Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 39: Ryan Ridge)

Ryan Ridge

RYAN RIDGE is the author of five books, most recently New Bad News (Sarabande Books 2020). He has received the Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction, the Linda Bruckheimer Prize in Kentucky Literature, and the Kentucky Writers Fellowship for Innovative Writing from the Baltic Writing Residency. His work has appeared in American Book ReviewDenver QuarterlyPassages NorthPost RoadSalt Hill, and Santa Monica Review, among others places. Ridge is an assistant professor at Weber State University, where he codirects the creative writing program. He also edits the literary magazine Juked.

My current favorite book is: …been reading loads of old noir novels—namely everything by Dorothy B. Hughes and Ross Macdonald.

My current favorite film director is: Les Blank, especially the short documentaries he shot in the 70s and 80s: The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins, A Well-Spent Life, Dry Wood, and Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, among others. Blank’s movies are artifacts of the human spirit.

My current favorite television show is: …I only put on TV shows in the night when I can’t sleep—the more mindless, the better. Currently, I’m making my way through Frasier (season seven). The last show I actively watched was Atlanta. It’s so smartly written and sharply shot. I hope it comes back for a third season someday. It’s the best.

My current favorite album is: …been playing the hell out of this live album by Kings of the Fucking Sea. They’ll rock your face right off. I’ve also been steadily listening to a compilation of Cambodian rock from the 60s, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten.

My current state of mind is: caffeinated.

My current chemical romance involves: …ceased cigs six years ago, but I’m still hooked on nicotine lozenges. I’ve got two in right now—one in each cheek.

My current favorite word or phrase is: “President Biden.”

My current mode of transportation is: [a] 2006 Mercedes Benz C-Class. The car belonged to my dad and I inherited it after he died. It’s only got 40,000 miles on it so I’ll probably have it awhile. Before the Benz, I had an Isuzu Hombre pickup that I drove for seventeen years. 

My current favorite fast food item is: Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich.

My current workout routine consists of: …I walk five miles every day, do between ten and twenty minutes of planks, two dozen push-ups, and take a cold shower every other morning. 

My current regrettable decision involves: [spending] five years writing a novel about a disgraced football coach only to recently realize that this titular character is but a tertiary figure in the book and decided to shelve it. 

My current hopes and dreams are: to lead a chill life, maybe adopt another greyhound or two. They’re majestic dogs. 

My current projects include: a completed, collaborative manuscript I co-wrote with Mel Bosworth, The Weird Years, that’s looking for a home. I’m working on a stoner noir novel tentatively titled The Big Picture, and I’m playing bass in a “punk-country-bluegrass-folkie-improv-poetry-high&lonesome” band called The Snarlin’ Yarns. We’re headed to Mississippi in March to cut a second record.


Ryan Ridge is online at

Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Press, and is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.

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