Image Credit: Waylon Thornton, http://secreteye.tumblr.com
PART ONE: After getting a paperback copy of Brian’s book of short stories, The Mustache He Always Wanted but Could Never Grow, at AWP in Seattle, I sent him an email even though we didn’t know each other. Why not?
Bud Smith: Hey, man, wanted to shout out and say hello. I got your book at AWP. Looks badass. Haven’t read it yet, but opened randomly and loved what I saw: A dog named Dio, mustaches, etc. etc.
Brian Alan Ellis: Yeah, Allie [Marini Batts] told me she gave you a book, which is awesome. She totally pimped you out so I had to friend you and I’m going to download your novel and short story collection this week. Also, I watched a video of you reading a poem in a hotel room in front of a bunch of people wearing scarves. Killer.
Bud Smith: Allie’s nice as all fuck.
Brian Alan Ellis: Allie’s awesome, man. Like, she really lit a fire under my ass to do stuff and meet other writers ’cause I would only publish stories as a hobby and didn’t really know any writers. All my friends were punk rock kids in bands.
Bud Smith: Yeah, same deal here, kind of. I could tell you my story but it’s whacked and would take a while.
Brian Alan Ellis: Whack away.
Bud Smith: I was in a band and the drummer overdosed. On the same night, before he died, I found a bunch of zines stuffed in the toilet of the bar we were playing in. I said, “I oughta send these guys something.” Weeks later I sent a poem to the zine. They sent me $75 and that was it—no more music, all writing.
Brian Alan Ellis: You got $75 from a zine?
Bud Smith: Yeah, I won a contest I didn’t know they were having. They read the poems at the bar and the bar patrons decided. It snowballed over the years. I never got paid after that.
Brian Alan Ellis: I’ve only been paid once for writing. $15 from flashquake. Also, your story is similar to how I got started writing. A guitarist in my band overdosed and died, and I didn’t play music for a few years after that and just wrote and self-published poetry zines.
Bud Smith: Wow. I guess we’re pretty similar. That’s fucking crazy.
Brian Alan Ellis: Yeah, dude. So, like, your buddy overdosed at your show?
Bud Smith: That night, after a party I didn’t go to. But this was many years ago, 2003. I have a novel coming out that’s all about that, called F-250—it’s fiction, but kind of close. I’ll send you one when they’re out since you gave me a free book. Books are so nice, especially physical copies.
Brian Alan Ellis: You also use Createspace, right?
Bud Smith: I do, yeah, and I encourage the presses that publish me to use it too. They’re nice books for cheap. Convenient.
Brian Alan Ellis: Yeah, I like it. Their royalty shit is kind of crazy, but I imagine it’s not much different than what a publisher would do.
Bud Smith: Ah, you know… the money stuff is insane.
Brian Alan Ellis: Allie is trying to get me to look into other self-publishing places, but I don’t see them being very different. I’d like to think Amazon is useful.
Bud Smith: Amazon is fine. Some people get all out of joint with it. Focus on the writing. Keep killing it. Keep submitting to bigger presses. See what happens.
Brian Alan Ellis: I’ll go with any place willing to print my books out on toilet paper rolls.
Bud Smith: Oh man. Toilet paper rolls. That’d be super useful. Whether you like the book or not, you can re-use and recycle it.
Brian Alan Ellis: It’s convenient.
Bud Smith: It’s like Donkey Kong: sometimes you just have to wait and jump at just the right time.
Brian Alan Ellis: That’s true, and watch out for barrels.
PART TWO: It’s spring. By all evidence it was a beautiful day outside. Probably a Saturday. Instead of doing something nice outside on a beautiful Saturday, I hung out on Facebook messenger (I’m guessing between writing a short story or something).
Bud Smith: Hi there, Mr. Brian, how are you doing?
Brian Alan Ellis: Hey Bud, I’m good, what’s happening with you?
Bud Smith: Oh, just waking up, listening to T. Rex, and getting ready for coffee. What’s good over there?
Brian Alan Ellis: Drinking coffee out of a David Bowie mug, wasting away on the Internet… the usual. We’re so glam.
