Maps and Tapes

Cover of "Maps and Tapes" by Adrienne Robillard

Grab a microphone and turn up the volume.

Moving from Hawai‘i to Fresno in seventh grade changed Adrienne Robillard’s view of the world, herself, and her future. Being a new kid in a new school meant hours of time alone spent listening to cassette tapes and college radio, learning to play the guitar, and writing stories and lyrics. Joining a garage band in high school gave her a sense of belonging she’d never realized possible as she wrote songs with strangers who became treasured friends—one of whom she ended up marrying. Maps and Tapes follows Robillard from San Francisco to the UK, criss-crossing the US and Europe, feeling at home in a van on both sides of the road.

In Fresno, “I went from having friends and blending in to being a loner who kept getting asked, ‘What are you?’ because I was one of a few half-Asian students at Ahwahnee Middle School,” she recalls. “With my headphones on, I could ignore uncomfortable questions.” Later, music became her primary creative outlet and a way for her not to hide, but to connect.

In Maps and Tapes, Robillard interweaves lyrics written for her indie-rock bands between stories of first guitar lessons, young love, adventures in studying abroad, and gigging and touring with her bands. Her poignant prose paints a vivid portrait of the ways in which music soundtracked and shaped her teen and young adult years. Her callouts of favorite bands, albums, and songs will make readers want to cue up their own nostalgic playlists—good and loud, to be felt in the bones, the way the best music and memories should.

Adrienne Robillard is an English lecturer at Windward Community College. She grew up in Kailua, Hawai‘i, and Fresno, California. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, she earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. After college she worked in San Francisco as an office temp and marketing professional by day, playing in indie bands Secadora and Citizens Here and Abroad at night. She lives with her husband and their two children in Kailua on O‘ahu. In 2020 her first book, The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook: Easy and Delicious Hawai‘i-Inspired Recipes from BBQ Chicken to Kalbi Short Ribs, was published by Ulysses Press.

Release Date: June 2022
120 pages

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Navigating Change

Navigating Change by Valdeane Uchima Odachi

I was never truly adrift.

A fragmented childhood filled with heartbreak and disappointment left Valdeane Uchima Odachi feeling lost at sea, at the mercy of unseen currents. In this moving collection of personal reflections and whimsical poetry, Navigating Change follows Odachi as she discovers moments of grace and synchronicity while struggling to reconcile her multiple roles as daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher and caregiver. Her journey’s unanticipated reward is a renewed self-identity and the realization that she has always had everything she needs to live the life she wants.  

Odachi unexpectedly took on the role of caregiver when her husband was suddenly diagnosed with complicated and frustrating medical problems. “Initially, I thought I would write a book for my children and to document the challenges of having an older spouse with health issues and dementia,” she says. But, upon reading her early drafts, “I found my writing was so focused on the unhappiness I experienced—I didn’t enjoy reading that version of my memoir.” Instead, Odachi chose to shift her mindset and her book’s focus to recognize the moments that changed her. The story of her life transformed as she wrote and wrestled with complex and layered emotions concerning events in her past and her life’s current path. “Writing both versions allowed me to process the ongoing grief and recognize the grace that occurs in my life,” she reflects.

In Odachi’s heartfelt vignettes, readers will recognize the pain of adolescence, the joy of motherhood and the conflict inherent in reconciling the role of caregiver with maintaining a sense of self.

Valdeane Uchima Odachi is a postsecondary academic counselor and educator who hated school as a child but now holds various credentials ranging from a Hawai‘i state license in massage therapy to a master of arts in teaching from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Raised in Wahiawā, O‘ahu, she currently lives in Volcano, Hawai‘i Island, with her family and their two dogs, Bowie and Mika Shrimpface. She enjoys teaching the art of Zentangle®, organizing and removing clutter from her home and spending time with family. Navigating Change is her first book. 

