I caught up with the author of um.. via g-chat the other day. The author of this work purports to be one called Rumpelstiltskin. This is the first issue from Deep Throat Giraffe Publishing, and a remarkable read. I had questions about the persona of Rumplelstiltskin and the delightfully odd choice of including an index to the work.
rumpelstiltskin: hello

DH: Hello!

rumpelstiltskin: !

DH: Such wizardry.

We are chatting. Cool.

rumpelstiltskin: yes   um..

DH: Let's go ahead and start, shall we?

rumpelstiltskin: lets do

DH: First, thanks for this interview, Rumpelstiltskin. May I call you rumpy?

rumpy: yes of course   thank you

DH: I want to congratulate you on your book, um..  I think it's a great read.

rumpy: wow thankyou very much!

im glad you like it

DH: It's difficult to classify this book. Part poetry, part fairy tale, part autobiography... it reminds me of the works of Milorad Pavich among others.

I wondered whether you had any particular model in mind when you were writing

rumpy: i dont know pavich, ill check it out.. i did not have a model.. 

sorry, this feels like a chess match.. i have more

DH: sure, take your time

rumpy: i did not have a model, but i copied people.. sometimes deliberately..  lautremont’s moldoror and borges were major influences.. i read waiting for godot a few times while writing um.. and im sure this influenced the work

DH: I can see that.

In Um.. you often break the narrative thread to include poetry. I loved this. Did you plan to include poetry from the start?

rumpy: i did plan to

im very glad you liked this it was a difficult choice

it is kindof a step back, between each indulgence into the narrative

DH: The book is dedicated To You. Is this meant to include the reader or did you have someone specific in mind?

rumpy: the reader specifically 

im a silly person, forgive me

DH: Your persona in literary history is rather a frightening one. Yet, after reading your book, I didn't find you frightening. Was Um.. written to change the impression that people have of Rumpelstiltskin in general?

You are silly at times, warm, and often very humorous.

That is not the rumpy we know from literature.

rumpy: i am writing from an understanding that there are misconceptions about me.. they are welcome and there are parts in my story to contest those misconceptions but that is not why i wrote um..

thankyou, I like your questions

DH: You mentioned Borges. One of the characteristics of his work is to hide the true purpose of his narrative, disguising his fiction as essay, for instance, and he himself often appears as a persona in his work. To what degree is Rumpelstiltskin a persona?

rumpy: most of the degrees yes

i didnt punch the buzzer wait

i like the way borges diverts the attention of the reader.. the way he can be illusive but stay in your head for a very long time, perhaps because your mind is trying to see him..


this is like chess

i think i realized that i identified with rumpelstiltskin's alienation at the same time i was searching for a pen name.. when i was small i was not afraid of him.. i pitied him and wondered what he does in his secret lair.. i was sure he didnt boil children like the stories tell

DH: pawn to king four

rumpy: haha

DH: You mention alienation and this is a strong theme in the book, particularly in the episodes that deal with your education.

rumpy: i like how rumpelstiltskin’s whole story is in just his name.. i like how the reader’s misconceptions about me, prepare the reader for my story.. yes, alienation is a prominent theme in um..

DH: The title of your book, um.. is a sound we often use to express uncertainty or hesitation. Did you feel uncertain about what you wanted to say?

rumpy:   it is used to express uncertainty and sometimes anxiety.. 

i thought it was very fitting to the story without puting too fine a focus on a particular point

DH: Your book features a vagina on the front cover and a conch on the back. Are these images related in your mind?

rumpy:  yes, they represent where life comes from.. they are symbols that should be revered and respected.. though they are not usually 

DH: The other main character in your book is Heckedy Peg. Why did you choose this persona for that character?

rumpy: as a child this was another character who intrigued me.. 

another whose life i wondered about.. 

whose story i doubted from a feeling of pity..

the idea of a romance between the two is funny to me

DH: Tell me about the index, please. This is unusual in a fictional work.

rumpy: haha! ok um..

it is meant as a joke of course, but it was conceived in an attempt to be practical.. i hardly ever remember the names of stories or poems.. i remember phrases or words from what I read, but never what is necessary to find the piece again.. with my index, a reader can easily find any little bit they remember..

also a reader may enter the book by way of the index if they wanted.. I enjoyed cortazar’s hopscotch and i like the idea of multiple ways to experience a book..

hopefully some people enjoy it as much as i do

DH: What is your favorite word in the index?

rumpy: maybe gullible or holiday..

or water pistols

DH: Can you tell us a little about how this book was written? What was your working method?

rumpy: i was in bed with an ulcer having fever dreams thinking about death and mortality.. this gave me the gumption..
I've been reading writers closer to my age for the first time.. Miranda July, Scott McClanahan, Noah Cicero, Tao Lin and Sam Pink.. reading great writers close to my age made it easier to conceive of myself as a writer, much more so than compliments or encouragement. though crucial, i could have waited till i was 50 to utilize any encouragement i have received. i think It took young people actually doing it to give me the proper motivation.
i wrote mostly on my phone and some on borrowed computers.. I printed and used scissors.. I made maps and skeletons and lists.. I had the computer read to me in a robot voice.. friends were very helpful with their criticism..  writing seems like mostly thinking to me, so I thought.. this was my working method

DH: um.. includes snatches of fairy tales, childhood reminiscences, poetry, dietary oddities, and much more. If you had to pick one theme, what would it be?

rumpy:  inevitability ..

im sortof confused


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