As the story goes, nearly 100 years ago a group of Surrealist artists gathered together and put a new spin on an old parlor game called Consequences. The meeting resulted in their collective authorship of this phrase: “The/ exquisite/ corpse/ will/ drink/ the/ young/ wine.” Now familiar to many writers by the name of “Exquisite Corpse,” the game requires at least three participants who send round a single sheet of paper on which each member, looking only at the entry that came before him or her, makes a written or drawn contribution, folds over the paper, and passes it on to the next person....more
Posts Tagged: Tin House
The Other Side author Lacy M. Johnson talks about the experience of being kidnapped, overcoming trauma, and fighting the George Wills of the world....more
Always first aware not of the naked feeling itself but of the best way to phrase the feeling so as to avoid verbal repetition, you come to think of emotions as belonging to other people, being the world’s happy property and not yours—not really yours except by way of disingenuous circumlocution.
Polly Dugan is “completely unashamed of her material, which is the often-shame-inducing terrain of family and its discontents and its malcontents. And her new book of stories—which could be a novel, but isn’t, thank God—goes about laying bare the secrets of one family, and therefore every family.“...more
For me, the act of writing is all about getting rid of self-criticism, and at the same time I have an almost religious belief in literature. These two kingdoms are impossible to unite. So what I do, apparently, is try to write great literature for four or five years, until the level of frustration becomes so high that it starts to tear down the wall between me and my text, or, differently put: I start not to care.
They talk about cohesion in short-story collections, faraway settings, and van den Berg’s collection of ceramic Loch Ness monsters. A preview:
…the women I write about are often seduced by the ugliness and the danger, by the violence or the promise of it—and they often end up paying a steep price for that seduction, in that moment where the promise of violence falls away and the bare, brutal reality of it appears.
Lucy Corin is on a roll. Her book, One Hundred Apocalypses And Other Apcoalypses is making the rounds and with 103 stories it has a long time to go before people are done talking about it. Check out this interview with Lucy from Tin House:
SJ: To go back to that idea of “owning where you’re standing”—what did that look like in writing the collection of apocalypses, which range pretty widely in terms of point-of-view, and voice, and relationship to character?
“All stories are inherently suspect. You know that old, dumb crafty term: Reliable narrator? Show me a truly reliable narrator…Does one exist? Tom Brokaw? We’re all unreliable all the time. And I think storytellers should always go too far. In the story “Spokane” —as you say—Stacy goes too far, and still Barry buys it.
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
Slow writers, you’re in good company. Maud Newton has a blog post up at Tin House about the blessing and the curse of taking your time with a book.
Here’s a small taste:
I love Alex for many reasons, and one of the most selfish of those is that he tends to work for a long time on his novels.
We reached out to several of the worst offenders to ask where they thought they had gone wrong…but got very little in the way of responses. So we decided, instead, to reach out to the editors of the publications that actually had managed to show a relatively gender-equitable byline distribution in 2012.
For whatever reason, this austere paper system works better for me than others, which says more about how my mind works than it does about Excel spreadsheets. Maybe I’m projecting, but no matter your system, if you’re a submitter, two things are essential: order and efficiency.
The second installment of “Super Sad True Habits of Highly Effective Writers” features a number of our friends, including contributor Chloe Caldwell, and Adam Levin, whose novel The Instructions was a Rumpus Book Club selection.
Here’s Nick Flynn on his pre-writing ritual:
“Before I sit down, I need time to wander in the unknown for awhile, either psychically or physically, somewhat aimlessly, yet in a state of awareness, allowing seeming distractions to build up some energy, maybe around an image or idea or sound, until something reveals itself: a pattern, an echo, something that resonates with whatever it is I think I’m supposed to be working on.”...more
“From the Greek ek-stasis, it means “standing outside of,” as in separation from the common, or, in the Hellenic religious understanding, a hiatus from cognition in celebration of the visceral and mystical.”
Interpreting Euripedes’ The Bacchae as “a masterful homage to the necessity of ecstasy,” William Giraldi dives into the evolving meaning of ecstasy, and its centrality in the realms of religions, music, dance, and literature....more
Remember when R. Crumb blew our minds and our concept of dedication with his thorough illustration of the Bible?
That project sounded physically and emotionally exhausting. Still, he must have started a trend because artist, Matt Kish, is creating an image for every page of the epic novel, Moby Dick....more
From our Pacific Northwesterly neighbors, a new Tin House podcast featuring Steve Almond for your enjoyment.
Steve Almond provides a lecture from last summer’s Writer’s Workshop, “Everything They Told You in MFA School Was Wrong, Except For The Debt.” He poses questions like, “What is writing?” It’s not “making shit up” but “decision-making.” There’s humor, there’s sarcasm, strong opinions and poignant life-lessons, true to Almond form....more
I’ve been craving winter. Real winter. Snow and ice and shoveling and bundling up to the point of being unable to bend over. We don’t get that here in San Francisco....more
“Carol wants me to write a novel: ‘You’ve met so many interesting people,’ she tells me.
Very good, there was a young man and he could never get his hands on enough women. That’s a novel.
There was an idiot and he became God....more
“Science fiction writers don’t predict the future (except accidentally), but if they’re very good, they may manage to predict the present.
Mary Shelley wasn’t worried about reanimated corpses stalking Europe, but by casting a technological innovation in the starring role of Frankenstein, she was able to tap into present-day fears about technology overpowering its masters and the hubris of the inventor....more
As the New York Bureau Chief, I thought it might be a good idea to round up some notable literary and cultural events going on around New York that I think readers of The Rumpus would be interested in. So, I’ll start with some nightly, and sometimes daily, notables for this week:
Monday, September 21, 2009 – Sunday, September 27, 2009
Monday 9/21: The Rasskazy Book Launch Party at Housing Works: Tin House Books and CEC ArtsLink celebrate the release of Rasskazy, a new volume of translated short stories by the best of contemporary Russian writers....more
“The idea that economics will aid us in thinking through the problem of the destruction of the natural world… commits us to the assumption that our world ought to be governed and guided by technicians. It is part of the thinking that says, “If only the politicians would listen to what we scientists have to say!… The scientists will save us if only we’d listen to them, respect their authority, follow their instructions.”
They can maintain this while gloriously ignoring the fact that the world we presently inhabit was conceived by science, designed by engineers, and implemented by technicians....more
I first heard about Stoner back in grad school. I’d been on a Denis Johnson jag (weren’t we all?) and so naturally assumed the novel was a florid account of reefer madness. This is how Stoner begins:
William Stoner entered the University of Missouri as a freshman in the year 1910, at the age of nineteen.