Tag Archives: The Rumpus

New Fiction at the Rumpus

My story, “How to Avoid Being a Woodpusher,” was selected as a finalist in The Rumpus’s The Jump Off, a contest where entrants “were asked to submit a fictional work of 300 words or less using as a jump-off point one sentence or sentence fragment from Sam Lipsyte’s novel The Ask.” I’m happy to be in the company of such fine writers as Mark Edmund Doten, Lincoln MichelMaureen MillerShya Scanlon, Franklin Winslow, A. Wolfe, and Snowden Wright. Here’s an excerpt from my story:

As you mull over maneuvers, ignore the news of a subway platform birth. Don’t allow the translucent-slimed, meconium-stained bundle of filth spoil your positional plans. Disregard the radio’s panting in counterpoint with the television. Give up sussing out the song’s name: “For What It’s Worth,” and curb the laughter provoked by its announcement.

And be sure to check out the website of André da Loba, the artist whose illustrations grace the stories (the one above presides over mine). Loba merges a personalized cubism with a deranged whimsicality all his own. Someone should tell Michel Gondry about him.

Thanks, Rozalia Jovanovic!

My Interview with Chelsea Martin at The Rumpus

From the interview:

John Madera: When film director Pedro Almodóvar was asked if his movie Bad Education was autobiographical, he responded, “Everything that isn’t autobiographical is plagiarism.” So how much of your writing is autobiographical? How much do you distinguish fact from fiction and vice-versa in your writing? Would you talk about the various personas you adopt in these stories?

Martin: I basically have two ways I start writing. Either I’ll start with something about myself, or something that happened to me that seemed important, or I’ll start with some idea I have that doesn’t have much to do with me. But one will always lead to the other.

When something is finished, distinguishing “fact” from “fiction” is a matter of “the first part of that sentence really happened but it leaves out this important detail, and the second and fourth parts of that sentence also came directly from life, but the first and third parts came from some thoughts I had while watching a movie, and the sentence after it I just thought would be really funny.”

I mean, there is a lot of stuff I write that makes it seem like my intention is to make people think I’m speaking about myself entirely, and it is my intention to make people think that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what it is.