Bud Smith: That’s how it’s done!
Brian Alan Ellis: How hot is it up in New York right now? I’m picturing Do the Right Thing heat.
Bud Smith: It’s a really nice weekend. 70 degrees. We usually go down to the beach all summer. That’ll be fun. All pools and ocean, from here on out—except when my writer buddy comes for a week to stay here.
Brian Alan Ellis: He staying with you?
Bud Smith: Yeah, I have a guest room here. Helps for parties.
Brian Alan Ellis: That’s awesome.
Bud Smith: I’ll probably have to teach him how to eat hamburgers.
Brian Alan Ellis: Man, I wanna come stay with Bud Smith. I haven’t been to New York in years. I was born there. Long Island. I still got family there. I haven’t been since I was, like, seventeen.
Bud Smith: Yeah, no shit. That’s badass. I’m from New Jersey, down by where they filmed Jersey Shore. Been here for 9 years. 173rd street. It’s fun here. You’re down near Tallahassee, or am I making that up?
Brian Alan Ellis: Yeah, I’ve been in Tallahassee, Florida, for about 3 years. I moved from Gainesville, which is 2 hours away, to be with my girlfriend. I don’t really leave the apartment much.
Bud Smith: Fuck the outside world! Enjoy the AC!
Brian Alan Ellis: That’s what I’m screaming. It’s cheaper. When I lived in Gainesville, I would hit the bars almost every night. It’s crazy how much money you save by not being an alcoholic. What T. Rex album you listening to?
Bud Smith: The Slider. I really like that one.
Brian Alan Ellis: That’s my favorite. I got that and Electric Warrior.
Bud Smith: Rock the fuck on!
Brian Alan Ellis: Dude, totally. I’ve been rocking Alice Cooper all week. You fuckin’ like Alice, bro?
Bud Smith: Never got into him.
Brian Alan Ellis: Dude, that’s crazy town. Billion Dollar Babies and Love It to Death are crucial.
Bud Smith: Hey, can you mail me another copy of The Mustache He’s Always Wanted but Could Never Grow? I gave it to my friend Jeff. He was over and drunk and started reading it. He’ll never give it back.
Brian Alan Ellis: That’s the best way to read it.
Bud Smith: I go through a lot of books here, and people at parties take too many. “Hey, what’s this sitting on your coffee table?” “It’s great! Take it!”
Brian Alan Ellis: I’d be pissed. Every time I lend something out I never get it back.
Bud Smith: I don’t give a fuck about anything I own. How I stay happy.
Brian Alan Ellis: That’s a good way to be. Someone still has a [John] Fante book I leant out in 2006.
Bud Smith: Those Fante books are so wonderful. I read them when I was 23.
Brian Alan Ellis: The best. The Road to Los Angeles is the one that’s missing. That’s my favorite. You check out Dan Fante?
Bud Smith: I haven’t read Dan yet. Frank Reardon keeps telling me to.
PART THREE: One of my favorite things is getting mail. I have a little PO Box, and it’s great when I open it up and there’s something stuffed in there, like 3 or 4 books and I can barely get anything out. All hail the USPS.
Bud Smith: Your book King Shit arrived and it looks awesome. I didn’t realize you were in the KISS Army. KISS is in my new novel, F-250. Badass.
Brian Alan Ellis: KISS is my favorite band. Also, thanks for posting about the book. For real, I appreciate that shit.
Bud Smith: Yeah, I love those book-type things.
Brian Alan Ellis: Milk and bookies.
Bud Smith: Yo, man, is House of Vlad a thing you do? I really dig it. I do that Unknown Press stuff with me and some peeps. Making books is fun shit and you make nice ones. Just saying.
Brian Alan Ellis: HOV is all mine. I dig self-publishing. The only thing that sucks, though, besides losing money, is not having the reach and/or resources of an established house.
Bud Smith: I think self-publishing is badass, and I’ll probably either self-pub a new collection of stories or poems this year. I applaud you on the cool shit. I like making these books too. A weird little adventure.
Brian Alan Ellis: Hell yeah. I just publish my own shit, though Waylon Thornton [King Shit illustrator] is supposed to let me publish his novel, Glue Baby, when it’s finished.
