|Robin Glasser, author|
We were both on the bill for a literary reading event in 2010. She enjoyed my excerpt on fellatio, I was sucked into her excerpt on being seduced in Paris. She informed me about Word Up bookshop the opportunity to have copies of my book sold there and we later shared the stage at an event she organized. Then along came a nude young man and my camera. On a sultry Saturday, we met in Chinatown while passersby listening in on our conversation.
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My name is Robin Glasser, like Batman and Robin, R-O-B-I-N, I’m not fancy, and I’m a writer. I’m an author. I have one book called Men At Work, which is fully illustrated and it actually comes with a guarantee to put twinkles in your eyes and sparkles in your pants. Somebody gave me a video camera to make little movies and I put them on YouTube and the very first poem they have now taken off so I’m at war with YouTube. My other book is My Life as a Concubine which is actually a roman à clef—I lived in Paris for 3 years—I changed the names to protect the guilty. Besides a love story, there’s recipes, there’s tips of France and great places to visit. I’ve just finished my third book, The Brain Exchange, which I call a "Sex-Fi" and the punchline is, “If you could walk in someone else’s shoes, would they fit?” It takes place in the not-too-distant future and the latest thing is instead of taking a vacation to an exotic land you can actually exchange brains and take a vacation in someone else’s body. And the whole plot revolves around a bodybuilder and a super plus size woman and what ensues.
Listening to what you just said, should I assume erotica is your favorite genre? What is your favorite genre to write?
My favorite genre is fiction. And yes, I like sensual writing and I do write hot sex stuff.
Tell me about your involvement in Word Up Bookstore.
I’ve always wanted to volunteer in my neighborhood but it just seemed really difficult to find anything. I met Veronica Liu through another friend of mine and we were gonna do this pop-up bookstore. [Word Up Bookstore] was only supposed to go on for a month and a year later we’re still going strong. We’ve sold over 30,000 books, we’ve had like over 12,000 performers on our stage and we’re really community-based, it’s all volunteer run, everybody gives freely of their time. Now the landlord—it’s always show me the money—wants to get a higher rent; we’re just selling books. We’re up in arms, we’ve got the politicos behind us—we hope they’re gonna do something other than lip service—but it’s an amazing place. We love it and people love it and in this day and age when kids are getting shot on basketball courts for no reason it’s a great place for children. And we do so many events there. Everything is free. We’ve had everything from self-defense classes to calligraphy classes to cooking classes, music, arts and of course, the spoken word. And I love it too because my books are actually in a store as opposed to a virtual store. It’s sad that books are becoming unpopular, because I think it’s important to discover new authors and we’re tactile beings... I love it and we will remain in the 'hood but it won’t be in the spot that we’re in now.
You like to write fiction and rhyming and you like the tactile nature of books. What style or genre of writing do you enjoy reading?
I happen to love suspense, mystery, thrillers, serial killer books. I like paranormal but especially vampires and Anne Rice—I loved Interview with a Vampire and wanted to become a vampire after reading Interview. [It] fits my lifestyle perfectly because I’m a night person; I go to bed late, 3 o’clock in the morning, I don’t get up till 10, 11 and also I’d love to fly, maybe because I’m named Robin, I don’t know, but those are my favorite books to read.
As a writer, do you have a schedule? Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer?
Discipline is not my middle name. I’m really bad. I do write everyday but I consider writing emails now as part of my writing. I try but because I’m volunteering and we’re in this state of flux I don’t seem to have the time. Then I have a part-time job working as a clown booker. But I do try to write something everyday and I’m always getting ideas which I jot down but as far as cranking out ten pages a day? Not my style, never has been. Though there is a good exercise I can impart to your readers. When I was in Paris, I joined a writing group and one of the exercises was as soon as you wake up in the morning, you grab the pad next to your bed and the pencil and before you go to the toilet, make a cup of coffee, you just start writing. And I think it’s the most pages I’ve ever written in say 5 minutes ‘cause your editor brain is not working and it just flows.
Any plans to go back to Paris?
I love the city, I think it’s the most beautiful in the world but I spent so much time there. I am a globetrotter. I haven’t been to South America. I want to explore Russia cause that’s where all my relatives, both sets of grandparents, came from. There’s so many places in this world that I do wanna see before I kick the bucket so I don’t think I will but you never say never.
What is your favorite word, in any language, and why?
The first word that came to mind was oui, which means “yes” in French because I lived there but I don’t use it that often so I would probably say… Yes is a great word to use, but I don’t think it’s my favorite either. I don’t curse that much so I can’t say “shit”, you know, but I would say ‘yes’ is my favorite word.
French men or American men?
Like I said, I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve probably had sex ‘round the world in 84 ways, I’ve had sex with so many men that I think it depends on the chemistry between the people. I can’t say whether any experience… I can’t say one nationality is better than another.
Have you ever been with a plumber? I’m thinking about one of your poems from Men at Work.
No, I’ve never been with a plumber! [laughs] I’ve only wrote about it. I can’t think of anybody. No, never a plumber. People have plumbed the depths but…
Some of the readers might recognize you from a series of images I shot featuring you with a nude male model. What made you decide to do the photo shoot?
I’ve never done it before. I thought it would be fun. I totally trust your photography and I figured I’d be safe with you and you knew trustworthy people. I like your imagery, I think you’re a great photographer and I actually enjoyed myself and I actually got turned on. [laughs]
What message do you hope someone will get from the images or your decision to do the photo shoot?
Well I always hope somebody will get a message from what I do. I hope it’s a positive thing and maybe the message is that sex is great as long as the people are consenting and you’re not harming anyone and I think you should be free. I don’t believe in any of this puritanical bullshit that goes on in our country, where you can’t breastfeed in public, god forbid a nipple shows on a woman, yet you see the costumes that most of these women on MTV and people wear they’re like little hookers running around, even the kids you look at those beauty pageants whatever… anyway, my point is, I really am sort of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of person and when I get a whim I try to follow through and this seemed like a good idea and that’s basically why I did it.
What are your upcoming projects?
Well, actually, I’ve written a children’s book called Baboon Bob, it’s all in rhyme and I had hired an illustrator, this was the late 90’s. At that time there wasn’t any e-publishing, so I was gonna self-pub this book because I kept sending it out to publishers and I kept getting rave rejections from editors who said, ‘Oh, children don’t like rhymes.” I’m like, “Hello, did you ever hear of Dr. Seuss?” So anyway, I read this to a poetry group and everybody went gaga and I’ve been reading it at the bookstore and kids love it. Now, I’m resurrecting Baboon Bob but I decided to illustrate it myself. I’m gonna do simple drawings [and] put it on Amazon for 99cents. Or this woman and daughter were in when I did a reading of the book and the little girl loves to draw so actually I might just have her do some drawings and give her a percentage of the book [sales]. I’m not the best artist but I can do simplistic, fun drawings. So that’s my latest project besides self-pubbing The Brain Exchange, which I’ve been doing research on… that should be out very, very soon.
I want you to complete this statement: If my muse were an animal, it would be…
I love horses... a horse.
Because I love riding. I love the power of the beast and I love the beauty. I think horses are magnificent and I just saw a movie which was based on the original horse whisperer where horses are more attuned to people than dogs are which I think is fascinating. Horses really do connect with human beings so there’s nothing better than a 4-legged bareback ride along the oceanside.
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