With a mix of humor, agility, and insight, Jade Chang’s debut novel, The Wangs vs. the World (HMH Books, October 2016), tells a fresh immigrant story. Charles Wang has left his native homeland to become a successful businessman in America. The book takes us on a journey with his whole family as they navigate the ups and downs of fortune and travel across the US....more
Posts Tagged: The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project
Edited by queer porn performer and LGBTQ activist Jiz Lee, Coming Out Like a Porn Star is a wide-ranging compilation of answers to questions only sex industry pros seem to get. (And if you guessed, “Does your mother know?” to be at the top of the queries you are correct.)
Since the announcement of the book early last year, the sex worker-penned anthology has been named to Reason’s list of “Best Sex-Work Books of 2015,” and has even made it onto the syllabi at college campuses....more
The multitalented Miranda July has departed from her usual theme of everyday people and enlisted ten celebrities and public figures to divulge emails from their personal inboxes....more
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....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 interviewed author, Sarah Kilborne, who lives in the same town as I do, Hudson, New York, and takes banjo lessons downstairs in my father’s music store that I live above.
We had dinner a few months ago, where I picked her brain about the writing life, and we both overate pasta....more
Gregory is an eighty-two-year-old Russian Jewish man who works across the aisle from me at a nonprofit community center in Palo Alto. I’d always been curious about why he was still working. When I asked him for an interview, he said he wasn’t very interesting....more
Terry Gearlds and I have never met. We’re friends on Facebook. We share some stuff in common like True Blood and horror movies. Also, anytime either of us see a picture of Bradley Cooper with no shirt on our nipples get hard....more
I met Grace Smith (Yup’ik) when I was researching an article for The Circle, a Native American newspaper in the Twin Cities.
The Native community in the Twin Cities is very complex, with people from many different tribes and nations....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
There’s fisherman who is famous in my town in northern Holland, near the sea. They say he has been around the world a few times, so I thought I would ask him some questions. A very short interview followed....more
I’ve known Judy Salamon two years. We work together, and she’s one of the main reasons I enjoy my job. Judy tells the best stories. She’s also a kind and accepting person. After meeting her the first time my son said, “A lot of people pretend to be nice....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
Angie is my nineteen-month-old son Charlie’s nanny. She’s been living with us since October 12, 2010. Angie is thirty years old, and is currently reading John Williams’s novel Stoner....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
When last we heard from Brian he had gotten work as a Xerox copier mechanic in his hometown of Rochester, New York. Robert Tumas’s 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 ATVs....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....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
Paula Whyman talks with SM Shrake about his annual witch costume in The Rumpus’s thirtieth mini-interview!...more
Three years ago I interviewed a number of friends in their mid-twenties, 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
Dave “The Fugitive” Jansen, thirty, is a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter with Oregon’s Team Quest Fight Club. Our talks took place prior to his World Extreme Cage Fighting (WEC) bout in Las Vegas against Ricardo Lamas on August 18, 2010....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, forty-one, 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 speaks only Arabic.) The following is an edited account of our conversation during the three hour taxi journey between Palymra and Damascus....more