Eric Flamm, Donald J. Mackie, Benjamin Lederer (Inkwater Press)

Join us for our monthly reading by authors from Inkwater Press!

Portland Zionists Unite! and Other Stories, by Eric Flamm: These raw, interlocking short stories—set in Israel, Portland, and Thailand—explore the complex reality of modern Israel, its recent history, and what it represents to its citizens and foreign-born Jews. With a range of different narrators—three Israel Defense Force soldiers, a hawkish retiree, a synagogue executive director, and a young video game fan—each story viscerally speaks to the contrasts between Israel’s founding mythology and current political realities. Each narrator’s perspective is different, but collectively the voices engage with a growing concern in US Jewish communal life: how to countenance an Israel that increasingly doesn’t reflect the values of American Jews.

When Push Comes to Shove: A Clown’s Demise, by Donald J. Mackie: A recently elected, narcissistic, vengeful president is determined to “put the hurt” on blue states. To blacken Oregon’s eye, he intends to start clear-cutting her ancient forests again. Standing between him and success are a handful of Oregon State University tree huggers and a geriatric men’s group from the north Oregon coast who brandish AR rifles and a “last man standing” mentality. Last, but not least, Mother Nature weighs in and throws a few punches in defense of her home and allies. What follows is an action-packed, contemporary tale of good versus evil that will inspire and fuel your belief in humanity’s better side.

The Garrington Garden, by Benjamin Lederer: Peter Trenton knows everything about Fort Garrington, Illinois, and he’d like to help his coworker Jeff Hansen learn the tricks of the town. Peter hoped to make a friend in Jeff, and when that falls through, Peter seeks other means to fill the void. Meanwhile, Jeff has to decide just how responsible he is for his ailing coworker.

Eric Flamm was raised in southern Minnesota and studied English literature and Chinese at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. After graduating, he worked as a journalist in Taiwan, and then at a startup technology company in Israel, where he became a citizen. In 1996, he was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces and eventually joined an artillery unit as a reservist. In 2001, he moved to Portland, where he still lives with his wife and two children. Since 2012, Flamm has been active in Israel advocacy, including the promotion of a negotiated settlement to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The first chapter of Portland Zionists Unite! is based on a short story which won honorable mention in the Writecorner Press Short Fiction Awards.

Don Mackie is a retired educator who has lived most of his life in Oregon, and is an outdoor enthusiast. He enjoys hiking, scuba diving, camping, whitewater rafting, hunting, skiing, and fishing in his state’s many stunning environments. He received a degree from Oregon State University in Physical Geography, which furthered his love and appreciation for the terrain surrounding him while he recreates or travels. During his life, he has been dismayed and saddened by the overuse and over-harvest of Oregon’s natural resources. He watched while the lack of planning and foresight repeatedly caused a “boom and bust” business model in his state, particularly in rural Oregon. His future plans include enjoying his family, continuing with his recreational passions, and writing more novels that explore the uses of Oregon’s natural resources.

Benjamin Lederer commonly writes short stories and non-fiction. He began writing fiction while attending the University of Iowa’s Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing. Much of his work centers around loneliness and isolation. He published his award-winning novella, The Garrington Garden, in February 2017. In the novella, Benjamin Lederer explores the complexities of social isolation and the human desire to conform. Today, Benjamin Lederer lives in Vancouver, Washington where he writes for a wealth manager.

L. Kris Gowen, Lee Barkmann, Philip Kenney (Inkwater Press)

L. Kris Gowen has a prosperous career, a loving partner, a strong circle of friends … until tragedy strikes. She turns to karaoke: a source of joy. With a half-formed plan and a need to sing, she takes off on a 17,774-mile karaoke road trip through America. She reconnects with old friends, makes new ones—and heals. Each time Kris takes the microphone, she sheds a little more grief, stepping into a world where everyone is accepted simply for singing a song they love. In One Nation Under Song: My Karaoke Journey Through Grief, Joy, and America, readers gain an insider’s look at the unique culture of karaoke while riding and singing along with the author on her once-in-a-lifetime journey.

In Digging Up New Business: The Swiftpad Takeover, GG has a plan to capture the whole world’s attention. She hooks up with local pothead Kip to create SwiftPad, a renegade social media app that promises to convert the world’s fascination with itself into billions in cash for the crew and their backers. But when a sadistic killer’s handiwork is uncovered, new clues to an old crime point to Portland’s IT community. He is out there, using his high-tech talent to mock efforts to catch him. Digging Up New Business is a raffish, satiric account of how we are coping with the sweeping changes of recent decades.

