Maybe it’s ALWAYS the end of the world. Maybe you’re alive for a while, and then you realize you’re going to die, and that’s such an insane thing to comprehend, you look around for answers and the only answer is that the world must die with you.

Sure, the world seems crazy now. But wouldn’t it seem just as crazy if you were alive when they sacrificed peasants, when people were born into slavery, when they killed first-born sons, crucified priests, fed people to lions, burned them on stakes, when they intentionally gave people smallpox or syphilis, when they gassed them, burned them, dropped atomic bombs on them, when entire races tried to wipe other races off the planet?

Yes, we’ve ruined the planet and melted the ice caps and depleted the ozone, and we’re always finding new ways to kill one another. Yeah, we’re getting cancer at an alarming rate and suicides are at an all-time high, and, sure, we’ve got people so depressed they take a drug that could turn them into pasty-skinned animals who go around all night dancing and having sex and eating stray cats and small dogs and squirrels and mice and very, very rarely- the statistics say you’re more likely to be killed by lightning- a person.

But this is the Apocalypse? Fuck you! It’s always the Apocalypse. The world hasn’t gone to shit. The world is shit.

All I’d asked was that it be better managed.

—  Jess Walter, We Live in Water: Stories

“I read one of those reviews, and it was a very nice review, and then I went to the grocery store. There was a young woman in front of me in line and she was attractive. She had on these really nice jeans and the cuffs were frayed like crazy, like she’d spent a lot of time walking on heels. She was wearing stiletto heels, and she was pretty, with all sorts of piercings and tattoos that came up all the way down to her fingers—glove tattoos. We kind of smile at each other. She sets on the grocery store counter two Red Bulls, a tube of sex lubricant, and a Caramello candy bar. And I remember looking and thinking, I really want to write that story.”

-Ann K. Ryles interviews Jess Walter about his new short story collection We Live in Water, fatherhood, poverty, and what he daydreams about while waiting in line at the grocery store at The Rumpus.

But if you really want my side of the story, here it is: Who isn’t crazy sometimes? Who hasn’t driven around a block hoping a certain person will come out; who hasn’t haunted a certain coffee shop, or stared obsessively at an old picture; who hasn’t toiled over every word in a letter, taken four hours to write a two-sentence e-mail, watched the phone praying that it will ring; who doesn’t lay awake at night sick with the image of her sleeping with someone else?

I mean, Christ, seriously, what love isn’t crazy?

Jess Walter, We Live in Water

TS4 New Beginnings Challenge

You get to choose what kind of neighbourhoods you want to build, what careers you want to unlock, what stores and community lots you want in your game. You will introduce new sims/families to your neighbourhoods and play any sim/family you create.

We have infrastructure and power/water so we can live as normal, no starting over, but lots are empty. No houses, no workplaces, no schools, no stores, no police etc – kids have to travel out of town for school and any homeless sims with jobs also work out of town. We need to start filling our lots with everything a new town needs – homes, jobs, shops, schools, entertainment – so our sims no longer have to travel out of town for everything they need.

Sims, careers and lots are unlocked through different tasks and you can use any sim to achieve these goals.

Check out the challenge here

I reviewed Jess Walter's WE LIVE IN WATER for the Rumpus.

The difference between writing a novel and writing a short story is often compared to the difference between running a marathon and a sprint. And if there’s any writer today likely to pull a Gehrmann and lap the competition after eating hamburgers and hot dogs, it’s Jess Walter.

Literarily speaking, he’s done it regularly in the last decade. In 2005, his Citizen Vince won the coveted Edgar prize for mystery fiction. The next year, Walter’s post-9/11 novel The Zero was a finalist for the National Book Award. Last year, his silver-screen saga Beautiful Ruins bowled over both critics and book clubs. Walter seems able to reinvent himself with each book he writes, effortlessly.

Then there’s more.

Who isn’t crazy sometimes? Who hasn’t driven around the block hoping a certain person will come out; who hasn’t haunted a certain coffee shop, or stared obsessively at an old picture; who hasn’t toiled over every word in a message, taken two hours to write a two sentence email, watched the phone praying it will ring; who doesn’t sometimes lay awake at night sick with the image of her sleeping with someone else?
—  Jess Walter - We live in water
Review of Jess Walter's 'We Live in Water'

I’ve read every book Jess Walter has written since The Zero and now I’m going back and reading the ones I’ve missed. I reviewed his recent story collection for High Country News.

We Live in Water
Jess Walter
192 pages, softcover: $14.99.
Harper Perennial, 2013.

In 13 sharp, witty stories, Spokane’s Jess Walter captures the gritty, quirky and heartbreaking lives of a variety of Pacific Northwesterners. Walter convincingly inhabits each character he creates, from a hungry meth addict wheeling an enormous TV toward a hoped-for pawnshop payout to a blue-collar dad trying to figure out which of his kids is stealing from the jar of pocket change that holds the family’s vacation fund.

Much like his previous books, We Live in Water is alive with junkies, gamblers, scammers, drunks, down-and-outers and white-collar criminals, all of them too complex and endearing for the reader to easily judge or dismiss.

Many of these stories delve deeply into the relationships between fathers and sons, particularly “Anything Helps,” which gets its name from the phrase that Bit, its homeless protagonist, inks on a cardboard sign. With $20 from a Mercedes driver, he buys a Harry Potter book for his son, whose fundamentalist foster family has banned it as sacrilegious. You find yourself yearning for Bit to straighten out his life, against all odds, and win his son back.

Hope is the common element in these stories. Walter excels at keeping alive the ghost of a chance that these people will somehow reform themselves and avert disaster.

Please click through to read the rest: