Ryan Rivas Transcript

Today we talk about the Burrow Press collection We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida: New Stories from a Sinking Peninsula. Then, we talk to Burrow Press publisher Ryan Rivas about the press, his writing, and the Florida lit community.


Before he was even born. I wanted not to be called grandmother or grandma or granny. So my initials are MEL. And so I decided to go They can grow in front of that net sounded pretty neat.

Ryan Rivas 

Fantastic. I love that you guys are doing this. It’s the perfect thing to be doing amid all this isolation and everything.


So we both read, We Can’t Help it if We’re from Florida. I had the book here. And I think also it’s a good one to read since we are focusing on Florida authors and Florida writers. And there’s a bunch of great folks in there. So I’m wondering if you can maybe just talk a little bit about that book. I know Shane edited it. But how did that kind of come together?

Ryan Rivas   

The whole thing actually came together at Sanibel, the Sanibel writers conference, it was Shane’s idea he kind of loved the title. It may have formed all around the title, which is a borrowed title from a punk compilation from the 80s called we can’t help but if we’re from Florida, it was a bunch of different punk bands from different records. In Florida, so in a way it was its own Florida showcase. And obviously the title is great. It’s, you know, cynical, sarcastic. And so we both share up to that point, we’ve been friends.

And so we both share an interest in people who write about Florida and reading about Florida and literature. He proposed the idea and I was like, Okay, let’s make it happen. And we just made a big list of people, we probably reached out to double the amount of renders that appear in the book. Some people couldn’t do it. Some people didn’t have the time or didn’t necessarily have anything Florida related or the time to create it. I think we landed on a pretty great batch of folks, many of whom have gone on to do great things, you know, aren’t necessarily known as Florida writers, per se but grew up here stays with you, even if you don’t consider yourself a Florida writer. I’m trying to think if any of the writers in the anthology were writing about Florida for the first time, probably not. I know a lot of them didn’t necessarily consider themselves regional and I get that because Florida comes with a lot stereotypes.

And so I think whether or not somebody who grew up here and cherishes growing up here and even maybe writes about it would want to risk even being associated with those stereotypes by saying, I’m a Florida writer. Or I also understand why a writer would want to be pigeonholed any writer, not just a writer from Florida, but why a writer wouldn’t want to limit themselves to a region, I might call myself a Florida writer. But at the same time, I don’t necessarily feel limited to to write about Florida if I don’t want to, even though I might continually do it. And that’s just because I think that the place leaves an impression, I’m of this place, right? And when I say like, for me personally, I’m sure it’s something different from everyone or for everyone. But you know, when I say I’m a Florida writer, it’s because I’ve lived in the States since birth. I grew up here never left for some reason.

And I think it’s the place undeniably leaves a mark and actually, I was talking to Sarah Gerard about this the other day, I’m going to misquote her. Hopefully it’ll appear in an interview. But she talks about how you know, places where he grew up, they leave, they have their own, like architecture and imagery that is imprinted on you. She said, That’s why she writes about Florida and New York, the two places where she’s lived, because those places leave imprints, you don’t necessarily have to do as much or any research on the setting itself too, because you’re, you’re immersed in it, you understand it on an emotional level, as well as like a sort of physical topographical level.


I wanted to ask you, because Shane, in the beginning, they say like, what is Florida literature? And then it’s a big metaphor. I wondered about that choice. What was the conversation was to go with that?

Ryan Rivas 

Yeah. The initial idea, do we want to do an intro? Do you want to write something for this Shane to kind of set the tone I guess, for the rest of the work? He said he think about it, he didn’t necessarily want to do something academic or, you know, essayistic. I agreed with that approach to because I, you know, you just heard my definition of Florida literature, and that’s certainly not anyone elses. The anthology was, as the goal kind of the online journal that we run fantastic Lord is to show the plurality right, and to not impose one kind of definition. So I know that his choice to write essentially like a flash fiction sort of piece about how a sinkhole kind of sucks up a house and you know, and what’s you know, underneath and kind of like layers of history. It’s kind of a metaphorical definition for him of what Florida literature is, and I know it was inspired by similar to Paget pals essay, what is Southern literature, I think there’s a little bit of more of a I’m going to tell you about Southern literature, but I can’t before it goes into like an anecdotal story. I haven’t read it in a while, but I know that that was a direct influence. We were able to make an intro by saying what is Florida literature so people think introduction and then immediately sort of subvert expectations to let people know that it’s ambiguous, but that the people chosen for this anthology You know if you can’t trace their resin river to Florida as Florida writers then they’re at the very least writing about Florida. And so it’s Florida literature. You know, Florida literature is the lens through which people choose to portray Florida. And so we weren’t interested in naming it.