The Writer’s Crucible provides a map for navigating the turbulent, emotional waters of a creative life. It does so by helping writers understand the psychology of vulnerability. Perhaps the most common vulnerability we face is the persistent sense of not being good enough. This troubling insecurity is often present in even the most successful writer, who, despite success, is subject to episodes of self-doubt that undermine creativity. To help authors manage this core experience, The Writer’s Crucible offers an in-depth exploration of the psychological underpinnings governing the internal narrative, “I am not enough.” That knowledge enables readers to begin undoing emotional constrictions and connect with an inner source of spiritual nourishment, allowing creative energies to move with greater freedom. The Writer’s Crucible is not a book that tells you how to write—it is one that shows you how to be a writer.

L. Kris Gowen, PhD, EdM, received her doctorate in Child and Adolescent Development from Stanford University and her Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is also the author of Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide, a book for youth. She lives in Portland, Oregon–despite her dislike of gray skies. Her favorite artists to karaoke are Donna Summer and Olivia Newton-John.

Lee Barckmann was born in South New Jersey in 1951. He played little League baseball, fished and hunted and otherwise had a Huckleberry Finn childhood. He went to college at the University of Kansas with a track scholarship, but was injured freshman year. Lee then became involved in the anti-war movement on campus.
He graduated in 1973 with a BA Economics and in History. Lee moved to Utah, then Oregon, and wrote his first (unpublished) novel in between learning Mandarin and working several jobs. Lee was invited to teach English in China, where he taught for 2 1/2 years. He returned to the US in late 1987. Lee started an IT career, changing jobs frequently for 25 years until retiring in 2015. He now lives in Wilsonville, Oregon with his wife, Mary, as a fulltime writer.

Philip Kenney has practiced psychotherapy and meditation for over thirty years in Portland, Oregon. In addition to these practices, he writes poetry, fiction, and essays on culture, psychology, and the spiritual challenges of our time. Mr. Kenney’s understanding of the many emotional vulnerabilities facing writers and artists is based on his own experiences as well as those of the creative people he sees in his psychotherapy practice. Having worked with these talented people through hours of intimate psychotherapy, and having heard and felt their considerable pain—the pain of feeling not good enough—he was moved to write this book.

John H. Fitchen, Ingrid Kincaid, Jim Nail (Inkwater Press)

POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER

Join us for readings by three authors from the same publishing house, the first in a new monthly series.

The tales in John H. Fitchen’s Life Through the Lens of a Doctor-Birder are about two grand passions: medicine and birds. Through the eyes of a physician and a birder, we witness the glory that is nature. From a remote Aleutian Island to his own backyard, and from the research lab to the bedside, we see what makes birders tick and doctors marvel.

Ingrid Kincaid’s The Runes Revealed will challenge you to remove the tainted, distorted lens of patriarchal interpretation and start seeing the runes with clearer vision. Long before Odin, the Vikings or Christianity, the runes were. Written in a style that’s a mixture of both prose and poetry, this unconventional book about the runes presents a perspective that is challenging, thought-provoking and controversial.

In Jim Nail’s The Ballad of Johnny Arcane: A Novel, seven summers pass without a champion climbing the silo to claim the Cornfest Prize. Enter young Johnny Arcane, who brings down the hive of bees, the townspeople hefting him onto their shoulders, crying, “Arcane! Arcane!” The legend of Johnny Arcane is born, a saga of a reluctant hero on an epic journey, from his glory at Cornfest, through his shame at the Dolmens, to his most perilous quest-to cross the border between the known and the unknown worlds.

John H. Fitchen, MD, is an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. After nearly twenty years in academics, he accepted a leadership role at Epitope, Inc., the Portland-based biotech company that developed OraSure, the first and only oral HIV test. He has published articles in The Atlantic, Birding, the New England Journal of Medicine, and dozens of other peer-reviewed medical journals. He is an avid birder and lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Ellen.

Ingrid Kincaid is the daughter of Arctic glaciers, rocky shorelines and windswept moors. She was born knowing the runes. They’re etched in her bones. They’re her lineage, her ancestry, her bloodlines. Their wisdom informs all that she does. People in the community know her as the rune woman. The Runes Revealed is a companion text to an online course of the same name. Visit her website to discover all that she have to offer: classes, rituals, online courses and private, spiritual guidance.

The Ballad of Johnny Arcane started with a song Jim Nail composed in 1973. The song stuck in his mind until, decades later, it exploded into a full novel. Nail is a songwriter, author, father, husband. He lives in Oregon with his wife and fellow author, Claire. They have two grown sons, Brendan and Devin.