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Open letter to Rachel Glaser on the occasion of the release of her short story collection, Pee On Water (AKA some kind of book review).

September 29, 2010 \am\30 10:23 am

Dear Rachel,

Hi. I hope you are well. How is the weather in—actually, I don’t remember where you live. Because I like fiction and have difficulty concentrating on facts. I mean, sometimes I even think there is no proper difference. Fiction comes from brains and brains are tangible as facts, right?

Perhaps I am reaching. Regardless it is your brain, or well, more specifically your imagination, that I chilled inside of for a spell last week. And I gotta say I think I heard your mom go, “Oh, Rach. [Sigh.] Where on earth do you get these things?”

By which I mean you seem to me to be unearthly imaginative.

I think where you live must either be super bling or super bleary, to have provided inspiration, or illuminated via lack of inspiration, the settings of the stories in your collection, Pee On Water. Like, I know that one of them is set on a space station but that isn’t even the most far out.

Pleasingly I never felt unmoored because: your gentle playful tone. On the contrary, I sensed you keeping hold of my hand, nudging my rib excited to show me what happened next. I know I turned my face and hid my scrunched up nose behind your shoulder at thrilling frightful junctures during one of my favorites of the collection, The Kid.

Talking of the kid, I don’t have a boyfriend right now. Do you? Possibly you could be the sad girlfriend in your story, The Sad Girlfriend. I have been the sad girlfriend too before and probably those emotions make your words in writing do unique things. At least I hope so. These are some words I especially liked:

“We were in a swimming pool and his eyelashes clung together like tips of a crown. That was attractive to me.” The sad girlfriend feels a feeling in her stomach. She sits very still. There are no other girls in her car. She folds her arms across her boobs. She makes an unattractive face. There is a big shit in my stomach and it won’t come out my butt. The subway car halts to a stop. The analyst floats into Starbucks, “Why do you think this is?” I think it’s scared.

Rachel, literally: how can you stand the weight of humanity? The Pee On Water stories have such depth and breadth! Especially Pee On Water, itself the title story of your collection, Pee On Water. I like saying Pee On Water a lot. I don’t know, that story, it makes me liquid up inside; about the sexy monkeys and of the weary future, I kept reading and kept thinking, I can feel the very fire of life, of creation up in here! (Don’t worry, I am not pregnant. I only had my period but two days ago.)

Anyway, I hope you are having fun on book tour, I mean, I heard you’re doing readings, don’t know if you are technically ‘on tour’ but it sounds a bit rockstar so let’s keep saying it.

Kiss as many writer boys as possible, just don’t oblige to marry any. Oh, and say hi to Mike for me.

With love,

Rachel B. Glaser‘s short story collection Pee On Water is out now from Publishing Genius. For a more serious, in-depth discussion of the book, check out Joseph Riippi’s interview with the author.

  1. September 29, 2010 \am\30 10:38 am 10:38 am

    Saw her read last night. She is brill. And adorable.

  2. October 1, 2010 \am\31 11:35 am 11:35 am

    Hi Ani,
    Thanks for the review/letter!
    I live in Western Mass, but I also lived in NY and Philly while writing the stories in POW. I do have a boyfriend, and its going well, so no real Sad Girlfriend moments of late. I’m glad you like The Kid, many of my friends think its one of the least interesting stories in there, but other people seem to really like it. The readings have been fun, especially the one in NY the other day at WORD bookstore in Greenpoint, there was a really nice audience there and a really varied line up of readers. Mike Young is doing well I think! He lives 2 streets away from me. Thanks again for reading!

    • October 3, 2010 \pm\31 1:13 pm 1:13 pm

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for dropping by and filling us in. I’m happy you’re doing well because I enjoyed your book so so much! I’ve heard a lot of good things about that bookstore in Greenpoint (best in all of Brooklyn? could this be so?)

      Re: The Kid, probably the events in it described are familiar to some of us. Sometimes that can make it feel uninteresting and sometimes that makes it comforting I think. Regardless ‘uninteresting’ is not a word I associate with your work.

      Take good care and keep kickin’ butt on the writing tip,


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