Tyler Gillespie  21:14 

I liked it. I thought that was a good approach.

Gramel  21:17 

Another author we were talking to her, even though she’s lived away now for over 25 years. I guess. Her books are located in Florida, because she was born and raised here. She went to college someplace else, and that’s why she ended up living in that area. When she goes to write, it’s about Florida. What book was it? Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Rivas 

Still Yeah, yeah. Actually Susanna Daniel, we did in an anthology of Miami writers to that Shakira de is approached me about an edited way back in what feels like a decade ago, but I guess there’s only 2014 you’re not in 2015? Yes. Is Anna Daniels in there and those are all Miami based Writers too. So it’s a similar idea. And I remember in his intro, it’s also not about naming, you know, what is Miami literature? What is the one Miami experience? It’s just like the rest of Florida like it’s seen through so many lenses. There isn’t one, you know, there isn’t one necessarily dominant culture or dominant view. There’s just millions of pockets of uniqueness, right.

Tyler Gillespie  22:22 

Oh, when did you start Burrow and what was the idea? And then how did that all start?

Ryan Rivas 

Yeah, so Burrow started in about 2010. I had a co founder January, and we were in a writing group together, we in Orlando, there wasn’t like a writing scene per se. There was a lot of slam poetry, which is great, but it wasn’t what we were doing. And there has been and continues to be that scene in Orlando, which is fantastic, but not what we were doing. And so we thought, well, let’s see who else is writing short stories, for example, in Florida. So the idea to start a press was kind of a whim. We thought we would put together a book of short stories by Florida writers. And so we put a call out, way back then at the time there was a magazine called Ana lemma that was run by this guy, Chris Hefner. And he, he had since moved to New York, and they were publishing all kinds of great writers. They were like an early publisher of Roxane Gay and Blake Butler, and like, they’re doing really cool work. He helped signal boosts kind of our search for Florida based writers. And we ended up finding 10 great short stories set in Florida are not set in Florida by Florida writers. They weren’t necessarily set there. So already from like a marketing and publishing perspective, like this isn’t a great anthology. You know what I mean? Other than that, the stories are quality. It was more like a literary magazine, but we really didn’t know what we were doing.

But it turned out that most of these writers just by chance, not only were from Florida, but were from Central Florida. So we had this book launch and they all came and not only did they all come they all brought their friends and their friends weren’t just there to support them. There. Also writers, and a lot of people at this release party were like, oh, like they under they knew what a small press was. They were into literature, that whole world and a lot of them had maybe graduated from UCF. Some of them were just happen to be writers that landed in Orlando. And from there, we found this sort of need or desire to continue to exist. So it costs money to publish a book. So it was we started to publish local writers on like a blog. And it could be about whatever, but it was people that we’d met through the reading, and then through the book release party. We also met this guy J. Bradley at that book party, and he wanted to start a reading series, and we happen to be able to provide him with a space and we designed a logo. So we basically collaborated on a prose reading series. So and we did that for three or four years. And that was an opportunity that didn’t exist before. We called it closed mic pros because there was so much open mic poetry. Again, nothing wrong with that, but there wasn’t what we wanted.

We helped make that and build that. And we provided a platform for short story writers and prose writers to share their work. We didn’t exhaust ourselves of them after three years, you know, four writers a month, you know, I don’t think we ever repeated we were you know, so it felt like we were doing good there. And then on top of that, I also met Nathan Holic at the at that original book launch. And he led us to our next book, which was also hyperlocal, called 15 views of Orlando. And so we found local writers to write about the city. We did it sequentially. At first we released it online, but then it became a book. And then and that again, that built two sequels. And like Shakira approached us about doing the Miami version. And so we did a Tampa version, or a bay Tampa Bay version as well, that was kind of early burrow. But basically, we continue to do the three the three pillars that originated from there, which is printing books, not as many as a big publisher just two or three year publishing online and doing events. And so as we kind of grew And as we amassed a local following, we then started to venture outward a little bit.

