February 10, 2013 in Features

Q&A: Hey, brother, learn to hold your water

 
FILE photo

Ralph, left, and Jess Walter.
(Full-size photo)

Every few years, brothers Jess and Ralph Walter hit the road to cover their alma mater, Eastern Washington University, in various sporting events for The Spokesman-Review.

In December, they missed out on another adventure after their beloved Eagles football team lost to Sam Houston State in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs.

So Ralph, the S-R’s deputy design director, volunteered to interview Jess about his upcoming short story collection, “We Live in Water.”

Ralph: So you think you’re pretty cool.

Jess: Um. That’s not a question, Ralph.

Ralph: Do. You. Think. You’re. Pretty. Cool?

Jess: I’m not gonna answer that –

Ralph: So how many books have you written?

Jess: This is my eighth.

Ralph: Don’t you think that’s enough?

Jess: What –

Ralph: What do you think you’re compensating for?

Jess: Look, I don’t –

Ralph: How tall are you?

Jess: Look, can we please talk about my story collection?

Ralph: Yeah, I’ll ask the questions, thanks. So these are, what, short stories?

Jess: Yes.

Ralph: Uh-huh. Did you start writing short stories because people were getting so bored with the longer stuff?

Jess: No! Look –

Ralph: My favorite story is the one about how you wet your pants during a sixth-grade chess tournament.

Jess: What?

Ralph: Is that why the collection is called “We Live in Water?” Because that’s funny!

Jess: Ralph, you know there isn’t a story about me wetting my pants in the collection.

Ralph: Oh. Right. I’m remembering something that really happened.

Jess: What are you doing –

Ralph: Yeah, see, while you’re living in your little la-la fantasy land, making up your “stories” and writing your “fictions,” the rest of us are slaving away in a little thing we like to call “reality.” You should come visit sometime.

Jess: This is insane.

Ralph: But you did wet your pants in sixth grade, didn’t you?

Jess: I don’t see how that’s –

Ralph: Tell the truth.

Jess: This is –

Ralph: Tell the truth.

Jess: I –

Ralph: Tell the truth.

Jess: Yeah! I did! OK? I wet my pants in sixth grade! But I would get nervous sometimes and –

Ralph: Yeah, no one cares. Not everything is always about you, OK?

Jess: Yeah. I’m done with this.

Ralph: OK. Good talk.


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