When Scott spoke to Ward, she had recently lost her full time job as an architect somewhat out of the blue. She has carpentry and building skills to fall back on, but rather than diving right back into something, she was savoring the uncertainty and the open space that being fired had created in her life.
Something that terrified me about the 9-to-5 was that time would move so fast in a way. You’d spend all week waiting for the weekend. You’d have all these things that you’d want to jam into these two days and it would make it so that a month would go by so quickly. And I realized that your whole life could be gone… It scared the shit out of me.
“The power structure ought to be very simple: the storyteller possesses the tale, and imparts it to an audience. One has the original, and the other creates, upon hearing it, a copy in their own minds. In a way, this is how a community is formed: through a sharing of stories.
But the dynamics of an interrogation result in a complete power shift: a story is no longer something to be shared or accepted, but something to be coerced, questioned, tested, and enslaved. With power now located in the interrogator’s hands, how can the speaker redeem himself? Tell the truth, or convince the interrogator. It will never be clear whether those two goals are identical in execution, or mutually exclusive.”—Jeffrey Zuckerman reviews Guantanamo by Frank Smith
“I feel ashamed for the fat on my cheeks
try to disappear, but an American can be seen from miles away.
And Mom refuses
to hide her real Rolex
even when a watch
is unnecessary.”—From Souvenir by Aimee Suzara, reviewed by Kenji Liu
“I remember very clearly writing a couple songs, or the genesis of a couple songs coming on swing sets, as I am swinging for exercise. Before I became more of a cripple it was a great form of exercise and anger management for me to sneak on the swings at McCarren Park if the kids weren’t there, to sneak on the swings at Prospect Park when I lived in Brooklyn, and ride the swings and have the Walkman with me. Occasionally these melodies would come because my body was feeling freer and physical, moving up and down on a swing set like a pendulum. It liberated the music and then I’d go back later on and sit there and try to shape them into a song.”—The Rumpus Interview with Chris Stroffolino, of Silver Jews, by Rob Rubsam. Stroffolino has a new solo album, Griffith Park.
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“This question is the subject of Simon Critchley’s thin volume Bowie. Critchley, a philosopher who teaches at The New School and moderates the New York Times‘s philosophy column “The Stone,” may seem an unlikely source for an exegesis of Bowie’s art, but he stakes his claim in the book’s first line: “no person has given me greater pleasure throughout my life than David Bowie.” Critchley first saw the star in a career-defining performance on the British TV show Top of the Pops, where Bowie sang “Starman” while sporting deep orange hair and a catsuit of many colors. He was, Critchley writes, “At once cocky and vulnerable. His face full of sly understanding—a door to a world of unknown pleasures.””—Brian Gresko reviews Bowie by Simon Critchley at The Rumpus.
“Dennis Rodman, Dolly Parton, Prince Rogers Nelson are my role models. Mariah Carey, Fiona Apple, and Celine Dion for a time, fit this role for me. In some sense they are all divas who embrace their importance while highlighting their own absurdities, reveling in the artifice of their successes while always creating, exploring, demanding more from a world that so often tells us we deserve nothing”—And this is the part of “The Radical Possibilities of Being Human: A Survival Guide for Liminal Feminists” where I started crying. (via mollitudo)
“I’m wearing a dead woman’s socks. Suzy. She gave them to my husband a couple months ago, a 3-pack of white Polo socks. Said she’d ordered them online but didn’t need them, or they didn’t fit. I can’t remember. I lose socks a lot. I’m mildly famous for wearing two different socks at all times, so I gladly accepted them. Also, my dad sold Polo clothing at Dimensions, the men’s clothing store he worked out in Philadelphia, so I have a spot soft for the dude on the galloping horse, his mallet in the air. I’m wearing Suzy’s socks and thinking about what the dead leave behind.”—The Sunday Rumpus Essay: We Are Not Dead by Jennifer Pastiloff
“I did not know what Ted Hughes looked like prior to reading The Silent Woman, but I was so compelled to learn the structure of his face that I set down my champagne flute and stopped reading to look up his image. I searched “Ted Hughes”, and then “young Ted Hughes” because I wanted to see the version that Sylvia knew. He appeared to me as a compilation of every boy I’ve ever loved.”—The Last Book I Loved: The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm, remembered by Michelle King
“I discovered The Silent Woman, Janet Malcolm’s portrait of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, last fall and read it in just one sitting, the book in one hand and a champagne flute of white wine in the other. I had recently broken all of my wine glasses. I did not break them all at the same time. Some I broke while cleaning, and I was upset that I had managed to destroy something while trying to make it clean, make it better. Other glasses were broken using more theatrical methods, smashing them against walls to prove points. I had also recently broken my bed frame, cracked a rib, and wrecked a series of valuable relationships. Broken things had become my metric. It was fall and this book fell on my head in the Strand. It was fall and everything was falling out of place. It was fall and I felt, constantly, as if I were in a state of vertigo. I could go on. I won’t.”—The Last Book I Loved: The Silent Woman by Michelle King.
“But Fight Club was never a fairytale. It’s a painful howl into a night that probably isn’t listening and that is more a cry of pain than a drive to hurt. When a bunch of confused, angry, and sad men bond together, first to fight one another, then to indiscriminately terrorize an entire city, we are meant to feel uncomfortable. We are also meant to feel uncomfortable by the fact that, for a little while, Tyler Durden’s diatribes did seem interesting and seductive.”—Men With Women; Women With Men: Fight Club, 15 Years Later by Arielle Bernstein.
“Take off your boots, babe,
swing your thigh over mine. I like it
when you do the same old thing
in the same old way.