And since then have been a little bit more nationally recognized, I guess, like in terms of a small press, and certainly made connections nationally with other writers and published writers from elsewhere. When we turn the blog into an online journal, we started publishing writers from all over the world. And so that kind of opened things up for us too. And we became and we also started to know what we were doing a little bit more and like, what it meant to be doing what we were doing. And you know, where we are now is kind of a slightly more refined version of where we were when we started always with always with an eye toward what’s going on in at least in Florida, if not in Orlando to.


And I know that with a lot of journals that start there’s a lot of work that people don’t understand. And so they often peter out, you know, after a few years, y’all have done a lot of work and to have these books to a relatively small team.

Ryan Rivas 

Yeah. So the reason why we were able to continue into existence, because shortly after we did that first book, Jana moved to LA and she said, You’re doing great with this, like, keep it this is your thing, keep running it. And I was like, Okay, well, I don’t have any money. And Jana had finance the first book, and she kind of put some around money into it. I was working for a nonprofit at the time that just had one program and children’s program called page 15. And that was the Creative Writing for Kids program. And there is room for more. And so around 2012, I was able to convince that board of directors to move under the nonprofit umbrella. And so from 2012 to today, my role became more and more borough. And so unlike a lot of publishers, or a lot of small press, publishers and small press people I was I was able to be compensated, not a ton, but you know, that’s to be expected. I think, as it became more of a community fixture I was able to spend more of my time doing it so that around 2016 I was just doing burn press and I have been since but yeah, we do have editors, you know, contributing editors who find work for the journal, a poetry editor. fiction editor who helped with the online journal have someone who helps with the live events, who hosts them, Jared Sylvia, he hosts them. He helps with all the tech stuff and helps with the setup. Yeah. And then a handful of other routine. Sometimes MFA students from the University or on pop into help, but otherwise, yeah, it’s kind of a me.


Yeah. And what were the books that you published this year,

Ryan Rivas 

this year, we did two and they’re both out already in April, we published a sinking ship is still at shipped by Ariel Francisco. That is a book of poems all set in Miami and kind of dealing with climate change and environment in a very great conversational sarcastic, clever, depressed, funny tone throughout, has that kind of range to it, sort of as a fluke, Ariel’s also a translator and he when he published a poem in the New Yorker, he connected with someone about translating it and he brought up the idea to me And you know, what if we can do the book? What if we can get the book translated to as like that would be great. So we, you know, it was basically at his behest. And with his connection to the translator, that book now appears in parallel translation. So it’s technically a book in English and Spanish with the language is side by side. So that’s super cool. That’s the first time we’ve done something like that. And that was April’s release.

And then in June, we published a fish growing lungs, which is a collection of linked essays those are great too. There’s a couple of Florida based essays because she grew up in Tampa, but it’s not really a Florida collection, it’s about her discovering that she was misdiagnosed bipolar, and kind of the aftereffects of that. The fallout of that or the real the realization then and then kind of the fallout from that and sort of trying to find her way back toward at a sort of balance and normalcy. So it’s got a little bit of everything mental illness and addiction and medicine and stigmas. Rounding all those things, and it’s told in a kind of style. It’s like, it’s my favorite kind of balance of like, research and essayistic dealing with personal stuff, too.


And so with COVID, and everything, how has that affected your publishing model or just in general, the press?

Ryan Rivas

Yeah, well, since we’re tied to the children’s program and tied to a larger nonprofit, anything that affects the whole effects the parts, so like, our cash flow has been completely screwed up, and there’s been all kinds of changes on that end, but we’re persisting the biggest practical change in that someone would notice would be that we can’t do events anymore. Right. And so we had a whole tour scheduled for Ariel, he was gonna go to Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Gainesville, and probably by the time we were finished booking it to other cities, but it all got scrapped because that was all happening in that was all set to happen in April. And by then, Florida was even officially like sheltering in place. I think to adapt to that. We simply started to do events online. Unfortunately, haven’t done as many as we had planned, but we’re still doing them and honestly, I should say, we’re doing them with by by the saving grace of bookstores with professional zoom accounts, we’ve been able to, you know, find a bookstore partner or another organization to take our ragtag live event and just professionalize it on zoom.

