Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 66: Sara Lippmann)

Sara Lippmann

SARA LIPPMANN is the author of Jerks (forthcoming from Mason Jar Press) and Lech (forthcoming from Tortoise Books). Her story collection, Doll Palace (originally published by Dock Street Press, and long-listed for the 2015 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award) has just been reissued by 7.13 Books. She currently teaches with Jericho Writers, and lives with her husband and children in Brooklyn, NY. 

My current favorite thing to read is: …I’m teaching a yearlong novel course through Jericho Writers where my students are banging out drafts in real time which is thrilling to watch so their regular 3K installments are what’s sustaining me right now.

My current favorite thing to watch is: the rise and fall of my dog’s breath as he sleeps like a pinwheel against me.

My current favorite thing to listen to is: …my buddy Bob Hill turned me on to Laura Marling who’s great, especially in the car, as is Karen & The Sorrows. Karen brings me to Bill Withers. Richie Havens. The Grateful Dead because I deserve to be mocked but also because I can listen without listening. It’s a way of being alone. And sometimes you need to shake it sugaree while flipping the umpteenth slab of chicken in the pan. For my WIP I started the Grateful Deadcast which is as insufferable as you’d expect but then so is the character who preys on his daughter’s friend by calling her his “child of countless trees.” A lot of writerly podcasts for company, instruction, commiseration, inspiration.

 My current state of mind is: post-COVID porridge.

My current chemical romance involves: rolling papers. My husband’s fine motor skills. An open window to the sky.

My current words of wisdom are: John Irving: “If you don’t feel that you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then probably what you are doing isn’t very vital.” Skin over safety. You’re not ever gonna write/do/be anything good by trying to please people, and you can’t control anyone’s reactions. You can’t control a damn thing in this broken world. That might all be obvious but I’m not exactly a quick study. Once I finally came around to it, and relinquished a lot of garbage, my life/writing/teaching have become so much clearer, uninhibited, and more honest.

My current mode of transportation involves: [the] Q train. Two feet. Subaru Outback (yes, I am a Brooklyn parent).

My current favorite fast food item is: Wawa soft pretzels. 

My current workout routine consists of: …I started running at 40 which has saved my life and changed it in immeasurable ways. I hate to be one of those, but it’s true, for me, it’s medicine. I’m eyeing another half marathon this spring because I’m a glutton for punishment. I’m also injury prone and sit on my ass far too much so my foam roller and down dog app are other things I’ve come to rely on which is to say even when not writing I’m courting vulnerability, masochism, and humiliation.

My current regrettable decision involves: not running earlier. Buying into a lot of bullshit like capitalist notions of success. Letting myself be afraid of my own shadow.

My current hopes and dreams are: to keep writing stories and to keep helping others tell their stories in sharp and startling ways. To connect them with readers. Sure, I’d love to travel. And retreat to the woods. But mostly I just hope we all get to live out loud again and that we haven’t ruined things to the point where that becomes an impossibility for my kids, for their kids, etc.

My current projects include:Jerks, my new story collection, is coming out with Mason Jar Press in March. My novel, Lech, is due out in September with Tortoise Books. There’s that WIP on ice I’d like to return to someday. And the author Seth Rogoff and I are currently looking for a home for an anthology called Smashing the Tablets. It’s radical retellings of the Jewish Bible and we have a helluva list of contributors. We just need that bold soul willing to take it on.


Sara Lippmann 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) and Hobbies You Enjoy (serialized daily on Instagram: @hobbiesyouenjoy). 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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