RICK CLAYPOOL is the author of Tentacle Head (Bear Creek Press, 2022), The Mold Farmer (Six Gallery Press, 2020), and Leech Girl Lives (Spaceboy Books). His short fiction appears here and there online, including Expat Press, Heavy Feather Review, and Bear Creek Review. He lives in Rhode Island.
My current favorite thing to read is: books by Mike Kleine. They’re such treats. There’s a quality to the latest, Third World Magicks, that calls to mind when a band at a local show cranks up the fog machine and then pierces the fog with beams of multicolored laser light and it glows all marbled and ghostly. It made me miss noise shows. The way Kleine does prose minimalism is really exciting to me. Zac Smith too. His prose minimalism spirals into such hilarious and horrifying places. That’s my jam, one hundred percent.
My current favorite thing to watch is: a new slime mold time lapse recorded on my phone. I can usually find one type of slime mold or another when I go into the woods and the weather is right (moist, not too hot). The best is when I find one in its slimy crawling state. Then I can collect a little piece and carry it home on a leaf or piece of wood and record a time lapse video using my phone and a macro lens. Sometimes it pulsates, sometimes it crawls, sometimes it changes shape. I’m always posting these things on Twitter.
My current favorite thing to listen to is: birds. I used to hate birds. Sometimes they still make me uncomfortable. Especially pigeons. But I started learning which birds are making which sounds and it’s actually pretty neat, knowing what kind of bird is making what kind of sound you’re hearing. Especially nuthatches. They make this super cute sound. It always makes me smile.
My current state of mind is: detached but productive. I have to be steeped in the awfulness of the daily news for work. Things just keep getting worse and worse. I careen through these states of mind, from total fury to absolute despair. I understand that doesn’t help anyone but I can’t help it. So I try to concentrate my energy where it can make a difference and make my outrage productive. For me that means being a pain in the ass to rich assholes and processing my trauma by writing my weird stories. Probably none of this matters but from time to time I can convince myself it does.
My current chemical romance involves: this zillion-proof gin made from apple brandy aged in absinthe barrels from Copper & Kings in Louisville. I got the bottle back in like 2016 which Jesus Christ was six years ago. I guess that makes it not really “current.” But I still think about it. So it’s definitely a romance. They probably don’t even make it anymore.
My current words of wisdom are: …keep your writing/publishing goals realistic by picking a literary hero who has a day job. Like Franz Kafka, who worked for an insurance company and died poor and obscure.
My current mode of transportation involves: a little blue 2007 Toyota Yaris. It gets like 40 mpg!
My current favorite fast food item is: Popeyes spicy fried chicken with red beans and rice. Pro-tip: Always ask for honey for your biscuits.
My current workout routine consists of: taking short walks while carrying weights and listening to podcasts. It’s not particularly intense. Pretty thankful I haven’t injured myself (yet)!
My current regrettable decision involves: …one of my cats hates me. She hates pretty much everyone except my wife. But I think at least part of the reason she hates me has to do with my using a broom to try to make her come out from under the bed when we first got her. I wouldn’t do that again.
My current hopes and dreams are: [for] pregnant people to have their rights back and climate change to be reversed and fascists to stop going after trans people and cops to stop killing Black people and machine guns to be banned and corporations to stop busting unions and for the proletariat finally to seize the means of production and launch billionaires and all the military weaponry people are firing at each other into space so people on earth can finally slow down and deal with all the problems that are left in a way that’s chill and has nothing to do with amassing private piles of extreme wealth. Short of that I would like people to read my weird little books and for the enemies of progress to suffer in extremely hilarious ways.
My current projects include: trying to finish the novel I’ve been working on since before the pandemic. Hopelessly searching for edible mushrooms in the woods in spite of the current drought. Awkwardly attempting to make new friends as an adult. Being a good dad and spouse. Floating in the polluted sea until the current washes my body to an island of floating plastic garbage where burrowing mollusks colonize my insides and my corpse bloats and sinks and dissolves into the sand.
Rick Claypool‘s latest book is available from bearcreekpress.bigcartel.com.
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.