The memoir Townie, by Andre Dubus III. Common sense. 12
I have been thinking a lot about common sense in recent years, including while writing my novel, reading the memoir, Townie, by Andres Dubus III, and using weights at a gym.

Common Sense

Our dog fetching stick in Mirror Lake. 11
Our dog hiking the trail with us. Mount Hood is in view. As my husband and I hiked up Tom Dick and Harry Mountain, next to 11,000-foot Mount Hood in Oregon, I struggled with monkey mind. Even the phrase "monkey mind" rebounded in my head along with other jumbled thoughts about violence against women, two movies, and my novel in progress. As I trudged, I mentally composed this, with only vague awareness of my surroundings. We'd viewed Ask Me Anything the evening before,

Terror and Tranquility

Painted Hills, John Day, White, purple, and navy blue deposits contrast with the red stripes on green hills. 23
I am going to share a secret that I have shared with only three people in my life. I have experienced many dreams of having magical powers.

Magical Powers and Painted Hills

Cheryl Strayed, author, Torch sales 8
I am a fan of Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of Wild. My husband, familiar with Aitkin County from his youth, and knowing McGregor, Minnesota was where Strayed grew up, suggested we detour to this remote region that is one-third bog while we drove to Duluth from Minneapolis in August of […]

A Fan Visits Cheryl Strayed’s Hometown

Cheryl Strayed, author 14
“You are a god,” I said to Cheryl Strayed. I’ve never made this outrageous declaration to anyone before or since. She deflected my comment with a wave of her hand. It was the summer of 2007. This was five years before Strayed would achieve incredible success. In 2012, Strayed’s memoir […]

Cheryl Strayed, You Are a God

Maureen Kay as child 17
I am hungry. The image that returns to me repeatedly is a fee-fi-fo-fum giant with three enormous fingers hooking underneath my ribcage to take me to a scarier place. There is a burning, a squeezing, a fist shoving itself just above my navel where I most intensely experience this hunger. […]

Hunger—Now, and During My Childhood

Maureen Kay, author, at Dry Falls. Natural and human-caused climate change 8
Our family drove to eastern Washington this autumn. We encountered stunning views shaped by massive geologic events. The weekend trip inspired me to think about climate change–both climate change caused by natural forces since the beginning of Earth, and climate change caused by human forces. Traces of our region’s tumultuous […]

Dry Falls—Earth’s Largest Waterfall—and Climate Change

Daughter at coal trains hearing, Maureen Kay, author blog 17
The headline in our local newspaper yesterday was, “Coal Hearings Draw 1,000.” Because of my concern about climate change, I felt it was important to participate in the protest that took place the day before against the coal export terminal proposed for Longview, Washington. My daughter was adamant she wanted […]

Our Daughter Protested Coal Trains in Her Anime Costume

Skinny house squeezed by highrises in Chicago. 7
My family added three days in Chicago to a Midwest trip in August. We took the CTA light rail from the Midway Airport. Arriving at the Madison/Wabash station in The Loop, we felt like marks while we maneuvered our luggage, everyone watching us as we crossed the sullied wooden platform. […]

Chicago: Inequality and Volatility

Suzy Vitello as Roxy Soulé 9
We creative writers—whether of memoir, poetry, screenplays, or fiction—unmask ourselves. It’s partly what impels many of us to write, our need to turn ourselves inside out for the world to see what we’re experiencing inside, and sometimes our need to try to empty ourselves of what’s itching us, or even […]

Author Vulnerability: Suzy Vitello to My Rescue!

Maureen Kay's Childhood Birthday Party 20
I organized a surprise birthday party for my good friend Sue at a community fair last Saturday. As the plans grew more challenging, memories of earlier surprise parties plagued me: awkward, stressful, botched, and excruciating. I received one surprise party as a child—for my eighth birthday, organized by an older […]

Surprise Parties

Title of novel by Maureen Kay is Fracture, and this fractured boulder represents that. 19
A story has consumed a compartment in my brain for years. I finished the first draft of my novel a year and a half ago, and have been revising since then. I haven’t sent it to an agent or publisher yet because it needs to be the best I can […]

Fractured Boulder, and Why Fracture Is My Novel Title