And then a few kisses, easy, loose,
like the ones we’ve been
kissing for a hundred years.”—A poem from Like A Beggar by Ellen Bass, reviewed by Julie R. Enszer.
“But it just—like a lot of the writing that I do—is just pages and pages and pages of lyrics. And maybe one percent is any good. So with the pages of lyrics that I was writing in 2009, where I was kind of trying to mine my own personal experience for songwriting stuff, the ratio of good to bad was very, very low. It took me a little longer to kind of get into that world of knowing how to write songs like that. Do you know what I mean?”—The Rumpus Interview With Owen Pallett
“I looked down at my book again, and when I glanced up I saw the dynamic that had been at play the entire length of our conversation: the man’s dick was out of his pants. I looked down quickly and thought about what would provide him the least satisfaction. I considered ignoring it for the final two stops of my ride, but I felt the anger rise in me. I looked up into his eyes, and said, “Get away from me.” He smiled. “What?” “You know what I said. Get away from me and cover yourself.” I pointed toward the door. “Cover yourself. Cover yourself,” I repeated in full voice until he apologized and pulled his pants up.”—Repetition by Jac Jemc.
Rumpus columnist Thomas Page McBee has just released a new memoir, Man Alive. The new book is, in his words, “basically a prequel” to the Self-Made Man column, and attempts to answer the question “what does it really mean to be a man?” Check out the book that Roxane Gay says “shows us what it takes to become a man who is gloriously, gloriously alive.” McBee will also be at The Strand bookstore in New York City in October.
“An estimated 63 percent of young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are imprisoned for homicide have killed their mothers’ batterers.”—Kimberle Crenshaw, in her article Intersectionality and Identity Politics: Learning from Violence Against Women of Color (via androphilia)
“I became fascinated by this idea of a cisgender man passing as a trans man, especially because we were working on this story about a trans man trying to pass as a cis man. And so I was like, Oh, I should write a novel about this, but the more I thought about it I was like, this guy is disgusting. He should know better. He’s gross, and it just didn’t seem, the motivation to get fodder for your lesbian TV show just seemed ridiculous. It was too bizarre. The more I thought about it I was like, No, it should obviously be a teenager because a teenager is clueless and their motivation should be love—because it did occur to me that all these lesbians I knew were fawning over trans men who looked like teenage boys, and I thought a teenage boy could clean up if he got in there. And so that was how the actual novel evolved, and I was really interested in trying to write this in a way that you could be sympathetic to the character. That was sort of the goal.”—The Rumpus Interview with Ariel Schrag
“The poet and professor James Galvin, during a graduate school seminar he was teaching, once said something along the lines of: “You could burn every copy of your favorite poem, and it would still exist.” It terrified me at first—that if that happened, it would be difficult to reproduce an accurate version of the exact piece. That we would lose so much. Imagine “Prufrock,” or “One Art,” just—gone. But what’s stayed with me about that notion is this: the poem would still exist, because it would have already begun the work it was meant to do inside of me, that it was meant to do in the world—like a virus, both good and bad. Is it helpful or harmful when a thing becomes only a souvenir?”—Bring It On Home by Amy Woolard
“This echoes the central theme of many of Gonzales’ books, which are, at heart, studies of trauma and resilience. Those who survived, whether they walked into the golden Iowa cornfields with a few scratches, or fought their way back through months of treatment for burns and broken bones, were forced to live dramatically different lives than the ones they’d known before the crash. There was surviving the crash, and then, as Gonzales would put it, there was surviving survival.”—Rachel Rose reviews Flight 232 by Laurence Gonzales
“According to the 1923 issue of Typewriter Topics, the Woodstock was quick to gain a reputation for being “easy and convenient to use”—primary selling points for many first time typewriter owners. Thanks to improvements to the original design, the Woodstock was no longer some metal-mouthed creature to be feared. Now it was sleek (sort of), reliable (sometimes), and the envy of typewriter enthusiasts (somewhere).”—Ungumming the Keys by B.J. Hollars
“How’d I get into art? Art chose me the moment I realized I could handle it. After watching my start-up blossom into the 300-person company that it became under my inimitable leadership, and with the help of marketing data from undisclosed online sources, I think I can honestly say I definitely know what people think they want. They want inspiration. They want decisiveness and intention. They want evocative-ness and a royal blue motif, rendered fuzzy through the application of three layers of Instagram filters, with a sweeping, sad, hyper-real statement like, “LIFE IS BULLSHIT” hastily scrawled across the middle third. People want to walk around a gallery, stop at your framed picture of the sculpture you 3D printed and imagine it hanging tastefully above their electronic fireplaces, and they also want to know that over 27 hours of despair and some irony went into it. But most of all they want to feel understood. And well-liked.”—FUNNY WOMEN #121: I Sold My Software Company and Now I’m Into Art by Sam Riley
“In “Demons,” the story in which an Indian woman in the United States goes about her days while her husband’s dead body lies on the floor of the living room, Parameswaran gives us a new version of the immigrant experience. Savitri, our protagonist, is not scared of driving in the United States. She is not conscious of her accent or the smell of the spices from the daal simmering on the stove. When her husband’s dead body is lying in the middle of her living room, Doug Naples, the neighbor, knocks on the door. Savitri’s husband’s legs are splayed on the ground within view of the front door. Doug notices, and asks, and Savitri responds with confidence.
“The poet’s journey involves a series of transformations because to write a poem is, above all, to change your life. And, no less important, to change someone else’s life. A poem is an offering. A poem is a common wealth.”—The Poet’s Journey: Conclusion by David Biespiel