Walking Through Clear Water In a Pool Painted Black

Collected Stories

Cookie Mueller

Walking Through Clear Water In a Pool Painted Black by Cookie Mueller (Paperback ISBN 9781838858483) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook

4 August 2022

A new edition of the cult classic, with over two dozen additional stories, from the godmother of autofiction

Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black is the only story collection from the legendary writer, actress, ex-biker and columnist Cookie Mueller, published in the UK for the first time.

Mueller chronicles her high-risk, high-reward life in glorious technicolour, from becoming a part of John Waters’ legendary acting troupe to becoming a mother, from describing the hedonism of 1980s New York to critiquing the government’s dire response to the AIDS epidemic. Cookie’s voice is fresh, wise, freewheeling and unafraid of darkness. Like a lysergic Nora Ephron, she is the candid flipside to the idealistic hippie dream. Whether good, bad or ugly, her stories are fiercely entertaining and reliably honest.

Featuring a new introduction by Olivia Laing, this edition collects Mueller’s stories, columns and writings, and presents a testament to a life lived courageously and well.


“A how-to manual for a life ricocheting joyously off the rails … a live corrective to conformity, conservatism and cruelty”
Olivia Laing

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“Cookie Mueller wrote like a lunatic Uncle Remus – spinning little stories from Hell that will make any reader laugh out loud. She was a writer, a mother, an outlaw, an actress, a fashion designer, a go-go dancer, a witch doctor, an art-hag and, above all, a goddess. Boy, do I miss that girl”
John Waters

“People fall in love with Cookie when they read her … She was a matchless beautician of the word”
Richard Hell


Cookie Mueller

Cookie Mueller (1949–1989), nee Dorothy Karen Mueller, played leading roles in John Waters’s Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Desperate Living and Multiple Maniacs. She wrote for the East Village Eye and Details Magazine, performed in a series of plays by Gary Indiana and wrote numerous stories that would only be published posthumously. She died in New York City of AIDS-related complications at age 40.


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