The Invasion of Michael B. Koep

As featured in the Nspire Magazine

A man steps up to the microphone dressed like a maitre d’,black shirt and slacks, though he does not work here. He taps the mic with his finger—“Test. Test.”— then clears his throat. It is his privilege to introduce local author Michael B. Koep for an evening read.

“There is nothing typical about our guest this evening,” he begins, and he’s absolutely right. The man continues to describe the many facets of Koep’s artistic and free spirited lifestyle (poet, painter, musician, vocalist, swordsman, engineer, traveler, designer, husband, father, friend), including many of Koep’s defining qualities. And “in an attempt to be all encompassing, and to satisfy our base need for a sense of understanding,” the man dubs Mr. Koep, ‘Artist.’

Invasion of Heaven original manuscript

Koep reads from his latest work, Part Two of The Newirth Mythology: Leaves of Fire (released June, 2015). Part One of the Newirth Mythology; The Invasion of Heaven (2013), is to be re released as a mass-market paperback in August of 2016. The complete trilogy is slated for 2017. At the end of his read, Koep leaves the audience with a riveting not-quite conclusion, explaining, “If I read one more line, it may ruin the book for you.” This is perfect for opening the floor for questions.

There are the usual questions a writer is undoubtedly asked at such events; Are you currently working on anything? Where do you get your ideas/inspiration? Typewriter or computer? But there’s one question that really makes Koep smile

“Where do you write?…”

“In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit,” and although Koep is no Bilbo Baggins—a writer himself—and his writing place is in not in the ground, it is, however, a Hobbit hole. “And that,” says Mr. Tolkien, “means comfort.”

Stepping through the ornate round door of Koep’s office, it’s easy to see why he works here. It’s not that the lighting and temperature are perfect. It’s not the collection of swords and fighting gear, the antique piano, nor the shelves of books from Tolkien, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and many others that encircle the room. It’s not the unique collage of draping burlap and other cloth that lines the ceiling and walls, or even the sound of Zeppelin on vinyl resonating from the improvised library loft. What keeps Koep writing here is the fact that all of these things come together in a culmination of creativity that seems to seep out and into the air.

This is the feeling of imagination, of creativity. And it’s so thick, so real, you breathe it. One would feign swipe a handful into a pocket to carry away home, hoping, perhaps not in vain, to harness its power and create a beautiful work of their own.

This is Koep’s ‘safe place’. Though to say so is to contradict oneself, as there truly is no ‘safe place’ for a writer. To be a writer is to work alone and without the comfort of a safety net. Says Michael, “It’s like jumping off a cliff, and the thing you have to decide is do you want to exist in the air, or in a cubical? It’s frightening.” Clearly, Koep has chosen to exist in the air, frightening or no.

However, it would seem Koep is quite accustomed to this type of freefalling existence. He spent many years—and, in fact, is still spending them—as a rock musician for a number of bands, before he ever decided he’d take the journey as a writer. Indeed, like Mr Baggins, one can never be quite sure to what eyrie Koep’s feet will take him next.

The original introduction:

“There is nothing typical about our guest this evening. One cannot simply place a label on him, stick him in his categorical corner, or slide him onto a shelf amongst like fellows. To simply name him Author is not enough. He is much more. He is poet, painter, musician, vocalist. He is swordsman, engineer, traveler, designer, husband, father, and friend. To name him “Artist” in an attempt to be all encompassing, is merely a beginning, like scratching an ‘X’ in the dirt with one’s foot before setting the auger to drill a very deep well. And yet, perhaps to satisfy our base need for a sense of understanding, “Artist” is the correct title to place upon him—if, by Artist, the title also implies passion and character, honor, kindness, and humility. You see, our guest is all of these things, at least, though he’d never say so.

He is native to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Although he has traveled much in the world, Coeur d’Alene has often been his home. He received his education through life and living, which includes a degree from Gonzaga University. He published, Part one of the Newirth Mythology; The Invasion of Heaven, in 2013, and is currently working—from the comfort of his Hobbit Hole—on Part Two, slotted to hit the printers Fall of this year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure we present to you this evening, the Artist, Mr. Michael B. Koep.”

By Toby Reynolds

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