Alicia’s event probably wasn’t even going to be like a bookstore event or even it was going to be something kind of out there. But we ended up partnering up with the rumpus and they connected us with books or magic. And so books or magic basically made that event happen. It brought up sort of other opportunities that we wouldn’t have had. So now that we’re all at home, and not doing events and you know, having events cancelled, Alicia was able to reach out to other people that we wouldn’t have necessarily been able to bring to Florida to do the event with her. So she did her event with Kobe Akbar, which is super cool. Similarly, aerials event that’s happening thanks to white whale books. stores bookstore in Pittsburgh, which is another great independent bookstore. So it’s going to be, they’re going to lead this sort of panel and reading. And so in a way, the adaptation as been reliant upon collaboration and the goodwill of other people. And so because it’s easy for us to throw a live event together here, we’ve been doing it for years.

But I mean, the plan was this year to have and maybe begin a tradition of having a sort of annual big Florida reading party, and kind of go all out. Whereas with other readings will, you know, we can book a theater or book an art space and set up a microphone and the projector and we’re good to go. So yeah, that’s not that’s clearly not going to happen. And I don’t foresee that kind of thing happening until at least the fall of next year for me just because of all the uncertainty and having to cancel things. You know, at the last minute when things spike like who knows, I just that’s not something that I’m gonna spend my time on. But that said, I’m kind of hooked on virtual events now like, yeah, I’m going to more events that they’re virtual. Yeah. And you can like, you know, put it on, I’ll put my laptop on the kitchen counter while I’m cooking and watch the event, you know, or something like that. So,


So how is your own writing going?

Ryan Rivas 

It’s good. Thanks for asking. I have a thesis that is a novel that I was working on for a while but didn’t really click as to what it was until just before the residency is started. About a year and a half ago. I worked on that for two semesters. And then I spent the last semester, my third semester, throwing a lot of rough stuff out for a future project, working on, you know, character development and chapters and voice and wrote for this other idea that’s not fully formed. And now I’m in the middle of my last semester, and I’m returning to the novel to basically give it one more good revision and make that my thesis surprisingly, for The first couple months of this year and even the first few weeks of quarantine, like writing was very productive. Like I, this novella just kind of came out of me. And like this long short story kind of came out of me, and I’m still happy with them.

And you know, they still need some tweaks here and there. Wow. And, but now that it’s time to focus on the ones June came around, that’s the start of the last semester. And so I’ve been kind of paralyzed in terms of motivation to write, etc. So I’m just kind of slouching my way back into the novel to finish it up.


Well, I’m doing a podcast instead of writing so here we are.

Ryan Rivas 

We’re doing random other expressions like a professor of mine was like now’s the time for collage and she’s like taking up collage like great. That’s, I think, maybe I subconsciously saw the clock running out on my brainspace in bandwidth and was just like I was able to crank something out for a few weeks. And now just now I’m just reading a lot better


And can you tell us a little bit about your publishing other people in the magazines still? And so can you talk to us a little bit about fantastic Florida’s and how it’s changed over the years.

Ryan Rivas 

Originally, it was called Burrow Press review. Really, we kind of just changed formats. But we had an online journal since 2011 2012. And that was a traditional typical online journal that published poetry, prose. fiction, nonfiction. Actually, we didn’t publish poetry for a while we just published fiction and nonfiction. The premise which we stuck to, since then, in all formats and iterations is just one new piece every week, because the one thing that I don’t like to do is get overwhelmed with information and that’s kind of impossible. And so even when literary journals do an issue of a reason Well amount of pieces like 10 pieces, it’s still kind of overwhelming.

And certainly an online journal to go and keep a page up with links to all the 10 pieces for a given, you know, issue or whatever. It wasn’t how I consumed short stories online. And so I thought that it would be good to just do one thing a week and have it featured and at the top of the site, share it on social media, and then next week, we move on, and then you can then go to the archive, you know, so if you find one piece in it, you come across a piece on any given week, you know, you have 52 opportunities to see a new piece throughout the year, and you want to learn more than you can go into the archives and do that. It was a format that made sense to me and a frequency that made sense to me, without, you know, becoming overwhelmed.

