Allow me to shamelessly plug (and lavishly praise) “Ink From the Pen”,
a memoir written by my friend Mark Olmsted. Mark chronicles his time in the
CA prison system with the kind of analysis that’d make a sociologist wish they’d written it
and a sense of humor that’d make a comedian envious.
For those of us who’ve spent a career in criminal justice,
it’s a compelling look in aspects of the system we rarely see.
Ink from the Pen is a brutally honest account from one man on his time spent incarcerated. It’s poignant, heartfelt, and surprisingly funny
Mark Olmsted weaves his story in a way in which the readers relate; taking us on a journey through our emotions alongside his own personal journey.
Masterfully written, Mark opens himself up and bleeds on the page, leaving us in awe of his path to becoming the man he is today.
From someone who works in prisons across the UK, Mark captures the plethora of emotions each inmate will feel as they serve their sentences.
I highly recommend this to everyone; it perfectly aligns with the human condition, and our need to find solace in times of strife and feeling lost.
Mark found his solace in writing, and we are all lucky to witness his creative release.
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
It’s beautifully written.
The words Mark chooses and the
stories he tells are insightful,
funny, touching and fascinating.
Ink from the Pen reveals the insides of the insider.
Using humor as a survival tool, Olmsted endures
and even oddly thrives in a prison environment which would devour others.
Written with wit, honesty and always curiosity, Ink takes those
of us who are improbable prisoners, with nothing in our past
or cultures that could have possibly prepared for this kind of experience,
into a world where humanity is found among all,
in the ultimate great leveler of disparate men of every imaginable background.
Sam Harris, www.samharris.com
I’m having visions of Papillon and Midnight Express.
So I keep reading with no desire to stop.
I’m upset I can’t just finish it today as I have to make a living
and go to work. Do I like the book? Are you fuckin’ kidding me.
I love it. I’m hooked.
VINCENT CASTELLANOS, Actor, Translator
Am on a flight back from LA, and I’m almost finished
but I’m stopping cause I don’t want it to be over.
Your book is killing me.
You’ve written such a compassionate account of wounded warriors.
I fell in love with every character you’ve described.
Molly Secours, Filmmaker
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a confluence of emotions all at once;
fear, wonder, revulsion, nostalgia, and joy! Mark Olmsted’s story is of course sad.
And frightening. But his writing coupled with his intellect, wit, fierceness,
and ability to correctly ‘read’ the human beast in all their environs keeps him alive and sane.
His memoir will keep your body on the couch and your eyes glued to the pages.