Bud Smith: I like publishing other people’s stuff because it’s a good way to learn what writing is all about. You know, in the mix.
Brian Alan Ellis: Too true.
Bud Smith: I’m going to start doing the radio show [The Unknown Show podcast] again, you want to come on?
Brian Alan Ellis: Love to be on it. We don’t even have to talk books. We can discuss Black Sabbath, migraine headaches, and Chuck Norris movies, if you want. YOLO! I have a shitty phone so hopefully it works out. Like, I have a Virgin Mobile flip phone with broken buttons. It’s so bad. I’m too cheap to replace the damn thing.
Bud Smith: Smash it.
Brian Alan Ellis: I will when it’s necessary. I’ve smashed phones before. I’ve actually smashed this one a lot, but it keeps ticking. I kind of respect it. I’m almost scared of it.
Bud Smith: That’s a good thing to be scared of. A damn phone!
PART FOUR: Brian asked me to blurb his forthcoming book, Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty. I loved the first two books of his that I read so I said, “Sure!” Here’s a synopsis of Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty:
A dude jumps out of a window; Halloween goes to Hell; a junk-sick redhead ransacks a wallet; a school teacher’s habit of leaving drawers open rattles her obsessive compulsive husband; two losers conjure bloodlust fantasies to pass the time; a severed body part resurrects to claim vengeance against an insane witch; a trailer park love triangle reaches its drunken precipice at a Sunday barbeque—just a few of the sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes dirty attractions found in Brian Alan Ellis’s latest, aptly titled story collection. Bearded women, bloody tampons, online dating debacles, ornery waffle waitresses packing pistols, drunk Harry Dean Stanton look-a-likes dressed as Santa Claus, floating Mickey Mouse T-shirts, lawn gnomes on fire—it’s all here; all good, all bad, all dirty!
Bud Smith: Hey, listen, I got your PDF. Short stories?
Brian Alan Ellis: Yeah, 13-14 of them.
Bud Smith: Love when that happens!
Brian Alan Ellis: Yeah, I haven’t delved into the novel yet, though I am working on one that is just a bunch of my stories put together as a novel. It’s probably only going to be novella-length though, but fuck it, the novella is the new novel apparently. It’s the choice of a new generation, like Pepsi.
Bud Smith: Yeah, whatever they say. I just like to keep myself busy so I don’t eat all the stuff in the fridge.
Brian Alan Ellis: Same here. Busy or lazy. Everything in between that, like work or doing laundry, is shitty. I don’t even like eating anymore. Eating is too much work for me now.
Bud Smith: Novellas are the best. Wrote one last year. Based off my reaction to Badlands, my favorite movie.
Brian Alan Ellis: Oh, that’s a good one.
Bud Smith: Had a question: Do you want me to send you a note about any typos I find? Because I will if you want, but I don’t want to point it out if you don’t like that kind of stuff. I am horrible at proofreading my own stuff but good with other peeps’.
Brian Alan Ellis: That would be awesome if you could. I’m down for suggestions. I’m terrible at it, too. My girlfriend usually proofs my books. She’s really good at it. It’s what she does for a living pretty much. But having as many eyes as possible is a privilege.
Bud Smith: Okay! I just didn’t want to bother you if you hated that. That will be your blurb: me just commenting on what you misspelled or formatted weird. It’ll be like: “Brian Alan Ellis spelled buthole wrong in his book. Oh? Wait… It is butthole?” or “Doggshit has one ‘g’? I suck at this.”
Brian Alan Ellis: I think the book is 100% free of “butthole” words, unfortunately.
Bud Smith: Dammit! Quick, add some!
Brian Alan Ellis: I’ll add a story called “Butthole” and it’ll just be a paragraph of the word “butthole” repeated. Probably be the best story in the book. Real Meta shit.
Bud Smith: Whelp. You can format the story pretty cool, like have a vortex in the middle of the page. Would be cool.
Brian Alan Ellis: Set in Comic Sans.
Bud Smith: I heard you’re not supposed to use that anymore. I just stopped.