And then, over time, you know, we had several great editors who worked on that and really, at some point, I wasn’t touching it at all, but volunteer editors, you know, they come and go when they move on to other things and I understand that that’s just how it goes. So at some point when, when the editor As we’re growing weary, I was also kind of growing wary of the journals niche. What made borough press review different from any other literary journal that was publishing short stories and nonfiction and whatever? Not much other than that, hopefully we were one of the one of the better ones. I don’t know. I always had an interest in publishing Florida focused work.

And I developed a network of a ton of writers had published some of them early on like one of the first people we published in bro press review is Lindsey Hunter, like I was a fan of hers from a long time ago. And so she’s always been a great connection. And we just published something again from her recently we had we had her do a collaboration with a photographer, so she looked at the photos and created a short story, based on photos taken around the Space Coast. So anyway, always had this interest. And I thought, well, now’s the time. I don’t want to stop publishing people every year, you know, once a week, I think it’s a great thing to do. So we just around 2018 or 17, I can’t quite remember Changed formats and decided that we would call it fantastic Florida’s and that there would be a focus on poetry, we would add poetry. And we’d do fiction and nonfiction for a little while we did interviews, which I think I’m going to bring back.

And you know, we didn’t look back. That said, we have recently ish tried to communicate a very, very, very broad definition of what we mean by Florida. And it’s something that’s not necessarily easy to communicate succinctly, but it’s something that I’ve tried to communicate especially to writers I reach out to, to solicit. Because when you say Florida literature, for example, we’re open for submissions, we’ll get a ton of, you know, nature writing and poetry, like kind of postcard poetry that’s like, imagery of nature, a lot of it’s beautiful. And, and there’s nothing A lot of it’s really good, but it’s not exactly what I want to always publish. And so in opening the definitions, We kind of went back to the origin of the name right, which is from a Rimbaud poem.

And technically fantastic Florida’s is sort of an alternate translation like newer translations don’t use fantastic. You know, was writing before capital Florida, you know was a thing. And so that specific title speaks to something more than just the geographical space. And so in the guidelines in the revision of the guidelines, we’re at least trying to open it up to different genres that are focused on Florida. We’re trying to reach out to you know, sci fi writers and horror writers we will be publishing a horror piece pretty soon, the fairy tale.

And with that said in Florida are focused on Florida because it’s so I mean, Florida is so weird that it, it lends itself to those genres. And some of that work does exist, and we want to publish some of that too. And then on the other side of things, we’re looking for something also more elusive and this has been even more difficult to Kind of communicate right? This sort of lowercase f Florida work that has a Florida texture or a Florida feel or a Florida soul, if you will, that, you know, a quality you can’t quite name that I would try to name by saying It’s uncanny or it’s strange, or it’s absurd, you know, other adjectives that you could say Florida is that it deals in high contrast, right like rich for manmade natural, unique ecosystems like the Everglades, you know, if there’s a piece set on some other planet where there’s unique ecosystem like, great, Florida has that too. And so, to get that kind of work has been a challenge.

But basically, the message is, if you got something kind of stranger, off kilter, send it anyway and see what happens. We’re still getting mostly like place-based stuff, but there are going to be a few things where place doesn’t really play a role at all, or a few things that also kind of are outside what you would consider literary. What does that even mean anyway, and so that’s what I’m looking for hoping to, quote unquote expand the boundaries of Florida literature, right. In the same way that Shane’s introduction to the anthology isn’t prescriptive and isn’t labeling Florida literature is one thing. I’m hoping that the banner of fantastic Florida’s can be this sort of nebulous a morphus multi valence you know, let me use all the theory words right.

Ambiguous space ambiguous blob that kind of sucks in really great work. That says something about either Florida the state or this Florida or this or creates this alternate kind of universe of Florida. This is more abstract nebulous, Florida.


I think that’s what’s so important about Burrow as a smaller process can be a little bit more experimental historically than maybe some of the bigger presses and so with a thriving small press, the definition can expand has more room. Absolutely.

