Lit-Link Round-up


Congrats to Rumpus co-owner (and boy meteor) Isaac Fitzgerald, new books editor at BuzzFeed.

Can you drink like Dorothy Parker?

“In my experience, there are about a dozen submissives for every true dominant…you’d think that most people would rather be a hammer than a nail, but I’m here to tell you it’s not so.” Elissa Wald talks to Heeb. (How funny; I’m listening to “Venus in Furs” while typing this…)

Universities headed for extinction, Coetzee writes in foreword to John Higgins’ new book.

Hysteria and the strange history of vibrators.  This is a light take on the much-darker history of so-called female hysteria, and honestly it’s sort of stupid and disheartening to see such glibness in Psychology Today, but perhaps interesting trivia for sex toy enthusiasts.

Scientists prove poetry is like music to the brain.

Antonia Crane talks sex, power, gender and forensics with Cris Mazza at The Believer.

Ode to Rocky Horror.

Rude but funny: what your regrettable scene tattoo says about you.

I have no idea who Seth Adams is, but this HuffPo piece from your gay “Uncle Wayne” about why Adams’ marriage advice isn’t for you is pretty convincing.

Charlie Trotter joins Lou Reed (that would make for an unusual dinner) in the great beyond.  And The Baffler reprints Sunday Rumpus alum, Martha Bayne’s, essay on Charlie the Excellent.

Speaking of Reed, Laurie Anderson’s account in Rolling Stone of her 21 years with him and seeing him through his death was the most moving thing I read this week.  A notable thing here is that Reed met Anderson when he was fifty.  One of the biggest wastes on the planet, I think, is the mythology of “older” people as already happened to, already complete, already fading, already done.  Probably my favorite thing about the literary world (and certainly the same could be said in any arts community) is this view being less prevalent, and it being more widely understood and embraced that people are always evolving, changing, connecting and becoming.  This wasn’t true in the neighborhood where I grew up, and for a long time I believed that was due to poverty and lack of education, but that wasn’t the only reason.  Now I live in an educated urban neighborhood where most people have enough money to take good vacations and rehab their homes and all that…yet there still seems to be a prevailing view that after a certain point people are “set,” they “stop,” the younger generation becomes immensely more vital and important and interesting, and older adults retreat to background noise.  Admittedly in my old hood, “older” often meant 28 or 30.  Girls had babies at 15 or 18 or 20 and by the time they were 30 they were burnt out and wearing house dresses on the front porch chowing on coffee cake, knowing everyone they were ever going to know.  Where I live now, that age bar is higher, quite a bit higher, but you still hear forty-year-old women talking about the fact that their lives aren’t all that fulfilling but they’re fine with that because they’re happy to “sacrifice” for their kids; you hear women saying why not just wear the granny panties, fuck it, who’s looking anyway, they’re done.  I’m all for the liberation of granny panties if that’s what floats someone’s boat–it’s not about forcing women to stay on the Sexy Treadmill forever; that’s not what I mean.  My father-in-law got married in July at the age of 72.  I once had a 78 year old student in a class I taught at Northwestern.  Reed and Anderson lived an entire life together that didn’t begin until he was half a century old.  Being done is always a choice, but it’s treated like a fact.  Why only live until a certain age bracket–why not live until you’re…not alive anymore?

Meanwhile, until that day: 11 Reasons You Should Be Having More Orgasms.


Gina Frangello is the author of four books of fiction and a forthcoming memoir, Blow Your House Down. Her novel A Life in Men (Algonquin 2014) is currently under development by Netflix as a series produced by Charlize Theron’s production company, Denver & Delilah. Her most recent novel, Every Kind of Wanting (Counterpoint 2016) was included on several “best of” lists for 2016, including Chicago Magazine’s and The Chicago Review of Books’. She has nearly 20 years of experience as an editor, having founded both the independent press Other Voices Books, and the fiction section of the popular online literary community The Nervous Breakdown. She has also served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, and as the faculty editor for both TriQuarterly Online and The Coachella Review. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews, and journalism have been published in such venues as Salon, the LA Times, Ploughshares, the Boston Globe, BuzzFeed, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and in many other magazines and anthologies. After two decades of teaching at many universities, including UIC, Northwestern’s School of Continuing Studies, UCLA Extension, the University of California Riverside Palm Desert, Roosevelt University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, Gina is excited to be a student again at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Program for Writers, where she has returned to complete the PhD she left unfinished twenty years ago. More from this author →