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.

Falling in love: The second most terrifying thing to happen on Halloween

Celebrate #Horror Month! Twenty years ago on Oct. 31, we — Clark and Kathleen — decided to get married and start writing horror together. It was a monstrous decision. We officially became engaged on a blustery Halloween night 20 years ago. Clark was dressed as the devil on vacation. Maps in hand, horns out, leisure shirt on. Kathleen was a zombie fairy. Glitter, tutu, bloodied face.

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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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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.”


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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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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Bonnie and Clyde: Poverty, second chances and true love

Today is the formal release date of the new book Kathleen and I wrote together, Bonnie and Clyde: Dam Nation (Pumpjack Press). It’s the second book in the series (book one, Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road came out May 2017) that imagines what might have happened if the two outlaws were spared from their gruesome end and given (or, more accurately, forced) to work for the government to protect the greater good. So why pick two notorious criminals and murderers (even though many believe Bonnie never pulled a trigger herself) to anchor the series? For three reasons...

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