Ryan Rivas  

I kind of have to seek it out, like people aren’t necessarily seeking out Florida work or doing Florida work. But I’ve been really successful and just asking people, and everybody who’s lived here usually has something Oh, it’s or fiction writers. What I’m really excited about, and I hope to start doing in the, in the new year is not only preparing people for interesting conversations, so trying to think of who are two Florida writers or writers who are from Florida that can have an interesting conversation about it, or maybe just about their own work and let the Florida off to the wayside. But also pairing people kind of like we’ve done a couple times in the online journal to collaborate. So two writers who live in Florida or a writer and a visual artists living in Florida, and see what happens there too. That’s something I’m excited about. And I think people the people I’ve asked so far to do these things are have responded positively. And so I think we’re going to be hopefully seeing more of that. That level of collaboration because even collaborating In itself isn’t something you see a lot in the literary world. It’s just I wrote this. And it exists in this in this one context. Whereas once you introduce, you know, a painting or a piece of music or something, the context and the possibilities for meaning, you know, just they multiply. So I’m interested in that right now, too.


So I wanted to ask one more question before we kind of wrap things up. Since you have so much experience with the small press and just publishing what would be some advice that you might give to someone who wanted to start either a magazine or journal or eventually, you

Ryan Rivas 

I kind of threw myself into this right, and maybe throwing yourself into it without knowing what you’re doing is good for some people, because it’s not it’s certainly not going to bring riches and all that or fame or whatever, but it’s enriching work, right. And so one thing I wish I did differently, was, I wish that there was kind of more preparation before starting we kind of just like I said, I gave you a bit of the origin story. We’re like, let’s let’s Do an anthology, let’s do a book and see what happens. I didn’t really know much about small presses, then I certainly learned a whole lot since I think I would have. And luckily, been brought into the nonprofit and just filtered out and fizzled away because there was some structure there. So one thing I would say to anyone who doesn’t mean certainly isn’t about to incorporate as a 501 c three, or has any kind of resources, or monetary resources would be to create a kind of vision plan of what you want it to be.

And once you get all the great abstract stuff down on paper, then create a sort of program overview, like a more practical, not business plan, necessarily, just the who, what, when, where, why, of what you’re doing. And then as you kind of create that I think you start to ask more of the questions. How am I going to do this? How am I going to do that and figure out what you need to do so preparation in advance, right like having a clear idea. Do what you want to do before you just jump into it. I think that would have been good for me. But, um, personally, but also, um, knowing that you don’t necessarily need a ton of resources to do it, you know, especially if you’re going to do an online journal, you just gotta you know, websites are free.

You just got to host it somewhere, I’m sure some in some cases, you know, you can get hosting for free, really, you just want to, you want to be driven by that passion. And you want to find other people who are like you who are passionate to help as well. And especially with something like an online journal that’s not necessarily focused in Florida, you can reach out all over the country and find people to work with remotely on top of that reaching out, especially before you start reaching out to people like me with specific questions like I actually literally there’s a guy who’s starting a has started a little publishing company, small press here in Orlando, he had a literary magazine, and I think it’s kind of merging more into publishing. You just send me a question today about Paper stock, and I’m happy to answer it.

When I was starting out, especially when I was trying to figure out what a small press was, and you know how to do things, and especially when we were considering, like distributing books traditionally, like doing what the big five do and, you know, trying to get books in bookstores, I talked to publishers at other small and medium sized presses, I was able to talk to the publisher of st books, I was able to talk to the publisher of Feather proof books at the time, I talked to the publicist at 10 house books. A really nicely worded email, respectful of someone’s time, looking for information will often yield positive results.

So if anyone’s listening and they reach out to me, I will get to your email and I’ll read it and I will reply to you as thoroughly as I can, you know, and if there’s time and somebody wants to get on the phone, I’ve done that too. So knowing that it’s a community, and it’s a community of helpful, passionate people who are who will be there to support you. I’m sure there’s a jerk here and there. I was able to have more clarity about going forward, and what burrows should be in the future by talking to others too. So do some research, like know what you want to do, do your research to, you know, read publishing for dummies or whatever it is and do some heavy googling. But then also you’ll still have questions, right? So then reach out to the community, because that’s what that’s what they’re there for. That would be my advice.


That’s great. That’s so generous, too. Is there anything you might want to add that we haven’t chatted about anything of your own work or burrows? I want people to know.

