Award winning author Stephen Elliot spoke at Bloomsburg University’s Kehr Union on Wednesday, 28 March, offering his views on the various modern media available to authors through which they are able to present their work.
An author of four novels as well as collections of essays and short stories, Mr. Elliot achieved critical acclaim for his 2009 work The Adderall Diaries, a self-described “memoir of moods, masochism and murder” which Elliot claims to be the result of a relationship. Called a “provocative, masterful, thrilling ride” by the San Francisco Chronicle, The Adderall Diaries was named as one of the best books of 2009 by Kirkus Reviews.
“‘The Adderall Diaries’ was a book I was very proud of,” said Elliot. “But the idea of writing personal, creative, non-fiction like that, didn’t appeal to me very much.” Looking instead for other outlets though which authors could make connections, Elliot founded The Rumpus, a website and forum that bridges the gap between writer and reader.
“The Rumpus is not worried about being the first to break the news,” writes Elliot in describing his online project. “We care about good writing, and we’ll publish essays just because the writing is good. We’re focused on culture but not ‘People Magazine culture.’ We want to introduce readers to things they might not have heard of yet. The Web was supposed to diversify content and so far it hasn’t. If anything, the Internet has amplified the echo chamber so all the big online magazines are focusing on the same stories.”
Speaking to his personal motivation for founding The Rumpus, Elliot said, “I knew I wanted to be in editing and I knew I had a lot of free time on my hands. I wanted to build a website for people like me.”
The Rumpus grants readers an intimate connection to their favorite authors, more than they were able to have in the past. Readers receive a letter from their author of choice three to four times a week. Elliot believes that by receiving a letter, the subscribers have a more personal connection with the author.
“Letters are more intimate than magazine articles, the same way emails are more intimate than blogs,” said Elliot. “Even if it’s written to 11,000 people, it feels like it is written to you.”
According to Elliot intellectual mediums offered to writers, such at The Rumpus, affect the creative writing method. The way a writer would present a piece of creative writing in a novel isn’t the way they would exhibit their writing in an email or a blog.
“There are a lot of mediums going on here [at The Rumpus] because we are living in a fractured medium landscape,” said Elliot.
Elliot also presented a reading from his memoir The Adderall Diaries on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in McCormick at 7 p.m.
[box type=”bio”]Brianna Albertini is a student in the Mass Connunications program at Bloomsburg University. Photo Credit: Black Pearl 10 used under a Creative Commons License.[/box]