Release Date: May 2022
120 pages

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My Life Is a Road Atlas

My Life Is a Road Atlas by Kathy Clarke

Then life happened.

Passionate and adventurous, Kathy Clarke has always believed in her own abilities and refused to let one day go by without being lived to its fullest. Maybe that’s what happens when you’re accidentally shot point-blank with a .22 rifle at age three and a half and you live to tell about it.

A challenging childhood prepared Clarke to accept life’s capriciousness. “It seemed like a really good idea at the time…” could be her life’s motto. “Good ideas” like dropping everything to strike out across the western plains in search of a meaningful relationship; acquiring a home menagerie consisting of multiple St. Bernards, a pissed-off cat, three turtles, a tortoise, a hamster named after a loser boyfriend and a housebroken baby goat; or building a career while raising seven children.

In lively and humorous prose, Clarke invites readers of My Life Is a Road Atlas along for the ride as she recalls her nomadic childhood, a roster of not-so-forgotten lovers and the controlled chaos of being a mother of seven “decent and imperfect human beings”—oh, yes, and that time that she got shot.

Compelled by the pandemic-induced Hawai‘i visitor industry shutdown to finally sit still, Clarke spent her time writing her memoirs, causing some anxiety to her children. “Memories are how life teaches you when you are not looking,” she muses. “In the next life, I hope I gain wisdom at a much younger age, considering how long it took me to acquire any this time around.” Readers may not wish for a wiser Clarke, who one can only imagine would have fewer “good ideas” to laugh and cry over.

Born in Utah and raised in Northern California, Kathy Clarke lived on Maui for eleven years before moving to Hawai‘i Island, her main residence for the past thirty-three years. Since 1980, Clarke has built a successful event and destination management company, operating on all Hawaiian islands. She has been a fixture on the local fundraising scene in her Waimea hometown, coordinating several cultural and community events for years. In addition to raising her seven children, Clarke has been a foster parent and involved in foster advocacy. She also enjoys sustainable gardening and cooking the literal fruits of her labors. 

Release Date: December 2021
122 pages

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Hawai‘i Calling

Ad in Morning Paper. Round Trip, Fourteen Nights—$550

When a March vacation in 1986 offers an escape from one more brutal Minnesota winter, it turns into an unexpected calling. In a leap of faith, Ric d. Stark leaves his mainland home behind and moves to Hawai‘i, changing the course of his life forever.

In intimate and poignant stories of loving friendships, bizarre encounters with Hawaiian spirits, and the challenges of navigating an unfamiliar cultural landscape, Stark invites readers to join him on his journey to make Hawai‘i his “heart home.” Revealing his personal struggles to discover his identity as a gay man and his place in the Islands, Stark observes, “I often feel that I’m the one oddity that doesn’t quite belong. Not just the ‘belonging in Hawaiʻi’—it’s larger than that, and deeper too. A universal, human condition—don’t we all search our entire lives to find some communion with larger humanity? I answered with enthusiasm the deep, undeniable call of my spirit to live in this tropical home. Yet once here, I am forever just one more haole boy from the Midwest mainland.”

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Ric d. Stark is new to a post-retirement career in literary nonfiction. A graduate with a Bachelor of Physical Therapy from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, he has worked in Hawai‘i as a home health physical therapist for thirty-four years. He is an award-winning quilter specializing in the Hawaiian quilt technique with accolades from the American Quilter’s Society Annual Quilt Show and the Hawai‘i Quilt Guild. He is the current president of the Hawai‘i Quilt Guild. Stark lives in Ewa Beach, O‘ahu, with his dog, Heno.

Release Date: August 2021
120 pages

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Allegiance

Allegiance by Darien Hsu Gee, IPPY Book Award Bronze Winner

Evidence of my life is everywhere.

What does it mean to be Chinese American? How are we reflected in the people we love, and us in them? What obligation do we have to those who share our blood, and how does a woman claim her life as her own? In vivid and evocative flashes of prose, Darien Hsu Gee dissects her beliefs and navigates the complexity of family dynamics in search of her identity.