Brian Alan Ellis: Font fascists. Everyone loves boring-ass Garamond.
PART FIVE: We got into talking about self-publishing vs. not self-publishing. Which is a crazy thing to discuss at all. It’d be like discussing whether you’d use your 3 wishes from the genie’s lamp if you found one, or not. Of course any one would use the wishes. But not all self-published books are equal. I love talking to writers who make exceptional self-published books, and Brian is definitely in that camp.
Bud Smith: Since you’re self-publishing stuff and I’m going to do some of that in the winter, it might be fun to try and team up on something as promo since there’s no publishing houses involved. I don’t know how.
Brian Alan Ellis: We should! What are you self-publishing?
Bud Smith: Probably a book of short stories.
Brian Alan Ellis: What about the press putting out your novel, they don’t want it?
Bud Smith: The press might, I dunno.
Brian Alan Ellis: I want to eventually do a book of plays. Really dumb plays. But, yeah, self-publishing is fun. And aggravating, too. I’m actually going to shop that novel/novella around before I self-pub it.
Bud Smith: Oh yeah, always shop.
Brian Alan Ellis: I shopped the Mustache book for a hot minute but retracted the submissions before I heard from anyone.
Bud Smith: What places do you like these days? I’m all about Sunnyoutside. They make such pretty books.
Brian Alan Ellis: I sent the Mustache book to Two Dollar Radio, Other Press, and a few others. I can’t remember. I like Civil Coping Mechanism and Lazy Fascist Press a lot, and Two Dollar Radio.
Bud Smith: Yes! Lazy Fascist is great. Just read [Sam Pink’s] Rontel the other day. That’s a funny ass book. It was so mind numbingly good, I had to take a break from reading it to drive home and I kept looking over at the passenger seat at Rontel sitting there with 20 pages to go and it was super hard to not read the last 20 pages while I drove down the turnpike at 90 mph.
Brian Alan Ellis: Rontel gets better and better with each reading. Incredible. I think Sam Pink’s I Am Going to Clone Myself Then Kill the Clone and Eat It is the greatest poetry collection since [Walt Whitman’s] Leaves of Grass. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve even read Leaves of Grass.
Bud Smith: The other day I walked down the sidewalk and the kids had the fire hydrant open and it was great, I just walked out there and got soaked. I’m so dumb in summer. Hey, guess what, Brian? I don’t even know how to tie my shoes. I wear flip flops.
Brian Alan Ellis: Don’t say that. New Yorkers should never wear flip flops.
Bud Smith: Someone needs to peg me with a water balloon.
PART SIX: Discussing genres and labels, and killer shit.
Brian Alan Ellis: Anyway, my stories are kind of out there but I don’t really get the “Bizarro” label some people give them.
Bud Smith: Yeah, Bizarro seems off. I’d say you write grimy lit fiction, but funny.
Brian Alan Ellis: In my review, I called Tollbooth a somewhat Bizarro version of Something Happened by Joseph Heller, and I regret it. I was being a lazy critic.
Bud Smith: That’s a good one, though. I love hearing the cross-pollination ones. If WWII was really as fun as Joseph Heller made it seem, I want a time machine. I want to go party in WWII.
Brian Alan Ellis: Bizarre is good, it’s that silly “o” that gets tagged onto it when shit gets weird.
Bud Smith: Yeah, Bizarro isn’t just weird, it’s like: “alien hot dog spaceship fizz fuck races.”
Brian Alan Ellis: I dig the spirit of Bizarro and the writers and publishers are cool as hell and supportive and they write and publish awesome shit but a lot of that stuff I can’t read. Basically, what I’m really trying to say is, a good book is a good fuckin’ book regardless of whether or not it’s Alt-Lit or Dirty Realism or other such bullshit.
Bud Smith: I agree. I’m ignorant on the great Bizarro so far. I don’t know where to look. I’m always like this to myself, “Hey, you wanna read great Bizarro! I have a great recommendation: The Metamorphosis! Check it out!” I’m gonna look into this farther, because I don’t think genre fiction is bad or anything, I’m just ignorant on who’s good right now.
