I am one of those people for whom becoming a published writer has not been an easy course of action. I was born in Riverside, California to a family with a classic American work ethic. I became passionate about reading and writing as soon as I began to pick up books in first grade, and I knew I wanted to be involved with writing and publishing just as soon. There was magic in those pages, and I wanted to be a part of it. And I still do. I love writing almost as much as I love reading and promoting the work of my peers. I am a fan first, writer & publisher second.
For most of my childhood, I struggled academically with profound ADHD, though when I could focus, I performed well. From time to time I wrote stories and poetry with the general feeling that my work wasn’t worth contributing, so I just continued to enjoy the work of others. After undergrad, I took a practical job in commercial insurance sales, and did well, and continued to shelve my ambitions to pursue my passion for the literary world. Though, I did start a novel in 2006 that I continue to work on today and wrote short stories along the way that were rejected everywhere.
In 2013, after nearly seven years in the professional sector, and jaded by corporate acquisitions, and being treated as an expendable commodity by behemoth capitalist organizations, I decided to take my writing more seriously. I wanted something that belonged to me, something corporate America couldn’t take away. I wanted to start my own publishing company and to become the best reader and writer that I could. I began to enroll in courses through Stanford Continuing Studies and continued through there until I completed their OWC Course in Novel Writing. The OWC is an admission-based program that taught me a lot. It also expanded my access to the literary community.
In 2016, I almost died. My heart stopped beating, leaving only a buzz in my chest. I thought I was a goner, rushed to the hospital, and after seven hours there, they were able to get my heart out of Afib, and back into a normal rhythm. I had to make massive lifestyle changes after the near-death experience, but more importantly, it gave me perspective. I saw the end, and I didn’t like what I had become. I was ignoring my path to help foster and nurture creatives and to write the best goddamn books that I can. I, like many creatives, never gave myself permission.
I was accepted to and attended UC Riverside's Low Residency MFA and continued my path forward. After graduation, I launched Kelp Journal, and this year Kelp Books. I have published authors that I had previously only dreamed of meeting someday, and the press continues to grow. I love my editors and contributors, and I couldn’t be happier with its success.
I finally have a completed novel that is being reviewed by some agents and editors, and I have started another one. I plan to continue my work and to be a huge contributor, cheerleader, and vessel within the fabric of the literary community for as long as I have breath on this earth. I love you out there. Readers and writers. Books are one of the most precious and vital things we create and consume as humans. Be kind to each other, and to our world’s creatives. We work tirelessly to bring you these stories. I hope you like them.
-David M. Olsen
January 20th, 2021
David M. Olsen is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and poet. He is an alumnus of Stanford’s OWC program in novel writing and holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California, Riverside. He is at work on a collection of linked short stories, a novel, and a chapbook. David is a former fiction editor at The Coachella Review and is currently the Editor-in-Chief at Kelp Journal. His work has appeared in Catamaran Literary Reader, The Rumpus, The Coachella Review, Close to the Bone, Scheherazade, and elsewhere. He resides on California's central coast where he surfs regularly.
PO Box 475 Pebble Beach, Ca 93953
DavidMichaelOlsen [at] gmail.com