“Arresting … this poignant, poetic memoir will draw readers in.” —BookLife (Editor’s Pick)

“Taut and lyrical.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Gee is a marvelously direct writer of powerful autobiographical vignettes, each one telling in its quiet ferocity for personal revelation, each a momentary, lyric ascent above everyday confusion.” —Garrett Hongo, author of Coral Road: Poems

2021 IPPY Award Winner (Bronze, Essays) – Independent Book Publisher Awards

Darien Hsu Gee

Darien Hsu Gee is the author of five novels published by Penguin Random House that have been translated into 11 languages. She won the 2019 Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship award for Other Small Histories and the 2015 Hawai‘i Book Publishers’ Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award of Excellence for Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir. She is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation grant and a Vermont Studio Center fellowship. Gee holds a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A. from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. She lives with her family on the Big Island of Hawai‘i.

Photo Credit: Darrin Gee

Release Date: October 2020
114 pages

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Huaka‘i Hele: Long Voyage

Huaka‘i Hele by Sally-Jo Bowman

I didn’t use the name. But I couldn’t forget it.

A Hawaiian girl began without a Hawaiian name, when being Native Hawaiian wasn’t cool. When a high school classmate gave Sally-Jo Bowman a Hawaiian name in 1956, she ignored it because it wasn’t “official” and she focused on becoming a journalist. Yet, over many years, “Keala-o-Ānuenue,” The Path of The Rainbow, crept subliminally into what she chose to write about and how she wrote. Eventually that pathway surfaced and became front and center in her heart and mind.  

Sally-Jo Keala-o-Ānuenue Bowman

Sally-Jo Keala-o-Ānuenue Bowman grew up in Kailua, O‘ahu, born in 1940 to a half-Hawaiian father and a Swedish mother from North Dakota. Her memoir pieces have appeared in various magazines and literary journals, and she is the author of The Heart of Being Hawaiian and co-author of No Footprints in The Sand.

Photo credit: Myrna Wheeler

Release Date: September 2020
112 pages

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The Kindergarten Dropout of Kapoho

The Kindergarten Dropout of Kapoho by Frances Kakugawa

The road out of Kapoho was long and seemingly endless.

Who knew a “kindergarten dropout” could make it so far? Restless and headstrong, Frances Kakugawa was raised amid the anti-Japanese fervor of wartime Hawai‘i. Back then, she longed to leave her hardscrabble hometown in the shadow of Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, with its kerosene lamps and outhouses stocked with Sears catalogs for toilet paper. As a child, Kakugawa pretended she was the long-lost daughter of the emperor who would reclaim her and restore her to her royal life—perhaps tomorrow, or maybe the next day. The imperial carriage never arrived, but Kakugawa did follow the path of her dreams, building a career as a teacher, an acclaimed poet and a nationally recognized authority on family caregiving and education.  

Frances Kakugawa

Born and raised in the village of Kapoho on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, Frances H. Kakugawa is an internationally published author of sixteen books, who has received numerous awards from literary and family caregiving organizations—among them, the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association, Northern California Publishers & Authors, Mom’s Choice Awards, Sunrise Ministry Foundation, California Writers Club and Hawai‘i Pacific Gerontological Society. She has also been recognized by the Hawai‘i Japanese Women’s Society Foundation as one of the Outstanding Women of the 20th Century in Hawai‘i. Frances has taught at schools in Michigan, Micronesia and Hawai‘i, where she was a curriculum writer, teacher trainer and lecturer in the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She is a columnist for the Hawai‘i Herald—the “Dear Frances” advice column for caregivers—and gives lectures, workshops and readings to schools and community groups nationwide on the subjects of caregiving, teaching, writing and poetry. She also facilitates a writing support group for caregivers in Sacramento, California, where she lives.

Photo Credit: Jason Kimura

Release Date: September 2020
122 pages

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