The place was called the Library Bar, but there weren’t many books and there were no drinks at that hour. So we had to sit there bookless and drinkless. It was awkward in a fabulous way. The whole thing felt like a Thaisa Frank story—the event seemed to float above reality as we talked about things like the insanity of writing a book…...more
Posts Tagged: writing
“Writers have always been whiners,” begins Stephen Marche’s essay in the latest issue of Esquire.
Fighting words! Brandish your swords!
Then he describes the proliferation of excellent writing (both fiction and nonfiction), the increased access to the marketplace technology has granted new writers, and the hefty sums of money big-name authors make....more
This is how I think of it: there’s a contract between you and the mystery. And the mystery is the thing that brings life to the work. But your part of the contract is that you have to be the plow mule, or the mystery won’t show up. It might not even show up if you do your work. There’s no guarantee....more
“I think in general writers are pretty nice to each other. And it’s not a zero sum game. I think that people understand that there’s always room for another good writer. I mean there is not a fixed amount of success to go around – it’s an ever-expanding and expandable quantity.”
Some wise words from Susan Orlean, who is interviewed today over at Freerange Nonfiction....more
“It” is the overlap between homeless and trans. Oh, did you have a body? When you’re trans and homeless, this is really what the “for customers only” restrooms sign say, below their cheerily simplified depictions of “men” and “women”. Did you have a body? Did you think you could eat, shit, live?...more
Jowita Bydlowska muses about how authors can bear to write about jerks, for Hazlitt.
Assholes are necessary to a story in the sense that their baffling behavior makes for a better story. However, getting into the mind frame of these characters can cause distress in the mind of an author....more
While some of you may scoff or shrug your shoulders, Kyle Wiens, writing for Harvard Business Review, is not messing around:
If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me.
The guide details six tips particularly geared towards writers, some of which include the not-so-helpful “Be Authentic, Be Yourself,” and “Above All, Have Fun.” Nowadays many authors use the social networking site as a means of self-promotion, and entire transcontinental book clubs have sprung from its 140 character limit....more
The Guardian profiles a series of computer applications meant to motivate authors through the doldrums of writer’s block.
‘Write or Die’ (whose slightly menacing slogan is “putting the ‘Prod’ back in Productivity”) deletes your writing if you pause for more than forty-five seconds, while apps like ‘Freedom’ effectively shut down modes of procrastination, prohibiting you from viewing sites of refuge like Twitter and Facebook....more
“Language can still be an adventure if we remember that words can make a kind of melody. In novels, news stories, memoirs and even to-the-point memos, music is as important as meaning. In fact, music can drive home the meaning of words.”...more
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
Guernica examines the intersections of science, emotion, and memory by way of an exchange between novelist Rivka Galchen and neuroscience professor David Linden, featured in the Rubin Museum’s Brainwave series.
“As Linden explains in his book, ‘memory retrieval is an active and dynamic process.’ Thus recollecting past experiences—reliving them again and again or retelling them to others—subtly modifies the memories we keep....more
At The Quivering Pen, Emily St. John Mandel remembers her first agent who, even in death, remains part of Mandel’s audience.
“She comes back to me at odd moments. When there are small triumphs, I sometimes find myself thinking that I wish she could have seen this; when there are small disappointments I sometimes think of her too, of how dry and reassuring she was when things weren’t going quite as one had hoped.”...more
Check out this amazing Tumblr. The Rumpus editorial board is particularly fond of this one: When all of the important national mag awards go to white dudes.
(Via Xtina Richards)...more
Believer co-founder and co-editor Heidi Julavitz writes about how online journals (such as The Rumpus!) caused the Believer to rethink some of its original tenets, including a strong resistance to virtualization.
“Ultimately we risked losing readers, and we risked losing writers, too....more