for the survivors. Death is confusing and maddening. At Blunderbuss Magazine, Essay Liu, a Taiwanese writer, documents her father’s death and the rituals in the days following. Translated by Kevin Tang.
Day three, 5 AM: coffin laying ceremony.
Depictions of death in short stories can challenge even seasoned writers. John McDonough, writing in the Colorado Review, explains why:
The immediacy of the death of a loved one offers rich emotional possibilities, but ones that are remarkably complicated. Mine these emotions too heavily and you run the risk of sentimentality, but too cautious an approach fails to carry appropriate weight.
And this is precisely why I was so entirely blown away by Antonia Crane’s new memoir, Spent, which chronicles her dark and twisted path through the above horrors with remarkable elegance and restraint. To be honest: it’s pretty fucking annoying how elegant and restrained the book is....more
When my father died my mother was still alive. And I think when your second parent dies, there is that shock: “Oh man, I’m an orphan.” There’s also this relief: It’s done; it’s finished; it’s over. Because I had felt for so many years that there was this sense of going through this whole passage, this whole last part of their lives, and all the emotional and practical difficulties of that.