“My mother, thank God, did not read this book. She held the galleys as proudly as if I had stitched the binding and painted the cover by hand, and she turned it over and ran her fingers over the blurbs, but she did not, mirabile dictu, open the pages. Maybe it’s because she is eighty-eight and slowing down as a reader—though she’s reading Seabiscuit—but more likely it’s because my last book hurt her a great deal.”
The Sunday Rumpus Interview: Dylan Landis, author of Rainey Royal
“These three years have included some of the true highlights of my 17 years as an editor—from being able to interview one of my lifelong literary heroes, Margaret Atwood, to introducing the work of many writers whose essays have now graced The Rumpus numerous times, such as Jennifer Pastiloff and Emily Rapp…and whose back to back pieces will, at the end of September, also mark the end of my time as a Rumpus editor. I have to tell you: it’s very hard to say goodbye.”
Goodbye for now…and new at the Sunday Rumpus helm… Gina Frangello  bids farewell!
Here’s today’s Daily GIF!
“There are so few anti-heroines in literature—genuine anti-heroines, women whose wilfulness and individuality isn’t castigated or punished by the weight of narrative—that the idea of a woman like Sophie still feels revolutionary. In 1953 she doesn’t drive across America, aimlessly sleeping with whoever she comes across and drugging herself into oblivion. She takes her children, and travels alone to live in the shadow of a mountain, embracing its cold clarity and turning down the men who would love and protect her for the pursuit of an ideal.”
“I read on a slip of paper at dinner tonight that
You must empty yourself before God may enter
so I emptied myself and found
the bottom of a lake bed
caked with sticky mud
next to a sign that said
do not swim.”
— "After Another Execution" in There, There by George Higgins, reviewed by Heather Dobbins

On Monday, August 18th, at the 95th New York Comics Symposium, the cartoonist and instructor Tom Motley presented a talk and workshop entitled “Composition Lessons from the Masters.” The talk was held at the Butler Library at Columbia University. Karen Green introduced Motley, a veteran cartoonist and educator at both SVA and Pratt. He is a prolific illustrator, and his regular comic Tragic Strip appears in the Brooklyn Rail.

After a quick demonstration, Motley explained that composition is the “invisible component we don’t think of.” He covered the basics of renaissance composition, using the now famous photo of a fight that broke out in the Ukrainian parliament, and which, coincidentally, follows the rules of the golden ratio, an ideal of classical composition.

The New York Comics And Picture-Story Symposium: Tom Motley

“After Another Execution”

I read on a slip of paper at dinner tonight that
You must empty yourself before God may enter
so I emptied myself and found
the bottom of a lake bed
caked with sticky mud
next to a sign that said
do not swim.
Under a covering of mulch
the reflection of the stars
disappeared into the blackness.
I no longer want to reconcile myself to grief;
I’ll sit with this thing tonight.
Let it crack the bowls, break the windows out.
I am weary of running away.

From There, There by George Higgins, reviewed at The Rumpus by Heather Dobbins.

There is no question that I want to remember Robin Williams as he was in the Birdcage, a dynamic gay club-owner prancing around a stage in an “eclectic celebration of a dance,” or as the poignant Dr. Maguire in Good Will Hunting, or, of course, as the daring and inspiring Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society. Sure, right now I want to imagine that he is sitting in that field of brilliantly colored flowers in What Dreams May Come, looking out into an ethereal sky brushed with shades of bronze and gold. But if I am to remember him wholly and honestly, and embrace him for the talented actor he was, for his ability to sublimate his sorrow into seamless laughter, then I must also remember that his real life wasn’t lived as a Hollywood movie filled with starlight and wishes, nor did it end that way. I remain confounded, left wondering how the Academy could choose to tweet a wistful cartoon image in Williams’s memory when the tapestry of his life’s work is so much richer and deeper than a caricature of himself as a powerful genie.

Beyond The Wishes Of The Genie: Remembering Robin Williams by Maria Smilios

In Bohumil Hrabal’s mesmerizing novel Too Loud a Solitude,the narrator, Hanta, has been compacting paper in Czechoslovakia for 35 years: through WWII, the Communist regime, book bans, movie bans, and unspoken blacklists. But he mourns the Great Books hidden inside each compacted bale, and his apartment is filled with the ones he can’t bear to compact. A hammock of books sags above his bed as he sleeps, and the only clear path is from the window to the bed to the bathroom, where the books often fall, “catching him with his pants down.” “Inquisitors burn books in vain,” he says. “If a book has anything to say, it burns with a quiet laugh, because any book worth its salt points up and out of itself.” Yet he saves the books. As a character in Mariusz Szczygieł’s Gottland points out,“in our country, anything that isn’t written down doesn’t really exist.” The books have to be written before they can point anywhere, or catch anyone with her pants down.

Sarah Trudgeon reviews Gottland by Mariusz Szczygieł.

Near the bottom of every Funny Women piece is the note, “Rumpus original art by Annie Daly.” We believe in combining hilarious content with a strong aesthetic while promoting artists with ovaries. For a year, Annie’s reliably created beautiful illustrations to make women’s writing and jokes prettier.

For those of you in the Bay Area or with friends/family/ex-lovers in the Bay Area, Annie is showing her Rumpus-inspired art at the Glama-Rama Salon & Gallery on 6399 Telegraph Ave in Oakland until Sept. 28.

Illustrations for your Memoir! pairs art from the site alongside the pieces they illustrate. As a book-lover, Annie hopes Illustrations for your Memoir! will feel like walking into a storybook of other peoples’ lives.