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.

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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. 

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“Suicide notes and love letters are almost exactly the same.”: Reading Daphne Gottlieb’s “Saint 1001”

Saint 1001

Daphne Gottlieb’s latest, Saint 1001, is a damning, weird, sexy, tremendously literary, and extremely Gen X novel, told in a thread of letters and later emails through story, allegory, poetry, and Craigslist personal ads. 

Remember Craigslist? I didn’t use it in its heyday, which I guess was the ’90s, but I was around in the early 2000s and have quite a few fond memories using and perusing the site. Some of the best apartments and roommates I’ve ever had were found on Craigslist. There was a period of time when I was working at Whole Foods as a cashier when I got my name mentioned on the Missed Connections section what seemed like every other week (I was probably too friendly back then, always asking customers about what they were going to do with the ingredients they were purchasing, making conversation with everyone as we were prompted to do by management). I met some interesting people on the Strictly Platonic section, once a paralegal who was in town for a lawsuit and wanted a dining companion, and I as a super broke 21-year-old was down for pretty much anything and happy to meet up with the stranger who happened to be staying at the Four Seasons Hotel. He didn’t come on to me but we did smoke weed on the patio outside the hotel and on his last night in town I convinced him to have a party in his hotel room where I invited all of my rag tag friends and some guests down the hall complained to security of a funny smell coming from the room. Those were the good old days, I guess. Today I’m not sure if I would use Craigslist in the same way that I did in the early 2000s, but I like to browse the real estate section for San Francisco apartments I can’t afford. The idea of Craigslist and the way this liminal space is employed in Saint 1001 still holds this kind of mystique that reminds me of a more rose colored time, prior to the Craigslist killer being a news item.

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“We Both Have a Stake in the Way That Stories Are Told”: Janice Lee and Mairead Case on Writing

"Imagine a Death" and "Tiny" covers

No two books are written the same way, even if they share an author. For some writers, the process of writing one book can sharply influence the writing of the next; for others, the circumstances under which one work is created can be radically different from that work’s predecessor. The last year and a half has seen the release of new books by Janice Lee (Imagine a Death) and Mairead Case (Tiny). In the wake of both books’ release, Lee and Case discussed their own processes, the role of imagery in their books, and the power of names in fiction — among a host of other topics.

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True Crime, Weird Crime, and Fake Crime: An Interview With David James Keaton

David James Keaton

She Was Found in a Guitar Case, the new novel by David James Keaton, opens in a way that might seem familiar to fans of crime fiction. The novel’s protagonist learns of his wife’s death, and sets out to learn the truth about it, along with several mysterious connections she may have had. Things escalate quickly from there, with the narrative doubling back on itself and taking on a tone that’s both agreeably shaggy and increasingly paranoid. (If there’s a sweet spot between Pynchon and Portis, this book finds it.) I talked with Keaton about the novel’s genesis, how locks on bridges informed the book, and this book’s long path to publication.

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