Personal Stories


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


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


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



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