Brian Alan Ellis: It seems there’s, like, two schools: Donald Barthelme and Frederick Barthelme. We’re probably in the middle, I don’t know. I like ’em both, but I think maybe I lean more towards Frederick’s style, if I ever gave a shit to realize it.
Bud Smith: I actually haven’t read him. I’m kind of lame. I should!
Brian Alan Ellis: He’s good. You should check out Chroma, his second book of stories. Carver style. Funny. You’d dig it. Avoid his novels, though.
Bud Smith: I read Willy Vlautin ’cause you said, and I 3/4 thought it was amazing. The Motel Life.
Brian Alan Ellis: I dig Willy. Northline was even better than The Motel Life, I thought.
Bud Smith: It was just a touch too sad. Wanted to shake the fuck out of that narrator. Northline it is!
Brian Alan Ellis: It’s also sad, though. But it’s in third person, if I remember correctly.
Bud Smith: That’s good, because I need to read more third person. I’m a sucker for the diary entry book with an unreliable narrator.
Brian Alan Ellis: 33 Fragments of Sick-Sad Living is in second person. People look down on second person narrative I find, which doesn’t make sense. It’s just a tool. I’m a tool.
Bud Smith: Bright Lights, Big City.
Brian Alan Ellis: Yeah, I love that book. The movie, not so much.
Bud Smith: I heard it’s second person gold.
Brian Alan Ellis: It is. I think he was one of the first to do it, or maybe I’m wrong about that. Wrong about most things.
Bud Smith: What are some newer writers who’ve floored you recently?
Brian Alan Ellis: There are lots. You read any Paula Bomer books?
Bud Smith: Paula Bomer is a good people.
Brian Alan Ellis: Oh awesome, I really like her two story books. Yeah, good-ass shit.
Bud Smith: Read Nine Months!
Brian Alan Ellis: I will!
Bud Smith: Her book Nine Months is like Tollbooth without the magical realism and acid. And the narrator is a really cool woman. Tollbooth is narrated by a douchebag.
Brian Alan Ellis: I’m reading the new Lydia Davis book now. I tried reading the new Loorie Moore but I couldn’t get into it. She’s a little too New Yorker for me. I have a misguided theory that once good writers start publishing in The New Yorker, they’re finished. I call it the Sam Lipsyte theory. Venus Drive, his first story collection, which is comprised of stories published in small presses, is amazingly powerful where as his next story collection, which is mostly stories published in The New Yorker, absolutely stinks. I’m sure this theory holds no weight, by the way. I’m no academic.
Bud Smith: Oh, I bought Mary Miller’s the other day. Last Days of California.
Brian Alan Ellis: Big World is pretty killer. Last Days is really good. You read [Alissa Nutting’s] Tampa?
Bud Smith: Yes! She’s great. And I read it after [Nabokov’s] Pale Fire. Which was perfect.
Brian Alan Ellis: Never read Pale Fire.
Bud Smith: Pale Fire was the most amazing book I’ve ever read. Lolita was worth it. Pale Fire is stellar.
Brian Alan Ellis: I’ve only read Despair and Lolita. I’ll check it out. What’s the synopsis?
Bud Smith: Crushes Lolita. Okay, so it’s about a poem, “Pale Fire.” It’s a critical analysis of a poem as a novel. There’s ten things happening at once that all contradict each other, and a simple story at the heart and the most unbelievably beautiful, unreliable narrator ever in the history of literature, with a wild rambling format to the book that represents hyperlinks through annotations. Not pretentious.
Brian Alan Ellis: That’s a relief.
Bud Smith: Usually I fall back on [Richard Brautigan’s] In Watermelon Sugar and [John Steinbeck’s] Cannery Row once a year.
Brian Alan Ellis: A friend posted a thing asking what Philip Roth book he should start with and I wrote: “Don’t bother. Waste of time.” I was mostly just being an asshole, though.
Bud Smith: Yes. Waste of time. But I love DeLillo’s White Noise, which is the sum of all that over my head intellectual stuff, including Pynchon.
Brian Alan Ellis: I should read White Noise ’cause so many people recommend it. Never read any Pynchon. I don’t like overtly intellectual books, or books that possibly seem that way. I won’t even finish a book if it doesn’t grab me.
