Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 21: Bud Smith)

Bud Smith

BUD SMITH works heavy construction and lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is the author of Teenager (Vintage, 2022), Double Bird (Maudlin House, 2018), and Dust Bunny City (Disorder Press, 2017), among other books. His fiction has been published in The Paris Review, Joyland, and The Nervous Breakdown. He is also a creative writing teacher and editor.

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Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 20: Jane-Rebecca Cannarella)

Jane-Rebecca Cannarella

JANE-REBECCA CANNARELLA is the editor of HOOT Review and Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, and was a former genre editor at Lunch Ticket. Her books are Better Bones and Marrow, both published by Thirty West Publishing House, The Guessing Game (published by BA Press), and Thirst and Frost (forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press). She lives in Philadelphia.

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From Autofiction to Nightmare: A Review of Pola Oloixarac’s “Mona”


I have a friend who often refers to the line from Rachel Cusk’s 2014 Guardian interview, in which she admits that before writing the Outline trilogy, the conceit of traditional fiction, the idea of “making up Jack and Jill and having them do things” suddenly felt “fake and embarrassing.” As autofiction—or at least the idea of the author being starkly present in the book—becomes more and more common in the world of fiction. I wonder why it is that seven years after Cusk’s statement, traditional fiction stills feels so oddly fake and forced at times.  Is it because the need for personal stories, the ones that take us out of a fictional world (one that has stretched to the other realms of life; identities stretch and comingle with our created identities online more than ever) have this intrinsic, vital sense of being urgent that standard fiction lacks? In her work, Cusk seems to bridge the divide between eutrapely (friendly, intellectual conversation that smells of heliotrope as Julio Cortazar writes about in Final Exam) and the real distance we find ourselves living from other people, both physically and emotionally. This bridge is also expertly occupied in Pola Oloixarac’s third novel, Mona, translated from Spanish by Adam Morris. 

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Painful Aloneness and Painful Togetherness: An Interview with Michael Lowenthal

Michael Lowenthal

Michael Lowenthal and I often call each other “the one that got away.” This does not refer to our romantic lives but rather to the fact that although I attended Lesley University’s MFA program, where he is a founding member of the fiction faculty, we never worked together while I was a student. Luckily for me, our friendship blossomed after I graduated in 2017, when I reached out to him to see if he’d help me polish up my stories, essays, and later, a novel. His editorial feedback is much like his writing style—fiercely and often brutally honest.

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Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 19: Will Johnson)

Will Johnson

WILL JOHNSON is a musician and songwriter who has played in the bands Centro-matic, South San Gabriel, Marie/Lepanto, Overseas, New Multitudes, and Monsters of Folk. He also releases records under his own name, and makes paintings centering on the subject of baseball and its history. His work has appeared in American Short Fiction, and If or When I Call is his first novel. He was born in Kennett, Missouri, and currently lives in Austin, Texas. 

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Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 18: Benjamin Drevlow)

Ben Drevlow

BENJAMIN DREVLOW is the author of Bend with the Knees and Other Love Advice from My Father (New Rivers Press, 2008), which won the 2006 Many Voices Project, and Ina-Baby: A Love Story in Reverse (Cowboy Jamboree, 2019). He serves as the Managing Editor of BULL Magazine, and is a lecturer at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia.

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