Ink from the Pen is the story of an educated, HIV+ gay man whose decades-long walk on the wild side came crashing down in 2004, when he found himself facing nine months in prison for dealing the crystal meth he'd become addicted to during the worst of the AIDS epidemic. An accomplished writer, Olmsted soon discovered his love of words was precisely what would get him through the experience. With a keen eye for the finely-observed detail and an unerring capacity to deftly convey the poignancy and absurdities of incarceration, Mark learned that creativity is one of the most powerful survival tools there is.
"This is a haunting and beautiful story from the depths of the California state prison system, of people found and left behind, acts of defiant joy, tender moments of generosity, soul-searching, and looking desperately for glimmers in the darkness. Characters with such rich and vivid names as Jack Hammer, Drifter, Thumper and Chainsaw may have been forgotten by society, but Olmsted puts them in such indelible ink you will carry them with you long after you close this remarkable memoir." - Kathy Hepinstall, The Book of Polly
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About the Author
Mark emerged into a life of recovery and activism, writing hundreds of essays for the Huffington Post and his personal blog, The Trash Whisperer, based on his hobby of keeping his Hollywood neighborhood free of litter. In 2011, he entered the Graduate Humanities programs in Mount St. Mary's University, obtaining a Master's Degree with a specialization in Creative Writing in 2013. He has returned to screenwriting with a drama set in post-war New York, The Exiled Heart.
He lives in Hollywood with his partner, David.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“Mark Olmsted's Ink from the Pen is a haunting and beautiful story from the depths of the California state prison system, of people found and left behind, acts of defiant joy, tender moments of generosity, soul-searching, and looking desperately for glimmers in the darkness. Characters with such rich and vivid names as Jack Hammer, Drifter, Thumper and Chainsaw may have been forgotten by society, but Olmsted puts them in such indelible ink you will carry them with you long after you close this remarkable memoir.” – Kathy Hepinstall, The Book of Polly “I’m a long-time reader of Mark’s work, and he has always insisted on my absolute candor. So, honestly? This is the best thing he’s ever written – and that says a lot. It is bracing, funny and redemptive without being preachy. It was hard to imagine Mark going to prison at all; now it’s even harder to imagine Ink from the Pen not having been written.” – Claudia Keenan, PhD, www.throughthehourglass.com “Gay, educated and suddenly sober, Mark Olmsted spent nine months in the California prison system. Lucky for us, he remembered to take his wit and creativity with him. The result is both enlightening and more entertaining than any book about incarceration has a right to be.” – Shira Tarrant, The Pornography Industry: What Everyone Needs to Know “I was first introduced to Mark’s fiction writing as his Professor in graduate school, and was particularly impressed by his talent for the finely observed detail that expresses a greater truth. I wondered if telling a true story would be a constraint, but if anything, his capacity for deft psychological insight is even more striking. A prison memoir should, by all rights, be a grim read; Ink from the Pen is anything but. And his theme of using creativity as a survival tool is one that is dear to my heart.” – Katherine Boutry, Phd, Director, Creative Studies Lab, West Los Angeles College, Seedlings Writers’ Retreats