Ryan Rivas  47:29 

Well, yeah, I would love to. I would love for people to look at Fantastic Florida’s more. And if there are writers listening, who have really weird out there stuff that’s not necessarily set in place, but kind of has a very strange texture. Or if there are people out there who are writing about Florida, submit to us, we’re open till the end of August, but we’ll I’m think it’s probably going to be open for the rest of the year. I might just open it up. So yeah, check out the online journal because right now we’ve, we’re done with our books for the year. But when you do check out the online journal, you’ll be on our site. So you poke around and see what else we have to offer. But yeah, that’s kind of been my focus lately.


So expand that boundary and create that strange, pluralistic, nebulous aesthetic of Florida. The journal has such good work published on it. And I love the whole idea of expanding the definition. So send any kind of Florida. I’m excited about this horror piece that you have coming out, or that is coming out. I’m leaning towards the author.

Ryan Rivas 

Yeah, we’re just going through a couple edits. It’s cool. It’s creepy. Yeah, it’s not like body horror or Gore. But it’s real. It’s real creepy.

Gramel  48:34 

And I’m learning at my tender young age, there’s all kind of spooky. It’s not just generic, and all reading doing all this reading even more than normal. It’s made my dreams a lot more at night. Yeah, I’m dreaming more. Do you have a good dream life?

Ryan Rivas 

That’s a great question. Um, sometimes Yeah, I definitely dream and sometimes I’ll remember them maybe once a month I’ll remember a dream. But my dreams are always usually realistic. And as a child, I had like scary dreams, you know, and nightmares and whatever. But now I just kind of have really mundane dreams and I’m not sure why. I’m definitely like working out some very basic, silly thing that happened in the week or something. When something weird or shocking happens in the dream, not necessarily scary. I usually I tend to remember that. So I wake up feeling a little bit shaken but also excited because I like when that happens, because I’m like, What is my mind trying to tell me? Yeah, yeah, what just happened in my brain?

Gramel  49:36 

It’s not really scary. And I try it those moments, if I’m awake enough to write it down. And Tyler when he was a young, say, kid, he got really interested in interpretation of dreams. And I remember buying a book for us. And like, a lot of my books, I don’t know where they are, it is anymore, but I’ve always had a weight problem. So the other night I was dreaming. And everybody in my dream were very slender. And I could still name you a lot of people, my grandson was in it. But I was trying to hide the fact that I was not slender, which is hard to hide that fact. And I was dancing. I was dancing with this guy from school, who’s real slender. And he, he dipped me over and hurt his back. And I can just remember being mortified. You know, I’m having dreams every night right now. And I think it’s from all the books I’m reading.

Ryan Rivas 

But your mind is always busy, right.  And I think it’s something about absorbing the words too. That reminds me though Rebecca Renner who’s a Florida writer, I don’t know if she would call herself that she wrote about the pandemic dreams. That’s it like that’s super that interests me a lot. And so yeah, I that’s why I wanted to say that but that could be a whole episode talking about your dreams.


Yeah, they’re more vivid during the pandemic because I do think I know the article. Talking about and she wrote about like the science behind it. Yeah.


I’ve always also journaled. I find after years of writing, I doodle and I, you know, draw little things, and I’ve never been an artist. And this one year, I’d like to have his doodles taken to a psychiatrist. Not that I don’t think he’s crazy, but I’d like to have them interpreted. You know? Yeah, yeah. And I think as you have one field you’re great in and love it so much and so passionate about it. I think you start getting other areas of art artistic, and I’m sure you know all about that. But these are things I keep learning, which makes life really worth living.

Ryan Rivas 

Absolutely. Yeah, I hope I’m still learning and doodling and journaling and doing all those things to think.


Well, Ryan, thank you so much for taking time to chat with us.


You’re very interesting to listen to. I can tell you love words. And I love words too. I’ve always been a reader. And then as you get older, you can read even more. Okay? You got any books, she wasn’t me sending his books now. But I mean that. And I’ve known that you can change your own world. By the way you use your words, just in conversing. You can say things and get things over. If you just have a nice tone of voice and a smile on your face. And every now and then throw in a word that people maybe don’t understand. That gets their attention, but you know, so it’s been fine. Just a delight to listen to you.

Ryan Rivas 

Thank you, guys, for having me. And thank you, this has been a real pleasure.

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