Bud Smith: I don’t either. Intellectualism is the opposite of how I live. Why would I read it?
Brian Alan Ellis: I know, you’re a punk rocker. Reading is hard for me, even though it’s one of my absolute favorite things in the world. My mind tends to wander. I think I should get that checked out.
Bud Smith: I’m sold on simple. Life is simple. Unless you’re an overcomplicated asshole, then see a therapist. I should run for mayor.
Brian Alan Ellis: You should. Clean up the streets, like Taxi Driver.
Bud Smith: I need to clean up the streets, yes. Do I get to hang out with Jodi Foster?
Brian Alan Ellis: Nell Jodi Foster.
Bud Smith: Chicken bat drain the wind gummo frog dooga shey…
Brian Alan Ellis: I dig the movie Gummo.
Bud Smith: Never saw it. But I loved Kids. Staten Island!
Brian Alan Ellis: It’s way better. I like Kids too, though.
PART SEVEN: Here’s where I sent him the blurb for his forthcoming book of short stories. (Expected to be released February 2015).
Bud Smith: Just finished the book [Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty]. I really enjoyed “Ms. Fix” and “Halloween Decorations.” They stood out in your collection. Good readings. Working on the blurbs right now. Here’s one: “Brian Alan Ellis writes like he’s whipping nunchucks at precisely the right keys.” Maybe that will be some help.
Brian Alan Ellis: That was the best thing I’ve read all day.
Bud Smith: You’re striking a good balance of funny and sad. Those are my favorite books. I do have a couple typos for you. I’ll send you photos/screenshots in a day or two. Text was über clean, though. My phone with the pictures on it got left in a work truck.
Brian Alan Ellis: At least it wasn’t left in an ice cream truck, then we got trouble.
Bud Smith: I OWN THE ICE CREAM IN THIS TOWN!
PART EIGHT: We had a talk about advertising in punk magazines and not punk magazines.
Bud Smith: How’d that Razorcake ad work out? Were you happy you did it? I’m thinking about doing one.
Brian Alan Ellis: I put a couple ads in Razorcake a year, partly to support them, also to get a free issue ’cause I like reading Razorcake on the crapper, and also with the hope of getting the word out. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much of an increase in sales as of yet, but I think you should try it out. They do distribute at AWP and some random fests throughout the year, so that’s cool. The ads are pretty cheap. They do book and zine reviews but they take forever to review stuff you send them. They still haven’t reviewed any of my books, and it’s coming on a year since they got the Mustache book.
Bud Smith: I figure the reviews don’t matter. BUT THE AD, oh that AD! The publisher kids wanted to do one in The Believer. I’ve never even opened one of those things.
Brian Alan Ellis: That’s probably like $10,000,000.
Bud Smith: That’s what I said.
Brian Alan Ellis: I almost put an ad in Poets & Writers but I changed my mind ’cause I think Poets & Writers is boring as fuck. That and The New York Times Book Review are unreadable to me. I physically cannot read them. The Believer is kind of cool. I mailed them a book but nothing came of it, as far as I know. I don’t keep up. Plus, a lot of places have a “no self-published books” rule, which is dumb. They should at least do a small section for the good shit that comes in.
PART NINE: After a Mellow Pages Reading and a thought on AWP.
Brian Alan Ellis: How was the Mellow Pages reading?
Bud Smith: It went over really good. I’m getting more excited about doing performances when I read. Like, in memorizing things and doing strange things while I read. I think people are like, “What’s going on,” and that’s what I want. Robert Vaughan is a great guy to read with.
Brian Alan Ellis: Hell yeah. I hope I get to see you guys read sometime.
Bud Smith: I’m positive it will happen. Los Angeles, 2016. That thing, AWP.
Brian Alan Ellis: Are you going next year?
Bud Smith: Nah.
PART TEN: There’s a part in my book F-250 where the characters have a really bad cover band called Shore Thang. Brian is referencing that.
Brian Alan Ellis: Dude. Can we start the band Shore Thang, for real? I nearly fuckin’ died when I came to that part in F-250. Holy shit, Shore Thang is goddamn funny.
