Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 68: Jim Ruland)

Jim Ruland

Jim Ruland is the author of the award-winning novel Forest of Fortune and the short story collection Big Lonesome. He is the co-author of Do What You Want (with Bad Religion), My Damage (with Keith Morris, founding member of Black Flag, Circle Jerks and OFF!), and Giving the Finger (with Scott Campbell, Jr. of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch.) His latest book, Corporate Rock Sucks: The Rise & Fall of SST Records, will be published in April. He lives and works in San Diego, California.

My current favorite thing to read is: Policymaker, Michael T. Fournier’s newsletter, which is an actual newsletter that he sends every month. Mike wrote the 33 1/3 book about the Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime and is part of the Razorcake familia. He writes novels, is obsessed with baseball, and thinks deep thoughts about Cape Cod hardcore.

My current favorite thing to watch is: the crows flying over my house at dusk. I don’t have a TV and watch movies and shows on my computer, but since I’m already staring at my computer all day, I’d rather do something else, like watch the crows. It turns out they roost in the lampposts in the parking lot at the mall. So that’s where the crows are going.

My current favorite thing to listen to is: a Spotify playlist I made of the raddest records of 2021 called Frosted Sausages. Every time I listen to it all the way through (it’s just eight songs) I feel like I’ve experienced something.

 My current state of mind is: post-COVID doldrums. I tested positive on New Year’s Eve so my year didn’t get off to the best start. It was a mild case relative to everything that’s going on in the world but in terms of my experience of illness it’s not something I want to go through again. It’s still not 100% done with me and I hate it. 

My current chemical romance involves: cutting back on coffee. It turns out I like sleeping at night. Didn’t see that one coming.

My current words of wisdom are: LOL 

My current mode of transportation involves: a station wagon that I share with my wife. She uses it to go to work while I stay home and write. Now you know why I watch the crows.

My current least fast food item is: the order of fries from Rally’s I ate in the parking lot of Walmart at Haymarket, Virginia, while my mother was dying. She sent me to Walmart to pick up her prescriptions. I only had a finite number of days left with my mother and we both knew it but I couldn’t bring myself to go back to the house so I sat in her minivan in the Walmart parking lot and stuffed shitty French fries into my face until my shame eclipsed my fear.

My current workout routine consists of: going for long walks at the beach. It’s hard to be in a bad mood at the beach.

My current regrettable decision involves: a game I play on my phone. It’s a battle royale-style real-time RPG. The whole point is to run around and kill people until you’re the last person standing. Theoretically, it goes against everything I believe in. I hate guns. If I had one wish it would be to make all the guns disappear. Every single one. But in the game it’s kill kill kill. Sometimes it’s awesome, but mostly it’s terrible, because I’m not very good at this game, but even when it’s terrible it’s exhilarating because people are trying to kill me and there’s gunfire and explosions and total fucking chaos unfolding all around me. When I get completely obsessed with it I have to delete it from my phone. Then I start dreaming about being inside the game and I put it back.

My current hopes and dreams are: to thrive. I’ve spent the last two years just trying to get through shit. This illness. That pandemic. This death, which is all the deaths to date and all the deaths to come. I don’t want to have any regrets. Settling for just trying to get through shit is a recipe for regret.

My current hobbies/projects include: nothing. I’m a writer. I don’t have hobbies. I have homework.


Jim Ruland 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, X-R-A-Y, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.

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