If I were independently wealthy, I would be less for it, because the chase for money to pay for food, shelter, babies, and now small children has taken me from sharing with two women an eighty square foot octagonal house originally built in the early twentieth century in rural Florida to house a wealthy child’s […]
Notes I took on what Lorrie Moore said while in conversation with Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker‘s fiction editor, that I felt selfish keeping to myself: How to become a writer: -You can’t carve solitude out of loneliness–you need people to get away from them.
“Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” – Flannery O’Connor
On August 23rd, 826 Valencia in San Francisco is hosting their second Adult Writers’ Seminar from 7-9 pm. This seminar focuses on DIY Publishing and Marketing. The panelists are a full slate of Rumpus-friendly folk:
Though I have doubted my talent, I’ve never doubted my conviction that this was the path I had to be on. Writing is like my Siamese twin: freakish, alive, weighty, uncanny. Were we to be separated, I doubt that I could survive it.
“I really believe that most writers in America have taken on this idea that we’re never going to get paid–and so we accept so little for what we do, when what we do is so valuable. And it’s wanted.” —Ali Liebegott
Thinking back on his first stay in Hollywood, Miller often reminisced about the Green House, “where I made so many watercolors, sold them for a song or for an umbrella I had no use for, but where I also made and found friends I never knew existed.”
Robert McKee is best known to the world in two ways: as the guy who teaches the popular STORY seminar in Los Angeles and around the world to would-be screenwriters, and as the character in the film Adaptation who teaches a popular screenwriting seminar at which the Charlie Kaufman character is berated after standing up […]
Here’s some weekend reading: Sigrid Nunez has written a beautiful memoir of Susan Sontag in the latest issue of Tin House. (The text is not available online, but I highly recommend you pick up this issue of Tin House: it’s a really good one.) Nunez was involved with Sontag’s son David, and all three lived together […]
Just because you don’t succeed the way others define success, you’re not a failure. You just chose to take a different path. And who’s to say that’s wrong? I just finished watching Anvil! The Story of Anvil.
Dame Helen Gardner and George Newton Bowlin Laws—it seems funny, but very good to me to see them in the same sentence. I first saw Helen Gardner, brilliant scholar, denizen of Oxford University, later to be made a Dame on her learning alone, at UCLA. She was so smart and so dazzling in the way she […]
I have two of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies index cards taped to my monitor. They are supposed to motivate me while slowly radiating guilt. Obliquely, I guess. One reads: Not building a wall, but making a brick (sands, time, hourglass, you see?) The other: What are you really thinking about just now? Incorporate. I’m thinking […]
“I can’t claim to be an authority on anything, but I can honestly say that certain matters absolutely fascinate me, and that I write about them all the time. The two basic topics which fascinate me are “What is reality?” and “What constitutes the authentic human being?” Over the twenty-seven years in which I have […]
“Various people who have liked me or cared about me — people who have believed in my promise as a writer — have hinted to me at various times in my life that an excessive preoccupation with the subject of sex has harmed or even ruined my writing. They’ve implied that it was sad, almost […]
“After opening my post on many mornings, I indulge in a few minutes of anguish and muted screams, then devote the next hour or more, if necessary, to tackling the mess. When I have satisfied myself that I have done the best I can by letter and telephone, I stand up from my desk and […]
I’m a congenital traveler, had been long before I wrote my first book. I took my first plane ride when I was two weeks old (taught me to travel light) and haven’t slowed since. Other than the frequency of travel (you want me to come to China and you’ll pay for it? Granada and Madrid, […]
Louise Bourgeois is the rare artist whose orbit intersects with many big thinkers and personalities of the last century, while always remaining relevant and enduring. Not bad for ninety-seven. I love the way she hones her images and takes them into new psychological spaces, and even the way her voice sounds when she speaks. On […]
The Rumpus’s own Michelle Orange has a contribution in the Virginia Quarterly Review‘s most recent issue. The piece, entitled “Beirut Rising,” “entertains with its amusing depiction of the Lebanese passion for plastic surgery, but the essay also penetrates deep into to the sadness at the city’s core.” In order to highlight the piece, VQR‘s Anna […]
A 20 page essay on “Why I Write” by Rumpus editor Stephen Elliott. Part memoir/part tips and insight. $3 from Scribd, read online or download. (He says he’s going to publish it on The Rumpus at some point, so you could just wait it out.)
Craig Fehrman’s post earlier today, The Freelance Life, got me thinking about something interesting I read in The Wreck of the Henry Clay last week. In a post from April 2003, entitled Marx’s Neurosis About Money, Caleb Crain quoted Edmund Wilson to the effect that “Karl Marx’s social theories suited his psychological needs as an […]
The latest issue of the Oxford American includes their annual “Best of the South” package, but it’s also got an essay on the struggles of freelancing, a subject that knows no geographical bounds. For almost 20 years, Thomas Swick edited his newspaper’s travel section, freelancing a couple of books along the way. After getting laid […]
“As soon as we feel that the writing we are contemplating matters, our defensive system kicks in, and our fear that we can’t think well enough raises its ugly head. We are wrestled to the ground by the fact that we are trying to matter. To be fanciful about it, when we do writing for […]
The Believer this month has a really good interview with designer / painter / comic arts legend Gary Panter — best known as the guy who did the sets for Pee-wee’s Playhouse, somewhat less well-known for his Jimbo comics, and notorious (among the smallest circle of these three) for practically living on chocolate milk. The […]
I’ve always been a sucker for writing prompts, even though they have a way of sometimes being cheesy, forced, and ultimately silly. But recently I came across this interesting product, a paper-based prompt generator that would seem to strike the right balance of specific detail and vague suggestion.
Louis Menand has really been on a roll this year. First the must-read article about how the Village Voice changed journalism, then the article on Donald Barthelme, and now this week, an essay about The Program Era by Mark McGurl, a book dealing with the origins of creative-writing programs, their development over the past half-century, […]
My wife’s been steadily devouring Raymond Chandler, pacing herself so she doesn’t read it all at once (there is, after all, a limited supply). The other night she started in on the story collection Trouble is My Business and read me the introductory essay by Chandler dated Feb 15, 1950. Some choice quotes follow:
It would be nice to think there was another model, one that could inspire a pair of young, edgy writers to walk along lonely railroad tracks, kicking rocks and running dialog back and forth for the story they were writing.