Bud Smith: Of course we can start that band!
Brian Alan Ellis: I’m loving F-250. Great stuff. Been reading it all day.
Bud Smith: I’m marking it up yet again. There’s a lot of weird formatting things I’m finding. Book is about a month out from release. So here I am: mop in hand.
Brian Alan Ellis: I’m tweaking my book, too. Gotta get my English major girlfriend genius to look it over so I don’t look stupid. Stupider.
Bud Smith: I really like my art major wife.
Brian Alan Ellis: It’s a blessing.
Bud Smith: Yes! I can believe!
Brian Alan Ellis: Also, I know the book is fiction, but do you really know a former Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling?
Bud Smith: Yes, I did know a G.L.O.W girl. A bar next to my union hall in Bayonne.
Brian Alan Ellis: I love G.L.O.W! So awesome.
Bud Smith: That’s so cool how much you like wrestling. I don’t have many interests. Just beer it seems.
Brian Alan Ellis: I like pro wrestling more than I like writing. I’m just too old to get into it professionally now. I’ve dislocated my shoulder twice just by stretching.
Bud Smith: I could picture you like that manager guy, Mickey Hart.
Brian Alan Ellis: Jimmy Hart. “The Mouth of the South.” I met him.
Bud Smith: Jimmy Hart, yeah, him. Was he anything like the character?
Brian Alan Ellis: He was toned down some, but he’s still wild as shit. He didn’t have the megaphone. That was his thing.
Bud Smith: Send me a blurb when you’re done reading. I’ll make you famous to 6 or 7 more people. That’s my outreach: 6 or 7 more people.
Brian Alan Ellis: I’ll “Shore Thang” blurb that shit. 6 or 7 people is a nice addition, by the way.
Bud Smith: I approached 6 people at a Chinese buffet today: “HEY!”
Brian Alan Ellis: By the way, did you ever find that phone with all the mistakes you found in my new book?
Bud Smith: Oh shit. Let me look on my computer when I get home.
Brian Alan Ellis: No sweat. Don’t tear the crib apart or anything. Just curious. I was more concerned about your missing phone.
Bud Smith: I did find that phone!
Brian Alan Ellis: Oh good.
Bud Smith: It was super minor stuff.
Brian Alan Ellis: I go insane when I lose things ’cause I’m so OCD to begin with.
Bud Smith: I don’t give a fuck about anything. I’m Un-OCD. If only I wasn’t a fake hippy who wrote love poems.
Brian Alan Ellis: Hippy? Dude, you’re like the indie lit Springsteen. You’re like if Jon Bon Jovi’s denim jacket with the fringe was a sick-ass poem.
Bud Smith: I just answered an interview question where I basically paraphrased what you just said: “When you light an Oxy/Acetlylene torch in the middle of an oil yard, in an enclosed vessel, you never know what is going to happen. I have one literally little brother, William Smith, the rest of my brothers are in my construction union. Oh goddamn, unless you count my writing group, those are the other real soldiers.” CUE THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER!
Brian Alan Ellis: Totally. That interview just got shot out of a rocket and shut the fuck down.
Bud Smith: And with that I’ll go shower the jet fuel off me and style down.
Brian Alan Ellis: All right! Good talk, son.
Bud Smith: Style down means settle down in some circles.
Brian Alan Ellis: Tone down the style but not by too much.
Bud Smith: Peace and good will to you! *collapses*
Brian Alan Ellis lives in Tallahassee, Florida, and is the author of The Mustache He’s Always Wanted but Could Never Grow, 33 Fragments of Sick-Sad Living, and King Shit (with Waylon Thornton). His writing has been published in Zygote in My Coffee, Monkeybicycle, DOGZPLOT, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Conte, Sundog Lit, Connotation Press, That Lit Site, Diverse Voices Quarterly, flashquake, Spittoon, HTMLGIANT, Spry, Crossed Out, NAP, The Next Best Book Blog, Entropy, and Atticus Review, and was also adapted and performed by the Buntport Theater group in Denver, Colorado.