Writer and storyteller Mark Olmsted talks about his inspiring book, Ink from the Pen: A Prison Memoir and so much more. From the loss of his brother to AIDS, dealing drugs, prison, to Hollywood, this is just a fascinating exchange.

Mark Olmsted has been a writer since he graduated from NYU School of the Arts in 1980. After over a decade in Manhattan, he moved to California to pursue screenwriting and take care of his brother, Luke, who died of AIDS in 1991. Gay and HIV+ himself, Mark self-medicated through the worst of the plague years with crystal meth. This led to a conviction for drug-dealing in 2004 and nine months in prison, an experience that produced Ink from the Pen: A Prison Memoir. (His descent into criminality – including forging his own death certificate – was profiled in GQ.com, in The Curious Cons of the Man Who Wouldn’t Die.)

Mark emerged into a life of recovery and activism, writing hundreds of essays for Medium, and his personal blog, The Trash Whisperer, based on his hobby of keeping his neighborhood free of litter. In 2011, he entered the Graduate Humanities program at Mount St. Mary’s University, earning a Master’s Degree with a specialization in Creative Writing in 2013. He returned to screenwriting with a drama set in post-war New York, The Exiled Heart, and is also currently working on a second memoir, Furtive Mirage. He has also recently published the Audible version of Ink from the Pen, narrated by Michael Crouch.

Mark lives in Hollywood with his husband, David, and edits film subtitles for a living.

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What Matters Most
What Matters Most
Paul Samuel Dolman

Author, musician, and speaker Paul Samuel Dolman interviews a variety of people on creativity, the arts, relationships, and spirituality.

Read the Book That Inspires the Show

Paul Samuel Dolman, author, podcaster, and speaker, presents What Matters Most (the book!) a series of interview transcriptions from more than twenty inspirational Nashville and Tennessee residents, including special guest the journalist and author Bill Moyers.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, former Governor Don Sundquist, Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, Grammy Award-winning entertainer Wynonna Judd, and many more share intimate and inspirational aspects of themselves.

This twentieth anniversary edition also features bonus material from thirty more notables from Tennessee, including local business owners, spiritual leaders, coaches, radio personalities, authors, and educators.