Blog

Posts from Pumpjack Press authors and contributors about culture, books, economic and social justice topics, history and more, with the occasional poem and short story.

Matters of duration: A short story

Edward Ruckley seemed to be having a pretty good day. 

He was drinking an iced coffee in the park, a woman beside him on the bench. It was sunny, but not hot, and they were laughing about something. Or least smiling while they talked. Basically laughing.

Huron was watching them through a tiny pair of powerful binoculars from the safety of his car. He reached for his tablet and flipped through the files.

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An author interview with KBOO

Question: How would you describe writing with a partner?

Answer: It's like trying to wrestle down a tornado cloaked in barbed wire.

Clark and Kathleen recently sat for a 15-minute live interview with Ken Jones at KBOO, Portland's iconic community radio station recently. Have a listen. 

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Letter to a young writer from John Updike

Decades ago, John Updike generously responded to a letter I had written him. HIs letter, now yellowed with age, has the typeface of an old typewriter and includes strikeouts and handwritten marginalia. I dug this letter out recently, after re-reading Rabbit, Run. He provided good advice and encouragement at a moment when it was sorely needed.

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Genesis: Imagining a world with basic income in the year 2075

This is short fiction written in response to a 2017 prompt from the Economic Security Project to “explore the impacts of a basic income on individual lives and on society at large.”

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Upload archivist needed - Category: Recent history - 150 points for 90 BaseINC allotments

That was it. The full OPP description. Twelve words. Typically, a licensed OPP ran on for paragraphs, sometimes multiple screens. Yet, of the nearly two hundred OPPs Vingah scanned this morning, this tiny twelve-worder was the only one that matched her allotment budget, would bump her up to the threshold and was, most important, available now. Today. Sure, it was a little worrisome the listing was buried so deep, at the very bottom, and worse, there was no prior uptake even though the OPP was four years old. Was it too risky, she wondered? 

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Fighting about writing?

We’ve been writing together for 17 years, about the same amount of time we’ve been a couple. The two are definitely related. We wrote our first book—The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance—in 1999 to see if we could refocus, or at least constructively channel, some of the dysfunctional energy that had already broken us apart once. It worked, and we’ve got the emotional scars, and books, to prove it. Here’s a Top 10 list of our most memorable writing fights and actual, applicable lessons extracted from each.

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Discovering the present in the past

Can we learn from the saga of Bonnie and Clyde and find ways to rebuild the working class or will we continue driving full speed into our own ambush? As Mary Wollstonecraft — a writer, philosopher and staunch advocate of women’s rights (and mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein) — once famously said, “people are rendered ferocious by their misery." 

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Lenny: a character (yea, a survivalist, conspiracy theorist, Vampire-killing) interview

Joining us today from the pages of The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection is Lenny, a survivalist and improvised weapons expert with some peculiar political views. He’s the long-time friend of Tucker and is now deeply involved in making weapons capable of dispatching the undead.

Hello Lenny, welcome. What did you bring with you today? This? It’s a reverse surveillance tracker I made out of an old cassette recorder, a GPS unit and an electric toothbrush. I want to be able to monitor whoever it is monitoring this conversation to find out where they are broadcasting from.

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A story of five dollars

I was grateful to be so vividly reminded that even the smallest gesture—in this case, a single five dollar bill—can become something consequential. Even if most of the time, we don't see the immediate impact of our actions, it reminds me that every little bit of kindness is important.

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