Lecturer Rachel Swearingen Debuts Short Story Collection

Cover for "How To Walk on Water and Other Stories"

Lecturer Rachel Swearingen was interviewed for Newcity about her debut short story collection published this month. How to Walk on Water features nine stories that explore "not only what it means to survive in a world marked by violence and uncertainty, but also how to celebrate what is most alive." In the interview, Swearingen discusses the development of these stories, the experience of writing in and about Chicago, and various influences on her collection. The title short story, for example, about an adult reckoning with his mother's violent sexual assault, came to life when Swearingen prohibited her students from writing about serial killers unless they approached it from a different character's perspective. Every story grapples with the invisibility of women, centering female characters as a core power to the eventual resolution of each story. "I'm fascinated by women who don't follow the rules," Swearingen said, "and who are subversive in some way, even if it's quietly."