Insert Chassis Albuquerque: Ampersands and Spacing

17 January 2017

Ampersands and Spacing


Dear Mr Albuquerque,

My name is Gretchen von Liechtenstein, I am a student studying Literature at Berlin University. May I call you Chassis? I am wondering about your name - Chassis, the body of a car, and Albuquerque, a place in New Mexico, yes? It has fascinated me inappropriately for some time now. Also, I believe, I know what you might say or have already said when any of your readers have wondered, if they asked how you got your name you would reply in typical Albuquerque manner: “The usual way, my goddamn asshole parents gave it to me - do you not know how it works, this system of names that’s been around for millennia? Are you from another planet?”


Do I have it right? Anyhow, I digress. I'm emailing you because of your experience and stance with ampersands and all things grammatical - we have some small ground in common. For instance, though I am now only 23 years of age I find it grammatically distressing when people are unable to distinguish between a dash and a hyphen, do you not think? It physically distorts my face to hear this. I also feel very strongly if people misuse the word ZERO when relaying a phone number and substitute it with the letter "O"! Why do people insist on this? Is it perhaps cultural, to be so poorly educated? It is strange, yes? It is like the Americans who misspell all the European words, quite often the American interpretation is one letter shorter: Analogue V. analog, paediatric V. pediatric, traveller V. traveler.
Americans, so lazy! And the English, so arrogant they should have two of everything! It, how do you say it, “Makes my balls ache furiously!”?
Not that I have the testicles, I joke with you!
So, we make our little jesting cultural observations.

I attended one of your readings in New York, New York recently. You might have seen me, I had a sign, well, it was more a placard on a stick attached to a balloon filled with helium and it floated above all the other attendees like the Hindenburg. It said: FUCKED, the title of a story about a very beautiful young German student who falls for a older man, who is - surprise! - a writer!
The reason I mention this is I am a struggling writer and in this one location we're very complementary to each other, for you, too, started out that way, struggling for your every word to have breath and to be heard louder than all the others. I have read all your works! It was you who wisely said that the spoken or written word contains the most powerful forces in the world (and most parts of Europe). So, I quite agree! I spend a lot of time thinking about your words. You poetically weld them together in such manner they’re virtually unbreakable. And the spacing! Mein Gott! I love the spacing between your words and what you say. Every other writers words upon a page look suspicious and ungainly like a clumsy stalker, their heavy-footed misplaced vocabulary constantly stumbling against their words they creak dangerously underfoot, each springy movement's a suspicion, a creaking warning to mind what you’re reading as if their story may any second fall flat.
Whereas there is a sense of the promiscuous to your words, as if they are dirty, almost unchaste the way you throw them about indiscriminately without any accountability.
And so your words are all around me, they are ringing out in my ears, Herr Albuquerque (this is a natural disorientation that happens when too much English is incurred too early on but you should know I can practically taste your words in my mouth when I’m reading you)! Truly, I feel your super beautiful words can steal a heart or start a war!

Please, I should excuse myself, I have overexcited very easily but am unable to help myself. To calm things let me also say I've been pursuing literature all my life, it is my lifelong passion, something I think you know a lot about? And it was you that also said: The desire for writing comes from reading. I do not know how much I have read - I know it’s a lot - but what I want to know is should I stick to reading? I have developed a strong, distinct voice, it is a style developed after many, many hours I find easy to work in (I should tell you in advance I am exploding with words, large, corpulent ones!).

Attached is a synopsis and the first three chapters of: FUCKED. I hope you find it of enough interest to tear yourself away from your very busy schedule of writing and generally being disagreeable and allow me some feedback - do not worry, my mind is very flexible like a dancer’s body, so I can take whatever you give me. I note that you respond well to graphics so have also included a picture of myself for your records - I hope this pleases you.



Yours in anticipation,

Gretchen von Liechtenstein
Student, Writer and Admirer
Berlin